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Freedom

Dedicated to
pemmas
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She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. She traced the all-too-familiar cracks on the ceiling with her eyes and follow them until it ended somewhere in the middle. She saw the cobwebs on all four corners where the ceiling met the four walls, and tried to remember whether there was always only four. She heard the familiar scuttle of bugs as they moved at a frenzied pace from one end of the room to another, and once again, was glad that her mattress was too high for the insects to bother trying to climb up. But then again, there were always the problem of bed bugs. She could easily see all four walls just by looking straight ahead, and could almost memorise every little defect on the walls.

                She lay very still, listening intently, to what lay beyond the door. She heard a trio of voices, two familiar, one unfamiliar, and a sudden burst of laughter. She cocked her head towards the door, her attention caught by that sound. It was still so new to her, she had learnt of its existence only two days ago, and had only heard it on the magic box. That was how she came to knew of such things.  S

                Soon, there came a muffled bang of the door, and she leapt up. This was what she had been waiting for. Quietly, she tip-toed across the linoleum, scaring a few bugs away in the process, and turned the brass knob. Still cautious, she poked her head out and scanned the area. All clear. She was always careful, she did not dare think of the consequences if she was discovered. Her feet met the cold and clean surface of marble, and she quickly wiped her feet, not wanting to leave behind dirty tracks. She made her way to the main room and stood in front of a hard, black box, with a blank screen.

                There the magic box was.

                She found out about the magic box many months ago, it was the first time she dared step out of her room and she came across this peculiar object. It wasn’t like anything she had ever seen, of course, mostly everything in the room was alien to her, but she felt the most curious about it. There was a big black button, and the box came alive the moment she pressed it. It almost scared her half to death, but she was mesmerized by the moving images and all the colours that were shown on the box. All kinds of fascinating things were shown on the magic box, and for hours she would stand there and just watch, listen, and learn. It was from the magic box that she began to learn things, words, objects, colours, everything. From her little world inside her room, where all she knew of was the grey walls, the white ceiling, the bareness of it all, suddenly, she was thrown into a new world filled with so much surprises and pleasant things that she began to realised what she had been missing. All through a simple, black box. Just like magic.

                Now as she watched, an image appeared on the screen. There was a man, a woman, and a small human. A voice from the box called it a ‘child’. She tilted her head; the ‘child’ was the same size as her. Did that mean she was called a child? She continued watching, as the man and woman both placed their arms around the child and squeezed gently. Her eyes widened, expecting a cry from the child or shouts from the man and woman, but all she heard was the voice explaining that they were ‘hugging’, and that ‘hugging’ was the way they expressed their ‘love’ for the child.

                She tried to remember Adam and Jane ‘hugging’ her, their names only known to her through listening from her room, but she could not. The only times they actually came that close to her it caused her pain, and she did not like it. But apparently hugging was not supposed to hurt.

                She turned her focus on the child. She stared at its features, its eyes, nose, and mouth. They resembled the man and woman, and she wondered if all children looked like their Adam and Jane. She memorized the child’s features and turned to find a mirror. She remembered it from a few days ago, when she first learned about it. She saw it hanging on a wall, and she quickly hurried to it. She stood in front, and as her eyes adjusted to the image before her, she compared.

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