The rays of the sun were becoming less blinding as he watched the prisoners twirl limp flower stems with their trunks. He’d been in charge of locking their cages ever since they were young calves. Some of them flapped their ears at the curious children passing by. Others lay asleep, their duties done, their bowels empty, their tusks toward the blue abyss.
He always knew there was immense power lurking in the souls of the prisoners. It was in their eyes. It was beneath the leathery wrinkles that folded around their thick shoulders. Their plight was saddening. He resented the way they were coated with fancy paint and paraded through the village streets by rich men who rode atop their backs. He understood, though, that every creature has its place. That all things were to learn and embrace their positions. Birds dig for worms, lions are born kings, and he was in charge of locking the cages of the elephants. It was not permissible to ask why.
Who would one ask?
The god who remains in the sky? A sin.
The government who rules behind closed doors? A conspiracy.
One must learn to accept what is. Which is why he’d never considered what should be done in the event that the prisoners break free. He’d never considered the possibility of rebellion. Of insurrection and revolution.
But it was too late now. The imprisoned souls could be contained and controlled no longer. They had become unable to accept captivity. Authority over their minds was now assumed by a potent yearning. To break free. To run wild. And with a swift burst of strength they became a herd of free souls, stampeding rabidly through the village. With vengeance in their eyes. They became slaves to the idea of freedom.
Is freedom really free?
One must not ask.
The force of the herd’s monstrous strides made craters in the ground and sent ripples through the river. Their trunks flailed above their heads as they let out angry shrieks and lowered their tusks. The village women scrambled to their huts, seeking refuge beneath thatched roofs. The men latched onto branches of baobab trees like young leopards fleeing from wild boars.
Unlike them however, he had no were to go. He ran, but no destination seemed safe. He looked back and saw a mass of rebellion pursuing him with angry strides. Could he escape the freed elephants? One must not ask.
They were after him because he had denied their freedom. Because he was equally wicked as the rich men who paraded them through the streets.
Then suddenly his ears filled with ringing as if a bomb had gone off. His vision slowed as if time had forgotten its purpose. The freed souls grew nearer, moving with determination. But he could barely sense the reality of the insurrection. He could hardly feel the force of their footsteps.
He found himself in the middle of the stampede. The powerless villagers watched from the treetops. At least he wouldn’t die alone. No one should die alone. His legs realized they didn’t need to run anymore. His knees hit the ground, followed by his hands and face.
Then freedom trampled him. Crushed his limbs. Stomped his face.
And his soul ran free with the elephants.