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Jailbreaker

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Written by   262
1 month ago
Topics: Topic, Crime, Memory, Shortstory, Faith, ...

[WP] You've been sentenced to 400 years for multiple murders. It's been 399 years and your jailers are starting to get nervous.

*****

The door creaked ajar slowly, the bearded man sneaking his head around the frame and peeking inside to see me. Upon making eye contact he quickly looked away, his lip arched and his face scrunched as he made his way inside with a platter of food in hand. I studied him from between the bars of my cell. I’d never seen this one before. Likely part of the reason why he was so nervous. But I felt as though there was somehow a relationship already built between us by the way he refused to look at me.

His breathing was erratic and he held the food far away from his body, as though there was something noxious within. He placed it on the floor ahead of my cell and kicked it lightly though the opening, the tray scraping to a halt halfway within my space. I suddenly realized where the familiarity was stemming from.

“Little Ambrose?” I asked. The way his body tensed up let me know I was immediately right.

“H— how do you know my name?” he asked.

“How could I forget old man Fischer! Leon was the most respected guard in this place!” I said, beaming at the man.

“You mean… my great grandad? You knew him?” Ambrose asked, his anxiety flowing to curiosity.

“That’s right. He talked about you day and night before he retired. How is he these days?” I asked, dragging the plate inside and taking a bite of today’s ration of stale bread.

“He’s dead,” Ambrose informed, awkwardly.

“Oh, yeah?” I asked with my mouth full. “How long’s he been doing that?”

“Uhmmm,” Ambrose stumbled at my phrasing. “At least 30 years now.”

“Seems like everyone gets up to that eventually,” I nodded.

He tilted his head to one side, consternation ablaze in his eyes. He opened his mouth, but it hung loosely.

“You ever hear about me from Leon?” I asked, curious, moving on to the brown mush in my tray that was allegedly ‘peas.’

“Maybe. I was pretty young, so I don’t remember,” he answered.

“What about any of the other Fletcher boys? Ben or Jonas say anything?”

Ambrose's eye twinged at the mention of his father and grandfather so casually. He swallowed and pressed on.

“Yeah, Grandpa Ben told us that you killed eighty people over the course of three years,” Ambrose said, his fear had been now fully replaced by an eagerness to know more.

“Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t!” I chuckled, pointing around my cell with my brown-stained plastic spoon. He didn’t react to my cavalier tone like most other guards.

“He also said you never denied any of the killings attributed to you. You immediately plead guilty,” Ambrose continued.

“Did I?” I said, shrugging. “It’s been a few years, I stopped keeping track of my case a few decades back. I’m just here to do my time.”

“That was the last thing he mentioned. That you didn’t age. That even with years left on your sentence, you never seemed to care much about what remained.”

I shrugged again, taking another bite of ‘peas’ that tasted something like melted meatloaf. He spun his hands forward, trying to get me to say more, but I shrugged again.

“How are you alive?” he asked. “You look younger than me!”

“Well, no one tried to kill me,” I pointed out. “Well, except for that first roommate who didn’t like that I murdered his wife. And also the warden who swore he would outlive me and threw me into this solitary about a hundred and six years ago. But otherwise, no killing attempts.”

“But... you were supposed to die! Of old age!” Ambrose said, exasperated.

“That could still happen,” I agreed.

“How are you still alive!?” he repeated.

“Look, I did my time. I’m just looking forward to living the rest of my life on the outside world and see everything I missed in the time I’ve been gone. Haven’t I been the paragon of a prisoner in the meantime? Never starting fights and the utmost respect given to my jailers?” I asked sincerely.

“I suppose,” Ambrose said, recalling the stories his grandfather told him. “Someone like you shouldn’t be held behind bars if they have been rehabilitated.”

“Exactly. I can’t wait to see what new technologies lay out there to kill people these days,” I said, finishing my meal and kicking the tray back to his feet.

Ambrose stared numbly.

“What’s that look?” I asked. “I didn’t say I was going to kill anyone!”

“Why would you want to know about new technologies that have the potential to kill people?” he asked.

“Any number of reasons,” I shrugged. “Maybe I wanna write a book about someone that’s been biding his time for four centuries and wants to take out as many lives as he can before being sent back into prison and waiting out his sentence again, outliving anyone that would claim he’s a terrible monster.”

Ambrose returned silence once more, a shudder in his breath.

“I think it’d be a good book,” I said sarcastically.

“Are you kidding with me right now?” Ambrose asked, slight panic in his voice.

I shrugged.

"Are you kidding with me or not!?" he demanded.

"Don't you have other prisoners to get to?" I asked, turning my back on him.

I heard the shaky scrape of the tray as he quickly stumbled away from my cell. In this, he was equivalent to the other guards, running away from me as fast as the rest after I had messed with them.

And they would never know whether I was telling the truth or not.

*****

THE END.

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Written by   262
1 month ago
Topics: Topic, Crime, Memory, Shortstory, Faith, ...
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