Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day I: Captors

Author's Note: This is a companion story to the story Day I, found here: http://ledoppelganger.blogspot.com/2006/05/day-i.html

"Look at that, another one. When will they learn that they can't beat the State?"

The wooden chair creeked as it adjusted to the guard's shifting weight as he leaned back. The chair slid into the grooves in the floor that it had worn there from being leaned back so often.

"Can you blame them? It always takes one hard lesson," replied the other guard, as a breeze from the air conditioning blew his air to one side. He sat with his chair firmly on the ground, his hands lightly resting on the edge of the control panel in front of him. The black and white televison screen built into the panel showed the cell and the prisoner in it.

"He was already sweating like a pig when we brought him in. It won't take long until he's dehydrated, the lights will see to that. I wonder if he'll take to drinking out of the toilet like some of the others have," the first guard said. He twirled a pencil in his hands, already bored with the figure on the screen. "They never do much of interest. I wish we could get a football game on this screen. I never have figured out why these prisoners need watching twenty four seven from one person, much less the both of us."

"So we all keep our sanity."

"What? " The guard lowed his chair so it was resting on all four legs again. The air conditioning caught the collar of his shirt and made it flutter a bit. "What are you talking about? The whole purpose of shining the constant light is to drive him insane. Hell, before they got rid of the one way glass it used to drive the guards insane too."

"Yes, I know, but with two guards we can keep each other company. Hearing a voice does a lot to keep one sane." The guard kept his hands resting on the edge of the control panel, sitting still as the air conditioner circulated the air around him.

"Well, I suppose it's good to know someone might care about us. All they want out of him," the guard said, leaning back again and waving his hand at the screen, "is for him to go nuts. "If they show up to court that way it makes the case easy to handle. The sooner he needs a jacket the better for everyone. It means the State is happy and we get out of here sooner."

"I've got all the time in the world, so I don't mind waiting."

"Yeah, you don't have any girl to go back home to, and from the looks of things, you aren't going to be getting one any time soon either." Chuckling cut through the quiet, persistent rattling of the air conditioner.

The other guard sat unwavering, waiting for the chuckle to die away. "It's okay if I don't end up with a girl. Having my sanity is enough."

"You're a strange one ..." The guard's voice trailed off as he leaned in close to the monitor. "How did he get that object? What do you think it is, I can't tell. He seems to have carved something into the wall."

"I think it's a nail."

"I'll be damned, I think you're right. How would you know something like that? Well, I don't think him having a nail is going to hurt anything." The chair creeked again as the guard leaned back. "Look, I'm tired, you watch him for a while. Here, I'll flip on the sound so you don't even have to pay that close attention." The guard leaned forward to flip a switch on the console then leaned back again, letting his chin fall to his chest. After several moments, light snoring began to mingle with the rattle fo the air conditioner and the sound of the prisoner shifting around restlessly in the cell. It makes for a strange symphony, thought the guard who still sat still, his hands never leaving their positon on the edge of the console.

BAM! The guard jolted upright, his chair slamming back onto all four legs. "Why didn't you wake me! What is the prisoner doing?" Screams echoed from the speakers. A quick look at the monitor revealed the scene in the cell. The prisoner held the nail in one hand, repeatedly jabbing it into his eyes. A dark stain was running down his face and soaking into his shirt. "You knew this was coming didn't you? They want them insane, not mutilated. Now I've got a mess to clean up and explain. You're a sick bastard."

The other guard made no reply. He had nothing to say. The air conditioned air felt good against his face, and he really didn't want to move.

"You'll be blamed for this you know", the guard said, picking up the pencil that he had left sitting on the console and placing it in his pocket. "You're the one who didn't pay close enough attention to him." The guard flicked the switch to turn off the speakers before briskly walking out the door in the back of the room.

The monitor still flickered, casting shifting light into the dimly lit room, as it showed the prisoner still taking a nail to his eyes. The guard tilted his head to one side, waiting to hear the door close, all the while never taking his hands from the edge of the console. The light played over his face, deeping the shadows of his empty eye sockets.


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