Chapter one – Imprisoned:
With a bang his eyes were forced open. There was a dim light from behind him and he blinked and blinked and blinked, still in the waking seconds where you have no idea where or who you even are. As he continued to stare into the dimly lit room he remembered who he was and where. He slide his bottom upright and span his legs over the edge of the bed to sit himself up, gently rubbing the palms of his hands on his eyes to rub away some dried sleep. He stretched his arms up and gave a silent yawn, stroking his hands through his hair, which was growing out from being shaven bald, other than the little tuft of hair that he gently stroked, there was no hair on his face, clean shaven and stark. He was wearing very thin, white, plain trousers and a button up shirt, which were both slightly too big for him but was kept on him by a very old, falling apart belt which looked like it was strangling his waist. He looked around his room while stretching his arm behind his back and leaving it on his shoulder. A small, terribly made wooden stool, with a very old but thick book on it. Other than the bucket under his bed and the bed itself, there was nothing else in this room but these things. He stood himself up, a little too fast causing his eyes to fizz and blur over as if he was about to have a seizure. He fell a bit to his right and grabbed his hands to protect himself from a fall. He reached out and felt steel in his hands, a pipe, a pole, a jail bar. He sat crumpled on the floor holding onto the bar while his vision cleared. He looked at the bars, getting bored of his own weakness and waiting for it to pass. He spotted a very small shiny object just outside of the bars, he reached for it, using one of his hands on the bars to keep himself from falling and dragged it through the dust on the stone floor. He pulled it to his chest and cupped the object in both hands and held it up the same way that you offer someone an object with complete submission. He did this in order for the object to be in the maximum amount of light, he felt it with his hands as he still couldn’t quite make it out…It was small but had a long protruding ending…It could be nothing other than a key.
He felt excited, giddy and somewhat sick. He had not been eating much, although he had been eating everything he was given, he was still underfed. This made him weak, he often just slept in order to get away from the weakness and hunger, but this made his body stiffen in the cold and the lack of movement made his muscles deteriorate. He was and is slowly dying. Even the scraps he had been given lately had just been thrown up due to his bodies inability to digest and accept spoiled food, which was all he was given. He crawled over to the far side of the bars so he could see down the hallway, he could see a shoe. He presumed it to be the guard, he leaned as far into the corner of the bars and wall to see more, the guard was sat on a chair lying his head back, he looked dead except for the random movements his body made, flinching like a dog in a dream. The prisoner presumed from this that he was drunk, and the key was dropped when he knocked into his prison bars and that would explain the bang that woke him up. His body began to feel less stiff; he could not tell whether this was due to his moving around or the adrenaline spike that had just hit him as he thought about freedom and this perfect chance to seize it.
He didn’t feel the strength to stand so he stayed crouched. He slowly steps back to the other end of the room in order to be close to the door. He feels his fingers around the door, trying to locate the lock rather than randomly stabbing the key in the dark and making noise. He gently rubs his finger tips and feels a square plate of metal, and feels the middle and there it is. He slowly slides the key in and with a tiny twist at a time; he feels a click in his wrist and knows the door is unlocked. Now he begins to panic as any noise he makes could mean waking up the guard, although he is asleep and drunk. When freedom is right there, you don’t get excited and risk that chance. He leaves the key in the door, not willing to risk making any noise. He grips both of his hands around the bars and lifts it slightly up while pulling it open from the side, he pushes it up in order to stop the scraping of the metal on the floor, he only opens it a few inches as the fear of being caught stops him doing anything more than necessary. Being so skinny he easily slips through the gap, he slowly and with almost no breathing at all sneaks towards the door out which is the opposite side to the guard, which is a dead end. He reaches the door and gently pushes on it, realising that it is locked. He is completely puzzled how this door was locked by such a drunken guard, which only shows how many years this guard has worked here if he is still able to lock doors while being drunk out of his own brain.
