My eyes shoot open and cold beads of sweat tickle the sides of my face as I try to think of anything other than that day. That f***ing day that ended me up in this place. *Slight profanities*
I feel streams of warm blood trickle down my ice cold hands and drip from my finger tips as I pick myself and my bag of stolen items off of the ground and start to run. My boot clad feet pound the pavement heavily, matching the beating of my heart as it pumps blood and red hot adrenaline through my veins. As the blood reaches my hands, I feel them start to throb in time with my heart beat as the blood escapes my body rather than get sent back. I rip off my black balaclava and use it to stop the bleeding in my free hand instead of it just catching, and trapping, my heavy breath. The crisp November air hits my face and wakes me immediately.
I can’t concentrate on where I’m going; my feet just automatically take me to my usual hideaway. My head is too cloudy to concentrate on anything other than pure fear. A shiver shoots down my spine and runs through my entire being as the reality of the situation hits me like a ton of bricks. I start to feel a blistering heat spreading through my body from my knotted stomach as guilt washes over me. Stealing never made me feel like this. If I was caught stealing, I could just give the stolen items back and face a couple years in prison with a definite end. However, this time the thing I stole was another man’s life, that was something I could never return and the consequence is a lifetime in prison, the only end possible being my own death.
My head feels about ready to explode as a million new questions, thoughts and fears enter it every minute. Why did I kill him? I’m not usually like that, I’m not violent. Will I be caught? How can I? I killed him before he could give the person on the line an address. But can they trace the call? Did I leave any evidence? Surely they couldn’t trace the crime back to me…
I stumble over the familiar uneven path leading to my safe house. Inside those suburban looking walls are hundreds of stolen goods waiting to be sold on and thousands of memories shared between a small group of misfits looking for a thrill in their dull lives. I slow down to a walk to try and ease the heavy ache in my chest as it rises and falls quickly in an attempt to try and slow my breathing. I look up from the ground and see a yellow light protruding from the safe house windows. Ray, our boss, is there tonight. I let out a heavy sigh, not wanting to face him with what I just did.
Why did I kill him?
My eyes shoot open and cold beads of sweat tickle the sides of my face as I try to think of anything other than that day. That fucking day that ended me up in this place. I sit up and pull a shaky hand through my damp hair to move it out of my eyes. I calm my breathing and try my best to make the restless feeling subside. A light from outside the prison lights the cell and I look around, realising there is actually enough room to pace in here. I throw my covers to one side and swing my legs off the mattress, resting my feet on the floor. I look over to my small clock and see that it is 6.43 AM, a lot later than when I usually wake up. I am just about to push myself up off the bed when I see Frank sleeping in the bed across from me. I forgot I shared a cell now, I don’t want to wake him but I can’t sit here for another moment. I stand up slowly, trying to ease the squeak of my bed. I take a few light steps and realise that I won’t actually make too much noise.
I walk up and down the cell, wall to wall, over and over again. I stare at the same blank white walls as I lose myself in my thoughts. I start by counting my steps and end up thinking back to yesterday when I first moved into the cell and the guard left me and Frank alone for the first time. We didn’t spend much time together before we went to sleep last night because Frank was tired from his day at his job in the prison as a barber, that’s why he has a shared cell. When I found out about his job, it calmed me because I realised he must be trustworthy, he could kill anyone with those scissors, even if he didn’t know what he was doing…even if he just lost control of himself for a moment and acted on an impulse, like me.
My stomach starts to churn as the familiar feeling of guilt washes over me once more and I shake my head to try to rid myself of those thoughts. My head snaps to the side and I freeze on the spot when I hear Frank’s bed squeaking when he turns over to check I hadn’t woken him but his heavy, regular breathing returns and I sigh with relief, I need more time to think. My thoughts divert onto Frank. Are things going to be awkward between us? How will he react to my crime? What did he do to end up in here? Is he on death row too?
I wander back to my bed and sit on the edge, placing my head in my hands and trying to calm my thoughts as they start to overwhelm me. I have never had great control over my thoughts and so many times they have caught me out and gave me more than I could handle. I hear more noise coming from Frank’s bed and I look up. I see him sitting up slowly and stretching, squinting from the brightness of the cell. As I watch him, all thoughts that were overcrowding my brain before are erased easier than they ever have been, all I can think about is him. He scratches his head roughly and looks over at me, catching my eye. I quickly move my glance to my hands and start to fiddle with them, nervous about how he’ll react to me basically watching him sleeping.
“Morning” He says in a deep, rough voice.
“Morning” I reply, looking up as I do. I notice Frank is still looking over at me and he has a warm smile on his face, how is he always so happy? Does he know where he is? I haven’t known what it’s like to happy in a long time, maybe he’ll have a positive effect on me.
Frank starts moving to sit on the edge of his bed, mirroring my image, hunched over with his arms resting on his legs. I start to get nervous as I try to pluck up the courage to ask him what he did to land himself in here. I fight with a voice in my head, it’s going to come up in conversation eventually, and surely he’ll ask me but what if he hates talking about it? What if he gets angry because I bring it up?
“Gerard?” I look up at Frank as my thoughts are once again wiped when I look at him; he looks concerned “Are you okay? You look kind of worried” I sigh heavily but I can’t help myself from asking him
“Why are you in here?” I blurt out, immediately regretting even bringing it up. My stomach churns as I wait for his answer, or his reaction…