FREEDOM A VISUAL SHORT STORY BY JACK PACKSHAW
“Where does a persons mind go when they experience a seizure? Do they unknowingly re-live memories and past experiences? Experience things they could never experience in reality? Do they manifest new worlds and explore those realms when blacked out? It is impossible to know what truly happens to an individual when they have a seizure, other than blacking out and having no recollection of the fit occurring. As a person who suffers from Epilepsy and someone who has experienced a seizure, this subject is both interesting and personal to me and I wanted to explore it more. I wanted to explore the possibilities of where the mind goes when a fit occurs. I was keen to create a story that could provide an option for where the mind might go. Instead of putting myself in the spotlight, I created a fictional epileptic child named Natalie and wrote it from her point of view. Natalie slips into a fit, where she knowingly experiences this journey into the land of ‘Freedom’. There’s similarities to such well-known stories as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. The similarities relate to the characters and the storyline. I decided to do an illustrated short story because I love to draw and I’ve always wanted to produce one. I also thought it would challenge my art practice and myself as an artist.” - Jack Packshaw
My name is Natalie. About three years ago I started sometimes getting weird feelings through my body, so I told Mummy and we went to the doctor’s. The doctor made me go in this really loud machine and told me that it took pictures of my brain. After that the doctor talked to Mummy about things I didn’t understand, but I knew they were talking about me. When we got home from the doctor’s Mummy sat me down on the sofa and told me I have a brain problem called Epilepsy and that’s the reason for all the weird feelings I’d been having lately. Since then I’ve had heaps of different weird feelings, the doctor’s call them ‘fits’. I don’t like them at all, and they’ve gotten worse since the first one. The one’s these days I don’t even know what happens when I have one cause I blank out. When I wake up my body hurts and I feel so tired, I don’t know why I have these fit things. Mummy always says that it’s all going to be okay, and that I’ll make it through this tough time but I’m just so confused and I can’t find the words to express how I feel. I like to think I go to a better place when I blank out and have a fit. Oh no, I’m getting that feeling again… I hate that feeling. It’s the worst. Here we go.
I felt around in the dark for a door handle but there wasnâ€™t one. I screamed and banged on the door but there was nothing but silence. I took a step back as my eyes started to water. Teardrops started to roll down my cheeks and fall off my chin. Suddenly the door opened slightly and a beam of light shot into the darkness. I raised my head and looked at the light, pausing for a second then stepping forwards and pushing the door open. Bursts of light shone through the doorway, I closed my eyes and covered my face with my arms. Hundreds of voices started talking in different languages at the same time as I walked through the doorway and disappeared into the light.
“Where am I?”
“What’s that rustling?”
“Wonder who that is?”
“Hey you!” “Hey, hey, come closer” “Are you her?" “Am I who?” “You know, her?” “I’m confused.” “Did you save me from that creature back there?” “The baby Livilleck?” “Yeah, I think...” “Yes, I destroyed it, you’re lucky it was a baby though, could have been much worse if it was an adult. The older Livillecks can grow up to 6 feet in height and the males grow huge battle tusks like elephants, so are you her or not?” “Actually, You know what, never mind! Just come with me!” “Umm, okay...”
“I’d like to ask you some questions.”
“Like what?” “What’s your name?
“The names Ronald, but you can call me Grey.” “Grey huh? It suits you.” “So, where are we?” “We are in the realms of Freedom of course!” he replied. “It’s really quite simple. Actually it’s quite complicated. No, that’s not right. You see, the realms of Freedom are unique to all of us. They represent our ultimate perception of the word Freedom. Whenever we experience something that disturbs or unnerves us, our mind will at some stage return us to here. You should know, you’ve been here before.” “But wouldn’t my mind remember this place if I’ve been here before?” “Not at all. Each time we come here, the concept of Freedom manifests in a different form. So like I said, you have been here before, but get taken away. You must find the Red door, that is Freedom’s weak point, you can get back to your reality there.” “Will you help me Grey? Pleeease.” “I will help you Natalie, only because you don’t have much time.” “The clock is ticking” “Oh thank you Grey! So where are we headed now?” “When we reach the Eastern borders of Larnavere Forest, we’ll reach Octolys, the land of the Rigganaut beings. We need to talk with the King of the Rigganauts, King Lucians, he’ll know more about the exit door and your way out of here.“ “Okay then, how long until we reach the outskirts of the forest?” “Soon now, very soon indeed!” “Come along now young one, do not be afraid” 10
“There’s the exit”
“My name is Grey”
“We have some questions about the Red Door, which the King will be able to answer.” “Thank you”
“I am Renz. I will take you to the king.”
“So who might you be?“ “My name is Grey, and this is Natalie. We are on a journey to find the Red Door.” “Well Grey, my name is King Lucians, king of the region Mysticallia and all Rigganauts, welcome to Octolys, why have you come here?“ “You see, your highness, we have some questions to ask you about the Red door.”
wonderful land?“ “Natalie must go back to her own reality, she does not belong here.” “Hmm, the Red door is within the Darkness, The Darkness dwells in a cave which is found in the Valley of the Fallens.“ “The Darkness?”
I know many souls who have been taken by it, AHHHH! It makes me furious!“ 24
“Travel towards the Eastern hills and you will enter the Valley of the Fallens. At the bottom of the valley there is marshlands, many battles have been fought in that valley, back when it wasn't called the Valley of the Fallens. It is also filled with monstrous fog that absorbs you if you are caught amongst it, the fog in the Valley of Fallens has a mind of it's own. You must leave now though, There are other
“Thank you your Highness for the advice. We appreciate it.”
“LEAVE MY SIGHT”
“THAT MUST BE THE VALLEY DOWN THERE”
“I hear voices from deeper in the cave”
I followed the voices deeper down the cave and they started to fade away. The cave started to get darker and then a bright light shone from where I was walking to,.. once again I closed my eyes and was absorbed by the light. Suddenly I was in a bedroom; it looked like it belonged to a young girl. There was an unmade single bed in the corner and a big picture of Octolys hung on the wall. I caught a glimpse of something red in the corner of my eye and turned to the right. There it was, the Red Door. I stepped towards the door, reached my hand out and grabbed the handle and turned.
Designed, illustrated and produced by Jack Packshaw 32