He knows he will have to get the key from the guard and that make him shake, he cannot control his body and is overcome with anxiety and excitement. He grabs his own arms and forces them to his chest and hugs himself, thinking intensely in order to calm his body. As he begins to calm he stares at the guard with his head back on the chair, he looks un-wakable which helps to calm him. He has never heard a single noise from any other cell in the past week, over the years people have been dragged past him in and out of the prison hall. He hoped none were left or that they were asleep or worse, dead and silent. He hugged his body to the wall and made his way slowly towards the guard, gently taking the bars in his hands and then hugging himself to the wall in between each one, until he was close enough to the guard in order to see him in this light, which was only lit by a few torches. To his pleasure each cell was empty. He studied the guard as he got close enough to smell his drunk breathe. He couldn’t see the key on him, he couldn’t even see the key ring that he knew it was kept on. He could however see a dagger handle on the side of the guard furthest from him. He became aware of his own breathing getting deeper and raspy, as if he couldn’t breathe properly. He was panicking, his hands sweating, and his eyes unblinking. He made a choice and put his finger tips on the dagger handle and silently slipped it out of its sheath. He held it in both hands and stared at the guard, still unable to see the keys. He leaned over the guard so he could see his face which was resting on the back of the chair, lying horizontally, presenting his entire face to the prisoner. He lifted the dagger with both hands very slowly and silently, placing it above the face, and then above the eye, and slowly lowered it. He stood in intense thought and effort not to move, feeling his blood in his hands warming the handle, trying to stay calm, he felt strong due to the adrenaline but he knew he was weak and needed to put all of his effort and weight into the dropping of the blade. As he prepared himself he licked his bottom lip in anticipation, putting the blade as close to the eye as possible. As he did this the guard’s eye opened and in that instant he pushed it as hard as he could straight through the eye into the brain. The guard didn’t make a single noise and instantly became dead weight, sliding to the side of the chair under his own weight and lay resting there.
He felt calm, completely in control of himself and strong. He searched the body and found the keys in a pocket near where the dagger sheath was. It would of been impossible to get them from such a place without killing him, he felt relieved at knowing this. He didn’t know or remember ever seeing outside of this hall so he crept to the door and decided to be as silent as possible just in case. He unlocked the door and silently pushed it open. He was in an opening that had stairs leading up to a door and stairs that led down to some water, he crept down the steps and was pleased to see a tiny little wooden boat tied to a pole by the steps. He stepped on the boat which made a creak even under his light weight, he untied the rope which made his fingers ache and burn. He pushes himself off the brickwork and let the small waves take him whether they liked. There was a small black cloth all over the bottom of the boat, so he lies under it and places it over him, covering himself. His adrenaline leaves him, he feels sick and shaky, and unable to do anything, and his eyelids become heavy so he closes them. His last thoughts before falling asleep is the vast amount of choices that now face him; what shall he become or even do? He is too weak and worn down to even care; he drifts in the ocean, further and further from the prison of years past and into the freedom of dreams.
Chapter two – The village:
The now freeman wakes up lying on his back, he can see only blackness. He is somewhat confused and blinks, trying to recall where he is. He lifts his head slightly and with that his nose touches the night, it is fluffy and gentle. He pushes his hands against it and pull the night off of him. It was the blanket. As he removes it from his body the sunshine hits his skin and eyes, it feels like happiness, such joy, almost painful. The warmth on his skin and the clarity in his eyes. He sits himself up and notices the lack of motion. His boat isn’t moving. He slowly peers over the boats side and sees the brightest and most yellow sand that he has ever seen. So clean looking, with this sight he has the instant urge to dive into it and bury his feet to feel it on his free feet. He jumps out of his boat feeling refreshed and stronger than he can remember ever feeling. He sits himself down on the sand and lets his feet and toes bury themselves in it as he surveys the beach. His boat had somehow came quite a bit inland and was now surrounded only by sand, while the sea and its waves lay a good half a mile from it. It must have been washed ashore when the tide had been in and now it had returned back out. He stood up with his hands on his hips letting the sunshine into his skin and eyes. He closed his eyes to feel the wind blow small grains of sand against his body, and gently flap his baggy clothes. He did not only know he was free but felt free. He, unable to control himself, skipped along the beach for no purpose but because he could. He returned to the boat, climbing up and into it and checking if anything was in there, just the blanket and it was a scorching hot day. He decided to leave it, he could always return to it and retrieve it when the night came and made everything much cooler.
