I was originally going to use this article's title as the prompt, but that would defeat the point of offering you something you haven't already thought of.  So hopefully this derivation works. :)  Thank you to all of you who have participated!  Remember the more friends you invite the more fun we can have and hopefully the more we can grow as writers!

The Judge

This week's judge is a returning champion, a talented writing and a consummate encourager. 

One of the founding members of Camp Duct Tape, host of MenageMonday, author of The Mayday Directive and many more,  Ms Cara Michaels!

The Prompt

We just wanted to be free.

The Rules

  1. The prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

1/15/2012 11:03:58 pm

"We just wanted to be free, Harry."

My hand shook as the rifle aimed at the woman I once called my wife. She stood in front of a large crowd of rebellious traitors who thought they knew more about "rights" and "freedoms" than the rest of us. I hated her for her independence; she was always getting herself in trouble and dragging out names through the mud with her desires of peace and privacy. It was a different time; the ideals of an old world don't apply in this new one. She took a step forward and offered her sweet smile as she kept her hands spread to show she was no threat.

The round fired from my gun couldn't be stopped. Her limp body fell to the ground, causing the other people behind her to scream in terror and scatter like roaches. My laughter cracked through the air as I fired into the crowd again. She wanted her freedom, now she had it.

1/15/2012 11:37:06 pm

We just wanted to be free. It’s what we fought for night and day.

All was gray now. The war with the invading Talarians had lasted less than 6 hours. They had swooped in from the sky destroying everything swiftly. They had no use for our existing infrastructure so their destruction was all encompassing and complete. The Nations had quickly resorted to using nuclear weapons which did nothing more than poison the people and assist the Talarians in population control as human offspring were rarely born without life ending abnormalities and their blood and tiny organs were quickly reclaimed to be used by the new rulers.

They forced us to work their mines as they robbed the planet of its metals. The old or disabled were farmed for their organs and their blood which provided sustenance to the Aliens.

The task masters were humans who had sought favor with the Talarians and in exchange were allowed increased freedom and increased rations. The task master’s child would then have the option of becoming task masters themselves. They were the new monarchy, ruling by the declaration of new gods.

When my age had come and my Father had come to me to ask me which side I would be choosing my mouth seemed to work on its own when I told him I would go to the mines.

“If that is your decision, I will have you escorted in the morning to the huts.” He had said frowning while his eyes smiled. The task masters by nature worried for themselves first and everyone else was a distant second. As he turned to leave there was a moment of regret. I had not planned to walk away from my birth right but there was no going back now. Loyalty in the new world was immediate or not at all and even my Mother and Father could not have spared me once the decision had been made.

In the morning I had packed all I owned, none of which I ended up being allowed to take with me to the camp, and waited for an eternity for the task masters who would escort me to the hut camp.
They were rough and violent, ripping my clothes off of me and forcing me into a sweat stained uniform that marked my new station. I was then given a hut, living with 6 others, and told when and where to report.

Just like that I was living in constant, unabashed servitude. I was an outsider not to be trusted. It would take me years to earn their trust and years more before I returned home when revolution burst through my parents own door. I slayed them myself for sending me into servitude and for allowing the status quo to stand, they had not fought for their child or the race of our people.

We would have our freedom. Despite those who came before accepting defeat. As a people we would not go quietly any longer.


WORDS: 499

1/16/2012 12:33:29 am

We just wanted to be free of the mildewed catacombs below the city. We wanted to be able to feed freely on the warm flesh of man, rather than filling our bellies with clotted blood that drains through the pipes. The rats have dwindled in population and I am lucky to find one to give us some satisfaction.

I tire of the wandering through the same dark tunnels, hearing broken conversations in bastardized English. I blame the Darkness for everything. Had it not been for it, I would have been with my family in the ground centuries before. But no, I am cursed with a hunger that can never be filled and everlasting life.

114 words #WIP

1/16/2012 12:33:49 am

“We just wanted to be free!”

“Say again, Higgins?” I called across the Sargasso waters. Deep blue swells rocked the Ellen Austin and the unidentified schooner drifting nearby as gently as a mother cradling her newborn. The men aboard the dinghy rowed steadily back to us, Higgins at the bow calling out urgently.

“What’s he saying, Crandall?”

“Can’t quite make him out, Captain. Something about being free?”

