13 Freedom

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Stephen Whiteside
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13 Freedom

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:56 am

13 Freedom

© Stephen Whiteside 24.10.2011

Silence fell between the three creatures. It suddenly struck Horatio just how cold, tired and hungry he was. He looked questioningly up at Magnifico, who appeared to read his thoughts and sadly shook his head. No, the bag of cheese had not made it onto the log. They were without any food at all.

Horatio dropped his head glumly. What he would give now for a big hunk of yummy cheese! And to think that only a few hours ago he was complaining about the lack of variation in his diet! Well, that was a lesson, wasn’t it!

Horatio drew further within himself. How long had it been since he left home? He had walked through the first night, and met Magnifico sometime around dawn. He had slept through most of the next day and half of that night. Then the great wall of water had fallen upon them, and now they were here. Was it only two days? Could that really be possible? It seemed a lifetime ago that he had last kissed his mother on the forehead, and walked confidently out of his village in search of freedom.

Freedom. There was that word again! What is freedom? Is this it? The freedom to float on a log with a mouse and a snake - neither of which animals had ever been known to be the friends of the rat - through a flood? What kind of freedom is that?

Lost in his own pain, it did not occur to Horatio that this was not particularly Magnifico’s idea of a tea party either, and as for Jim, well who know what he was thinking?

And so the the three drifted on. There was water stretching as far as the eye could see on every hand - or paw. Horatio had never seen a flood like this. Nor ever even heard of one. This was no ordinary flood. This was a deluge of positively biblical proportions.

Horatio moved over towards Magnifico and pressed against him in search of a little warmth. The mouse said nothing, and was clearly feeling the cold himself. Jim could look after himself. He didn’t look like he had much warmth to offer, and snuggling up against a snake was not an attractive idea. Perhaps he would bite them, or crush them to death while they slept. Sure he was their friend now, but Horatio suspected he could turn in an instant...as indeed he was soon to find out.

The two little rodents pressed against each other. Their heads began to sag, and soon they had dropped into dreamless slumber. The slumber of exhaustion. The slumber that comes when one has emptied oneself of all worldly worry, and can do more.

A gentle jolt wrenched them both from sleep.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer

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