He plodded off in the general direction away from the beach. He did not care where he was going, only that he was choosing to go anywhere. As he got further from the beach he noticed that the wild trees and bushes became less randomly placed and formed a path. At first he felt uncomfortable by this, this meant people and maybe a town nearby. He thought to himself that he surely only looked like a poor man, with his baggy clothes and skinny body, and that they didn’t give away his previous situation, all that they could possibly tell from his clothes was that he needed new ones, and all that they could tell from his weight was that he needed his next dinner a little more desperately than the average person, which was of course a signal of poverty. He tried to keep himself reasonable but could not control his excitement. He began walking down the path ways and was hoping to pass someone, he burnt for the chance just to smile and wave at someone as they passed. He could not remember the last time he had such an interaction and he had a feeling that by smiling and waving, he could pass on his joy and freedom. As he carried on walking down the pathways he could hear voices in the distance, it sounded like two people arguing or maybe debating in a friendly manner. Which of the two he could not pinpoint. As he walked closer and closer, unable to see but always able to hear them, his anxiety grew and his urge to wave and smile was quickly strangled. The voices got so loud that he felt at any moment, at any turn, they would be face to face. He panicked, he looked around, side to side furiously and dived into the bushes. He stayed in them, silent but observant. He watched the path from which they had to come. And they did. Two very young males playfully talking and pushing each other, as if pretending to dislike each other but boyishly still enjoying each other’s rude company. They spoke loudly, posturing and full of bravado. They were both dressed in baggy plain clothes very similar to his own but with the shirts unbuttoned and wrapped around their waists by the arms of the shirts. Maybe everyone around here was as poor as these two boys and himself. He hoped so as he would fit in, then he felt disgust at hoping people to be as poor as himself. But at least he had his freedom he thought, which comforted him away from the disgust. He let them pass and stayed silent, he waited until their voices where tiny echoes and he knew they were far further than their loud, booming voices would suggest.
He climbed himself out of the bush and felt stupid at what he had done. Had he found them intimidating or was he just scared of interactions? He thought there was no need to be harsh on himself as he had only just achieved freedom and it was only to be expected that he would be careful and somewhat timid. He carried on walking the way he was before the boys had interrupted him. After a while of walking down the path and having the soles of his feet pricked by sharp grass he heard more voices in the distance. This time they sounded welcoming, there was something feminine about them. They were not loud, but easily hearable, not quiet but still soft. As he came around a corner three middle aged women, massively overdressed for this weather came into view. The path only being wide enough for two people’s width, he moved himself to the far side, pushed his back against the hedges which made the path and made a hand signal to show them to pass him. They thanked him and hopped past him like excited children. He smiled and looked at the floor after each woman passed him. He looked back at them and smiled again. He continued walking with a smile and thought to himself maybe all of those people are going to the beach for a nice day in the sunshine. He wished them a nice day inside his own head.
The path began to narrow and led up to a tiny hill. His breathe became heavy and he realised just how hungry he was as his stomach made that familiar growl and the horrible warm ache began. Upon the hill he looked out and could see a small collection of houses, a tiny village.
There was a sign post pointing its way but he was unable to read it. But went that way anyway.
His desire for food was too strong. As he got closer he realised just how tiny the village really was. All of the buildings looked like bungalows with a maximum of three rooms. Shabbily built but good enough. As he ventured through the village he noticed a man sat on a hay pile with a bowl in his hand, happily stuffing his face. He approached him unable to decide whether to talk or to snatch the bowl straight from his hands. Before he could decide or get any closer, the man addressed him. “Hello! I’ve never seen you around here, visiting?” He stopped walking and for a split second panicked but his mouth moved before he could even think or act otherwise. “Yes” “Ah, from where?” He answered again with no thought “I don’t have a home” The man stopped stuffing his face in between speech and raised an eyebrow. “Then how did you get here?” “I woke up on a beach, on a boat, I don’t remember.” “Oh” He said as he stood and studied the Freeman’s face. “You look unhealthy, hungry?” “Very.” “Well.” He pushed his hands forward with the bowl, there was some scraps left. “Take it.” The free man didn’t even think or thank, he snatched it and ate everything in an instant. The man sat with his hands still out stretched as if he still had the bowl in his hand “My god, you’re hungry!” The free man wiped his face with his palm as in his haste he had gotten some food on his chin. “Thank you.” He handed the bowl back. “How about you keep the bowl. And if you help me with my work, I’ll fill it again. Aye?” The freeman pulled the bowl to his chest and nodded. The man stood up and fetched a few tools while the free man stood watching him, not moving. The man then began working, the free man placing his bowl on the floor near the pile of hay next to the man’s house. Went over to him, selected the same tools that the man was using from the pile of tools and began copying what he was doing. The man looked at him and smiled with approval.
