This piece was written for the mid-week-blues-buster-flash-fiction-challenge-week-01 hosted by the The Tsuruoka files.
The prompt is Freedom accompanied by a song of the same name by Elayna Boynton & Anthony Hamilton which you can check out here.
As with any flash, there are rules: 500 words is target but you can go up to 700 but no less that 300. Very generous and what an opportunity to write something a bit longer that usual.
"The weight of the world was on my shoulders. . . . I'm looking for freedom and to find it it may take . everything I have . . ." The whole song has a melancholy rhythm with lyrics that inspired this short story which at present is untitled. xxx
The thick rope gnawed away at her flesh with every twist, turn and struggle to free herself, tightening its grip; at times numbing the excruciating pain which was a welcome relief but only fleetingly as the pain seared her flesh to the bone. Closing her eyes, Narla, as the Blonde One called her, sort solace in her dreams where life was kind, people cared, she could roam free and be herself without recrimination. Those days were another lifetime now and were becoming folklore and fairy tale to her kind just as her freedom became a lost word without meaning.
Fat rain drops fell heavily from the summer sky, trickling off palm leaves, evaporating before her eyes; teasing and taunting Narla as she lay, desperately stretching to reach the precious liquid that lay on a leaf but it was just out of reach. If her wounds didn't end her, thirst would. She prayed it be quick.
Exhaustion took hold, not even enough energy to stop the wood ants from marching right over her, taking a nibble here, a bite there causing the most agonizing itch that couldn't be scratched. Rolling over wasn't an option; the binds just tightened, deeper into her flesh, oozing a flow of crimson. Narla could only watch.
She wasn’t sure how many hours she had lain but two nights had passed and she was sure there would not be a third. Where was that fair skinned blonde woman with the kind blue eyes, the soft voice and gentle touch? Surely she would come and rescue Narla from her pitiful fate before The Others did. The Others would jeer, poke, torment at their prize possession for that was all Narla was to them; a possession. Not a soul, a spirit, a life. Not the chance to live to a full age, not the chance to wander free ever again. The thoughts depressed her frail body as she sank deeper into the lush vegetation, as soft as a blanket which would end up being her grave if The Others didn't get there first. . .
Through the thick canopy, Narla glanced up for one last look at the stars, shining down from a clear sky. They gave her comfort as they watched over her in her hour of need. In Narla’s world, each star was a soul looking down and guiding those in need; Narla was in need and she sighed deeply wanting the pain and loneliness to end. She wished The Others understood her needs and shared her beliefs and wished this now to the stars before her eyes closed.
A rustling awoke Narla and her eyes widened and her heart beat rapidly. Nearer and nearer it came, footsteps towards her, a familiar smell; the Blonde One. Even in the pitch black of the jungle, Narla knew the Blonde One. But even Narla knew she was too late. But a friendly touch to see her through to the end filled her heart. She heard the Blond One’s strange tongue but recognised the anguish in her voice as her hands tried to release the binds.
“What have they done to you my Narla?” The Blonde One otherwise known as Carrie, gently bathed the wounds, gave her water that Narla could not drink.
“I think we’re too late.” Carrie’s tears fell on Narla’s face knowing Jake was right. She stroked Narla’s orange and black fur, still gloriously soft, and thick despite death creeping foreword. Jack sat next to her, the three of them silent in the jungle. No words could make this situation better or change the inevitable but Carrie knew her touch soothed Narla. She would not die alone.
Narla knew the end was in sight. She raised her head, nuzzled Carrie before letting out one last gut wrenching roar, so powerful, the forest floor shook. A sleeping jungle came to life as if they knew one of their own was gone, singing, howling their mournful song as Narla began a new journey where freedom would be guaranteed; up among the stars as they shone down, listening and offering help where needed and guiding those who deserved it.