Sometimes morning drags nightmares into day. Though surroundings look familiar, I’m not sure who or where I am.
Did the attendants erase my mind? Why do inmates call this place the Mausoleum? These words: attendants, inmates, mausoleum come to me–unwanted, unbidden!
Some guy pulls my arm. “Jack, we’re breaking outta this madhouse.”
Jack? Must be my name…. Madhouse? That term disturbs me for some reason!
I turn to the man on my left. I feel a strong connection with him…. “Jack, get up!” The words come without thinking.
But… Jack? That’s my name!
“Leave him,” the other guy says. “He’ll slow you down.”
“You need him!” a voice inside cries out…. But the guy is groping for pants and shoes. And I’m dressed—dressed, with a huge hole in my mind.
I throw Jack his shoes.
Near the door of our ward, an inmate jumps on the table. “B ward Billy has keys. He’s commin’ to break us out!”
Jack is fumbling with shoes. I push his hands aside, double-knot the laces and pull him to the door.
“What’s the rush?” he whines.
“We’re leaving,” I answer.
“For outside the fence!”
“The fence is s’posed to keep us in,” he mutters.
I pull him to the exit, and the door opens.
“Slow the guards while I free the boys in D-ward,” some outsider hollers.
Inmates swarm like ants, and I’m pulling this bozo who has no clue. Second floor balcony, to the right–inmates fight attendants. I pull Jack left.
Ten steps away the rail is busted out. Boards angle to the yard from the balcony. “Run the planks!” I tell him.
Jack stares dead-faced. I push him. After five steps he slips, hangs onto the lumber then drops to the ground. I’m down before he is.
I kick a white coat in the crotch and pull Jack towards the barrier three hundred feet away. With this slacker and attendants chasing us, it might as well be a mile.
Ten strides: I heave an attendant into a tree. Jack gawks.
“Don’t watch! Run!” I tell him.
White coat swings at me. A palm to his nose puts him away. And I’m looking back for Jack–again!
Razor wire tops the twelve-foot-high chain-link fence.
“Over here!” An Inmate snips the links with cable cutters.
“Made it!” I exclaim. A coat grabs Jack. I choke the man until he turns Jack loose.
“Go!” I scream at Jack, pointing to the hole.
Jack grimaces. “You go. I belong here!”
Attendants charge us. One yells, “Block that exit!”
Another attendant knocks Jack down, but I push Jack to the hole and lose my grip on him as an inmate pulls him outside the fence….
White coats bring me to a padded cell, where I sit alone and wonder. Is Jack okay? Will I ever figure out just who he was?
Author Russell MacClaren is a Writer and Poet.
You can reach him at his Facebook page
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