I snorted. “Aye, I could stand to be free of this boat.”

“Seconded, sir,” Crandall laughed.

The dinghy drew alongside the Ellen Austin and Higgins scrabbled up the ladder like a spider, legs and arms working furiously in his haste to board.

“Damnedest thing,” he gasped, hands on knees to catch his breath. “Never seen nothin’ like it, Cap’n.”

“Report, man,” I said. “How many casualties?”

“She’s empty, sir,” he said on a huge draw of breath. “Not a soul aboard.”

“No one?”

“Not even rats, sir.”

No ship, no matter how clean, existed without rodents. She hadn’t broken her mooring and simply drifted this far; her sails would be furled had she been docked. With no one to guide her, she couldn’t have been abandoned long. A cross wind would catch her sails wrong and tip her, stormy swells would topple her… she could not be so far from shore alone.

“What did you find in the logs?”

“Weren’t no logs.” Higgins stood straight now, and the whites of his eyes flashed big and bright, like a spooked horse. “Weren’t nothin’ at all on board. No supplies, no furnishin’s. She’s just a shell.”

“‘ceptin’ for the words, ‘iggins,” another man chimed in. “Tell the Cap’n ‘bout them words.”

“Oh, aye,” Higgins said, “that’s what I was hollerin’ at ye, sir. ‘We just wanted to be free’ it says. Carved over and over on the main and mizzen.”

“Well?” a new voice queried.

I turned to see the Ellen Austin’s commander, Captain Griffin, striding toward us. The pompous ass set my teeth on edge. He hated having me and mine aboard.

I disliked the man almost as much as I disliked not having my own boat.

“She’s abandoned,” I answered.

An avaricious gleam lit Griffin’s eyes and flushed his already ruddy cheeks.

“Take your men, Bryant,” he ordered. “We’ll sail her home with us.”

“There are no supplies aboard the ship.”

“You’ll need to keep close then, won’t you—Captain?”

“Captain Griffin—” I began.

“Take two days’ rations with you,” he relented. “But get off my boat, Bryant. There’s no room for two captains on this packet. Keep close and we’ll settle up when we reach New York.”

We loaded up rations and men, and rowed. I climbed aboard, a shiver of unease rippling through me. We stood together, all eyes locked on the carvings in the main mast.

We just wanted to be free.

“Orders, sir?” Crandall asked.

I studied the departing Ellen Austin.

“Bring her about, Crandall. And whatever you do, don’t lose sight of that ship.”

497 words of #WIP500 goodness

Bob Mahone
1/16/2012 12:49:12 am


“We just wanted to be free”, Roscoe said somberly, looking wistfully towards the narrow splash of light on the opposite wall from the small window above his head.

Neil did not want to spend the day at another pity party, so he snapped, “So how did that work out for you? At least a third of the prisoners here are black.”

Roscoe looked up at him. “Yeah, and isn’t that curious, seeing as how blacks are only seven percent of the country.”

“I got your seven”, Neil countered. “Seven out of ten black children are born out of marriage. These babies have no father in their lives. Even slaves did better at raising their children.

“That’s ridiculous!” Roscoe shot back. “Slaves couldn’t even get married.”

Neil and Roscoe often got into aimless conversations. It helped to pass the time.

Neil continued, “Well they didn’t have to live in jail either. You call this free?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”, Roscoe asked. “Being white hasn’t kept your butt out of jail.”

“That’s what I’m talkin bout. All of your marches and protests didn’t change anything. In fact, it only made things worse, because now you think you’re free. But you’re just another locked up nigga, and your little experiment has made it worse for the whole the country.”

“Experiment? We made it worse?” Roscoe agitation animated him. “Perpetual discrimination and joblessness make it worse. Endemic poverty is not a black man’s pathology, it’s his burden.”

Neil always hated it when Roscoe threw in a bunch of big words.

“Now who’s being ridiculous? There you go, retreating into the welfare state. What about the Cosby’s? They’re not poor. There’s no teen pregnancy there”

“Fool, that’s just TV. A pseudo-family created by the family values coalition, with a little racial pride thrown in by making it a black family.”

“Something’s not right about that”, Neil paused. “I’m thinking the family values people are white.”

Roscoe looked puzzled. “So?”

“Nevermind”, Neil smiled. “No. If blacks would just do like we used to, you know, have shotgun weddings, then more babies would have their fathers around.”