They carried on like this until the sunshine had went from white to yellow to orange, they both yawned and put all of the tools back in the pile. Then both men carried them to the wooden shack he originally got them from. The man walked into his house and flicked his two fingers towards himself to signal for the other man to follow him in. He grabbed his bowl and entered the house. It was, much like the outside, shabby. But he liked it, it was homey, the kind of place that you could just sit and think, or sit and nap, or do anything you like in comfort. The man took the bowl off of him and returned with it full of vegetables, they were soft and soggy and covered in some brown goo. He licked at it with suspicion but after tasting it swallowed everything down with joy. The man sat down and invited the free man to do the same. They both sat looking at each other and then he finally broke the silence. “If you keep working like that, I will have to keep you and feed you every day!” The free man didn’t look away but only said in a calm voice “I would like that.” “Do you have somewhere to sleep?” “Yes, my boat on the beach with a blanket.” “Oh that won’t do, you can take some hay into the tool shed and sleep there if you like?” “That would be easier…” “Then yes, you work for me and I’ll feed you and that can be your bed.” “Okay” said the free man. “Do you have a name?” He looked around, his eyes darting in panic, did he? Without thinking he spoke “Yes, Freeman.” “Well okay, I myself am shattered so I’ll go to sleep. Help yourself to as much hay as you like, and tomorrow I will give you some better fitting clothes of mine…Goodnight…Freeman…” He stressed the name making it clear that the name itself confused him. “Okay, thank you.” The man took that as his signal to leave and went into the other room, where you could hear him rustling about in his bedding. Freeman picked up his bowl and walked to the tool shed, it was nice and spacey. He set his bowl down in the corner as if it was some ancient and priceless relic and returned himself to the hay pile, he took a huge pile in his hands and walked it to the shed, leaving a small trail behind as he did. He cleared it up the best he could and then went into his new home. He took his shirt off and laid it over the hay so it didn’t itch his skin, but he was too hot to be covered. He lay there dozing off into sleep while thinking about his day. Today he had felt freedom. Today he had named himself. Today he had experienced his first day as Freeman and as a free man.
Chapter three – Freedom towards death:
Upon awaking Freeman felt good, unusually good. He couldn’t remember waking up and not feeling the hunger burn deep inside him. He couldn’t remember waking and not feeling crippled, cold and stuck in a position like a statue. He lay on his back looking at the ceiling of the shed. He could feel the hay penetrating his shirt and irritate his skin, but he didn’t mind. He accepted it and enjoyed it, unpleasant or not. He lay there feeling stronger than ever, more flexible than ever and his mind more active due to being out in the world rather than locked in a tiny room. Ironically, seeming as he was in a tiny room. After a while of thinking he heard the noises of the man who owned the shed he was sleeping in. He stood himself up and put his shirt around him, too hot to button it up. He picked up his bowl and went out to say hello and good morning.
