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Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins

"Freedom" by Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins

SciFi/Fantasy text 7 out of 15 by Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins.      ←Previous - Next→
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This started out as a free write for my college creative writing class and ended up being my final piece I turned in for the class. I hope you enjoy it. It features the character I've created, Tara McCarther, who is definitely my alter ego. This is sort of a side story and the only complete story with her in it.
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←- Elitists Part 02 | Glamour -→


The first time Tara heard the song Freedom, she was in the middle of the wasteland riding her horse and searching, though for what she did not know. At the time, the song was no more than a collection of notes that kept running through her head, haunting her like cries of pain echoing in her dreams. Tara could not understand the importance of this song for her, but she knew somehow that this small melody would play an important role in her journey.

As Tara rode through the low scrub and cacti, she kept repeating to herself the few notes she had come up with. Reaching around, she pulled a pad of paper and a pencil out of her travel pack and on a whim, began to write, not the music, but the feeling. Lost in thought and concentration, Tara did not notice the sky as it changed from clear baby blue to an orange purple and then indigo. To her, it seemed, all of a sudden there was no light left to write by. With a heavy sigh at the lack of usable light, Tara gently pulled her horse to a stop, wishing she could at least find a watering hole. She was fine, with several full canteens hanging from the saddle, but it was the horse she was worried about. He had not had water since the last small oasis, an hour before she first thought of the song.

With slow movements and a grimace, Tara took one of her canteens and as well as a small pan she used for cooking, and offered the horse the water in the pan. Tara’s thoughts returned o the song, drowning out the bubbling and splashing as the horse greedily sucked down the precious water.

It was late the next morning when Tara finally began traveling again. She had slept deeply, dreaming of vague, now forgotten, images of the song and had not woken at the rising of the sun. The horse had wandered of in search of water and food to eat and he had refused to be caught until Tara finally and reluctantly offered him some of the grain she kept in her pack.

Once underway, the day flew by as Tara and her horse traveled among the low hills and mesas. For now she rode in silence with the occasional cluck and encouragement to the horse. The days passed quickly with the terrain varying only slightly and all the while, the song grew and was shaped into something Tara could not describe. She managed to write down the basic melody and progression of chords but was not satisfied. The song needed something more. So she started thinking of the words that would express those feelings she had written not long ago.

All too soon the wilderness ended and Tara came upon a forest shrouded in mist. Strange shadows flitted through the fog and sound was stopped as if by a solid wall. The horse shook his head, deciding that though forest had plenty of greens, he much preferred the arid climate of the wilderness. As Tara entered the heavy silence she spoke to the horse, comforting him.

"Hush, we’ll keep to whatever path we can find and we will not stray from that chosen path." Her words were empty in the forest. No bird sung in the trees and the plants were not green with the vibrancy of life, but the rotting darkness of decay. The smell of that rot and decay pervaded the air as much as the sight overwhelmed the senses. The trees she could see were shrouded in mist and were hung with vines, creeping up to slowly draw the last bit of life before moving on to their next victim. The ground underfoot made the sound of a shoe, worn soaked with water. The horse gingerly picked his way across a clear forest floor, finding the firmest ground. Tara breathed the air, it was heavy and pregnant with moisture, and she and the horse were covered immediately with a fine sheen of water. The leaves above her rustled with unseen creatures, causing the horse to swing his head back and forth, searching for a danger he could not see or smell.

Without warning, a low, booming crash resonated through the forest. Though the sound was far away, the horse was startled and in his leap of fear, almost deposited Tara in a bush of what looked like poison oak. The two of them were both splattered with mud from the forest floor and the horse no longer wanted to stand still. The whites of his eyes showed clearly and his nostrils flared, doubling in size. Another crash echoed, this time much closer. Tara was having a difficult time staying on the horse. Her head whipped about, looking for the direction in which the crashes were coming from. A third crash sounded and this time Tara saw the top of a tree come falling down no more than 100 yards away. Both Tara and the horse were now spurred on by fear, the horse gathered himself to start fleeing, Tara offering no resistance. Just as he was about to leap away, a tree fell right in front of him. The horse reared up and danced away on his hind legs. Tara threw her body forward trying desperately to remain balanced. She could feel the sweat from the horse mixing with the dampness of the forest. Her hair clung to her face. Backing into a tree, the horse sprang forward with a cry of surprise and leapt over the fallen tree racing into the forest.

