- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Diary of a Prisoner
They threw me into the cell. I felt the cool, slimy stone of the floor press into my hands and knees. I heard a low laugh, followed by the sound of the iron door closing. My vision blurred, and the whole cell started spinning. I blacked out.
I woke up. A bright light shone into my face through a small, barred window at the top of the cell. It must have been around mid-day. Suddenly, I felt nauseous, and crawled to the corner of the cell, where I vomited up any food that was left in my stomach. I realized how disgusting my setting was – literally living in filth. I heard footsteps coming down the hall; they stopped in front of my cell.
“Here you go you piece of dirt,” said the guard. He threw in a piece of stale bread at my head, which I dodged, and slid in a cup of water through the bars. He walked away, muttering how I was trash.
I sat there sipping my water, thinking about the events of the past few days. I shuddered…
Fallston, England - September 29, 2182
It was the day before the disaster. I walked toward the town centre after school, where I was meeting some of my friends. October was coming soon, which meant fall was approaching. Unfortunately, it helped the town’s cheesy slogan, “It’s always fall in Fallston!” stand out even more.
There were five of us sitting on the fountain – Mark, Sienna, Laurence, Natalya, and I. They were all my very close friends. We sat on the fountain for a while, talking about different topics, but mostly about war reports. A few birds sang from the trees. It seemed like there were less and less birds lately. Even they couldn’t survive this war.
I remembered thinking of the war that day. How twelve years ago, when I was two, scientists in China discovered how to enhance pretty much every single piece of technology ever invented, as well as creating deadly new bombs and a whole new line of deadly war vehicles. One of the deadliest was “aireplanes”.
Many people had been confused by the name. They thought airplanes were vehicles that ran on oil and flew you to places. Aireplanes where lightning-fast, black metal planes that dropped bombs filled with intense pressurized air with a rock hard center of fire. When they exploded, it could destroy entire towns.
Amongst their other unfortunate inventions, there were other types of cruel, pain-inflicting bombs. Acid, sonic, nuclear, and electric are just a few. They dropped them from their airecrafts like marbles.
After the Chinese launched the first bombings on Japan, the United States quickly took to their defenses. So far, they have been the only country to withstand the Chinese –but they were struggling.
When I was three, the Chinese launched their first attack on Great Britain. The battle lasted for two months, and spanned across the country. By the time it was over, one-half on London had been destroyed, as well as many towns – including my own.
The only memory I have of the event was my mother screaming and hiding with me in the basement. My father was at work when the bombing on our town happened. Thankfully, he survived. Others in the town weren’t so lucky. By the time it was over, the population of 4,000 became 600.
They used sonic bombs to do the job. Not one house was left unscathed – everything was in ruins. Burnt wood and stones littered the ground from the devastated homes. My mom said how the old town kept classic-style homes on the outside, but modern on the inside. Robots, computers – all that kind of good stuff. Sadly, I don’t remember any of it. I grew up in a small wooden house that resembled more of a shack - there was no technology, electricity, or even running water.
After the bombings, most of the survivors left - 223 stayed. It took five years before our deformed village could be recognized as a town again. When I was eight, I was enrolled in school where I would go until I was sixteen. I never did get to finish what was planned…
Growing up in a war-filled world was hard, since we didn’t have any more technology which our town had for the past 250 years. It was a very hard change according to the adults. We farmed for most of our food, and did hard work that wasn’t normal for our time. My dad always said that it was more as if we were living in the 1700’s instead of the 22nd century.
After the meeting at the fountain, Natalya and I walked towards our homes. She lived a street away from me in a similar wooden shack-like house.
“I feel uneasy about tomorrow,” she said. I noticed her teeth kept scrapping together in her slightly parted mouth. The statement surprised me.
“Why?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. I just keep getting a very weird feeling in my stomach. People are going to die around here soon. I can feel it. But you probably think I’m crazy.”
I stared at her. I did have a slight feeling that she was crazy – this was the first time I ever heard her talk like this. I felt very eerie staring at her; the wind whipping her light brown hair across her face. I wish I would have listened to her then, and escaped from town while I had a chance.
“Calm down. I’m sure we’re all just anxious about the U.S struggling. It’s just nerves that are bothering you.”
“Yea, you’re probably right,” she replied. I sure was wrong.
I told her goodbye as she turned to her street, and I continued onto mine. I opened the door to my run-down home. As usual, no one was inside except for me. My parents were always busy working.
