Freedom Run

Welcome back, and Merry Christmas!! 😀 Ok, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself here. But we’ve been putting up Christmas decorations all day, and I’m listening to Christmas music while wearing a pair of reindeer antlers my little sister told me to put on. 😀 So I’m in a rather Christmas-y mood! And will be for the rest of the month…

Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday! It’s just so beautifully joyous! Secrets run through the days like the glittery ribbon that seems to find its way everywhere, and the music is twinkly like stars and fairy lights and smiles. I love the bright and happy atmosphere of everything, and most of all I love the wonderful story that is behind the celebration. I love it all!

So anyways, you can expect to hear more of my delighted ranting about Christmas in the next few weeks. 😀 I even have a Christmas story serial planned for the week leading up to Christmas!

But today I’m going to share a piece of writing that is totally unrelated to Christmas. A week or so ago I was assigned a creative writing project for history. My writerly heart left at the possibilities, and so I let myself loose and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It’s nice when school is actually really enjoyable! 😀 Just to give a little background to the piece – it’s meant to be three journal entries from a slave’s perspective before the Civil War in America. I hope you enjoy! 😉

~

April, 1848

Enough. I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the scorn, the shame, and the bruises. I’ve had enough of the sorrow, the drudgery, the pain.

Enough. I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen enough screaming children being torn away from their sobbing mothers. I’ve seen enough boys being beaten like animals for lack of speed in their work. I’ve seen enough girls hiding stories of rape and abuse behind their beautiful, blank eyes. I’ve seen enough men bowing and scraping to other men, simply because of the colour of their skin. I’ve seen enough women carrying their master’s seed in their womb.

I’ve seen enough. I’ve had enough. And I’m going to leave.

I scarce dare to write these words down, for fear of being discovered. But I must, I must spill my plans to someone before my heart bursts with emotion, and here is the only place.

Yes, I’m going to leave. Leave this godforsaken piece of land I’ve lived on my entire life. Leave a lifetime of pain, drudgery and sorrow behind. This place where I was born, the place where I first learned what love was, the place where I learned what the crushing weight of sorrow felt like – I’m leaving it all behind.

Something compels me to run. Something within me screams at me to flee. The burns of injustice have become too painful to ignore.

I am an educated human being, I have a soul just like any other human being. I have a brain, and I can use it. I can read, I can write. I can see this institution of slavery for what it really is.

Master’s eyes drift over me like I’m a piece of furniture. He talks to me like I’m a dumb animal. He treats me like the dirt under his feet. And I know it. My mind has been set free, and my body yearns to follow it.

Follow the stars. That what I’m going to do. Follow the stars all the way North… North too… I hardly dare say it.

North to freedom.

May, 1848

Fear sniffs at my heels like the dogs that master set on my trail. I know Master no longer follows me. But still fear lingers close.

It stalks silently beside me as I walk through the dark night. It sits heavily on my chest as I snatch sleep. I can hear its inhuman cackle every time a noise makes me jump. And it never, never leaves me alone.

It joined me when I heard the first hound howl when it picked up my scent. It kept up with me as I ran through the woods, praying to God above to save me from the dogs. It nearly dragged me under the water as I swam desperately across a river. Its evil laugh echoed in my head when I feared for my life in a treacherous swamp.

When the last howl of the hunting hounds faded into the buzzing of swamp mosquitoes, I felt a glimmer of hope flicker. But fear quickly pounced, blowing the flicker out, leaving suffocating darkness and whispered doubts in its place. Even when I found my way out of the swamp and continued on, my unwanted companion stayed close beside me.

And now, I cannot rest. I must go on. Fear snaps at my heels, hurries me onward. I am still a slave. Until I reach the North, I can never be free.

Fear is my new master, and it’s just as cruel as my old one. It is relentless. It laughs at my terror, smiles at my pain.

I run. Following the stars, with fear by my side. I long for freedom.

I pray, whispering pleas to the God in heaven as my feet move mechanically below me.

I’m tired. I’m weary of fear. I’m weary of bondage. I’m weary of running.

And yet, hope still glimmers, though fear often tries to extinguish it. Freedom lies ahead, if I can only run far enough, run fast enough.

But how much longer must I run?

June, 1848

Here I stand, finally, on Northern soil.

I have crossed the rivers, the swamps, the woods, the fields. I have outrun the hounds, my master, and the slave catchers. I have slept little, eaten even less, always driven onwards by the cruelty of fear and the glimmering lure of hope.

The boundary line was inconspicuous, the only marker was a small sign. I crossed into Northern territory with my body worn and weary – stooped from pain and exhaustion, limping from torn and blistered feet.

But as soon as I realized where I was, I stood tall. I raised my shaking hands to the starry heavens and cried my thanks to their creator. My tears soaked into the dust as I knelt and kissed the ground.

Fear gave a parting hiss, and then melted back across the boundary line. I was left alone for the first time in weeks.

But I was not alone. The joy that filled my heart warmed me, the hope was overwhelming. The burden of fear was gone, leaving courage and delight.

And now I walk again. Onwards, deeper into Northern territory, deeper into freedom. The hunger pangs fade, the blisters are bearable.

Nothing matters compared to this incomparable truth: I have reached freedom.

I am finally free.

~

That’s all for this week! Comment down below if you’re as excited for Christmas as I am, as well as what your favourite part of Christmas is! 😀

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6 thoughts on “Freedom Run

  1. This is lovely! One of the best kinds of work is creative writing… 😀
    Christmas is sooo close! Some of my favourite parts are reading my ‘Christmas morning book’ (blog post upcoming), and doing stockings with my family in the morning 🙂
    Plus, you get so descriptive when talking about Christmas – it’s beautiful!

    Like

    • Thank you, Bethany! Yes, creative writing is delicious work. 😀
      Ooh, I’m curious to what a ‘Christmas morning book ‘ might be! Looking forward to the post! 😉 And I love stockings too! We all cram onto Mum and Dad’s bed to open ours, which has got progressively harder as we’ve all gotten older, lol. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ll just have to wait and see… I haven’t decided when to post it yet, though…
        That’s a lot of people on one bed! We go into the lounge and sit on sofas around the Christmas tree. Christmas is so exciting!!!

        Like

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