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Freedom's Liar

The cerulean sky resembled clouded glass, it being shiny and hard to see the other side, the space that lurked above. I studied the sky from my sitting position in the wild grass that grew near the fence. The fence blocked my view mostly as it loomed high enough so no one could see what existed outside the fenced-in area known as One Hundred, the perfect place to exist.

Small flowers sat around me, clustered in blues, yellows and oranges. I plucked a fluffy white one and separate units reminded me of umbrellas, how each tiny seed linked to the core.

“What’s that?” I looked up to see a brown-haired girl sporting a relaxed ponytail, jeans and a black sweater.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “They didn’t teach us much about nature in school.” Dusting the strands of grass off me, I stood up. “I’m Story.” I held out my hand.

She took it and returned the greeting.“Paley.” She spoke and then paused. “What were you looking at?”

“Oh, the flower?” I held it up and it quivered with the movement.

“Earlier.”

“The sky and how the fence blocked most of it.” She smiled as if she knew a great secret.

“Story, I want out. This place is terrible and I can’t stand it anymore.” She took a breath before she said, “I’m going to get over that fence.” A little stunned, I looked at her and then back at the alpine fence. “Would you like to join me? We can escape. Together.” After studying the fence, I looked back at what existed inside. My eyes traveled about the perfect place to exist and after a good few minutes of debate and thought inside my head, I sighed.

“How are we going to do it?” I asked. A small gust of wind traveled through and plucked the small white fluff off the core and they sailed into the sky, their small shapes disappearing over the fence. I watched the core on the thin strand after, listening to the words Paley spouted with half-hearted interest.

“So we meet tomorrow night here. Pack lightly, as in drawstring sports bag and a side purse. I’ll bring what we need.” She ran off and I gazed after her, unsure of what I was doing. I stayed where I was a little longer and then went back home. Mom and Dad weren’t there because they were visiting their friends far near the other side of the fence. Yesterday they’d told me they would return tomorrow around seven. So it was perfect.

Dinner consisted of salmon with buttered broccoli and potatoes. I filled the rest of my evening with trying to figure out what to pack. My sports drawstring bag was one of the first things I found and even though I wanted to play basketball that season, my curiosity spoke louder. Perhaps because this girl named Paley was the first to believe in the unknown that played a role outside the fence. I sat on my bed and studied my large room, many objects placed here and there, waiting for me to choose the most necessary.

A favorite item of mine was the picture of me and my friends at an amusement park. In it as well went my favorite t-shirt, jeans, basketball jacket, a hundred dollars, a strange letter I received from not within the fence and a bottle of scotch my Dad had given me for my sixteenth birthday. I decided I didn’t need the extra space and went to go brush my teeth.

The darkness outside glowed eerily through the window near my bed when I turned off the light. I barely slept an appropriate amount of time due to the fact of what lay ahead. Darkness eventually transitioned to light and my last day there started with me eating a bowl of cereal. After that, I stopped by my school and hopped over the gates to play basketball in the gym court one last time. A three-pointer was my grand finale shot and the fleeting sound the net made as the ball went through it echoed around.

One of the last things I did was ate lunch at my favorite restaurant and enjoyed a roast beef, lettuce, tomato and salt-and-pepper on sourdough with mango lemonade and a chocolate-chip cookie. I tried to enjoy each bite like it was my last but still gave into the habit of eating too quickly. Wandering the town was the absolute last thing I did until the sun went down and the night cast its blindfold over the sky, with no moon or stars glittering above. I had no problem as I walked the area until reaching the very spot.

Her figure took shape and motioned me over. “You ready?” I nodded and she brought something into view that was hidden until then. A four-hooked like contraption sat atop vast thin but long rope. A gunshot like sound exploded into the night air and the rope flew up with the hooked thing and sailed over the fence. After about thirty seconds, a distant thud rang out and Paley ran over.

“I’m finally leaving,” she whispered. And without another word, she placed the gun like thing in my hand and started her ascent up the rope. She climbed higher and higher until her figure disappeared over the dreaded fence. Realizing it was probably my turn to get going, I set the thing down and grabbed the rope. It was tough to get footing and I was about fifteen feet up when a bright light turned on, letting me create the only shadow on the fence.

“Get down here now. We knew you were trying to escape. Someone alerted us about ten minutes ago,” was what crackled over the megaphone.

A call? But who? I tilted my head back instinctively and looked up at the fence. Paley had left before me. I closed my eyes.

She had sold me out for her freedom.

She was freedom’s liar.



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