a jail cell - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
I had thought my jail cell as real for so long that I never even checked to see if the walls were solid. I heard screams from other cells and they paralyzed me from even pushing on the door. Then one spring day when the brilliant light of dawn shone in, I stood and put my hand on the bars. With a prayer I pushed with all my might and a after a brief flash of pain the prison cell itself was left behind me on a hill. From the outside it was tiny, pathetic. After so long crouched in the dark I stood up and let the light warm my skin, my black hair flowing in a heavenly wind. Upon the walls written in stone were the words "fear" and "guilt." I threw my head toward the sky with relief, all I had to do was conquer those bullies all along, conquer them and be free.
In this jail cell I only know when it is daylight by the slim shaft of light that penetrates the air vent on top. I wish to God it was a little bigger, I'm so skinny now I could fit into a regular vent, but this one is meanly proportioned. Perhaps someone did make it out one day, I'd like to think so. The only other way out is the door, thick oak, new and strong. It's out of place against the metal walls, but that's common now. As the technology of yesteryear decays it is replaced by the methods of centuries earlier. Once this prison was a rehab centre, a place where psychiatrists probed the minds of the deviants. Now it's just a place to rot. Whatever your “crime” there is only one sentence- life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Rumour has it that once your relatives stop visiting they take you out back for a shallow grave. They're not cruel though, if you dig it yourself they kill you fast; otherwise they won't waste a bullet on you.
The jail cell is the least of my concerns. It's grey walls do not hit me or steal my rations; the lumpy bed does not sing the same one line of a half-forgotten song over and over until I loose the last threads of sanity I was clinging to. The ceiling drips but it doesn't whisper in my ears of the beating it plans to give me in the cold showers. My biggest problem here, other than being trapped, is the ape they have caged me with. He passes his days by dreaming up new ways to make my life unpleasant, apparently he has no use for a friend, I doubt he's ever had one. The most relief I get, other than when he snores in th top bunk, is when he uses me like a dumbbell to keep his muscles strong. Were it not for my daily use as his dead weight I'd be buried in the yard by now. The jailers don't care if we live or die in here, only that we don't escape.
There is something disturbing about this concrete box I'm in. It has been engineered with absolute precision. The corners are sharp and straight, the window a perfect square with evenly spaced bars. Someone designed this jail cell, they sat in a clean office under the glow of the natural sunrays and used their God given talents to create something so soulless as to constitute additional punishment. Apparently taking our liberty is not enough, keeping us from those we love is not enough, seizing our property to pay for our upkeep here in the “maze” is not enough. This place is designed to take so much more than that. By the time a person has done even half their minimum sentence here they rarely recall their name and have lost most of their vocabulary. For the most part their sanity is shot, they swing between crying for the mothers and battling invisible demons. Rumour has it that if a prisoner doesn't deteriorate fast enough they get an injection to start the hallucinations...
These walls are crumbling. If I take the edge of my nail I can dig at the softening mortar between the distressed bricks. It's the damp that does it I think. No matter the weather outside the floor is always wet in here; probably an underground spring surfaces just outside the walls and soaks the mud I sleep on as it passes. I pray constantly for this tiny cube of brick to decay faster, for God to send a storm to knock it down. But deep in my heart I know it is my body that will go sooner, three years of dry bread and stale water have left me weak. Compared to the man I was that broke the tax collectors arms, both of them, I am skeletal. Every time my nails regrow I use them to score the mortar, help the water to seep in and do its work. Until then I am irrelevant to the world, unable to help my son and daughter work our land.
The jail cell was smaller than Emma's walk-in closet back home. It didn't have walls like she had been expecting. The pen was made of chain linked fence, like some human sized rabbit pen. Around her was just a sea of orange clad prisoners, some male, some female. She looked at what she had here, a lower bunk bed and a bucket. How was she supposed to use that with everyone being able to see? As if to answer her her room-mate jumped down from her bed and stripped off her coveralls. The guys in the next cell over hooted, whistled and shook the fence. Her face was impassive, like her mind was on something far away. Then she pulled up the lurid cloth to cover her body. Emma swallowed. So it wasn't just an oversight that they took her underwear, the other girl didn't have any either. She turned to see it wasn't just the prisoners looking, the guard was just lowering his phone with a slick grin, video no doubt.
In the half-light of the jail cell Kennedy can see he will not be alone. There are many figures crowded into the ungenerously sized room. It's narrow and long. There is no way everyone here can sleep at the same time or even sit for long unless they are so sick that they cannot. Even then they are likely to be stepped on. The stench is something he hadn't expected but should have; it was excrement, urine, sweat and vomit. The prisoners were all hacking and wheezing, most were gaunt. He reckoned he could tell how long a person had been there by the amount of flesh they had left. The door closed behind him, the sound of the locks clicking shut behind him. No-one looked his way, he was just another breathing corpse. He turned, eyes rolling over the concrete walls, there had to be a way out. There had to be.
The jail cell is nothing like I'd been expecting. I've seen all the tv shows, there should be creaking metal bunks, a small barred window and a surly cell-mate who becomes like a sister to me, maybe more. I wasn't expecting a wooden shelf, a dirty blanket and a bucket. The walls are old stones from the quarry and the floor is too, everything in here is hard and cold. There is nothing to give back the body hear that is being stolen. The reality of being caged begins to sink in. Then I notice the thin grey clothes at me feet. I wrap my arms around my thick black sweater and sit on the bench. A reedy male voice comes though the vent. “Get changed.” They've got to be kidding me. I turn to see eyeballs pressed against the narrow strip of glass. He intends to watch. I stay sitting, arms crossed tighter. That's when the door swings open and the owner of the reedy voice steps in with two mates, all male. “Get changed or we'll do it for you.” I want to laugh it off but they are deadly serious.
The jail cell is nothing but four walls and a mattress, everything grey. The lighting is artificial only, I wonder how long you'd have to spend in here to forget what a tree looks like or the feel of the wind on a stormy day. When the door closes behind me it's loud, that's one heavy chunk of metal and I hear the bolts slide home so pointlessly. With on handles on the inside I could never open that door even if I spent the best part of my youth trying. Each new minute feels like an hour. I don't know if solitary is worse or sharing this tiny space with some stranger. I guess we'd get to know each other real fast though, for better or worse, like some damn shotgun wedding.