Prisoner – A Short Story

I don’t know how long I’ve been locked in this hellhole anymore.

Every day, I get the same twelve hours, then my tracker starts beeping and everything fades to black.

I know it’s that bastard that’s doing this, ‘the controller’, I call him. I’ve seen him darting about in the control room across the bridge. It’s always night by the time I reach that point and I have never managed to get a good look at him.

I have become an expert at navigating the vast maze between my cell to the control room. I remember all the shortcuts, all doors that need to be kicked in and windows to be smashed to make it there in time. I’m close to reaching him now. For all this to be over.

Tonight I have reached the bridge. It’s dusk and I can see his shadowy form in the window ahead. You’re mine now, you fucker, I think. I stride forward with a piece of metal piping.

I am so full of purpose it only gradually dawns on me that my tracker is beeping. I sprint forward attempting to escape in vain.

The next day runs its course. And the next. My will never diminishes, even confronting the futility of my struggle. Every nightfall I am Sisyphus with his eternal boulder rolling back down the hill. One day I will reach the summit.

One night, running onto the bridge I have a sudden coughing fit and collapse on the floor, clutching my chest. Opening my eyes slowly I am looking back towards the prison. I notice an open doorway I have never seen before. I have always been so focused on looking forwards, towards retribution, I have never noticed it. I begin to chuckle as my tracker starts to beep – this doorway could cut valuable seconds off my journey. Finally I stand a chance of killing the controller. I look up to the empty window, where he usually stands, as my consciousness fades.

I jolt awake in my stale cell, lightbeams shining through the bars. Hurrying to pick the lock with the paperclip in my pocket, as I do every day, I push through the door and into the maze. The path is now encoded in my muscle memory. I dance through the hallways with sober concentration. When I reach the exit of the maze, I find myself in the corridors of the main prison, the control room visible in the distance as dusk now descending. With grim persistence, I kick in the correct doors, one after the other until I reach the door which I believe will lead to the secret exit I had discovered the night before.

Pushing through the door, I discover a flight of stairs. I barrell down the stairs and out into the twilight. His time has come, I think, running towards the bridge.

The night draws in quickly in this place, but there is still a pale rim on the horizon as I reach the bridge.

I can see him ahead through the murk, he appears to be looking straight at me.

Gripping my metal piping, I forge ahead, approaching the control tower. I can now only see an outline as I swing the pipe above my head and slam it into the window where for the first time I see him, an enraged expression invading his face.

The glass smashes and I am rebounded back onto the dirt. A solid brick wall stands where the window once was. My blood runs cold as I pick up a shard of glass and gaze at my own reflection. My tracker begins to beep…

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