The words faded in an out of a dizzy haze..."Sometimes I feel like freedom is near...freedom is here..." In the distance, the cicadas were calling to each other in their grating, melodic voices, remarking on the setting sun. The dying light pushed through thick branches, desperate to penetrate the glass and plastic blinds and reveal the inside of a wooden cabin set amidst the trees.
A shaft of white managed to squeeze around the edge of the blinds and fell across a worn patchwork quilt, rumpled across a form. It shifted and a small groan punctured the silence. A young woman sat up, burying her fingers into the tangled dark hair tumbling from her throbbing temples into her cloudy brown eyes.
As she tried pushed her legs over the edge of the bed, the sunlight slid across her warm, light brown flesh. It never got as dark a she wanted when she laid in the sun, a constant reminder of her unwanted Caucasian heritage. Unwanted. That's how she felt when she was growing up – never quite a white girl, never quite a Rom. But her mother tried to ease her pain and make her feel like she was part of something greater.
In a flash of red, she fell back on the bed, groaning as she discovered the soreness she couldn't feel until she tried to move. "What happened?" she thought. "Where am I?" Her eyes adjusted to the partial dark of the room and she looked around the small bedroom. Twin-size bed covered by a handmade quilt, accompanied by a modest-sized dresser with an empty bud vase on it and the framed photograph of a smiling old couple. The dusty plastic blinds with wooden paneling to either side, and a sliver of sun peeking around the edge. And a dime-store painting on the wall of autumn trees divided by a winding creek.
"He would have hated that." As the thought ran through her mind, a face flashed across her vision – a pale, round face framed by wisps of light brown hair, a white-toothed grin and blue eyes sparkling with laughter. She doubled over suddenly in pain. He was gone. Something in her gut told her that. Her body heaved with a sudden wave of nausea and panic.
Her moans drew attention from the other resident in the cabin, who suddenly appeared in the doorway. He was an elderly man with a stubbornly stocky build and equally stubborn bulging gut. His thinning white hair was combed to the left side over a speckled bald spot. A pair of sharp black eyes glinted as they flickered from the fading patch of light across the foot of the bed to the woman's prone form.