As he stepped out he was greeted with a “Good morning!” he smiled and looked, the man was packing a rucksack full of metal objects and a small pile of tins lay next to it. “It is a good morning, hello.” The man carried on packing while speaking “There won’t be any work today. I am travelling to the next village to sell some produce.” “Okay” The man approached him with a tin in his hand, pulled Freeman’s free hand up and plonked the tin on his palm. “There you go, that’s if you get hungry.” Freeman looked down at the tin in his hand and frowned “Thank you.” The man walked back to his rucksack and put the last few items into it and then stood over it with his hands on his hips. “I’m going to lock up the house and the shed.” He walked over to the shed and took a padlock out of his hands “Oh…Do you still have my bowl? Pass it here.” Freeman gave him the bowl and watched, a little confused. The man placed the bowl inside the shed and then locked the padlock on the shed door. “All done.” He said walking over to his rucksack. “Any plans for today?” Freeman rubbed his head and then spoke gently “I’ll travel to the beach and see if I can find my boat and blanket.” The man smiled at him as if smiling at a child. “Good idea! If you can bring the boat back we could work on it, maybe even go fishing!” “That would be nice” said Freeman in a blank voice. “Oh” The man said digging deep into his rucksack, “I almost forgot!” He pulled some clothes out of his bag. They were nothing special but much better than the thin clothes Freeman was wearing. He passed them to him and nodded as if to say try them. Freeman undressed and put on the trousers and wrapped the shirt around his waist, still being far to hot to cover himself. “You look much better already.” “Thank you.”. The man scooped up freeman’s old clothes and threw them into a wicker basket just outside of the back door to his house. “I’ll get those cleaned for you, they can be work clothes as to replace them would cost nothing.” Freeman stood watching and waiting. “Well I’ll be heading off now.” Said the man throwing his rucksack on his back “I’ll see you later.” He gave a wave and started off on his little adventure. Freeman stood looking at his back, watching him turn into a smaller and smaller dot until he finally went over the hill and was no longer within sight. He turned and looked over the filed. The house and the shed was locked, and the sun was fully out by this time. He thought to himself that it would be a nice day to find his boat and see that sand once again.
He slid the tin into his pocket and began walking back to the wooden sign into the village. The sun was so bright he could barely look further up than his feet without pulling a puzzled look. The tin was nice and cold against his leg in his pocket. He passed the sign and began walking through the hedged path, surprisingly he hadn’t heard a single voice today other than the farmer. His walk through the hedged path was only interrupted by the stabbing of his feet by the sharp beach grass and the sounds of nearby birds playing their playful music and occasionally the sound of wood hitting wood. The path seemed to be much shorter than he remembered it being as he reached the mouth of the beach in no time. He thought maybe because when everything is new you take it all in and the time seems slower. He shook his head at the thought and placed his feet into the soft and un-grassed sand and walked further into the beach.
He noticed as he walked that his boat was no longer there, as last time he could see it from the hedged path way. He thought that maybe last night’s tide had taken it. He didn’t much care. He continued walking further into the beach as the tide was a good mile out from the beach’s mouth at the trail. He thought how nice it would of been to find that blanket. It was nice and cool to lay under, even in this hot weather. He walked all the way to the water and dipped his toes in, the water was freezing cold, which pleased him. He walked into it so a few inches of water was playing around his feet. As he was doing this he turned back to look at the beach. He still could not see the boat, it had been lost. But he could see a black patch to the far side of the beach, isolated. Maybe the blanket had been washed ashore. He began walking towards it out of curiosity. As he got closer and closer it cleared in his eyes. It was a black object but he still couldn’t make it out. As he finally got within 10 or so foot he realised it was indeed the black blanket, but there was two heads poking out, with their eyes closed. A male and female face, asleep. They were using his blanket as they must of found it. Without thinking or speaking he felt a rise of annoyance and ripped it off the sleeping people. The blanket was dry but covered in sand, which instantly flew into the air and into his eyes as he did so. He dropped it and put his hands to his face. While the two people awoke, the woman screaming thinking something indecent had happened, and just so happened to be topless. While the man sprang up in an instant, not failing to protect his distraught lady like a lion. He grabbed Freeman by the throat and offered only obscene and unanswerable questions in order to scare him and make him back off. He pushed himself off the man’s chest and fell back; he was still blinking with the grit and sand in his eyes. Without knowing what to do or say he just screamed “That is mine!” The man looked back at the woman who was now covering herself while trying to dress herself at the same time, which wasn’t working. “No!” Said the man, pointing his thumb at his own chest “She is mine!” Freeman let out a little laugh and spoke more gently “No, the blanket. It is mine.” “The man towered over Freeman and spoke down at him “What do you mean?!” “I mean, that blanket you were using is mine.” The woman who was now fully dressed, didn’t speak but just went behind the man to see what was going on. “We found it, so we was using it.” said the man. “You found it on a boat? Then it is mine and so is the boat.” “No, it was lying on a fallen log, to dry. No one was here so we used it and now it’s ours. Do you understand?” Freeman did not understand but he feared more confrontation, instead he spoke as softly as he could. “Okay, you keep it. But do you know where the boat is?” “Like I said, there was no boat.” “Okay.” Freeman stood himself up, poking his fingers into his eyes to get the sand out but only putting more in. The man watched, like a lion ready to pounce. He walked himself to the beach mouth again and stood, trying to get the sand out of his eyes. While the man and the woman grabbed the blanket and walked around the beach side and out of view.