I decided to go to bed early, feeling very tired all of a sudden. I slept peacefully. However, it was my last night to dream in my own bed.
By now, I should write down a bit about myself for the record. My name is James Lequate, and I’m 14 years old. My fifteenth birthday is six days from now, on October 3rd. Right now, writing from 2-by-2 jail cell, my biggest hope is to live.
On the morning of the attack, I got up early to go check on my family’s garden. I watered the tulips for a while before making my way to school, stepping inside my house on the way to grab a snack and my backpack.
“Have a good day at school honey. I love you,” said my mother as I walked out the door.
“Love you too,” I replied, waving farewell. That was the last time I saw her.
That morning in class was very dull and boring, and consisted mostly of paper being thrown, and the teacher yelling. I sat in the back having a quiet conversation with Mark. That’s when we heard it – the deadly sound of bombs dropping on Fallston. The last sound I heard was Sienna letting out a bloodcurdling scream. It all happened in a blur.
I was flung into the back wall, flames shooting everywhere. The tips of my hair were burned off. At least that haircut wouldn’t be a problem anymore, but that was the least of my worries.
I thought I was in a corner, but I couldn’t be sure. Two stone chunks landed right next to me, falling against each other and the wall. It trapped me inside a makeshift cave. Yet, that cave is probably what saved me from all the debris that should have crushed me.
I was stuck there for a long time; minutes, hours, days – I didn’t know. It was as if I was in a trance. Soon, that trance broke, and claustrophobia began to set in. A thick layer of dust hung in the air like smoke, choking me. I screamed; no one answered.
That’s when I saw the tiniest bit of light coming from above my head through a small hole in the cave. I climbed up a steep wall of sharp, burning rubble, getting cuts almost everywhere on my body. Finally, I made it to the small hole where light was shining in, and began to push through. Eventually the hole was big enough and I crawled through. When I came back to the surface, two things caught my attention.
First, a thick layer of smog hung in the air so thick that it almost blocked out the sun. It had been caused from all of the collapsed burning buildings. Second, I was looking straight into the face of a huge Chinese soldier with a gas mask on. So much for what I heard of them being small. They probably invented a mutation machine, or something of that sort.
He grabbed me, practically twisting me into a knot. I let out a yell, but he quickly gagged me, and bound my hands and feet. Not knowing what was happening, he threw me into the back of a large aircraft. I sat there for hours, looking out an oval window onto the scene of what was left of my town – nothing.
Eventually, a woman was thrown into the back with me. I recognized her as the apple vendor from the town centre. She was bound and gagged like me, and looked like she had a broken arm. We stared at each other for a while until the plane started to lift off.
So that was it. The Chinese found two survivors to take as prisoners. Yet, I still felt hope. There could still be survivors out there somewhere, buried deep within the rubble. I prayed that those who may be trapped found a way out – and found each other. Somehow, I just knew it would happen; looking into the apple vendor’s eyes, I could tell she felt it too.
I fell asleep sometime during the plane ride. My eyes opened when we landed. Looking out the window, I saw a very old building complex that looked like a prison. It reminded me of the Tower of London. “Temporary Chinese British Base 17 – Prison,” said the sign in front of the main entrance.
A few soldiers unloaded the woman and I into a meeting room. I felt intoxicated – probably from the fumes in the air at Fallston. All I knew was that after ten minutes, I was thrown into Cell 314, where I blacked out.
The day was very dull and boring. My daily routine is to sit and think for most of the morning, eat my one square meal a day at noon, and sit and think some more for the rest of the day.
Soon, after my meal of gruel and water, a petite working maid came up to my cell. She was Chinese of course, and made quick, hushed conversation with me through the bars.
“I brought you some paper,” she said. “Write down your experiences – I want you to keep a diary for me. Don’t ask why – it could be helpful.” She shoved a few sheets of paper into my cell, and quickly walked away. I called out thank-you to her, and she nodded. Now I have caught up to where I currently am with my diary.
Today I saw the apple vendor being lead away. When she came back, she stared at me with wide, frightened eyes, as if warning me of something. I wonder what…
I am in a state of shock. I was sentenced to death, due to a negative statement from the Chinese dictator. I sit here in deep thought about how twenty minutes ago, my life was condemned.
