There is someone in the cell across from mine. The guards tell me there’s not, but I know otherwise.
The entire corridor is illuminated, except for that cell. Its fluorescent lights are broken, so it’s pitch black. It’s so dark, I almost feel like it’s a thing, something solid—and there’s someone in it. The reason I know this is because I’ve heard the voice. At night, I’ll wake up. The night watchman will be making his rounds, and I’ll hear the whispers. The voice is too low to make out what’s being said—or maybe I’m just too terrified to listen—but I know it’s talking to me. And I don’t like its tone.
When I first started telling the guards about the person in the cell, they told me there was no one in it, that they hadn’t put anyone in there. I’m the only prisoner in here, they said. Now they just ignore me. I think maybe they’re in on something, like some conspiracy I can’t make sense of. I never see them send any food into that darkened cell, but maybe they do it when I’m sleeping. At least, that’s what I thought, so I spent one night just pretending to sleep, keeping my eyes slightly open. The only activity I noticed that night was the whispering.
I’ve tried talking to the voice, asking for a name, what they’d been locked up for. I never hear any response, and I couldn’t keep looking into the darkness of that cell, feeling someone staring back at me. I wonder if I’ll ever know the truth.
The toilet in my cell is broken. It won’t flush. While they get a handyman to fix it, I’m going to be temporarily moved into the cell across from mine—the cell containing the source of all my dread.
I beg and plead them not to move me. “At least move me to a different cell,” I suggest, “one with light.” But they say that this will be good for me. I’ll finally know there’s no one in the darkness, waiting. But there is someone in the darkness, and they are waiting. I know it.
The guards open the pitch black cell, and I stand before it, frozen. I can’t even move to wipe the tears welling in my eyes. A guard pushes me in and I turn to see the door close and lock.
I’ve stayed in pretty much the same position these past few hours, pressed up against the bars, staying as close to the light as this confinement will allow. I look over my shoulder at the blackness and have to turn my head away immediately. It’s like looking over a cliff’s edge, the earth a thousand feet below me. And I can’t stop imagining that any moment I’ll feel a hand against my back, ready to pull me into the dark.
It’s night now. The night guard tells me to sleep, but I’m still too terrified to move. He assures me that I’ll be fine. The toilet in my cell will be fixed tomorrow and I can move back in then. This comforts me.
I haven’t heard any whispers. Maybe I was going insane, hearing voices. Or, maybe there was an air duct I hadn’t noticed and a voice, maybe from a television a security guard was watching elsewhere in the building, was faintly being delivered to me.
I let my eyes close.
I awake as I hit the ground, finding myself in the darkness. As I roll over to stand, my hand touches something.
~# ~#~ #~
“Don’t make us drag you out of there,” one of the guards says. “Let’s go, c’mon.”
The two men stare into the open dark cell, waiting. Then, one guard finally mutters to the other, “Be right back, I’m gonna get a flashlight.”
CLICK. The guard enters the cell, shining his light on the pool of blood surrounding the mutilated corpse on the floor. He backs out of the cell slowly and closes the door.
The two guards seem to ignore the thin man in the far corner of the cell with the red mouth, smiling.
“Dammit,” one of the guards whispers. “How the hell did we completely forget about that guy?”
Credit To: Jordan D