Stepping through the clinical hallway, I felt the eyes of the other prisoners on me, judging, assessing my potential value. Should they use me for their escape plot, sexual slave or comrade against the prison dictators? Or was I better off feared, avoided until the backstabbing became too much and vengeance was needed? Even I couldn’t answer that anymore.
The fist latched onto my shoulder forced me into a slow, marching pace, showing me off to me fellow inmates. I glared at the wall, unblinking to prevent the fearful tears that threatened to spill down my face. Crying was forbidden here. Comfort and weapons and love and crying, to be replaced with roughness and wit and diffidence and stone.
“Stop,” came the harsh call from the guard on my shoulder. We halted in a single beat, regiment and uniformity already instilled on my by the formality of this place.
I looked at him. “Ah, home sweet home for the next eternity. Do I get a welcome mat?”
A low, warm chuckle came from inside the cell. “Not quite. But I might be able to make you feel quite welcome indeed. Roomie.” She laughed again and the sound terrified me.
The guard scoffed. “Little bit early to be flirting, ain’t it, Burrell, you just met the kid. ‘sides, you’ll have plenty of time for introductions in the morning,” he added, rolling his eyes. He gave me a little shove towards the cell, bearded face relaxed and bored. “Right, this is yours, 9906, so make yourself at home. Burrell ‘ere will make sure you get on alright in your first few days. Don’t fuck around and we won’t have no problems.” Slinking backwards, he watched as I looked into my all-expense paid accommodation.
The word tiny is often used to describe prison cells. It doesn’t come close. I’d say there was no room to swing a cat, but with two of us already living in there, the cat wouldn’t have fitted in the first place. A pair of bunk beds lay against the right wall, the top one a slab in a morgue. At the back sat a metal toilet that appeared to be moulded out of the floor, it was so tightly bolted down. There was no toilet seat. A sink with one tap crouched next to the loo.
And that was it. That was the expanse of my new house. Honestly, the decorations my new roommate had put up already made it more habitable. Speaking of my new roommate, she coughed as I surveyed my surroundings.
“Quit staring, you’ve got a shitload of time to take in this breath taking view –“she paused as the guard clashed the transparent door closed behind us and told us to “shut the fuck up” before he monitored shower time. Despite myself, I blanched at the thought.
Burrell sat up and threw her pale head back laughing. “Don’t get your dildo in a knot, he won’t really do that. Jengo just really hates brining in the newbies. Don’t fuck around and you’ll stay on his good side.” She grinned. “Safie Burrell, current occupant of cell 157. Good to meet you.”
I stared at her. That name… it was so familiar but darted through my memories, swimming away everytime I tried to reel it in.
Her grin faltering, she sighed and shrugged her slender shoulders. “I’m trying to be nice. You won’t get much of that in here, so might wanna take it while you can. Who are you, tall dark and rude?”
Shaking myself out of my momentary daze, I muttered “Kaliah Hina.”
Thump! Burrell fell out of bed.
“Kaliah? As in, Hawaiian Kaliah? As in, 24 years old, favourite colour orange, had a cat called Carter growing up and stabbed her asshole boyfriend to wind up in prison, Kaliah?” She stumbled to her feet, grabbing the metal ladder with grasping fingers. “Can it really be you?”
“Safie…” The unfamiliar name tasted sweet on my tongue. “Nope. Fuck off is this real. I’m… I’m going to sleep now. Goodnight Safie.” True to my word, I rolled over and promptly passed out, unable to see her shocked and heartbroken expression any longer.
And that’s the introduction to a story I’m currently writing. It’s not all set in a prison. Most of it isn’t, actually.
There’s no name for it yet – it’s currently saved on my laptop as “weird ass prison story thing.”
I really hope you liked it. Please leave me feedback, because I have the feeling I’m going to be working on this for a long time.