Is it just me, or is this the weirdest summer ever? I can’t really speak for the rest of the country, but in Pennsylvania it’s been pretty weird – like the weather can’t decide if it wants to be summer or not. It’s a little frustrating, even though I don’t spend a ton of time outside. And it’s been interfering in my attempts to learn to swim, so it’s getting on my nerves. Plus, camping this weekend with my family could potentially turn into us hiding in the tent from the rain. We really hope it doesn’t rain. On the bright side, though, if it does rain and I’m stuck in the tent for three days, it’ll give me plenty of time to catch up on some reading I’ve been neglecting. Either way, though, I intend to get reading done this weekend – we’ll see how well that goes.
Anyway, to the matter at hand. This week’s #WOW555 prompt sort of continues the Independence Day theme, centering on freedom.
Prompt: write from the perspective of a character who is not free while others are celebrating their independence and, at the same time, they somehow become reunited with someone unexpected.
I’m not entirely sure if what I came up with totally fits the prompt, but it’s as close as I can get while continuing Emma and Malakai’s story. I’ve been racking my brain for ways to get them to this point, and this prompt offered the best opportunity. So yay! Personally, I’m also pretty proud of this one, as it was an exercise in writing in the present tense – not something I normally do.
Without further ado, story time!
How long have I been this way? I drift in and out of awareness, and every time I drift back, I think I can move – I try to move. But then I remember – Clara trapped me this way. My body forever asleep until the curse is broken. Sleeping beauty was once my favorite fairy tale. Now I wonder if she felt as helpless as I do. The need to shout is overwhelming, yet my voice is trapped in my chest, so it feels like I might explode.
She visits sometimes, though I’m not sure why she bothers. It’s not like I can respond to her taunting, but I suppose Clara enjoys the sound of her own voice. Across the room, the door opens just as the thoughts begin to leave my mind, just as I begin to drift again. Her voice pulls me right back.
“It’s a shame, Esther, it really is.” She moves some more, or at least that’s what it sounds like – steps on stone. It’s different than usual, though – like she’s not alone.
I wonder what she’s talking about.
“You could be free, like me, if you’d have just followed orders like you were supposed to.” She laughs, though I don’t find the humor. It’s difficult to believe we were comrades once – friends even. That ended almost immediately after the last order we were given, one I refused to follow, which landed me in my current predicament. “And now your baby brother has to be punished for it.”
In vain, I try to speak. What does Malakai have to do with it?
“I hope you can hear this.” Clara’s voice sounds closer than ever – as if she’s hovering over me. Something falls to the floor with a thud, and a moment later, the room fills with agonized cries. The two suffering voices mingle and combine into one, but I instantly pick out my brother’s. They don’t scream for long, and the room feels emptier than ever once they stop. “Hmm. Didn’t think they’d pass out so soon…”
There’s a moment of silence before her footsteps overtake the room again. After being filled with so much noise, everything feels hollow, and her footsteps almost echo around me, mocking me – mocking us. Finally, the door shuts, and we’re left alone. I don’t hear anymore movement, which leads me to believe Clara’s words – my brother and whoever he’s with were out cold and unable to do anything. Willing myself to move or speak, I try to do something to gauge the situation, but it’s all useless.
The silence settles until all I hear is my new companions’ labored breathing. Just as I begin to drift again, shuffling brings me back.
“Okay – I think we’re good.” This is a voice I don’t recognize. The girl moves farther away, while another pair of steps draws closer to me.
“Esther? We’re here to get you out.” Malakai slips his hand into mine, offering reassurance.
Woo! Finally reunited the siblings!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the entries on Saturday. If you’re a writer, join us!
I’m going to try to promote the contest over the weekend from my phone, but I’m not sure how much signal I’ll have during camping, so we’ll see!
As always, think happy thoughts!
Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on rosiesnotred.deviantart.com