As I stared into the black emptiness of my cell, I was greeted by a grunt from one of the guards, Lauren, I thought.
"You gotta new prison ma'e, runt, Number nine'y. Don' bite, if you ask 'im nicely."
I groaned, both at the news and her lack of proper English grammar.
"I'm not in the mood for this." I whispered under my breath.
Lauren pretended she didn't hear me, and instead shoved the new prisoner into the already cramped cell, slamming the iron door shut behind her. The slam echoed around the cell block, almost eerily. The new inmate immediately rushed up to the bars, banging on them with his fists, constantly crying:
"Let me out, I'm innocent! Please, I don't belong here!"
Eventually (And fortunately, for both my ears and mental health) he gave up and slumped in the corner, admitting defeat.
"They don't care if you're innocent." I tried to speak, but it came out in a broken whisper, and I surprised myself with how hoarse my voice sounded. "If they didn't care about me, they won't care about you either. Yell all you like, scream the place down if it makes you happy, but they're blind as bats out there, and deaf as posts."
The boy, clearly startled by my outburst, said nothing, leaving the cell in a comfortable, if thick, silence. From that moment onward, his eyes seemed to be a little glazed over, as if he was in some sort of trance, and it wouldn't have surprised me if he didn't even know that I was sharing the cell with him. Satisfied that I had talked some sense into him, I shut my eyes and let the darkness take over.
The next morning I was awoken by a loud clang, then another and another.