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Today, Tomorrow, and the Battle in the Middle

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On August 23rd, I remember standing there, staring at the clock with vacant eyes. 10:53 switched quickly to 10:54 and then it seemed to drag on, seconds feeling like minutes and minutes like hours. I anticipated this day, the day of escape as the best day of my life. I had spent the past weeks in the gym, getting buff so I would be prepared to survive in the woods for days, until I could once again safely enter back into society. I remember pacing the length of my cell, exactly 8 feet across and 9.25 feet wide. A smaller version of Hell on Earth.

The guard, Bradley strode past my cell, his walk was full of confidence.

“How’s my favorite little failure to the world doing today?” he sneered. I had dreamed of wiping that snotty little smirk off his face for days. He whipped his nightstick out of his holster and bashes it into my hands that had clung to the bars of my cell as if it were the edge of a lifeboat and I, a man stranded at sea.

“Get ready for bed, lights out is in an hour!” he yelled from the other side of the door. By that point in time the groans of displeasure from the other prisoners were growing quite loud; they were playing their daily game of p**s-off. The whole purpose of the game was to make the guard who was on-duty as mad as possible in the hopes that he would do something so radical that, if reported could cause him to lose his job. In that month alone there had been two guards who had lost their jobs.

“C’mon Mr. High and Mighty. Make us go to bed. Oh wait you’re too big of a wuss-bag!” I remember Jack Cannon, convicted of arson and grand-theft, screech from four or five cells to my left. He, of course did not use such “nice” language, but my momma taught me not to use those words in normal conversation.

I didn’t know why I was put in that prison, I really couldn't remember. Nobody really explained anything to me; the last thing I remember before I got to the prison was sitting in a hospital bed, wearing handcuffs. There was a guard sitting next to me and he told me that he would “take me down” if I tried to escape. I was told by one of the police stationed outside my door that I was a criminal now and would be moved to a more secure location in a few days, after I had made a full recovery.

“Why? What did I do wrong?”

He looked me in the eyes and said,

“Well you fought the law, and the law won,” he said in a sing song voice and then he called for the doctor who told me that because of the accident that I had lost my memory and that it might come back in a few days or I may lose it for good. In the end, I lost it for good but at that time I didn’t question anyone any further, just took my punishment because my father told me when I was young that things only get worse if you always fought back.

After a few days they transferred me to the prison, I was moved to the place where they kept infamous serial killers and wanna-be terrorists. I knew that if I wasn’t careful, I’d be totally screwed. I manned up and acted like I owned the place all the time. I wasn’t going to show fear, and neither was anybody else in this place. We all acted like nothing could hurt us until the night of my planned escape, a year after I first arrived, and that’s when everything seemed to go wrong. The familiar buzzing of the announcement system begins and Mr. Crowley, the big man who runs the prison, begins to speak, he said,

“Everyone stay where you are. Prepare for level two lock-down.”

The entire building erupted into a panic. A level two lock-down was very rare at such a heavily guarded place. There were barely any security problems so when there were, even the slightest one, everybody would have had a mental breakdown. I heard the worried voices of the guards at either end of the hallway.

“Bradley? Bradley Martin? He’s dead? You have got to be kidding me,” one said. Another mentioned,

“Freddie said that he saw someone wandering around on the premises and then he just kind of disappeared. Nobody’s seen him since his shift started four hours ago except for Greg who he reported the sighting to.”

That was when I started to get nervous. My hands began shaking; one of the best guards (no matter how much I hated him he was indeed the best) was dead and his second in command was missing. What the hell was going on? I spoke from inside my cell, trying to gauge all the other detainees’ emotions.

“Hey! Hey guys! Are you going to do anything about this? Shouldn’t we be protected if there is even the possibility of a threat?”

My words only fueled the fire. Unrecognizable voices shouted out, furious at the guards for keeping us in the dark. A new voice spoke from the announcement systems,

“You wish to be in the dark? I will give you darkness.” And all the lights slowly dimmed and then shut off completely.

Screams. Yells of fright and terror. They filled my ears until they felt as though they were bleeding.

“Who are you?”

“Please stop! You don't have to do this!”

I heard people begging for mercy or for death in some cases. Nobody could see or hear all that well, but when the cells opened there seemed to be a quick moment of silence before the next kill.

By the end of the night there was a large pile of bodies in the middle of the hallway, blood streaked along the walls and splattered on the floor. Police soon arrived on the scene and found no evidence of the monster who had terrorized the prison. I ran from the place with only a few cuts and scrapes and the memory of the voice of the announcer as he whispered in my ear.

“You may live today, but by tomorrow for death you shall pray,”

That was last night. So, if I lived through today I suppose the man lied. I don’t think he was lying, but I'm not going down without a fight. Bring it on...



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