One Hour Earlier
A guard came in and dragged me out. I demanded to know where he was taking me, but he remained silent. I ended up in a room filled with various forms of court officials. I was going to trial. The guard forced me to sit alone in a chair facing the judge. He was dressed in black, with deep, heartless eyes that looked like coal.
“Order in the court,” he said roughly. “Today we examine the case of prisoner 2203. By the recent order from our royal majesty: ‘I will not tolerate the rebellions in England. I hear by declare all prisoners who are British to be executed in three days,’ I sentence Prisoner 2203 to be hung three days from now at sunset.”
That was it. I was taken back to my cell crying, all because of a death sentence given to me in less than five minutes.
Today I turn fifteen – my worst birthday ever. Sitting in my cell all day praying. However, this birthday wasn’t meant to be all bad. Hope came to me that night.
The cleaning maid came back up to my cell. She had a smile on her face – it gave me the feeling of mischief.
“Have you been writing?” she asked. I nodded solemnly, wondering what was with her. That’s when it all came out in a rush. She started talking about a breakout plan for a few of the Brits.
She seemed sad she couldn’t save everyone, so I told her she saved whom she could. I got a smile in response. I found out her name was Rosa, but I kept quiet about my birthday. I didn’t want her singing or anything like that.
There were going to be five of us – the apple vendor, two men, a little girl, and I. Rosa left after getting my yes to be included in the group. My praying and hope paid off. This was the best birthday gift I could have received.
The escape group is planning the breakout for tonight. It would begin very late, around midnight. Rosa had her own little plan to get the keys to the cells that she didn’t tell me. Once we were unlocked, she would open the hatch to the sewers, where we would unfortunately follow until it led out to the Thames River. It is going to be very disgusting.
Just as planned, Rosa appeared at midnight, and unlocked my cell. I said hello to the apple vendor, and made my way down the uneven corridor to the sewer latch. Luckily, all the guards were on break. Rosa opened the latch, and the group crawled into the slimy abyss. I almost vomited. Rosa threw the keys in after us, and said, “Just so I don’t get caught!” She winked, and closed the latch. I said a silent prayer for her in my mind.
We traveled through the horrible stench of the sewers for hours. Somehow, I preferred this than being locked up in the cell. Although, it wasn’t much better. After exiting the sewers into the Thames River, our group separated. Sarah (the apple vendor) and I went north to Fallston. The other three headed towards London.
It took us five days of walking before we made it to Fallston. During our trip, I learned a lot about Sarah. We became good friends. However, on the last day of walking our new bond couldn’t prepare us for what was next.
We had reached Fallston. Looking into the valley where the town was built was heartbreaking. There was not one building left standing, nor any signs of life. It looked like a graveyard.
In the Ruins of Fallston – October, 2182
As soon as we reached the outskirts of town, she and I split up. Sarah took the east side, and I took the west. We were looking for any survivors we could find. I walked among the endless ruins searching for just one person. I found none. That is when I heard a scream – Sarah’s. She was yelling my name. I was running over to where I heard her voice when I first saw them.
Nineteen people were gathered around Sarah. I recognized all of them as acquaintances except for one – Natalya. A surge of mixed emotions overwhelmed me. Relief, knowing that there were survivors. Joy, that Natalya was safe. Sadness, for all those who were lost – including my parents and friends. Anger – my hate at the Chinese for what they did.
Natalya ran forward and hugged me. We both started crying. I thought everything was over – no more being stuck in prison. No more death – just rebuilding the town.
“I should have listened to you that day before the bombings,” I said.
Over the course of the next week, we built temporary homes. Even though we were in such a horrible scene, everything felt peaceful. However, I cried every night over what happened.
It was the morning of November 1. I had walked outside to go watch the birds when I saw them. One Chinese soldier coming from out of the valley, followed by dozens more. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I knew I couldn’t let the others get caught and executed.
In my spare time, I had been building an underground safe house for something like this. No one else knew about it. I immediately gathered everyone and rushed them in. By now, the Chinese were in the town. Being the last one to go into the bunker, they saw me. I knew it was over.
I closed the latch, locking the others inside with only the emergency key. The soldiers grabbed me, and took me away. We arrived at the prison again, I receiving the same verdict as before.
On the way to my death, I pass Rosa. I am about to give her these papers so I will be remembered. As I walk to the ropes, I know that I saved twenty lives. All I can do now is give them the gift of hope to survive through the rest of the war. Hope!