I stared through the steel bars at the dark brick walls as the stocky prison guard walked out of site. Waiting for the now familiar sound of the metal door slamming shut and the jingling of keys to vanish, I finally began relaxing and slumped my shoulders. Adjusting my position, I made sure I was comfortable leaning against the steel frame of my bed and began what had now become my routine of staring at the crumbling walls of my cell and allowing myself fade into the dreary corners of my clouded mind.
I don't know how long I sat there, so deep in my thoughts, wondering where it all went wrong, when suddenly an unfamiliar voice entered my awareness. I straightened my position and looked around. I was unsure of the time, you could never tell the bloody time in this hell hole. I titled my head to the side and listened intently.
"Dreaming?" asked a male, as if he could sense my now alert state of mind. I thought for a moment, and pondered what to say when they spoke once again.
"Speak up, silence will kill you in this shit-hole" I noticed some movement near the door of my cell, and looked at the now apparent small mirror, being held at my bars.
I moved to the door and stared at the mirror. Standing silently I decided to speak up.
"What's your name?" It was a dumb question, but it just felt right at the time. The mirror disappeared back into the cell to my right and the man spoke again.
"My name is Mikel" His accent sounded foreign, I'd never heard anyone speak like this.
"I've been here for over 10 years, many have come and gone, and do you know what? You're the first that I've ever considered talking to.
I didn't reply yet. I could hear myself breathing.
"What are you here for?" He asked.
"I'm sorry, I can't tell you. At least not right now. I'm too confused, I don't know what to think"
"I was like that when I first got here" said Mikel.
Suddenly, I heard the door open and the footsteps of the guard walking through the hall. He stopped at my cell and I stood back and sat on my bed. Sliding open my cell door, he threw a piece of bread onto the cold, concrete floor, followed by some meat of some kind.
"Eat it you filthy Maggot!" he screamed at me and slammed the cell door shut. I heard him do the same to Mikel, and then the guard disappeared back the way he came.
"That's all 'till morning, so eat up scum!" he screamed and I heard the hall door slam shut. Sitting in silence for a few seconds, I contemplated eating the food.
"Eat it, it tastes fine, and you need to keep in shape here, you don't want to look 80 when you're out of here in a few years" said Mikel.
"I'm not getting out. Ever. I'm here for 2 weeks, and it's off to the gallows, as to why you're cell is situated here beats me, considering you're still here after all" I said.
"Well, It's complicated. I've got an understandin' with the state" Was all Mikel said. "I'm sorry, why were you given Death?" he added.
"I'm not really comfortable saying when all the other inmates -" I was cut off.
"There are no other inmates, we're the only ones in this building" said Mikel. "So what did you do?"
"Murder." I said flatly.
"Wow" said Mikel after some silence.
"You know, must guys would say they Didn't do it" He added.
"Well I did, and I'll be open about it" I said.
"So who'd ya kill?" asked Mikel.
I didn't answer. I stood staring at the floor, and I felt a wayward tear roll down my cheek. After a few minutes, Mikel spoke again.
"Alright, I'm off to bed. Goodnight" I heard him move from his cell door and lie down onto his bed.
"Goodnight" I said, and did the same.
Lying on my bed, I needed to ask a question.
"Mikel" I said.
"Yes?" he answered. I paused.
"What are you in for?" I asked him.
"I didn't do it" Mikel said with a chuckle. I didn't reply, and instead returned to my thoughts, as I slowly fell into sleep.