Author: Ross Field
“It’s time Mason”. His flip flops slapped down the hallways, they seemed as foreign to him as the hands holding his shackles and shoulders. Hands crawled all over his body as soon as they dropped him into the chair. Restraints were winched, electrodes connected and veins impaled. After the years and appeals he was here. There were men in suits and white coats examining him and their screens. He heard the end of a speech by one of the suited men to a gallery of well dressed spectators, “…..a paradigm shift for society”. As the orator nodded to a white coat a wailing began from behind him.
As it began, his eyes burned and dried. His brain remembered the story his grandfather had told him of how Native Americans had torn the eyelids of their prisoners and staked them to the ground staring into the sun. His mouth drowned in metallic taste. Then he was there, he saw them again, asleep and entangled in front of the fireplace in the half refurbished room. The familiar smells both swarmed into his nostrils and seeped out of his brain. He saw again the fireplace poker, the hammer and screwdriver. He cried when he did it this time. Afterwards he knew that he had to get away, his life depended on it, but the exhaustion dragged him to the floor of an untainted corner. He hit, cut and burned himself to fight the closing eyes.
He was brought back by the sound of wailing. The suited and white coated men were grim faced, he turned to see a white coat by his side, the face turned away and in its hand a plunged syringe. He didn’t have time for his eyes to navigate down the tubing from the syringe to his arm as he closed his eyes a second time.
“It’s time Hernandez”. The suited man nodded. His eyes felt aflame and his mouth rusted. He saw the lights race off down the country road before he saw the broken body. Exiting his car he followed the path of the bullet holes down the decimated car to the other bodies. He ran when he saw the blue lights come over the hill behind him. When he opened his eyes there was the suited man and the white coat in the empty room, even the guards had gone. The white coated man stepped to his side.
Dear Dr Ritten
I am afraid to inform you that as of this moment the Plain Valley correctional facility will terminate its partnership with Caventon University. After the participation and execution of 32 inmates at a vastly increased timeline of your discretion you have still been unable to prove the Ritten-Heiss Theorem. No one is more disappointed than myself to not see an empty chair as hypothesized by yourself and your recently deceased colleague Dr Heiss. Instead, this pursuit of a new era in rehabilitation has tainted us all.
Head Warden, Plain Valley Correctional Facility