User:Eirik/The Price of Freedom

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The Price of Freedom

Author: Eirik

The magnificent stallion stood on the bluff overlooking his harem. The dozen wild mares grazed contentedly on the sweet grass as a cool breeze came in off the nearby lake. Some clouds were beginning for form on the horizon, and the stallion knew that it would rain this night.

With a contented sigh, he walked down the steep side of the bluff to the grazing land below. He didn't like the rain much, but it was a small price to pay for what lay before him. The grazing land here was almost limitless, the predators few and not a human to be seen. As a stallion, he'd never known a bit or bridle, and never felt a rope around his neck.

He lowered his head and took a few mouthfuls of grass. He had never expected something as simple as this could taste so good. One of the mares playfully nipped at his neck, jumping a little away each time. The stallion breathed her sweet smell. She was going into heat soon. Ever since he had taken over the harem, it seemed that one of the mares was always in season. At least half were already heavy with his foals.

The sound of pounding hooves arose in the distance. The stallions ears perked up eagerly. He'd not vanquished a challenger in weeks, and that was part of what made life as a stallion interesting.

He spun around and let out a piercing cry, emphasized with snorting and stamping. The stallion that approached didn't stop, didn't even slow. It ran around the edge of the lake straight and true, never faltering.

As the challenger came closer, the defender reared back kicking, but the upstart stopped and stood panting only a short distance away. The stallion was confused at the strange behavior, and tried again to attack, drive off the competitor.

The challenger just tossed his head a little. "Will you shut up, Mr. Phelden? I'm exhausted and we've got a matter to discuss."

The stallion blinked. "Who…?"

"I'm the system supervisor, Jackie Myles." He said. "This would have been a lot easier if you'd stayed in the foothills we created for you. I've been looking for you inside the simulation for two days!"

The stallion pranced nervously. "There wasn't enough grazing land."

The challenger shook his head. "There was plenty for the week you reserved. But you've been here four months!"

The stallion tossed his head and laughed. "Best vacation that I've ever had."

"It's over, Mr. Phelden."

The stallion froze. "What?"

"It's over." He repeated. "It's time to leave."

The stallion pranced about, shifting his weight from leg to leg. The mares started shying away. "No! You're lying! If it's a matter of money…"

"You have no money, Mr. Phelden. Your credit cards are maxxed out, your bank account empty."

The stallion started to breath in short, shallow breaths. "My car! I've got a '05 Mustang! It's a classic…"

"We repossessed it last week, for non-payment." Was the dull reply. "Come on, Mr. Phelden."

He screamed as the landscape started to lose detail. The sweet scents died, the birds and wind fell silent. The mares grew faint and vanished as their programs were saved and shut down one by one. Finally, the landscape faded until all that remained was darkness.

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Copyright 1998