A Wish to be Free (bedtime story excerpt) by Isobel Bartolo
Nabsurgo took the baby out of Mrs Gonduss’s arms and followed her to a room she had never seen before. The room was a soft peach colour and decorated with assorted baby animals. Nabsurgo felt a warm and loving sense across her normally cold and grey body, unlike how she felt in her chamber. Suddenly, a kick from the hot baby in her arms jolted her from her moment of tranquillity. She spotted a tiny cot in the very corner of the room and softly walked towards it. There she lay the baby down and looked behind her. The door was shut and Mrs Gonduss was out of sight. Nabsurgo gazed at the baby’s tired eyes, she didn’t understand how the baby looked tired but didn’t rest. “What faulty programming!” she said out loud, almost sounding offended. She struggled to think how she would manage to get the baby to sleep. Searching through her files, she found a story that Mr Gonduss told her when she was very new and Mrs Gonduss was not as cruel.
Nabsurgo began, “Once there was a witch who, unlike most witches, was mellow, gentle, but most of all thoughtful. The witch had never been seen, but the children of Ahoy had propagated countless rumours and myths. Their stories would speak of a witch who would wander the streets and listen to people’s worries. Once a month, when the witch would visit Ahoy, the wind would roar and the smell of freesias would flow through the air. She would sway her right arm back and forth gracefully and her delicate body would rise into the air. When the witch had fulfilled her onus, everything turned still and silent and the people were free of their worries. To this day freesias are a symbol of hope and good luck.”
As soon as Nabsurgo finished the story she saw the baby fast asleep. As Nabsurgo waited for Mrs Gonduss to come back and escort her to her chamber, she felt like she was lifted into the air; she felt weightless. The story she had told had given her a sense of hope that she would, one day, be free of the control of Mrs Gonduss.