A Short Story
Copyright © Allene Angelica 2014
In the solitary confines of her cell she dribbles as she scribbles. Her pink tongue frantically ice skates back and forth from one corner of her mouth to the other as if with a life of its own. Brow furrowed in concentration. Writing, writing, writing constantly scrawling on the precious paper that is so hard to come by here. She uses every available space to pen the saga in her mind.
How long has she been here? Years? Locked away because of some minor infraction she didn't understand. How was she to know that tasting a grape before buying it is a fifteen year jail sentence? Why did she come here to this foreign shore anyway? Scowling as the memory came tumbling to the fore. Oh yeah...him... She didn't want to think about him. Such a bad decision to move here. She can't even speak the language.
Her butt begins to numb. Time for her daily exercises. Her metal chair grates loudly across the cement floor as she stands. Lets start with jumping jacks. She positions herself in the middle of the room. There isn't much space but she makes do with what she has.
As she does her dailies, as she calls them, she starts to perspire quickly even though the temperature in her cell is close to freezing. Her body, an efficient cooler as always. A round of jacks, push ups, squats, lunges and crunches, three times, before stretching her body to its limit keeps her focus on the here and now. Thirty minutes later, panting and soaking wet, she takes off her clothes and washes herself at the sink. No shower just a bed in one corner, a table and chair in another and a sink and a toilet with no seat in the third. It isn't pretty and nobody in their right mind would want to be here for any length of time.
She hears a tray sliding through the cuff port. Breakfast. Already? Time sure is inconvenient. What do they say about time...'Time waits for no man' or something like that. But she's a woman damn it! Time can make an exception. Well she can try can't she? She took the tray to her table not bothering to dress. No one ever saw her anyways and vice versa. She is the only one in solitary. Everyone else inhabited the general population upstairs.
Happily digging into her food and chewing each flavorless bite with pleasure. Savoring every morsel hungrily imagining a thick juicy steak, medium rare, with potatoes drenched in butter can't forget about the eggs, over medium, it is breakfast after all...hmmm...heaven. It will be six hours before the next meal. They only just give enough to whet the appetite but never satisfy it. When done she slides the tray with the empties back through the cuff port and could hear it being taken away by invisible hands. Maybe they're all robots. No one ever spoke to her. Silence is her constant companion in this hole.
Sighing she glances around, she lives in a world of gray. Gray walls, gray ceiling, gray bed, gray sheets, gray jumpsuit, gray socks, gray shoes, grey eyes (at least from what she remembers, no mirrors in here), just gray, gray and more gray.
She returns to her writing, brow once again furrows in concentration. The exciting part of her story is just beginning. Should the heroine ride away on horseback or steal a car? If on horseback she needs to explain how she knows how to ride. Maybe riding lessons as a child? Or maybe she learned how to ride on some trekking adventure in some exotic local during her college years. Hmmm...but what if she stole a car? How did she get in and start it with no keys? She smashed the driver's side window? And she learned how to hot-wire a car from a thieving ex-boyfriend? The typical good girl fell for a bad boy scenario. Or maybe some idiot just left his keys in the car and the heroine just happened to conveniently run across it at just the right time and place?
She sits and ponders. The easiest to explain would be her best choice and probably the most believable. No computer so no internet. Research is an option she does not have. 'Write what you know.' Runs repeatedly through her cerebral cortex. On and on she scratches her tale.
A yawn escapes. It's bedtime. She had dinner about an hour ago. No clock so she can never really be certain about the time but it feels as if an hour has passed since she ate. She slowly rises, her bones creaking. She had sat in one position for too long. Her back grumbles its grievances. She's lost quite a bit of weight since her incarceration. No one back home would recognize her. Her hair now back to its original mahogany roots. She had been a bleach bottle blonde for years.
She washes her face and brushes her teeth. Thank goodness for these little luxuries. She knew that some of the prisoners were so poor they couldn't afford soap or toothpaste. The prison does not provide anything for free. Well, maybe food but then it wouldn't look well for them if the prisoners all died of starvation within a week of arriving. Solitary suited her just fine. Before being sent here she was up there with the gen pop and it stank to high heaven. Why she was sent down here is another story altogether. She gave her hair a quick brush before slipping into bed. Within a few seconds she was out like a light. Falling asleep has never been an issue.
Her eyes fly open. Something disturbed the silence. What time is it? What is that? A tremor shakes the bed. An earthquake? She lays deathly still. BOOM! An explosion! It came from somewhere above ground. The building shakes dramatically. The walls sway backwards and forwards. Cracks materialize where the ceiling and walls meet, zippering downwards in a zigzag pattern. The shaking is strong enough to loosen the hinges on her cell door. FREEDOM! Wait...slow down...taking a few deep breaths she calmly gets out of bed to get dressed. As she puts on her shoes she listens intently for running footsteps, yelling, screaming, even whispering. Nothing. Just the customary silence. They've forgotten all about her, not the first time. She grins.
She waits a little longer than her nerves could handle but the years in here have taught her patience. Standing statue still against the wall she concentrates on any movement or sound outside her cell. How long she stood there she couldn't tell but long enough to feel secure that no one was outside in the hall. She softly pulls open her door. Cringing as it groans. It's barely hanging on to the bottom hinge. She creeps along the wall, her ears tuned in to any sound. Again nothing. She climbs the stairs on tip toe, opens the door, not surprised to find it unlocked, to the main level. Main line must have been damaged. Funny how the generators didn't kick in. Rubble scattered haphazardly throughout the lobby floor. Empty. No one around. They must have evacuated. They've forgotten all about her. She grins.
The main security doors were left wide open. She could see the sun's glowing bald head just barely peeking out on the horizon. Cautiously she walks through to the parking lot. She looks around. Empty. Not a soul in sight. Where the hell did they all go? Abandoned cars litter the lot. She walks over to a grey average looking Eco car. Is everything grey in this place? She couldn't wait to get back into the real world to see some color! Door was left wide open. Her heart skips a beat. The annoying ding, ding, ding clanging loudly in the still air. Keys are in the ignition! She slides in, adjusts the seat and the mirrors. Starts the car. Full tank. Nice! She glances at the rear view. Gray eyes reflect back. She winks. She grins. Puts the car in gear and drives away.