“Yeah Neil, how’s that working out for you? How’s the wife?”

“How’s it working out for any of us? And, you know we don’t go there.” Neil cautioned. “All I’m sayin is, now, even marriage is being demanded by the gays because they’re using your tactics to demand freedom too. Why couldn’t you just let things stay as they were? Everyone knows that life was better then. Life was so much simpler when everyone knew what to expect.”

“You mean, when everyone knew their place.”

“No, Roscoe, I mean when everyone wasn’t trying to be the only one right.”

“We were seeking after what would be best for all of us.”

“No one knows what’s best. The only one ever given that credit was crucified.”

“You’re right there, my nigga.”

“Well Roscoe, if I’m your nigga, then I suppose you are free.”

491 words

I would like to thank @SpikeLee for provoking me to read Dr. MLK’s letter from a Birmingham Jail today.

1/16/2012 03:38:04 am

“We just wanted to be free. Free from the hatred. Free from the disparaging looks we received when we went shopping or to the park. Yes, we know we are different from the majority of Americans. Most of us do not have white skin. Many of us do not speak English as well as those born here. We dress a little differently than the majority. Some of our foods can’t be purchased at a local supermarket.

Most of us, probably close to 99%, do not condone terrorism. We are no different than the Protestants and Catholics living in Ireland, where factions within those religions detonated bombs and killed in the name of God. We want to live peaceful lives and be productive and integral parts of our communities. Our goal is not to disrupt the United State government or change the way Americans think or believe. We are not looking to convert you, and we do not look down upon you for not embracing our tenets and beliefs.

I write this now, as a Muslim-American, because for over ten years now we have been victimized by the actions of a few. For over ten years we have been unable to travel and gather in our communities without the scrutiny of the United States or local government. And, just like in this case, we have been discriminated against in the workforce.

Yes, I wished to practice Salah in my office with my door closed at noon and during the afternoon as my religion commands. I did not interfere with anyone else’s work, nor did I ever cause any undue hardships for the organization. Not only was I made to feel as if I were wrong for requesting to do this, but I believe I was also passed over on numerous occasions for supervisory jobs based on my religion. As such, I am resigning from my position, and I have obtained a lawyer and filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission regarding the hiring and employment practices of this organization.

Yusuf Al Farran”

Patrick Wilmore, CEO of Applied Logistics International, Inc., closed his eyes tightly and slammed the letter down on his desk. His migraine was coming back, full-force, and this was the last thing he needed. Whoever this Yusuf Al Farran character was, he was in for a fight. Nobody questioned Patrick Wilmore’s authority, especially some raghead, Koran-spouting, Muslim.

400 words

1/16/2012 05:19:05 am

“We just wanted to be free of the memories for a while,” Dr. Lance stated, his voice full of sorrow.

“I can imagine. The death of your wife must have been fairly traumatic.”

“It was. A drunk college student hit her on her way home. She was killed instantly.”

Sorrow etched the professor’s face, but his voice was more matter-of-fact than grieving. Drake’s gaze slipped over to Thomas, but the boy had turned his head and picked at a loose thread in his sweater.

“Again, I’m sorry. I’ve cued up the familial records of the past two hundred years into that terminal there on the table behind you. You should be able to access all the births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and emigrations of Three Lakes’ European and Old World population there.”

“European population?”

“Yes. The Cree peoples didn’t keep records with us so there are only accurate records of the people from across the Atlantic who settled here.”

“Thank you, Mr. MacGregor. I greatly appreciate your help,” Dr. Lance said as he rose and held out his hand for Drake to shake.

Drake took his hand and immediately wished he hadn’t. While the Doctor’s grip was firm, the dryness of the hard calluses across the palm shot a warning across Drake’s awareness. He released him quickly.

“I’m happy to help.” Drake hesitated and looked pointedly at the boy. “What will Thomas do while you research?”

“I told him he could peruse the Library on his own. You do have a Children’s Section, correct?”

“Of course. I’ll be happy to show him where it is.”

“Thank you again, Mr. MacGregor.” Dr. Lance turned to Thomas. “Go with Mr. MacGregor now and I’ll see you in a few hours, all right?”

“Yes, Viggo,” the boy replied dutifully.

“Very good.” Then Lance focused his attention on the computer.

