Tell A Tale in 500 Words

The Price of Freedom By Kelsie Jesson

She paid a high price for opening her mouth, and she would pay a worse one for what she planned to do next. Three months, that’s how long she’s spent in this small circular room. By now through boredom she has counted every single grey brick that encloses her, knows every crevasse, recognises every rusty stain on the floor. She paid a high price for opening her mouth.

She was not alone though, not completely, there was one other there to keep her company. Loud and unempathetic, but altogether tolerable, in fact unavoidably loveable. With her in the room, in a cage all of their own, was a bird, but not just any bird, a songbird of sapphire blue. The girl knew that this songbird was valuable, all knew that, and her price for being precious was imprisonment. Three months the girl had spent in that small circular room. Three months she had spent getting steadily more enraged by her dear friends caging. Birds should be allowed to fly free.

It was a sunny day when she made her plan. In her cell there was a window, just one, small though it was it had a spectacular view. From the high tower you could see past the fields to the lake to the hills to… to freedom. The more she looked the more she knew, truly there was only one thing to do. Plan made, mind set, all she had to do now was find a way to open the cage.

It was this morning when she found the hairpin, must have been a month or two ago when it fell from her head. Picking it up she felt ecstasy mixed with dread. To her credit there was only a brief moment of hesitation before she began unpicking the lock. This would be one straw too many, one act of defiance too strong, but a bird caged may as well be not alive at all.

She paid a high price for opening her mouth, and she would pay a worse one for what she planned to do next. Looking out the window she saw that the sun was beginning to set, better act soon. Every day, just before the sun slips away, she gets her food and water tray. Taking a breath, as if it was her final one, the girl released the songbird of sapphire blue. The bird hesitated before it left the cage, as if it knew the price the girl would pay, but the draw of freedom was too strong.

The girl watched the bird escape, watched it dip and dive and loop-the-loop. As it spread its wings over rolling hills the girl did not guess, but knew that she had done the right thing. As pounding began on the stairs, as the bird slipped out of sight, the girl shut her eyes. Now she saw what the bird saw, and as the bird was free, so soon would she be.

see more submissions for the Tell A Tale in 500 Words click here