It all began one hazy morning, I arose drowsily from a beautiful dream that saw me absconding from the dreary life that I led behind the dull grey walls and iron bars of the prison which now homed me. In all honesty, it could have been so much worse, but that wasn’t really the point, it was freedom that I wanted, and by God, it was something that I was again going to savour once more. In the dream, I used a screwdriver to remove a ventilation shaft cover, using it to crawl through the space into another cell, where a fellow in-mate sold me a bar of soap. This, I combined with a sock to make myself a weapon which came in rather handy for knocking a guard unconscious, allowing me to steal his uniform. What a stroke of luck it was that his outfit seemed almost tailored to my size, and with it on, I walked among the rest of his kind, who remained blissfully unaware of my presence as I calmly strolled to a point near the far edge of the perimeter fence, whereupon I dug myself out of the penitentiary, and fled.
On this particular morning, having awoken from my dream, I felt unsure as to what was expected of me, the guards in their freshly pressed blue uniforms were guiding a mass of prisoners towards the central area of the prison grounds, and I felt compelled to follow them. As I slowly approached, and being the last of all to arrive, I took my place in the one space that seemed to be reserved for me in the front of two dense lines of crooks, watched intently by the guards who observed us so very closely out of the corners of their beady little eyes. Before I even knew what was going on, I, along with the rest of my compatriots, was summarily dismissed. Following a brief breakfast in the mess hall, I was sent to perform the duties that were expected of me in the laundry area, and it was here that my problems really started.
My task was relatively simple, place dirty clothes into the washing machines, and store the clean ones for wear later in the week, yet the task seemed to be far beyond me, and I have not a clue as to why. I had been set a quota of work that the powers that be demanded of me, the time limit within which it needed to be done was quite strict, especially as it took me some time to realise exactly what it was that I had to do. And so, it was only after just setting myself to work, that this all-too brief period suddenly transitioned into the first recreational phase of the day. I failed to meet my required quota within the strict time limit, and for this, I was dismissed from my position.
Downtrodden, yet not completely devoid of hope for a better tomorrow, I left my former place of work and headed instead to the gym to work out my frustration. I arrived to find the place deserted, save for a single body builder lifting an eye popping weight, I nodded subtly to him as I entered the room, and he returned the gesture. To escape this place, I thought, would require more than just brute strength though, I needed speed and stamina, and so, I hopped onto one of the nearby treadmills. I ran further than I had ever expected that I could, until I was literally red in the face and close to collapsing. By the time I hopped off of the machine, I noticed that my companion had left me, and that I was now entirely alone. I managed to lift a few reps before lunch was called, feeling drained, and hungry beyond words could possibly describe, I staggered back to the mess hall.
I could barely stand by the time I got back there, and I was surely last to arrive, the others were all tucking into whatever slop it was that the “chef” called food, which was being guzzled down noisily by my fellow in-mates as I staggered across the room to collect my tray. With my lunch in tow, I sat myself down at the nearest seat available, I was incredibly tired, yet raised my head wearily as a man seemed to approach me, guessing that he needed to converse with me on some topic or another I tried to instigate a conversation, yet his reply was a curt right hook which sent me sprawling painfully to the floor. He was set to follow up on his unprovoked attack when the guards intervened, dragging him away. I drifted off into unconsciousness, and awoke some time later upon the clean white sheets of an infirmary bed.
I groaned noisily as my eyes slowly flickered open, before swinging my legs round to clamber out of bed. I was clearly a little unsteady on my feet when I left the room and stepped out into the bright afternoon beyond, but it was a second recreational period that awaited me when I did, and having considered the events that had just transpired, I decided that perhaps strength was an attribute of mine that required some urgent attention. The gym was considerably busier when I entered it this time, the treadmills each carried some hopeless schmuck hoping to improve himself, some of whom even muttered aloud some lofty ambition that was unlikely to be realised. My own one might have seemed unreal to them too, yet I was sure that it was destined to become a reality. I lifted rep after rep that afternoon, swearing to myself that I would never be humiliated by another in-mate again, I needed to be stronger, I needed to be the best that I could possibly be.
Without warning, the guards ushered us all into the showers to get cleaned up, I was especially weary after what had been a long and eventful day, and so, the water felt especially welcome against my skin, though I made sure to avoid any situation involving soap, and left the showers almost as quickly as I possibly could. The downside to this though was that I was forced to stand around waiting on the others for what seemed like an eternity, until we were all moved back to the mess hall for dinner. Thankfully, the guards allowed us all to get dressed first too.
The day wound down peacefully as the light faded away, invariably turning day to night. I spent my time there staring blankly at my tray, unsure as to what actually adorned it, let alone how I was supposed to eat the stuff, and in the end I simply put my tray down, before leaving to stroll peacefully around the grounds until I was to return to my cell and settle in for the night. I gazed up at the myriad stars that penetrated the thick veil of night, and wondered what the rest of my time here would have to offer me. With some music that I did not recognise repeating in my head, I smiled, I was through the worst of it, of that I was sure, and with it, it meant that the future that lay ahead of me would be a bright one indeed.