As Freeman stood, having lost his blanket and boat, getting annoyed at the sands persistence to stay in his watery eyes. He stopped trying and just let it irritate him. He could feel the tin in his pocket, but it had warmed up and became unpleasant against his skin. He felt stupid for not punching the man in the face and taking what was his. He pushed it out of his mind and sat down on a recently chopped down tree stump. He looked at his feet, feeling the sun on his skin. It was beginning to hurt him. Maybe he was getting burnt. The sun no longer made him feel happy, but sleepy, and angry, and irritable. He could feel his sweat drops run down his skin, it tickled, which angered him more. As he sat he could hear wood hitting wood again, he had only became aware of it again by being so quiet. He stood up, listening to it. It was rhythmic, like an instrument being played, drums but harder.
He went to investigate, to keep his mind off his anger and to please his curiosity. He went round the beach, onto a small path of rocks. They were hot and round, which made him hop slightly. There was a drag mark of sand over them. He followed it and for some reason and un-be known to himself, he stated crouching and creeping. The rock path lead into a small sand path that wound round the tree, he thought to himself maybe this was just another path to the village that he hadn’t seen yet. He carried on creeping and the noise steadily grew louder, it was without a doubt a wooden object hitting another wooden object. He came to a small cross road in the path and followed it left closer to the noise. As he crept around a corner the narrow path opened up into a wide circular dead end, he slowly leaned himself around the corner, slowly revealing the sound maker to himself.
There stood, two backs with wooden sticks in their hands, they looked like sign posts without the signs. They had their back towards Freeman was. Where both stood there; systematically whacking an object which was also wooden. He leaned further around the corner and could see that they were the boys he had passed the following day. They were playing like most boys, destructively. They were bringing their superior objects down on this wooden mess, breaking it into pieces and then further smashing the pieces into even smaller pieces. The object was about 6 feet long and about 2-3 foot across. He felt bold and snuck even closer to them, as he did he realised the object they were destroying was in fact a object he knew. It was his boat. With this realisation and his previous experience that had sparked his anger, he flew towards them. His violence was more to do with his failed attempt to defend himself against the previous man than anything to do with his feeling for his boat. He pushed the first one into the wreckage of his boat and quickly punched the other one in the face. He didn’t speak; he just dropped his wooden post so he could cling to his face and ran off abandoning his friend. Freeman picked up the wooden post and as the boy got himself up, he hit him in the face with it. The boy with a small spray of saliva and blood fell to the ground and didn’t move at all. He stood over him with the wind gently blowing the sand onto his body. He didn’t know if he was unconscious or dead, and he didn’t care. He took what remained of the boat, well the pieces that were worth taking. Just a few planks of bent and wet wood and left in complete calm, leaving the boy without checking him.
He walked with the planks under his arm and threw the sign post into a hedge as he began his walk back to the shed. He felt rather calm but was still irritable by the heat, he couldn’t wait to get back into some shade. He got back to the shed and tried to open it which caused a jangling noise. He looked down to see the lock and remembered the man saying he had locked up the house and shed. He set the planks of wood in the sun to dry and sat himself in the shade of the roof of the house. After a while he got some hay and placed it there to sit on. He took his shirt from his waist and laid it over the hay and sat thinking and relaxing. Now he was in the shade he noticed just how hungry he was. He put his hand in his pocket, and then the other one. His tin wasn’t there. He got up annoyed and traced his walk back to the beach and the path where he found his boat. The whole time he did not find it and the boy was still lying there. He huffed to himself and walked all the way back to the bundle of hay under the roof and sat there. He thought to himself the man won’t be too long. I could smash a window and go inside. I could just repair it with him. He somehow felt that wouldn’t be right. So he waited.
