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 The Locked Door

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CD Roberts
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Posts : 114
Join date : 2013-09-23

20131003
PostThe Locked Door

The room was empty. It waited for a new inmate.

Very little light entered through its small high barred window, and not enough of a breeze to circulate the air. The room was tiny, plastered and painted with a whitewash that had grayed over time. The walls were pitted but clean. The ceiling had small holes in it as well, where the plaster had chipped and fallen. The room was dry and it was clean. When occupied, its floors were swept daily. The walls were washed and the floor mopped weekly by the inmate with lye and water. Since it was nearly always occupied it was scrubbed bare. If it had skin it would have been rubbed raw years ago.

There was a metal cot with a thin mattress, a cotton sheet and a rough woolen blanket. The sheet and blanket were folded and tucked under the mattress with precise military corners. When an inmate was present they were changed weekly. The removed linens were washed in near boiling water using strong chemical ingredients that kept them clean to the point of sterility.

Under the cot was the obligatory metal pan. The pan was emptied twice daily by the inmate into a bucket for removal, another task, another few moments of mindless physical labor.

The floor, the walls, the bedding, and the slop pan were all the room could offer. The occupant was on his own the remainder of the time, left to his own thoughts and meager occupations. The room had witnessed pacing, boredom, some writing when allowed and if the inmate was literate, some shouting, and occasional pounding on its walls and door.

If the room had thoughts, and if they were a reflection of its appearance, they could hardly have admitted to any imagination. No, the room was prosaic. It must have been prosaic. It simply existed and provided protection from the elements. It was a substandard living space.

But it was a living space. The alternative was a smaller space, buried deep in the earth that was of an irreversible nature.

Footfalls echoed the hallway and neared the room’s iron door. If the room had feelings, it must have experienced some small sense of anticipation, perhaps even pleasure. Keys jangled. The door opened and the new inmate shuffled in. One of the two guards bent down and removed the leg irons from the inmate.

The inmate’s partner would not be occupying the adjacent vacant cell or any other vacant small room in the building. He was currently residing in the alternative space previously referred to above.

The guard backed out of the room. The metal door swung shut and was locked.
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