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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)

TITLE: Freeeeedom
By william price


Their snaring mouths drooled and slobbered as they chased the scent of fear.
Howling and barking they led the way through the thick kudzu-layered wooded hills of northern Tennessee.

Running behind the pack of hound dogs were five white males armed with rifles and knives. One skinny young lad wearing a faded rebel hat had a rope tied around his waist.

“Them boys can run, Paw.” Billy Joe, Jr. spoke between heavy breaths.

The teen’s father jogged at a decent pace behind his son. Junior knew this wasn’t his dad’s first adventure, as he liked to call it. The 17 year-old remembered being told many tales that ended in a lynching.

“Save your breath, Boy. They ain’t runnin’ from us.”

“Who they runnin’ from?”

“It’s what they runnin’ to, Boy. Now shud-up, yer slowin’ us down.”

The hounds broke free into a clearing. Two teenage black boys in torn cut off dungarees stood drenched in sweat on the top of a rocky bluff. The dogs yelped between pants a few yards away. The two former slaves bent over, breathing hard with hands on their knees.

Junior, his dad and three uncles stood catching their breaths behind the dogs. Billy Joe, Jr. gazed into the wide eyes of the boys he had been chasing. He watched as the two slaves eyeballed the hounds and then looked down from the bluff to the river a hundred feet below. One shook his head yes, the other nodded.

“You can’t make that jump, boys. Don’t even think it. It’d kill ya,” Billy Joe, Sr. bellowed as he spat a gob of chewing tobacco out of his mouth.

As soon as the wet wad splat on the ground, one of the black boys turned and jumped off the bluff, flaying his arms as he yelled, “Freeeeeedom”.
Seconds passed before there was a splash. The one remaining fell to his knees in prayer.

“Go put your rope around that neck, Boy. Ya got to get a taste for this before you grow soft like yer momma and the rest of them.”

Billy Joe, Jr. walked slowly toward the former slave. He peered over the bluff and saw the other black boy swimming down the river.

“Why you prayin’, boy?” Billy Joe, Jr. asked as he loosely placed the noose around the teen’s neck.

“Prayin’ my brother made it.”

“Why didn’t you jump?”

“So he could git away.”

Billy Joe, Jr. tightened the noose.

“Now pull’em over here, boy. There be a good tree behind us.”

Billy Joe, Jr. started walking toward his father. He could smell the stench of the dogs, his uncles’ breaths, and his dad’s hate. He heard the voice of his momma.

“We all one in God’s eyes, Son.”

Billy Joe, Jr. turned around. His eyes met with the teen’s at the end of his rope. There was a connection, a communication, a bonding. He heard his momma’s voice again.

“God loves us all, Son. All of this killin’ and hatred has to stop someday. I’m prayin’ you can break free.”

Billy Joe, Sr.’s booming voice broke the momentary quiet.

“Hurry now, boy. This adventure has to end soon. We got to git back.”

There was another space of silence as a smile grew on Billy Joe, Jr.’s face.

“Paw, I think my adventure is jist beginning.”

Billy Joe, Jr. turned and gave the black boy a wink and started running for the edge of the bluff still holding the rope. The former slave quickly stood in amazement and grabbed a hold of the crazy white boy’s hand as they both leaped from the bluff.

The last word Billy Joe, Sr. ever heard his son speak was, “Freeeeeedom”, before he heard the splashes from the river below.

The pack of dogs wandered one by one up to the bluff’s edge, sniffing the fresh breeze blowing up from the river. In unison they turned around and pointed their snouts toward their masters. Drool started to form in their mouths as the familiar scent of fear re-entered their flaring nostrils. The chase was on again.

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This article has been read 1188 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teri Wilson05/31/07
I love this story - it gave me chills when they jumped together. Wonderful action and powerful lesson!
Joanne Sher 05/31/07
Excellent message, and so intense. Your sense of place is just perfect. This is wonderful.
Mo 05/31/07
Helen Murray06/01/07
Fabulous. It terrified me all the way to the amazing conclusion
Jacquelyn Horne06/01/07
Good story. I'm so glad it ended this way. Good job.
Loren T. Lowery06/04/07
Hautingly authentic and the adventure continues.
Jan Ackerson 06/05/07
Bill, this one is wonderful! Fantastic ending, high energy and suspense, great atmosphere--one of your best!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/05/07
Wow! You captured the emotion, the characters, the scene, and the message perfectly, with suspense thrown in for good measure!
Marty Wellington 06/05/07
Great story, Bill. I savored the suspense and the boy's thoughtfulness and his ultimate decision. Bravo on all counts!
Edy T Johnson 06/05/07
Your writing astounds me. This reminds me of your "Aunt Isabe's Cabin," which you know I see playing as a movie in my mind. As impossible as I find it to see through the eyes of the elder Billy, intent on a lynching, your writing is as believable as history with a wonderful ending, instead. Our Creator has blessed you with a remarkable gift, and I'm glad to be in your audience.
Sara Harricharan 06/05/07
Wow! What an exhilerating lift. I love the taste of freedom and you certainly captured it wonderfully. Excellent writing, especially for this time period. I loved that they two jumped together in the end. I hope they got away. ^_^
Catrina Bradley 06/05/07
Yay!! FREEEEDOM!!! Love everything about this adventure, but especially the change of heart at the end, and the escape.
Ann Grover06/06/07
Excellent... speechless...
Sherrie Jackson06/06/07
I have to admit I like this. ;-) The setting is authentic and the pace is spot-on. I could sense Billy's change of heart coming but it was invigorating all the same.

I like that this shows that there are many kinds of freedom, and each one can be exhilerating in its own way. Great job and good luck!
terri tiffany06/06/07
Love the title - loved the ending and loved the writing in between - I would say this is very creative indeed!!
Rita Garcia06/07/07
Fantastic read!