Memoir: Life Sentence

Memoir by Sawyer Averies

I spent the first fifteen minutes staring at his skeleton.

I guess hair and nails and cartilage take longer to decompose. The way they say skulls smile, is true. He grinned at me from his corner and I stayed in mine, the smells between us like rotten hamburger and feces, as he no doubt voided himself when his body let go of this mortal coil. Somehow, I doubt that the he cared about soiling the tattered rags that he was clad in at the end, but even those too are starting to feather away.

I spent more time staring at the tiny eye slit. The tiny portal inlaid in the wood and steel doors is the only opening to the outside world. The windowless cell is dark save the bluish glow my reading light is giving off from it's tiny lamp. After realizing those gouges in the wooden door were from fingernails and the bloody claw marks of desperation, I actually thought about flicking off the light. The dark was far preferable. In the end, I choose to leave it on to write, which feeds my soul more than food or water could ever provide. Water. I wish I had asked the marine who locked me in here for a canteen, but I won't now for fear of breaking the silence.

So I sit on the cold floor, not brave enough to occupy the stained mattress, with thirst drying out my throat and the scratch of my pen to keep me company. The why of it is simple, I want to know what they felt — the prisoners that were left here to rot. I want to know what those last hours were like, when the realization crept over them that they were left behind, forgotten, the day the world ended. The other, less violent criminals, the blue-collar criminals were shot. Perhaps as a sign of mercy. But these folks, my cellmate and his neighbors, were left to suffer their last long agonizing moments twisted in throes of dehydration and starvation for the sins they committed.

At least I get out at dawn.

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