Branches reached out to tear Tara’s clothes and scratch the horse’s body only fueling his fear. Ahead of them a tree began to lean to the side, its ominous groaning instilling panic in Tara’s heart as they raced to beat it to the ground. Tara ducked as the side of the tree barely brushed the horse’s rump. One of those branches snagged her hair and ripped strands as she was pulled away by the horse. They raced through the dark forest, altering their course as trees fell in their previously intended path. The forest was slowly but surely herding them to an unknown destination.

They had been racing through the forest for almost ten minutes when the trees suddenly stopped and not far after the tree line, the ground did too, splitting into a wide chasm. The horse threw his weight onto his hind legs and skidded along the ground, moving toward the drop off. Tara shut her eyes, fearing what she thought would inexorably be a long fall to the bottom of the chasm when the horse reared up once more and hopped backwards on his hind legs. Tara slid down the back of the horse, landing on her seat. The horse dropped back down onto all four legs and stood very still, his legs trembling.

Tara slowly stood up, looking around. The tree line stood not far away and she could see tracks from the horse as he was stopping. She looked down into the chasm and could not see the bottom as it was hidden by a dense layer of clouds about a mile down. As she was looking around, the crashing sound started again. This time, the trees far down the line on both Tara’s left and right began falling. These trees were tall enough that they reached all the way to the edge of the chasm and were spaced so close together that there was no way to hide between them.

The horse was shifting too quickly for Tara to remount and all she could do was grip the reins tightly to keep him close to her. It seemed to Tara an impossible situation. The fallen trees were lining up next to one another with no space between them and as soon as she began moving closer to the tree line that was standing, the pace of the falling trees sped up, leaving her no time to reach what might be considered the safety of the forest.

She turned to the horse, "I guess this is it my friend. We have come to the end." The horse looked straight into her eyes and nickered, the pitches of his sounds of comfort echoing the melody of Freedom. In response to hearing her theme, Tara began humming the song. The pace of the falling trees perceptibly slowed. Tara’s eyes widened and she stopped humming when she saw what happened. The pace of the falling trees quickened. The horse shoved Tara with his head and she quickly resumed her humming. Soon, without realizing, Tara began to slowly chant the words of Freedom, unconsciously putting the words to the rhythm of the melody.

"Though dark the road be

My heart yearns for answers

I must journey on.

I have often wondered

Of the stars in the heavens

I must journey on

This burning inside me

Calls to my soul

I must journey on

I have left all behind me

To follow the sun

I must journey on

Others do not see

Their sight is clouded

I must journey on

The road stretches on

Through to the horizon

I must journey on

My soul is now free

The life that thrives within

I have found my home"

With each word she spoke the forest pulled back. The mist was blown away, the choking vines withered and died. The forest came alive and birds appeared among the leaves. Tara turned to mount the horse, now singing her song and was amazed at the sight behind her. There was no chasm. Ahead of her a green field stretched into infinity with low rolling hills and clumps of small trees. A short distance away, smoke rose from a clump of chimneys, hidden behind a small rise. Tara smiled as she rode toward the village; she had finally come home.

←- Elitists Part 02 | Glamour -→

23 Jan 2005:-) JJ Hauver
Ah, wonderful Amy. I really liked this story. It flowed well and was virtually mistake free. I would have loved to see some of the thoughts and feelings Tara had written down in italics. Maybe even a little description of the horse and Tara herself. Great job!

