I suppose, having been locked up here for so many years, I never imagined escape could come so easily.
These walls that have confined me are made of stone - large ancient blocks that were stacked one upon another by men hundreds of generations ago. Today the same stone serves the same purpose, just as they were designed all those centuries ago. A testament to their excellence in function. My only portal has been the space beyond these heavy iron bars, no gap big enough to thrust a whole arm, let alone ease my body. But I have imagined. This has been my world for so long now my life before is as some fleeting dream – a flickering spotlight of fading images upon the wall of my memory.
Who would have thought then, that escape would have been this simple. I leave the iron bars behind and walk steadily down the medieval corridor. The only indication that this is a more advanced place in time, are the glowing bulbs and the draped electric cable. At the end sits Rodriguez.
Looking down now on his sleeping form you would not think such a small, round man could cause so many other men so much pain. But I guess that is the privilege you gain from holding the keys, from carrying a weapon, from being surrounded by like minded men.
His rifle sits barrel up, leaning against the table. If I were to slap his pockmarked face now, he would have to stand up and take two paces before reaching his gun. Careless, but it has not been needed in a long time - for the purpose of repressing escapees that is, because nobody has tried.
I leave him to his dreams. Tomorrow he will know that in the end, I won.
On now past the bars that block the corridor and into the 'recreation area'. Those of us on the other side of the bars call it the 'pain chamber', I will not bore you with the stories, your imagination can no doubt fill-in the detail.
Now I am nearly to freedom. Laferne is sitting with his back to me, from the side I see his face bathed in the luminous colour of the screen he faces. His finger heavily presses keys and his left hand moves beside the keyboard. Images of bare skin slowly appear onto the screen and his tongue unconsciously caresses his lips.
Lafarne is probably the easiest of all the guards here, not necessarily a lover of pain, just of the young, so his attentions have not been my concern. It is he that will go to my cell in a few hours and find only my lifeless carcass, I will be gone.
Away now I go, unnoticed past the glowing screen and the tapping keys, out into the courtyard, now used to park tired, dusty cars. All around high walls contain this building and the convicted it houses.
I might say that this escape was a little unexpected. I knew of course my pumping heart did not have many beats left in its viscous muscle, but having lived a godless life you can imagine my surprise.
They have labelled me an atheist for so many years. Before I came here they used this label as some explanation for the deeds I performed, but they were wrong. How could I possibly have thought anything different, all of this by the hand of a god? What I have done was not premeditated or deliberate, nor urged by some evil desire. Just born of circumstance ... and passion.
But I must allay your fears, do not worry. There is no stairway or great white light that draws me, no flapping wings or great inferno of fire that pulls me down. There was my physical body and now there is just, I presume, what was my mind. I do not know how I can see, but I can, but I cannot touch, just move. I step, step over step but there is no feeling of ground beneath my feet. And the world is warm.
I walk on now, through the gate. Just a few hundred yards away stand my family. They are waiting, have been now for so many years. My wonderful children and Marissa, more beautiful now she has not the worries of life. I hope they have forgiven me, I guess just being here, they must have at least started.
Submission: 18 June 2007