He sat thinking. Why had his things been taken? The blanket that was the first comfort after being freed and the boat that delivered him into his freedom. Why was it that the loss of his blanket didn’t make him violent but seeing the boat destroyed did? Was he enraged because the symbol and object of his freedom was being disrespected? He couldn’t pin point why. His emotions confused him. It seemed to him like only after events did he make up the reason why and make symbols of everything that had happened. That habit disgusted him. He was free but sat here waiting for the man, like a loyal dog. Hungry and slowly becoming more and more cold as the sun started to fall out of the days sky. It still confused him to think he wasn’t violent to a fully grown man who knew what he was doing but was violent towards two playful boys just playing around with something that was his but didn’t know it. Did he always have to resort to violence to stay free with what was his? Is this the way the world was? With this thought he naturally went onto his imprisonment. If he had to commit these violent acts in order to be free and keep his freedoms, what did he do to have that freedom taken away? The moment he tried to think about such things his mind went blank and he couldn’t think. As he thought away he decided to lie down in the hay on top of his shirt. He thought and thought and thought until he slipped into unconsciousness.
He woke up in a dimly lit room. He sat himself up and recognised the grey flooring and that thin blanket around him. He was imprisoned again. He looked around the room and to his surprise he wasn’t alone. Sat on the stool, was the man from the beach with the black blanket wrapped around him while he read the thick book. He didn’t speak or move but for the turning of the pages. He stood up and went to him in order to look over his shoulder. He couldn’t read the pages but as he studied it he noticed a limb sticking out from under his bed. He stared, blinking, hoping that his blinking would make it disappear. It didn’t. He went over to his bed and crouched and then placed his knees on the floor, as he peeked under the bed he seen that it was the boy that he knocked out or potentially killed. He was grey and lifeless: clearly dead. He stood himself up and leaned himself against the bars of his jail cell in order to keep his balance as his legs started to stiffen and he found moving increasingly difficult. He looked to his left as he tried to keep his balance. It was open. He stumbled forward, falling against the wall and the jail bars. Grabbing furiously as he started to fall unable to stand anymore. He was reduced to being on his knees, so he shuffled himself out of the cell. He looked right and left. The guard was drunk and asleep, as before. He shuffled towards him, which made his kneecaps bleed as they rubbed and ripped against the stone work and dust. He gritted his teeth as he got closer in order to silence his groans of pain. He reached the guard but was unable to stand and pull himself up to steal the key again. As he tried the guard coughed which forced him awake. The guard leaned forward right into Freeman’s face. He was eyeless. He opened his mouth to say something but he was also tongue-less. He fell forward and onto Freeman, like a dead corpse. He struggled under his body until he had pulled himself out from under him. He pulled the body onto his back and checked the pocket he knew the key was in. It was indeed there. He looked back at the door, it looked so painfully far away. He begun scrapping his knees on the flooring again, this time leaving a blood trail. He couldn’t take the pain anymore, he felt he was going to scream if he carried on, it hurt so badly. He laid his chest on the floor and began to crawl. He pushed his fingers into the floor and dust, grabbing at it and pulling his chest across the floor. As he did his shirt started to rip open, leaving his chest bare and open to the floor as he pulled his body across and against it. Just when he felt he could not pull himself anymore he looked up and was full of joy to see he was at the door. He didn’t know how he was going to reach the door lock and open it but he was just happy he was at the door. He looked to his left to see the man was still reading in silence and the boy was still lifeless and unmoving. He pushed his body up with a push up. As he was leaning up he heard the door click. It slowly creaked open and a man in a black cloak was stood over him. Freeman looked up at him and recognised his face.
