Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Lock Me Up

The cuffs dig into your wrists as they lead you down a hall. A black winter hat has been pulled over your head and it hangs low, rubbing the tops of your shoulders with each step. You close your eyes to stop yourself from straining to see through the blind. You decide a mental exercise would be useful to help clear your anxiety.

You can hear your steps, the steps of the two leading you, the sound of doors, the sound of the electronic lock turning, and the tick of a shoelace that’s become untied from the person to your left. You can feel the pain as the metal digs into your skin, the pull of an old shoulder injury from having your arms in this position for too long, the feel of your clothes damp from sweat, and the texture of the ground beneath your feet. It’s consistently textured, which when combined with the sound of your footsteps, you conclude its metal paneling. You can smell your own breath, mold, and dirt. You can taste mild copper from when they hit you and the inside of tape if you want to lick at it. The covering over your mouth is mostly just stuck to your facial hair, which your thankful for and dreading. You open your eyes in frustration as you trip. Strong hands steady you and you think you’re at another door. You can see nothing.

 “What are you doing?”


“We need a retinal scan for verification.” 

You can feel the tension building around you.

“We were told to bring the prisoner blindfolded and gagged.”

You hear subtle sounds of metal hinges grinding from sand trapped within in front of you as the door is opened. “Idiotic,” she says. “Leave the prisoner cuffed but remove the rest.”

You shut your eyes to prevent immediate blindness as the hat is pulled off your head. You breathe deeply, thankful to be out of the sweaty damp. You can feel your hair plastered to your face and you squint your eyes open in time to see a guard grab the tape across your mouth and tug hard.There’s a ripping sound and you’re tugged forward. Its more surprising than painful, but your hand tries to move to your mouth on reflex. 

“Alright, look straight ahead for me.” A woman in a black uniform holds a scanner up and for a moment you consider what might happen if you don’t obey. You decide to not find out and stare forward blankly. “What’s the ID number on the prisoner’s wrist?”

Your arms are pulled up and you jerk your torso down to try to counter the movement. Your shoulder feels like fire and you’ve head butted the scanner, which you feel will be a black eye later. 

A voice behind you snickers and answers. “00274098” 

“At ease soldiers. I’ll take the prisoner from here.” 

You are released and you hear the guards amble away. You try to straighten as best you can. Your damn pride is getting involved. They can’t make you talk. Whatever this is, it won’t work.

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