The Price of Freedom

About: This is a short story inspired by a series of soundtracks made by Epic Score, it is about a young boy who discovers the cost of his freedom.

The haggard breathing of a young peasant boy disrupts the peaceful meadow as he runs for his life, the thundering of hooves echoing in the distance like an oncoming storm. The skin around his ankles and wrists are blackish purple, the touch of iron still long from fading. His throat is decorated by a swollen necklace of his own flesh.

The naked soles of his feet are cold with mud and his torn linen trousers equally dirty. He wears no shirt in spite of the slow but steady drizzle hanging almost like a curtain in the air. His golden hair is licked against his face but he is too overcome by panic to brush it out of his eyes.

His throat is on fire with the icy touch of air being forced down into his lungs. Red stripes decorate his back, a testimony to the character of his master. His mind and body are in a state of pain-induced shock, a shock overpowered only by the instinct to survive. His will to live, his thirst for freedom, is the only thing keeping him on his trembling feet.

The line of a forest appears in the distance. If can only make it between the trees! The thundering of hooves draws nearer. The boy stumbles to the ground, falling flat on his shoulder dislocating his arm. Screaming he forces himself up, he is so close, and resumes his frantic running.

Had it been a silent day one might have heard the javelin as it arched through the air, whistling like death approaching. The young boy doesn’t. Unaware of the deadly projectile he desperately tries to flee. With a sickening sound the javelin’s sharp point embeds itself in far softer material than that from which it is made. Eyes wide, a final surge of adrenaline desperately tries to quiet down the fear clutching the young boys stampeding heart, the boy stares at the javelin for one eternal moment.

Reality slows down to a near halt. The boy can feel the pounding of his own heart as it almost painfully hammers within his chest. He knows the mounted knights are almost upon him, but he cannot take his eyes of the javelin. He is lying on the ground, the forest spreading out just behind him. His mouth tastes of blood.

Then as time resumes its normal pace an onslaught of impressions assail the boy’s traumatized mind all at once. The knights are approaching, he can see them clearly now with their swords shimmering in the rain like silver torches, the javelin is sticking out of the ground beside him mere inches from his waist and a flash of lightning dances across the cloudy sky.

The roar of thunder sends the boy bolting into the forest on frightened legs and behind him a series of angry cries can be heard from his iron clad pursuers. The absence of rain makes him all but too aware of how cold he is as he dives into the vegetation and undergrowth. Desperately trying to quiet down his protesting lungs he tries not to breath as he moves along as stealthily as only young boys can.

The sound of rustling chain mail and plated boots cruelly stomping the soft and yielding forest floor announces the presence of his pursuers and in terror the boy freezes, eyes unblinking, lungs not breathing and heart almost forgetting to beat. He can only wait.

Breathing a long breath of relief tears finds their way into the boy’s eyes. Silently he lies there in the undergrowth and cries. His tears fall for his murdered father, the mother he never knew who died giving birth to him and for his raped and then executed sister. He cries as he remembers their home going down in flames. He cries as he remembers the noose around his neck. He cries until there is nothing left to cry for.

The forest grows quieter around him, resuming its soft lullaby sung by the wind and the animals making up its chorus. Slowly the boy crawls out of hiding and searches for water to slake his burning thirst. He finds salvation in a small pond near a cliff in the centre of the forest. Fighting the oncoming exhaustion the boy gathers branches and makes a small shelter the way his father taught him.

Huddling up against the trunk of a tree he hugs his legs with one arm, the other hanging limp beside him, in a futile attempt to get warm. Exhaustion soon wins the struggle and the young boy drifts off into peaceful sleep where pain is absent. He sleeps for several hours and when the sun finally casts its revitalizing and warm rays upon the hidden grove the boy does not stir. He is asleep yet and will never again wake.

He has found freedom at long last.


About Fredrik Kayser

Everything is connected.
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2 Responses to The Price of Freedom

  1. Fredrik Kayser says:

    Thank you, Alexes. :)

  2. Alexes says:

    “His throat is decorated by a swollen necklace of his own flesh.”

    Love that line. Don’t know why. The whole thing is great though. It might be one of my new favorites of yours.

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