Now that I am completely confident that no one is reading this unless specifically asked to... I present my creative writing:
My job was simple: guard the prisoner. He was not a
tall or particularly imposing man, perhaps six feet. He sat
against the wall of his cell facing up at the tiny window
nearly ten feet above him. Not nearly enough light to
brighten the dour interior of the prison. He sat
uncomfortably on the drenched cement, his arms resting on
his legs, simply staring out at what was once his world.
I noticed his eyes, not particularly captivating eyes,
but very sincere. His concentration, wherever his stare
happened to be fixed seemed unbreakable. As with most of
the prisoners he was unshaven and dishevelled, the odd
bruise darkening his sickly pale skin. While most had cuts
and deep wounds, there was something striking about his. I
noticed a white imbedded strike carved from the tip of his
right eye brow to the center of his forehead. It was an old
scar. It didn’t especially deform his face, but it was
He wore his issued clothes, it seemed a size too large
for him and became aware that his pants were beginning to
soak from the cold ground. I saw his hand check for a dryer
spot to sit and his eyes turn towards me. I tossed him
another set of pants. He spoke for the first time since he
“Thank you”. He said with slight surprise in his
voice. It was a deep voice for a meagre man. I turned to
give him his privacy. With my back to him I find a moment,
that for whatever reason seems appropriate and ask, “Where
did you get that scar?”
“Sorry?” he replied.
“On your head I mean. On your forehead.”
“Oh. Long time ago,” he said with a little disease. I
heard him sit back down and turned to see him now sitting
against the back wall of the cell facing out towards me.
“I was in a bar fight,” he said with a bit of a
chuckle. “I guess not much of a fight. I pretty much got my
I sat as he said this. I cannot say I was surprised.
Not just because he was not a large daunting man, but from
the few words he had spoken, he did not seem to be a
“How did you end up in a fight?” I asked attempting to
“Heh, the usual way, I suppose. A girl,” he said
grinning. A look of remembrance enters his sincere eyes.
“But not any usual girl, no doubt?” I suspected that
my attempts to sound formal, but still feed my curiosity
were a little transparent.
He smiled at me. “Blonde and petite, a beautiful body
and an innocent smile. I didn’t fall in love with her at
first sight, no. I feel in love with her the first time she
said my name. There was something in the way she looked me
square in the eye and held her lips together before she
began, and softened her voice… I had never been happier to
I replied without thinking. “The speaking of a
person’s name an have a powerful affect on that person. It
is how they identify themselves, and how they hope that
they are identified by others. I still to this day miss my
mother calling me by my full name. It used to make me feel
so safe.” I stopped myself.
He looked inquisitively at me for a moment and then
continued. “She was at the bar with a real jackass. She
must have been an angel to have put up with his shit for
all that time. Anyways, they were there and she came over
to talk to me for a few moments. She asked me how work was,
we talked about old times, how my sister was doing, if she
had a new cat, how life was, the usual crap. Of course
coming from her it was like she was touching a deep inner
part of my soul.” He laughed again.
“She left and turned back to her boyfriend, and as she
approached him he gave me a menacing look. He turned back
to her and began yelling some gibberish about ‘who the hell
is he?’ and ‘don’t fucking flirt with other men’, and when
she started apologizing and trying to explain that I was
just a friend he hit her square across the face. Without a
thought, including a thought about how much larger and
stronger he was than I, I practically leaped across the bar
and punched him in the throat. Now granted his throat was
about the size of my thigh, so this did not do the damage I
intended it to. He broke a beer bottle and came after me
with it. He got in about one good slash before a few guys
could hold him back. I just ran for my life.” He again
found enough humour in this to chuckle a little.
“What happened to the girl?”
He suddenly became very sullen. “She got pregnant and
married him. I think they are still married. I don’t really
He stood up and turned towards the window. I decided
not to ask any more questions. I began to return to my seat
when he stopped me with a few short words.
“You know, I’ve never told anyone about that before.”
A day went by and we did not have any more talks. I
didn’t ask the prisoner anything else, and he didn’t
volunteer anything. But I became obsessed with his story.
Not an unusual story, but a noble one. I had never heard of
a prisoner doing something courageous before. As a matter
of fact, it didn’t occur to me that they would.
The more I thought about it and the more I looked at
him sitting in his cell, the more I obsessed about it. I
began to bring him extra linens from the closet. I found a
mop for him to dry the floor.
A peculiar sense of morality overcame me. Not only did
I sympathize with this man, I sympathized with everyman I
had ever held prisoner. What right have I to hold anyone in
a cell and tell them to stay there. If he were not here in
this cell he may be off rescuing this girl, or some other
girl from peril. Or perhaps inspiring others with his
courage to stand up to a stronger brawnier man. He seemed
quite bright, and thoughtful. He could be a professor, a
doctor, a police officer, a politician, and here he was
confined in this cell, staring at the wall, his potential
as stale as the small portions of food he was occasionally
This is when I forgot why I was holding this man
prisoner in the first place. I decided that I could not in
good conscience keep him there, confined in his cell.