2 Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins replies: "Thank you!!! I agree that knowing her feelings would definitely add depth. However, I cannot do that as yet, unless I download the story from the Elfwood site because my harddrive of my laptop crashed, taking with it ALL of my written work and artwork as well. So frustrating...yet I can probably salvage this one since it is finished. Sorry for ranting, the loss has not been nice to me."
2 Feb 2005:-) Sharon *Blackstaff* Black
Well, Miguel's taken care of the criticism part, so I won't worry about that. The character's interesting and the basic story is pretty good. I look forward to more.

10 Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins replies: "I dislike my computer (it's getting fixed away from here) but more will be up as soon as it's fixed. And the errors will be edited as well. I will let you know when more is posted for sure, thanks for visiting and taking the time to read!"
10 Jul 2005:-) Katherine L. Burt
I love the idea of the song- which, to begin with, was well written- as a magical element in the story. A lot of detail and description, which worked well. All in all, very enjoyable. Thank you very much for the kind comment! Thanks for visiting!
28 Apr 2006:-) Andrijana Ignjatovic
This is not the first time I have read a story about a song having the power over nature, but I still like the concept.
I marvel at the description of the forest! It is great that you use all senses; smell, hearing, sight, feeling, while still keeping it interesting to read. You have a purpose with your description of the forest. Another good thing is that you describe the horse´s "feelings" and actions, it creates a certain dynamic between Tara and the horse.
The question now is, why the song appeared in her head...

62 Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins replies: "Aha! Excellent question!! The answer....I have no clue, my muse tends not to divulge this information without much tickling."
1 Nov 200645 Eric McKenna
Hey Amy You could say sweetie you know..., an interesting story you've written. How nice of you to notice.... When I read it it seems as if the forest itself had been a dream. Though it could just be the power of the song to change the surroundings that gave me this effect. That might be possible The forest was very well described as was the conflict. As the trees fell faster I'm fairly sure my reading speed increased as well. You? *gasp* read faster? *shocked look* Never! Nicely written, I'll try to check out more of your stories as I work.

-Eric FinallyI love you
17 Dec 200645 L. Shanra Kuepers
*sigh* I'm making a mess of things now, I'm sure. I -did- like this. I love the mystery of the change in the forest and how you keep the reasons for it completely out of the picture. Actually, the transformation gives it a bit of a fairytale feel, which I find particularly attractive. ^-^ *brightens at the praise*

I really liked the focus on senses OTHER than sight. Whatever problems I might have with the execution, you pay attention to them. I'm probably guilty of focusing on sight too much myself, so I guess I'm a hypocrit here, but little details like the horse's movements or the feeling of water on one's clothes/body really do enhance a piece. It truly is the little things like that and it's a delight to read them.

Another thing is the lack of focus on inner thoughts. Again, something I'm guilty of, because I find it fascinating to see how a character 'ticks', but it's always nice to stumble across works where the story is the important factor. It adds to the mystery of the piece itself, and I'm very much a fan of open endings and leaving lots up to reader interpretation.

Very nice, me dear! ^-^Thank you very much, I promise I'll go through this with a big fat red pen and make some edits... I do have time now, along with the other things I plan on editing and writing and holiday break is here....I appreciate the honesty and criticism, it's things like this that have helped me grow as a writer... just.... don't read Cassion.... that one's worse than this....
17 Dec 200645 L. Shanra Kuepers
Picks first, rest later and I'll try not to repeat what others have pointed out already, because that's redundant. ^-~ *nods and listens with rapt attention*

and as well as *colors slightly* I can see how that might be confusing *scribbles a note*

climate of the wilderness That's very true, I think I'll have to read through this again and make it a bit clearer

I can already tell what my biggest nit, poetry aside (and I'm not getting into that; you can find a link to the ranting on my page), is going to be -- expand. Show, don't tell. You undermine the credibility of your statements if you don't do anything with them.

