Writing Prompt: Day 167

167.jpgDay 167 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about someone learning what being free means to them.

Erin: My initial reaction to falling in love with her was to push back. I didn’t want to be tied down, or restricted, or put someone else’s needs above my own. So, I decided to quit her. In attempting that I realized I had chosen my own prison. Loving her was secure, and worry free. In a room with her I was more myself than I could ever be apart from her. Half the time she knew what I wanted better than I did myself. Love should not have been compared to shackles and whips, it was open doors and endless possibilities. I needed her back, I needed my freedom back.

Shannon: I needed to walk. I had to move. I needed to get away from the box that outlined the perimeters of my world. How had my life become so small?

I wasn’t walking to forget. I was walking to understand. The trail was the only place remote enough and quiet enough to cleanse my mind. Still, even in a place with no distractions I couldn’t escape the fog that surrounded my brain. I call it a fog because it stops me from doing what I want. Deep down I know what I want, but I stop myself from reaching for it. I distract myself with something else to make up for what I’m missing out on.

I don’t know if I let the fog control me because I don’t think I will succeed, or if the fog is just familiar to me. Maybe I’m afraid to give up my comfort-zone even though I know I can’t stay here. Freedom to me means leaving the hesitations and the haze behind.

Knowledge will be your character’s freedom.

