After the cheering stopped, I heard people return to their conversations. I hadn’t realised there had been voices earlier but now it seemed far more prominent. “So what’s your name?”, I asked the boy.
“Zed”, he told me. His tone gave no hint to how he felt about his name, nor did his expression.
“I like it”, I said. Zed smiled. I looked around my cell. Three walls were made of a dark metal, the floor even darker. The ceiling was a dull material which led me to think it to be stone, until I saw the light catch on it slightly so I knew it was metal too. The fourth wall was made of glass. That was the wall that made the room a cell but too it was the wall that let me see out to Zed. It was taunting really. “Why don’t we break the glass?”, I said.
“Take a closer look”, Zed replied. I stood and walked over to the glass. It had two layers. The first, on my side, seemed to be normal glass but the second layer had something slightly blue running through it.
“What is it?”, I asked Zed.
“Not sure but touch it and you die. Instantly”, he said solemnly. He looked sad. He’d probably seen it happen. “He was young”, Zed told me, knowing what I was thinking. “He just wanted to get home.”
I left the questions I had about the boy. I didn’t want to make Zed tell me. I pressed slightly on the glass. It would be easy to break. “Don’t”, Zed said forcefully. He could see that I was considering breaking it.
“Why not? Is dying really worse than this!?”, I said frantically gesturing around. Zed stood up.
“Why do you think everyone else is alive, Phee? They have hope that they could find another way to get out. They haven’t given up yet. You’ve been in here the least time of all of us. If anything, you should be the most optimistic.”
“Have you looked around! We aren’t getting out. Besides, even if I do get out, are the memories of this hellish place haunting me better than death?”, I began shouting.
“Don’t give up, Phoenix”, Zed said, his eyes penetrating mine. He became blurry. My eyes were filled with tears. I was going to do this.
“Does it hurt?”, I asked.
“Phee, don’t do this. Please”, Zed pleaded.
“Just, tell me”, I said quietly. Zed shook his head. He wouldn’t tell me. Zed had stated it was instant so surely it couldn’t hurt. I walked up close to the glass and began to hit it.
“Phoenix don’t!”, Zed screamed but there was nothing he could do. Cracks began appearing. I felt death edging closer. The glass broke through, the shards clattering to the floor, skimming my skin but not cutting it. The second layer glowed brighter. The colour was my last warning. I ignored it. I brought my hand back and slammed my palm into the blue glass. Zed looked horrified.
I wasn’t dead, I thought as both layers of glass shattered and disintegrated. I walked out into the hallway. “You can touch the glass”, Zed said, amazed. I nodded. Had he lied to me or was I just different?
“I can get everyone out!”, I said, realising what had happened.
“Phee, just because that didn’t kill you, doesn’t mean the rest won’t.”
“Zed, I don’t care if it kills me if I can get you all out”, I said, walking up to Zed’s cell. I looked at the glass, blue layer first this time. “Alright”, I said, raising my voice to everyone. “For whatever reason, I can touch the blue glass. I’m going to break the blue layer for everyone but not the normal one. Wait until I’m finished with all of the cells before you break the clear one just in case the blue shards come towards you.” I lowered my voice again. “You first, Zed.”