Take the scene where they enter the forest. You say the horse doesn't want to enter. Yet in the very next sentence he does just that. He doesn't just enter, but he does so extremely meekly for a creature you say has no desire to enter. If they communicate somehow (as I'm gathering from your comments) you can't just leave it untouched. It isn't clear from the context of this. Noted

Things like that. I'm not going to point at everything, mostly because some things that I'd like to see expanded upon can as well be left alone for the purpose of the story. You have a good, strong draft here. You've got good descriptions, a good grasp of language, a good idea and overall a good communication between Tara and her horse. But you don't do as much with them as you could have. When the first tree falls near them, you say the horse won't stand still, for example, and then in the next sentence you talk about his eyes, instead of continue that sense of feel. You pull the entire story back to the sense of sight. It undermines the importance of the previous sentence, because you don't continue on it. Not everyone can make a decent picture of how a horse moves when frightened (I can't). You don't have to go overboard with the description, but just continue it. That little tug on the reins that I -can- see happening is a detail that strengthens the story. Strengthens the feeling of panic and emergence and speed. Strengthens the impact the story has on me as a reader. Right now I've read this story and I see potential and promise and all those wonderful things, but that isn't what should draw me into a story.The ego is bruised but I thank you for that, it was needed, phew...
28 Feb 2007:-) Lindsay Verde
I really liked this, it left a sense of mystery as to why the forest suddenly changed and why it stopped and changed at her song. A question I had while reading is you mention that she and the horse are splattered in mud from the forest floor, what pace are they going at? Because at this point they hadn't been running from the trees, and I got the impression they were walking. So I'm curious how Tara got spattered with mud while riding. I remember getting very muddy and such while riding on damp days, especially if the ground was wet and soggy, like I intended the forest. There might be some clarity issues so I'll read back through it and check for continuity errors regarding that bit. Thanks for pointing it out!

Oh, and the other thing is watch out, near the end when they're running, how many times you write horse, it's a little distracting from the story. But other than that, I loved it! Hope you'll come visit sometime, it's great to see another horse lover on ew. Ahhh, yes, repetition. Shanra has pointed that out before as well. Lately I've been trying to be aware of it, I shall go through and edit that as well...Thanks muchly for visiting! Horse lovers are always welcome, you should check out my art page too, if you're as fanatical as I am... /end shameless plug Ah, I've reread the mud bit. He spooks right before I describe the mud, it could be enought to send up clods of wet dirt, effectively splattering you with mud. Also, if you've been dusty, and enter a very humid area, that dust will become a mud-like substance...
11 May 2007:-) C. 'Liari' Seidel
I enjoyed this little bit, especially the song. There are crits I could do, but I'm tired and they're just nits anyway. Fantastic wording, I like your turn of phrase. The horse is real to touch, sight, and smell, very nice. Tara seems focused, and the way you portrayed that was awesome. All in all, great story.Thanks very much! This story is now about 4 years old... [suddenly feels very old] and remains fairly unchanged since I submitted it for a final assignment in my creative writing class. I got an "A" ^_^
15 Aug 2007:-) Baz 'Jinx' Dwornik
Hello, this is Jinx from LiveJournal. Thought I'd read this first to start, as I haven't been reading much for long works lately. Enjoyable story, I agree with the others that you give a very environmental feel to this piece. The focus on the various sensations is strong and the song ties the piece together nicely. The others have already recommended what I would have done, I will only add that the opening paragraph is a bit passive. The first line is good; it's a nice building point. But you want to use the opening to bring the reader in. Don't describe it as a memory, describe it as if it's happening now. That will also help make the danger at the end more real. Regardless, I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.
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 • Created by: :-) Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins
 • Copyright: ©Amy ´the Ames´ Perkins. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Chase, Evil, Forest, Girl, Home, Horse, Song
 • Categories: Angels, Religious, Spiritual, Holy, Magic and Sorcery, Spells, etc., Romance, Emotion, Love
 • Views: 695

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