The Cell


The cell door has been shut.  Now the boundaries are set.  Four off-white, tannish walls.  One with a green slab of metal in the center, 7 foot tall from the floor up.  The western side, I believe.  On the opposite side, there is a shoe-box shaped opening about 8 feet up.  Filling the opening is a wire mesh embedded in an inch of glass.  The ceiling holds a long, rectangular light fixture with two long fluorescent bulbs behind plexiglass.  Along the southern wall extends a bed - a stained, lumpy mattress atop a low, steel table.  It’s bolted fast to the floor.  And last, in the northeast corner, a circular hole filled with deep, black emptiness.  Presumably for defecation.  The smell suggests as much.  These are the limitations.  Day after day.  No alteration other than two meal trays each day, which are promptly collected within fifteen minutes of arrival.  And so, each and every visitor is left to while away each and every remaining second with no more than the pleasure of his own company.  For how long?  For what purpose?  Who are these people, and how is it that they came to be in such a state?

Who is to say?


What can be said is that there was one visitor.  He appeared, like all the others.  Footsteps clicked on the hall floor outside.  Two persons, bold and purposeful.  Along with them came more muted steps.  Padding at a slightly lesser pace, then, at moments, quickly shuffling to keep just ahead of the others.  They stopped.  Just in front of this very door.  One of the bold ones clicked forward and turned.  A ring of keys came alive and rattled about.  They clinked and clanked angrily until just the right one was found.  Then, it slid into a small hole in the door, grating a bit.  A heavy bolt roused from its rest and turned over with a thud.  It had been a while since the last visitor left, so the door stuck a bit and creaked on its hinges.  The bold one’s face was red and his chest rose and fell noticeably.  With the door open, he stepped to the side.  The other bold one gave our new visitor a nudge on the back.   He tamely walked into the cell.  His manacles were removed with not a little more grace and less ado than the opening of the door.  The bold one stepped back outside and his companion, overcompensating for the rigor of the opening, brought the door closed again with a very sudden and threatening boom.

And so, there he was.

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