2 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Day 167

  1. Sauntering proudly down a deserted corridor that was the most direct route to the library, I glanced sidelong at one of the classroom doors, attempting to be genuinely interested in its unassuming craftsmanship. A small cluster of students rounded the corner as I was about to knock on the rough surface, so I cleared my throat and busied myself checking a timetable I kept folded in my notebook. As they strolled past, eyeing my wrinkled jeans and sleeveless t-shirt with their judgemental giggles, I heard a snippet of intriguing gossip, “-she’s been wondering what was up with him. He’s just been out of it since that party-” With a tiny glance in their direction, I was about to ask who they were talking about when someone came bolting down the hallway so fast I didn’t get a chance to see who it was, past our open-mouthed expressions and swept around the next corner.
    After a moment of stunned silence, the girls chattered mercilessly down the hall until I was able to quietly knock on the ninth panel in the door. Then, pulling the chain from around my neck and holding the key lightly in my fingers, I slid it into the lock and turned it four times. Listening for the familiar mechanical whizzing from within the mechanism, I hummed some earworm I caught in my last class and swung the door open. When I removed the silvery key and hung it over my shirt, I could feel its energy pulsing through the light fabric like a second heartbeat; a sensation that was both mildly comforting and concerning.
    As I shut the door behind me, one hand clutching my three textbooks and notebook to my chest, and began the short staircase into the headquarters, the torches above my head flared up to light the way. The mildly-spirally stairs were carved from some sort of jet stone that shimmered in the quivering firelight and was deathly cold to the touch. When I took the last step, glancing over my shoulder anxiously, the luxurious room spread out before me in all its warm, rich glory.
    In the main room bookcases lined every inch of the circumference, stretching up the twenty-foot ceiling with hand-carved shelves. The center of the grand room was devoted to a large fireplace with a mantle to hold the society’s crest, member registry and policies book. Every surface was rich, dark wood with sigils of protection and secrecy inscribed my deft hands and glowed in the light shining from the gold-coloured chandelier, gaudy sconces and numerous mismatched lamps. To the left, the hallway door stood slightly ajar and graceful music was flowing through the air from one of the many rooms beyond, while the right-hand side doorway was sealed.
    I stood in the middle and admired the intricate emblem carved from a heavy slab of blue-hued stone for a minute before taking a seat in a wing-backed armchair before the roaring fire, setting my books in a neat pile on the table. There was always an extreme calmness in the Dryad Society, as though there was a spell set on the entire compound, which there may well have been. Since that first meeting, I’d felt a special kind of freedom being able to show off my abilities instead of hiding them away from everyone. This place helped show me I wasn’t alone and that was a freeing concept to wrap my mind around.
    Smiling down at my books, I was about to crack them open in the peace and quiet, when someone knocked heavily on the door, turned the screeching lock and slammed the door behind them. When they were halfway down the stairs, and moving at a quick jog, I could hear voices arguing as they echoed down the corridor before Elsa’s dainty figure appeared at the bottom of the steps with Jeff towering over her right behind. They both saw me and stopped mid-sentence with surprise, Jeff looking to his cohort for a cue as to what they should do. But Elsa just laughed her tinkling fairy-like giggle and crossed the room gracefully. “Hey Nira. Wonderful seeing you here,” she breathed, plucking the ancient tome of policies from the great marble mantle and twirling to the table. “Oh, don’t mind us, hon,” she called over her shoulder as the book fell to the tabletop and she began flicking through pages at top speed.
    After rereading the same passage on Port Obscurity’s history three times without a single syllable making it through my mind, I slammed the cover shut and put it back on my pile. Creeping around to see what they were looking up, I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone vibrated in my pocket. Elsa’s eyes were stony as I made my way silently to the mantle, cursing whoever had texted me. Clicking the button on my phone, I read through the message from Jane, and frowned in confusion, “I don’t think it’s just the alcohol. Everyone who went is acting weirder than that.”
    A couple nights ago, half the school was invited to a secret all-night party at an unknown location on campus, but everyone who attended had been found in their beds the next morning with a strange kind of illness. No one could explain their symptoms of pale skin, glowing yellow irises, sudden dizzy spells, extreme exhaustion, inability to speak, and random spurts of nervous energy. At first we figured it was the illicit alcohol that was always served at those kind of events, but everyone who attended claimed to not remember anything past waiting in line to get in. So, naturally, everyone was now trying to figure out what happened without the ability to question any witnesses; man, if someone had the ability to read other people’s thoughts, this would be the time to implement that technique.
    When I glanced up from my cell, about to ask if there was anyone with that ability, I was surprised to find Elsa and Jeff had vanished. In their place, the policies book stood open to whatever they’d been reading, waving enticingly at me. I suppose, as an officially unofficial member of the Dryad Society I had a right to know what was written in the dusty book, so I shoved my phone in my pocket and approached the text as though it were a scared animal. Stepping carefully across the plush, Persian carpet, I hovered before the thin-pages and gently stroked them with my fingertips, letting the electricity lick my bare skin. “Alright, what are you guys up to?” I murmured to myself, still hearing faint singing from one of the other rooms.