Around sunrise that next morning I took the keys from
the wall where they were hanging, went to the padlock, and
unlocked the cell. The entire time the prisoner remained in
the back upper left corner of the cell watching me as I
anxiously disobeyed the duties of my post.
I returned to my seat, waiting for him to take his
leave. He sat motionless, still groggy from another
restless night. I caught his eye and nodded.
To my surprise he nodded back and then, most
strangely, continued to sit staring at the now unlocked
I thought to myself ‘He’s tired. Perhaps he’s
regaining his strength before he leaves’. I decide to give
him some time.
But then hours passed, and then nearly a day. I
thought ‘Perhaps he doesn’t realize that I’ve unlocked the
door’. So I got up and approached the cell, the prisoners
sincere eyes now fixed on my motion. I pulled the door open
wide and motioned for him to exit. He continued to sit.
I could not understand ,for all my life, why he would
want to remain in this dank, smelly, miserable cell.
Didn’t he want to leave?
I left the door way and tried turning my back on the
cell for a short time. Maybe he would try to escape while
my back was turned. I looked back to see that he was still
sitting, this time staring at me. I looked into his eyes
and saw that he had no intention of going.
I returned to my seat and began to puzzle over the
reason for his inaction. I’d had men sit in this cell and
beg me for their freedom, threaten me for it, cry for it,
scream for it, attempt to prostitute themselves for it, but
here was a man whose freedom I had granted and he was
refusing it? It was almost beyond comprehension.
Was he waiting for something? For night cover perhaps,
or for a different guard? Yes perhaps that was it. Perhaps
he didn’t want me to take the fall for his escape. No, that
was ridiculous. Once he was gone he would never hear from
or see me again, of what concern would it be to him?
Maybe he thought that this was a trick. Yes, he thinks
that I’m testing his obedience, and that this will result
in better treatment.
Though I could never match his sincerity I made my
best attempt. My eyes met his and I calmly spoke, lowering
my voice, “This is not a trick.”
“I know,” he said.
I froze for a moment and then looked away.
The mystery loomed. I sat and paced and ate and drank
and never stopped thinking. ‘Why is he still here? Doesn’t
he have anything to live for? And even if he doesn’t, isn’t
death better than the hell he faces here. The slow rotting
of the body and the mind?’.
After sometime it was dark, I couldn’t tell for how
long. I looked at him sitting there wide awake. I on the
other hand was exhausted, emaciated. I hadn’t eaten in
sometime now, I couldn’t tell how long, I’d lost track of
days. I said, with the first hint of desperation in my
voice “Don’t you know I’ve unlocked the cell?”
“Yes,” he said.
“You can leave” I pleaded further.
“I know,” he said calmly.
Somehow those words struck me. There was no more
denying it. He was choosing to stay in this cell for
reasons I could not understand. And all at once, I did not
want him to go. Not because I was afraid of my job, or my
life, or the rules. I wanted him there with me.
I controlled my urge to run and shut the door, and
simply remained seated, somewhat glad that he was still
there. The content lasted only a short while, as I began to
further contemplate his actions. Did he also want to be
there with me? Impossible. Yet he would not leave, and this
line of thinking began to develop. I wanted him to stay and
he seemingly also wanted to stay. Did he love me? I knew
that I loved him.
This is when I began to wonder how long I had been
there, or when I had started to become completely
delusional. I started checking for a watch I didn’t have on
and trying to count the days by the bodily deterioration of
the dead rat lying adjacent to the cell. I saw my
reflection in the puddle. I was a wreck, a hideous mess.
How could anyone love me?
It was then that I began to wonder which side of the
cell I was on. Was I in fact HIS prisoner? Where was I? How
had I gotten there? How long had I been there? I started
anxiously pacing around the hall looking for the telltale
signs of a prison cell. The bars were there, the small
uncomfortable bed, the puddles, the tiny window. That was
it! I was in a prison, he was my guard!
“Let me out!” I screamed. I began frantically running
and crying and screaming, “Let me out!”. Ran up to the bars
and started shaking and thrashing, “Let me out!”.
Falling to my knees I curled up on the floor shaking
uncontrollably. When I looked up the first thing I saw were
those sincere eyes looking down at me.
“Why don’t you leave?” I meekly coughed out.
“Because I don’t want to,” he replied calmly.
It was me that they took away. They pulled me from the
ground and brought me to another prison, but a different
kind, where I WAS the prisoner. What happened to my
prisoner I’ll never know. I assume they locked his door
again. Maybe someone else unlocked it. I wonder if he left.
On the off chance someone did actually read that: please be gentle. It's a VERY VERY first and early draft that needed a home.