Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sleeper Cell

He came here when the world was too much for him to bare, sometimes for days or even weeks. It's a strange place for feeling safe, this old rusted abandoned prison but to Will it was like a home.

But tonight would be different, he knew that. As every 20th May around 9pm an old man would turn up, sit down and talk to him.

At first this old guy scared him as he heard the echo of slowly opened metal doors and footsteps slowly moving towards the same cell Tim used then the relief of the man's smile beneath the heavily lined face.

Tim was like an excited child. He came to love this visit and the companionship for a few hours with someone who seemed to care about him.

The time had come, the usual echoes filled the prison wing but something was different, Tim could sense that. The man seemed to be walking then stopping then walking again, followed by a heavy cough that sounded so bad.

As the man reached the cell he smiled as best he could before sitting down on the floor facing Tim.

"Sorry I'm a bit late, can't seem to get rid of the cold"

"Perhaps you shouldn't have come"

"I had too come, can't miss this date. It's too important to me"

Tim Smiled.

"Well, I'm glad your here but make sure you get home straight away and take it easy"

The man closed his eyes and smiled again.

"Funny to think I used to be a guard here all those years ago"

"I Know, how awesome was that" Tim replied.

"So many prisoners came and went but you always remember some more than others"

"Is this going to be the one about Robert 'Razor' Sharpe again? Tim asked.

"But, It's always tonight I remember the most and I always wonder, if only I hadn't been late that day, would it have things have been different?"

Tim put his hand on the man's knee.

"You can't keep blaming yourself" Tim said "Come on, tell me another story"

"I can't, I just can't"

For a moment there is silence, then the man bursts into tears, the pain too much for him.

"Why couldn't you talk to me Son? Why was I always too busy to notice"

"It wasn't your fault Dad, I just had enough, everything felt too much for me"

Tim's Dad stands and leaves the cell for a moment, returning with a small bag he left outside the cell door.

He pulls out a single flower and a bottle of beer, placing them on the floor where Tim is sitting.

"I love you Son, see you next year"

"Please don't go Dad"

But he leaves and Tim looks up at the writing on the wall behind him.