    “No member of the Dryad Society may mortally injure or maim any student, faculty member or otherwise under any circumstance other than the following,” I read aloud, tracing the strange, would-be obscure amendment to the policy with my charged fingers. “If a member of the Dryad Society or a civilian is in mortal danger directly related to unsanctioned magickal activity.” As the words echoed in the cozy room, understanding dawned on me; the students becoming ill were affected by some kind of magick and Elsa planned to stop whoever was causing it. With a growing lump in the back of my throat, I paced quietly across the room, thinking about whether there was something I should be doing about the situation.
    As I was about to leave the headquarters to wander the evening halls, someone wandered into the room from the hallway beyond, yawning and stretching their back. A name swirled in my mind, just out of reach, so I settled for a general greeting, “Hey,” I called, stretching my lips in what I hoped looked similar to a smile. When she turned to look at me, her almost-transparent irises pierced me instantly as she pulled her long, jet hair into a tight ponytail and returned the content expression.
    “Hey, yourself,” she slurred dreamily, catching at the closest chair to steady herself. “Sorry,” she mumbled, straightening herself with a good amount of effort, “I slept terribly; everyone here is constantly having nightmares, I swear.” When she yawned again, I saw a small series of tattoos encircling her wrists like bracelets, before I glanced away in embarrassment. After a moment of uncertainty, she stuck out a hand and became suddenly chipper, “I’m Sophia, by the way.” I gripped her soft hand and gave it a light shake as the world was tinged with darkness and the floor swam before my eyes.
    Abruptly, I found Sophia was the one keeping me upright, a thin grin spreading across her face as I regained fully consciousness. “What the heck just happened?” I asked, rubbing my temple roughly with my palms as a headache crept through my skull.
    “Sorry, Nira,” she spoke in a small, airy voice that didn’t make my head ache more, “my specialty is discovering what people’s true dreams and worst nightmares are, whether I want to or not usually. You just have a tiny nap so I could take a peek,” she whispered in an awed tone. “You are terrified of being forced to hide who you really are from everyone for the rest of your life. Every night you used to dream about your closest friends drowning while you watched them die because you couldn’t reveal your true abilities.” With a somber sniff, she stared into my watery eyes with her ghostly ones before continuing with her audience too stunned by her startling accuracy to make a sound. “But, now, just in the last few days, you’ve been having this wonderful dream where you’re surrounded with oddballs who understand and appreciate your innate abilities. You dream of transparency that will grant you true, unadulterated freedom.”
    After the short speech, we stood wrapped in thick, consuming silence that inched its way toward suffocating as I came to terms with her truth; my truth. But, when I was there, all I could say was a high-pitched, “Wow.”
    Turning on her heel, she made to leave before I called her back, “Hey, wait a sec. Do you know what’s up with the people that went to that party?” I asked, biting my lip as I realized Sophia might not want to say what she knew.
    She chuckled darkly and backed up to speak quietly, “Well, it certainly was something to do with the party and some alcohol, but there was a lot more to the story. See, I can see what everyone is dreaming if I want, and sometimes if I don’t want to, believe me. The last couple days I’ve been seeing this wickedly insane hallucinogenic kinda dreams swirling from everyone who’d sick,” she murmured, hands flashing wildly as she attempted to explain how she saw dreams. “It’s sorta like they aren’t in control of anything; like they’re all connected to someone creating the images. But there’s nothing specific in there. It’s just a mind-numbing nothingness that fills their heads so they can’t do anything.” Rage had filled her light eyes and was rolling off her in energetic waves.
    “Oh,” I breathed, suddenly realizing something important, “I wish you’d come out a couple minutes sooner, Sophia.” With a fleeting glance up the deserted staircase, I pointed to the Dryad book and continued, “Elsa and Jeff just searched for that page and then disappeared. I betcha it has something to do with the sickness and your dream image things.” Walking so I could read the book again, I felt the dreamer’s presence at my side and moved a tiny step away from her; I didn’t want to accidentally fall asleep again.
    Swearing under her breath like a sailor, Sophia whipped out her cell, furiously typed something into the tiny box and snapped a picture of the page. Then she rushed to the still-open door and called, “Karla! I’ve gotta go find Elsa, okay? I don’t know if I’ll be back!” When she got back to the desk with a look of pale horror, she took a deep breath, “I gotta go stop her. I feared this may happen. I mean, I saw someone dying last night, but I couldn’t figure out who dreamt it. It was like the others; just images and flashes and ideas and colours. Ugh!” she shouted, slamming her fist into the solid tabletop and attempting to hold herself together. “If something happens, you have to do something because I don’t know what’s going to, what’s gonna, I don’t know, okay? I just, I feel, I should have done something,” she stumbled over her words, pacing and jittering like a racer waiting for the gunshot.
    Bam: she was gone up the stairs with the door shutting loudly behind her. As I turned back to retrieve my books and head back to my dorm a head with acne scarred skin popped through the open door and Karla asked, “Where did Sophia say she went?”

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  2. To Heather, freedom is open space, feeling a horse’s strides beneath her, trees and grass a blur on either side, and an endless maze of trails with the wind through her hair. Free to Heather is a canvas of stars stretching like a globe around the world. Freedom is running at breakneck speed towards someone that makes her smile, only to stop and let them wrap her in their arms. But more importantly, freedom is living without fear of someone ripping her away from all she cares for. The constant threat of shoulder crushing responsibility keeps Heather on edge, even if she is unable to help at all.

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