The face was the farmer, the man who gave him a bed, food and clothes. Just as he went to speak the man raised his boot to Freeman and stamped on his face. As if being hit he was shook from his sleep. It was indeed the farmer, slapping his face. “Wake up!” He looked up at him and spoke with a monotone voice “I am.” He was still a little dazed. His face and body was wet, so was his shirt and hay. He was confused and slapped his own face against his face, feeling the wetness. It had been raining and still was as a drop fell into his eye. He shot up and stood, standing to fast and almost fainting leaning against the house. “Are you okay? I only just got back and found you sleeping outside in the rain.” “I’m fine, just had a dream.” The man went to the shed and unlocked the padlock and removed it, entered it and took the bowl. Go into the shed, take your clothes off, I will bring dry ones and some food.” He entered his house and all that could be heard was clicking noises. Freeman without thinking took all of his clothes off and threw them into the wicker basket and then sleepily walked himself over to the shed and entered. He stood waiting, looking at the door from the inside, holding his arms around him, warming and hugging himself while he shakes from the coldness, goose bumps emergency all over his body. He could hear the man running through the rain and then he broke in, accidentally slamming the door into the side of the shed. He stepped back as the sight of Freeman naked was absorbed into his eyes. He set the bowl down and passed him some clothes. Freeman put them on like a child who was excited to go to school. More throwing them on, than putting them on. “Sit down.” Freeman did what he was told. “Take this and eat it, it should warm you.” He passed Freeman the bowl from the floor and he began eating. The man stood watching him for a while, then he turned his back and spoke softly “I’ll be up early tomorrow; we’ll be working all day again. I’ll come wake you, okay?” Freeman spoke with his mouth full, making him sound like a child “Yes, okay. See you then.” The man didn’t turn his back but just exited the shed. As he closed the door, there was an odd nose and a click. Which was followed by the slow footsteps of the farmer walking through the wet earth and then the click of his door opening and the slam of it closing.
Freeman sat happily eating his food, he ate it a little too fast, producing a huge burp. He set the bowl to the side of his bed and felt a little uneasy. He put himself on his knees and hobbled over to the door and pushed on it. With a clunk cluck of metal connecting with metal his suspicious was confirmed, he had been locked in. But why? If the farm had always locked his belongings then that does make sense. You don’t know who would steal them, but surely him being in here was protection enough. If he was being locked in here just like all of his tools, was he just the farmer’s tool? A belonging? This thought deeply worried him. He set it aside and lay himself down. He needed plenty more rest for tomorrow mornings work.
He was woken up by the click of metal and just as he had said, it was early and the entire day was filled with food. He was rewarded with food, and then they both carried on working until very late. They spoke a little outside of the house and then the farmer always seemed to make an excuse to go into his house, always locking the door behind him. Freeman would stay outside but feel watched. He would then go into the shed where the farmer would come in with some food, leave it and lock him in saying goodnight. This became the usual routine, day after day.
Freeman had just been going with the flow of work and eating and not thinking too much. But one night he could not sleep, he was restless. He sat himself upright and leaned his back against the door, as all the other walls had tools on and to lean against them would mean cutting your body open or having a rake stuck in your back. He thought about all that had happened since he had killed that guard. Was it worth it? He would of course died of starvation eventually if he hadn’t. With each day of work he realised that he was owned by the farmer, being put away like a tool and being feed to work. He was in basic and essential talk, imprisoned again. But this was different to him but he couldn’t identify why. Why was this different? When he was imprisoned he made no choices, they were all made for him. With the farmer was this not the case still? He knew logically it was, as he hadn’t really made any deals or choices. Merely gone with the farmer’s. But to call it unjust or unfair seemed a leap ahead of what it was. The more he thought, the more it seemed to him that he was imprisoned again but in a different way. When in the cell he was imprisoned to other peoples choices, he was now but he was also imprisoned by the sheer amount of choices he could make. When the farmer offered him work he took it up as it meant he didn’t have to face all the choices that freedom meant. He had enchained himself to fewer choices and made the farmer his master. This made him extremely uncomfortable. As he thought about how he could tell the farmer and leave, he felt sad and scared. Sad that he would loss what he had, but what had he got? Chains and owned? He felt scared that he would be open to every choice and possibility and that overwhelmed him. And what if the entire world was like this? He would just have to find another master and what if they were worse? But what if they were better? He toyed with those thoughts for hours and let them disturb him greatly.
As he wrestled with this idea, he knew whatever his choices, he would be faced with more and that, to him, was the key issue. He didn’t want to make choices, he didn’t want anyone to be his master, he wanted to be free but freedom made his choices unlimited and that terrified him. He knew that he must made a choice, but he made the one choice he knew, that would give him no more, and if he choose the choice, was he not free? He stood himself up and looks at the scaffolding on the shed ceiling. He unbuckled his belt and wrapped it around the scaffolding. He was still underfed and weighed almost nothing; he knew he couldn’t break it even if he tried. And with that he set it up and used a little stool that he found in the corner. He stood on it and wrapped the belted around his neck,. He sighed and kicked the stool from under his feet. And with his last moments, he made himself utterly and entirely free. The only way a man can.