Drake grabbed his tablet and held his office door open, grateful the Archives remained locked until he opened them. Something about the good Dr. Lance made Drake want to hide as much as possible from him. Not his usual reaction to visiting researchers.

Iris’ warning is getting to me.

“Come with me, Thomas. We have some great books about all sorts of things. What are you interested in?” Drake asked as he ushered the boy out into the main Library.

“I like airplanes and boats,” Thomas replied softly.

“Well, we have a big selection of airplane books, starting with the first plane to ever fly,” Drake told him, his shoulders loosening with every step further from his office. “Do you know the name of the first airplane?”

“No, sir.”

“It was the Wright Flyer, built by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where you’re from.”

“I’m not from North Carolina,” Thomas whispered, glancing back over his shoulder toward the Archives. “I’m from Scotland. Dr. Lance adopted me after the death of his wife.”

Surprise and unease shot down Drake’s spine. “Where are your parents?”

“Dead.” Thomas’ voice was flat and Drake focused on airplanes after that.

500 #WIP500 words

1/16/2012 07:25:58 am

We just wanted to be free. Even now, with nothing left I can’t think what we could have done differently. No, I can’t think like that. I still have Isabelle. I still have my armor, my sword. I still have Mikhal’s ring. It’s not much, but I have to remember what I do have. Ten years later and he still hasn’t managed to take everything from me.

I’m still alive and I’m still fighting him, though I can no longer imagine winning. I’m not even sure what I’m still fighting for. Can the world recover even if somehow I manage to destroy him? Is there even anyone left to free? I don’t know.

These periods of lucidity have become rare. Painful. I was there when he killed my Mikhal. It was supposed to end that night, but he was expecting us. Maybe it would have ended anyway, if Isabelle hadn’t carried me away. Would I be one of the walking dead today if Isabelle hadn’t saved me? Or would my body have resisted his power like Mikhal’s did?

My mind broke when we returned to find our hidden village burned and everyone I had ever known slaughtered. I can’t stop fighting his influence, but neither can I fruitlessly sacrifice Isabelle and my lives in another attempt on the vampire directly. I have questions, but no answers.

I don’t even know if anyone will ever read this, but if you are reading this I pray that somehow you are free.

-Ymenia Randomleaf
Last survivor, Order of the Sphere

257 words

1/16/2012 08:17:49 am

<I>We just wanted to be free.</i>

Mingling with the salt of my own sweat and seeping into the torn flesh of my wrists, the rain stung. The manacles should have felt light, instead I couldn’t recall them being heavier. We were free, but it had come at a terrible price.

“Come on!” Shanna’s hand curled around my arm and she took a step, meaning to lead me off.

I drew free of her grip. The others were already running, we were the last to linger. “This was wrong,” I said, my voice rough with disuse.

Shanna made an strangled sound. “You bloody fucking <I>idiot</i>! You wanna get a lead speck in your brain? Huh? You wanna die <I>now</i>?”

“These were just guards. Humans, Shan. “ They’d had no idea, no warning, and not a snowball’s chance in Hell when Bitzer had snapped the welded rings right out of his bones and busted everyone else loose. Hell hath no fury like a Titan whose brain had snapped. These guards weren’t the ones that’d knocked us about and dumped us in that prison to be sold off. They’d just been unlucky enough to pull duty on a rainy, Melbourne night. “They had families-“

She could have easily attacked me, but those weeks in the dark below the building had tempered the ages-deep hate between our bloodlines. She settled for slapping me before she turned and bolted, leaving me alone with the dead. She wasn’t there to hear the rain begin to sizzle as it hit my arms.

Once the scent of my former companions had washed from the air, their escape certain, I went to work. Perhaps I was every bit as weak as Bitz and Shan had accused me of being. These were humans, our <I>lesser</i> cousins. I couldn’t reconcile their murders, not when they’d had no part in our captivity. They had only been trying to make a living, innocent of the truth. I drew the five bodies to a spot in the middle of the cobblestone street, lining them up on their backs; legs straight, hands resting on their chests. I searched them for anything, personal clues to who they had been. If nothing else, I would lie to their families and tell them their loved ones died well. Not that they had been ambushed in the dark and massacred. Before long, the pyre was in full flame. It was not a perfect service by any means but it would spare them the indignity of rotting, forgotten, and reduce their terrible injuries to mere ash.

