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Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2020 finalist, Amruta Krishnan Srinivasan! Amruta finished 4th grade this past school year. The story she submitted is called “The Fight for Freedom.”  Amruta said her favorite thing about her story is “that a woman led the movement against an oppressive government.”


 

THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
by Amruta Krishnan Srinivasan

Mold grew from the cracks in the stone walls of the prison. Esperanza sighed with despair as she heard a loud scream come from outside the prison walls. “Another rebel, gone”, she thought. Esperanza was an attractive young lady. She had dark brown hair and amber eyes. She had a smile that could light up a dark room, but there was nothing to smile about these days. An evil dictator named Avantador had overthrown the government. He had completely altered the laws of the kingdom. There were some laws Esperanza was cooperative about but most of the new laws were downright scandalous! Esperanza’s least favorite law stated that “women were brought to the world to tend to their husband’s every need”!

Esperanza had been locked up in the dreadful prison for months because she was not supportive of what the dictator was doing (forcing beggars into prison for not paying taxes!). Raising your voice was (especially for women) not an option in the world that Avantador had created. Esperanza looked out her tiny window, her eyes desperately darting around, looking for an escape route. Her eyes finally landed on something she hadn’t noticed in all her months in the prison. Ivy! There was a colossal plant of ivy growing on a wall of the prison! Esperanza wasted no time squeezing out the little window and grasping the closest vine of ivy. She moved from one vine to another until she safely touched the ground. Esperanza stood in silence, not being able to comprehend what had just happened. She had finally escaped from her wretched prison! 

Once Esperanza got over the shock of her break-out, she realized that she had new problems to deal with. The prison guards would soon realize she was missing and send out search parties to find her. But Esperanza knew that she had to do something about Avantador, step by step. She turned all of her attention to a small city that was most traumatized by Avantador: Bellona. Esperenza began her long and grueling journey to Bellona. As she walked through the grassy plains, she couldn’t help think that had it not been for Avantador, this would have been a relaxing walk. After many days of begging for food, living on alms, and sleeping in the fields, Esperanza finally reached Bellona. The city, once cheerful, was now dull and gray, and it seemed to be saying “hopelessness.”  The sight of the city just made Esperanza more determined to end the rule of Avantador there. She called up all the residents of Bellona to a hidden place where Avantador’s cameras couldn’t spot them and started to convey her plan to them. “Bellonans, listen! We have one enemy—Avantador! He might seem unconquerable, but he is not.”

Esperenza’s heart was pounding. She wasn’t sure whether they would agree or not. First, everyone seemed shocked that someone had the audacity to stand up to Avantador’s troops. For everyone knew that the troops there were the fiercest of all the troops Avantador had. But slowly the bravest people began to warm up to the idea. As the cloud of gloom began to dissipate and a ray of hope peeked through the gap, everyone started to heed Esperanza’s advice and began to shout “DOWN WITH AVANTADOR!” Inspired by the confidence around her, she began to carry out her plan.

Everyone played their part in the plan. Some of the people deactivated the actual cameras and replaced them with fake cameras that showed everyone going about their own business. Some people started to make disguises for Esperanza and her group. Once the disguises for Esperanza and her group were finished, they donned their disguises and made their way to Avantador’s base in Bellona. They had worn costumes that made them look like maids. They would look like cleaning people, thus blending in with everyone in the base. They made their way in through the servants’ door. Once they went in, a troop leader looked at them strangely and then told them “You need to wash the drapes.” Esperanza nodded solemnly then ventured deeper in the fortress. She gave orders to split up and spy in different areas to see what Avantador’s troops were up to. They separated and Esperanza went to the head general’s cabin. Once she reached the cabin, she stood near the head general’s cabin for a bit and not hearing anything she decided to leave. Just then, Esperanza heard someone say, “It’s a good thing they don’t know our weakness.”

Esperanza quickly hurried back and leaned on the wall. “Weakness, huh?” she thought. A younger general spoke “What weakness sir?” he asked. “Ah, our weakness,” the head general said. “Get to the point, knucklehead” she thought. “I’ll tell you our weakness, young man. All our soldiers are hypnotized! There is a small golden chip on their left shoulder that hypnotizes them to follow us.” Esperanza gasped. She had to tell the others! She ran back to the area where they all agreed to meet. Everyone was already there and were buzzing with excitement to share their newfound discoveries. Some of the discoveries were disappointing (they absolutely hated the color blue; they liked puppies) but other discoveries were much more important. Some of the most important ones were that the next attack would be in a fortnight and that the army would be led by the head general. All these discoveries were interesting but everyone was shocked by Esperanza’s story.

A fortnight later, everyone was prepared for battle. They were all decked up in armor. A big blue banner saying “down with Avantador” was hung up. And everyone carried a pair of pliers (to pluck out the golden chip). When Avantador’s troops came they were ready! Avantador’s troops were not expecting the armed people and a ugh! blue banner. When they charged, the Bellonans plucked out every golden chip they could find, which left them with a bunch of confused Bellonan soldiers. In the end, the Bellonans had so many more soldiers than Avantador’s troops, therefore overpowering them. The head general was so scared that he agreed to the contract the Bellonans proposed. The contract stated “Avantador’s troops should be called off Bellona and Bellona should be a free city again, not under the rule of Avantador.” 

After the battle was over, Esperanza walked back, basking in glory. After all the festivities were over, Esperanza was walking back to her little hut which she had chosen to live in. She knew that there were thousands more cities that were under Avantador’s rule but she knew a movement had begun.

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