Freedom

By Antonina Schlussman, age 13
Freedom Antonina is a realistic fiction writer who lives in New York. She enjoys walking and talking, especially about cultures and languages. Antonina takes inspiration for her stories from social justice issues, such as the death penalty and women's rights. Antonina is a proud Pole (that means Polish person) and feminist.

“There is a long rope, a stage, and two men. They motion me too come over and I do. The rope is tied around my neck as if I’m their pet and we’re just going on a walk.”

“Turn around and put your hands behind your back.”

This is the last day I’ll hear these words. I get cuffed and then the cage door opens. I feel familiar hands on my shoulders, though they are lighter than normal. I’m led through the hallway I’ve walked down since 10 years ago, because they still don’t trust me – nobody does. I say goodbye to my closest friends but am only allowed to for 10 seconds each. Before I am walked into a little room, the officers behind me squeeze my shoulders extra hard, a way of showing affection. They leave and the door locks, like always.

On the table sits a cup of water and a single piece of bread, what I asked for yesterday. I take the water and stand up with it, getting accustomed to this new way of life I’ll only be living for 30 minutes. I try to enjoy this freedom, though limited. I close my eyes and try to imagine the road where my house is: the endless road where there is nothing on either side but air. I try, but I can’t forget the locked door behind me. I cry. I don’t know if they are tears of grief or tears of relief, but it doesn’t matter, because there is nothing I can do about my fate. An officer comes in and nods his head. I stand up and look down at my feet, and notice that the water I was holding is on the ground and the cup smashed in my hands. I drop the cup to the ground to accompany the water and then slide my feet to accompany the floor.

Once I pass the door frame I am back in their territory and the hand is on my shoulder. Now I don’t mind the hand on my shoulder, because I want someone to guide me and someone to help me. The hand lets go and I am in another room. There is a long rope, a stage, and two men. They motion me too come over and I do. The rope is tied around my neck as if I’m their pet and we’re just going on a walk. I look around to loosen the grip. One speaker and one camera. The camera will make sure nothing goes wrong and the speaker will prove my guilt.

Now the hands are not only on my shoulders but on my hips, and I am being slowly pushed off the stage. I’m pushed and pushed until one leg is off, then the other. I’m hanging, flying in my life and in my death. I close my eyes and think of that road, the road that I’ll return to in a few seconds. My eyes open. There is a muffling sound coming from the speaker. It then screams, “Wait, he’s innocent!” Those are the last words I hear.

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