Long Way to Freedom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This was put into a Commenwealth Essay contest. I don't know what to say about it really...Just that it's one of my best!

Submitted: January 30, 2008

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Submitted: January 30, 2008



Diego gently placed the CD in the small CD player. He pressed the ‘play’ button and selected the track. Pausing in between the selection of track five and six, he gulped and pressed the ‘next’ button, blinking away slow falling tears. The newest song by his favourite band, ‘Jewels and Tears’, drifted out of the speaker.

He fell back into his chair nearby and buried his head in his hands. More tears fell and mingled with the sweat falling from his brow. Feeling around in his pockets, he pulled out the note left by his brother to him before his Hanging in the South Alley. He had found his body: mutilated, all possible bones broken and a gun bullet embedded in his chest. That’s what you get for living in California, joining a street gang and getting into gang fights.

The note told of a song in Jewels and Tears’ new CD that led to a better life. All he had to do was ‘scratch the CD’ as his brother had put it. The term was merely a code, a totally different meaning to its original one.

It meant he was to play the CD backwards.

He looked at the name of the song on the paper. To his mind, it made no sense. ‘The Long Way to the Dome of the Free.’ What was the Dome of the Free? How far from California was it? And did it really exist?

He played the song, and reaching the end, pressed the rewind button. He listened carefully to the words. They were not what one would usually expect to hear from a CD played backwards. Five words were uttered in the voice of his own sibling.

“Play this in fast forward.”

Over and over, the same words. What was the point, really? To play something backwards, only to have to play it faster? He sighed. Just like his brother to complicate things for him. Pressing the fast forward button, he leant closer to the speakers as the refrain started to play.

“Come away from your shackles, Break the family tree, Walk away from your previous life, Walk the long way to the Dome of the Free.” Diego blinked. A change in the words. There it was. Dome of the Free, in fast forward said Dome-free. Dome-free made no sense what-so-ever.

Diego blinked yet again, his way of showing realization. Slowly he took a piece of paper and pen. Scribbling on the paper, he quickly blinked a couple more times until he was smiling through the tears. Now he saw it. It was clear. If someone had to switch dome-free to free-dome, remove the ‘e’ and space, there it was, freedom.

Long Way to Freedom. It made perfect sense now. Of course, the song was his ticket out of California. Where would he go, though? Brazil, maybe. Or Washington DC. There was also Alaska. He always wanted to go there. He nodded to himself. Alaska it was. A life away from the gang fights, the cruel night streets, and the bad wages California was prone to.

Diego got up and went to the window. Sunset, and in a few minutes, he would start to hear the gun shots and shouts that put him to sleep every night. His ‘in-human lullaby’ he called it.

He looked around the room. Switching his CD player to another song, one in Spanish, he started to softly sing along as he packed his bags. He tapped his foot to the beat, and when it came to the refrain, did a few tango dance moves and twirled around the room, shoving clothes and items into his rucksack. He continued to dance as he packed, and kept on dancing even as he reached the safe where he kept all his money. He cracked it open and took the money from it. Counting it, he smiled. Two thousand dollars were enough to catch a plane to Alaska, he hoped.

Switching off the lights, he took his CD player and walked through the streets, locking the door behind him.

“Thanks, Pablo,” he whispered into the night, thanking his sibling for the help he had given him.

Shouldering his bag, he ran towards the bus stop.

© Copyright 2018 Melita Zammit. All rights reserved.

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