If the desire to make my own kindred pay for five human lives made me less Blood and made me more human, so be it. Blooded had begun this fight, a Blooded would end it.

This time, the element of surprise would be mine. When the men came around the corner at the end of the alley, I set fire to the very rain. There was nowhere for them to run that I could not reach.

Word Count: 496
Storyline: Bloodlines
Author: Corgzilla

1/16/2012 09:46:44 pm

“We just want to be free.” Clawed fingers pulled at the bars that kept the demon inside. His tail lashed behind him as Sren pressed his forehead against the bars. There was a sizzle of burning flesh and he pulled back before the pain was too much.

The mage sat at the table, taking notes. “There is nothing to be done. You broke your promise by being used as an examination tool. By escaping, you have shown that you can’t be trusted. I don’t know what they might do. There is talk about banishment.”

Sren’s eyes widened. “No, NO! You can’t! I don’t want to go back there. I won’t survive if I get banished.” He lurched forward, grabbing at the ensorcelled bars. “Please, I will do anything. Just don’t banish us. Don’t banish Melial. Please, please.”

The man lifted his head and looked over at the creature. “You knew the terms. I don’t think there is anything I can do at this point. There were some guards seriously hurt and the four captains are calling for your blood. It’s banishment or death.” The quill pen was placed on top of the papers and he glanced up as there was a ringing of metal on stone that came towards them, louder with each moment.

Liquid dripped out of Sren’s eyes and he banged his head several times against the bars. “No! You can’t do this ! Pleaaaase. You need to keep Melial. He will be good. He was just listening to me. He didn’t do anything wrong.” Even the sizzle of his own flesh didn’t keep him from gripping the bars.

The mage glanced at him and back down to the papers, his hands picking up the pen and needlessly twirling it around. “I’m afraid it’s too late.”

Red eyes widened and the demon wailed, slamming his head against the bars until black blood glistened on the bars. “He was just a child! He was JUST A CHILD!”

328 words

1/16/2012 10:36:59 pm

"We just wanted to be free."

Every facet of the protest brought forth a variation on the theme, from the occupied public spaces to the darkened patches of cyberspace to the email and phone cascades flooding the bureaucrats' offices.

"We just wanted to be free."

It had been subtle, at first. A mild limning of the most outre elements of extremism. Common-sense provisions against danger, against terrorism, against hate. But then, as always, feature creep had developed. The lawyers. The social conservatives. The intellectual property goons. The anti-whateverites. They'd all moved in to take another bite out of freedom.

"We just wanted to be free."

Free from fear, free from hate, free from temptation, oppression, dissent, confusion, challenge... and, eventually, the need to think at all.

We had, indeed, just wanted to be free. From them.

And now they are going to be free of us.

Shut them down, gentlemen. Let them be free of everything.

-- Anonymous member "John Galt," posted to alt.text.revolution, 17 May 2013


1/16/2012 11:53:06 pm

_A Parable_

"We just wanted to be free," the man said as rescuers lifted him into the ambulance.

Indeed, the group had fully accepted what they had been told: that the world was just an illusion. They had believed they could transcend the world and even transcend gravity.

They were wrong.

The other four had already died before first responders had reached the scene. This one was still alive, but only long enough for him to convey the sentiment of the group to those tending to him.

On the way to the hospital, he became the fifth person from the scene to succumb to his injuries.

As the paramedic noted the time of death and disconnected the no-longer-necessary monitors, he looked at the man, recalled those final words and replied.

"There is no freedom that is without limitations."

138 Words

1/17/2012 12:51:48 am

Title: Finality

We just wanted to be free, Alana thought as she and David stepped carefully through the wreckage of the town hall. There were burned bricks and broken bits of drywall all over the place. Shards of glass littered the floor from windows that had blown out. It looked like a bomb had gone off. In some ways, it probably had.

Her life had been so simple before she moved back to Maine, and she couldn’t wait until it could be again. All they had to do was free themselves and free the world from the threat brought on by the Destroyers.. Now, everything was different. She was different.

She sighed as she walked gingerly through the somewhat clear path to the basement. There was no other place the Destroyers would have gone. The bell tower was in shambles and that was the only room left that her and David hadn’t investigated.

Clutching the spiral pendants at her neck, she hoped for strength from her grandmother and all the women before her, and opened the steel door that led to the beginning of the end.

184 #WIP500 Words


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