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Punishment

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The cold, smooth, and gray impenetrable bars reflect him at awkward angles, warping his appearance. Floors above, on the monotonous off-white and stained wall opposite his cage, a precisely cut rectangle lets in a precisely measured amount of sunlight. The rays of hope that flood in on sunny days get caught in the sterile, lifeless air and fall limply to the ground as nothing more than a dim glow, flickering in and out of existence. As they form uniform, parallel shadows on the floor besides him, he just wishes it were another cloudy day, so that he could maybe once and for all let go of the feeble light he’s been keeping futilely within his soul. Closing his eyes to block out the depressingly altered images of himself that won’t relent in their staring, he sees nothing but blackness, just as uniform as the shadows besides him. The sounds that echo off of everything around him ricochet until they physically enter his body and blow past the light, nearly extinguishing it with their ferocity. Curling up on the unforgiving floor, he notices with the mildest of interest that there is nothing to smell. Thinking to himself, he can come up with no distinguishable scent. The place merely smells of air. Clean, chilled air. With so many occupants, disease is a major concern, and so everything is kept as hygienic as possible. Maybe this is why the food is so bland. Perhaps they avoid spices and seasonings as a means of sickness prevention. Or maybe they just liked to see them suffer. He strongly suspects the latter. The meals they serve are insipid and just as unvarying as the bright orange jumpsuits they all wear, everyday, and the cold, smooth bars that surround them at all times.





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