A prison can be many things … and not all prisons can be seen she thought as she walked around her elegantly decorated cell. The weak golden winter sun beamed off the iced barbed wire just beyond her window, my prison she thought … behind a barbed-wired fence. The footsteps of the in-mates shuffled pass, down the corridors going to the showers then to breakfast. First shift.
Her cell, where she’d live the rest of her life, where she’d lived since she was nine-teen. Home. She wondered what the world was like outside the prison. Here, she had her books, painting, writing in a word her life. She’d had a computer for the last ten years, and permission for an internet connection, she’d seen how the world had changed, but she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to walk outside, beyond the barbed wire. The thought gave her a shiver.
She got up, started dressing. She worked in the library. She’d gotten her bachelor’s degree in English Literature, then her Masters in Medieval Literature and History; had taken side courses that permitted her to work as a librarian and a researcher. She’d finally gotten her Doctorate in Philosophy. Not that it really mattered – she’d published of course and even had some interesting correspondence with other academics. She published her books both fiction and non-fiction under a pen-name. Her royalties were kept by the State, a part would go to her heirs one day, a part she used for her extras, like internet, an orthopaedic bed, decent clothes.
She rarely thought back to the days in 2068 that had brought her here. Those were crazy times, she thought. Days of hate and love and revolution. Only the blind enthusiasm of youth could have inspired her and her fellow revolutionaries to write what they’d written, placed bombs on electric lines, shoot corrupt politicians in the legs, rob banks (ha! she thought, robbing the rich to give to the poor!) and expose the corrupt powerful whether religious or lay. Only a few of them ever actually went that far into clandestinity. Even fewer ever got caught. So, many pretended that nothing had ever happened. Now many lived in the fear of being found out, even fifty years later.
Her door opened and she went out into the brightly coloured corridor, there were another 25 men and women. Some yawned, a few, were awake enough to actually smile and greet her. She thought of the iced barbed-wire fence, the division between “freedom and a prison” – she knew that they weren’t really the only prisoners, the prison wasn’t in just one direction this inside reality only made the outside world think they were safe and free. And so, to avoid being imprisoned they followed the rules. They shuffled down other corridors towards other showers and then to breakfast. Second shift. A prison can be many things .. and not all prisons can be seen she thought as she walked down the hall.
© G.s.k. ‘16