Michael Fletcher woke with a bang; he had hit his head on the ceiling again. It felt like it was about to explode. He clutched it tightly with his caring, gentle, healing hands and this appeared to numb the pain. The pain weakened and Mike released his head from his hands’ clasp. In doing so, the hands turned back into the rough, tired old things he had gone to sleep with. He swung his tired legs over the side of the bunk bed and climbed down the cold, metal ladder. It was an old bed and was made of metal, but it suited him. As long as he got his sleep he was all right, because he could get stressed if he didn’t get his beauty sleep.
He walked stiffly towards the mirror. It seemed to enlarge the cell as well as reflect the little amount of light that managed to find its way into the small, dank, dark room. His legs were just waking up. He sniffed the musty air and gave a deep, tired sigh. The mirror was in the corner of the room where the sink clung to the wall with its rusty, arm-like nails. When he peered in, a stranger looked back at him. He had big, blue eyes and rough, tough, unshaven skin with dimples. The stranger looked almost ghost like except for the infrequent sunrays caught in the exercise yard on a fine day. “ Never should have happened. Mike whispered to himself, dwelling on the past.
Mike used to be an executive manager in a big petroleum company like BP. One day everything went wrong. The day had started really well. He had clinched a deal with a Californian trucking company that would bring in a good payment, enough to retire on. An assistant then walked into the office and reported a missing worker. Without him a tank of oil wouldn’t be able to be shipped off. Mike left his office and went to go and look for him. He would have sent someone else to go looking but he felt he deserved a break from the sweaty conference room he had been stuck dealing in all morning.
An hour later and Mike still hadn’t found the missing worker. He went to the front reception and rang the worker’s house, no answer. There was just one last sector of the campus he hadn’t checked. He started off towards it. He was beginning to become impatient. He bounded through the first door he came to, unable to resist the anger inside. Mike had fallen upon stony ground. In the middle of the room was a large, rectangular, wooden table. On either side of it were two groups of people, neither of whom looked too friendly. They were smoking something, which didn’t smell too much like tobacco.
On the table were bags filled with white stuff that looked a little like flour. He had stumbled across a gang of drug dealers. Mike tried to make a run for it but before he could lift up his foot there were heavy, pounding footsteps from behind him. He fell to the floor and everything went black. When Mike came-too, he found himself in a prison cell. He called the guard over and asked what was going on. The guard stood there for a second before bursting out laughing. Later the police pulled him out of his cell and took him into an interrogation cell.
The policemen shouted abuse at him for what seemed to be hours, before taking him back to his tiny, dark cell. Mike was pleased to be back in it. It felt humble and warm to him after being in the interrogation room. He managed to put some of the things said by the policemen together and work out that he had been arrested for drug dealing and a number of murders. Mike was brought back to reality by a bang on the cell door. It clanged open and the Warden walked stiffly in; “ Lucky you Fletcher my boy, you’re on road duty today.
Now move that sorry ass of yours and put these on. He chucked Mike a bright, fluorescent orange suit, “ and be lined up with the others downstairs in five minutes. ” The Warden finally finished shouting and left the room without turning his back away from the wall. Five minutes later Mike clanked across the metal railing, down the stairs and waited in a line with the five other, grudgingly, chosen few. They unwillingly put on their own handcuffs before being given some old spades and shifted off into a blue prison van whose back lights had been smashed and where weathering had caused the paint to crack and rust.
It looked better on the outside than the inside. Mike sat down on a torn, leather seat near the back where he was less likely to fall out. The trip took about an hour before the van eventually pulled up by the roadside and one of the prison guards opened the back doors. Sun light flooded into the back of the van. Mike had to shield eyes. When his eyes focused he saw a lonely countryside road, which led to a small village at the foot of the hill. The guards led the prisoners off to a dip in the road, which they were apparently supposed to repair.
Mike was only digging for about an hour when things started to go wrong. Danny, one of the other prisoners, was giving the two guards a lot of hassle about going to the toilet. “ Hey, I’m talking to you, I need the toilet! ” Danny demanded “ Well you can go in the bushes over there, or do you want someone to come help you find it! ” the officer jokingly replied. “ Oy! You don’t make fun of me! And its not that kind of need for the toilet. ” “ Fine, Harry, take Danny down to the village and see if you can find a Public Toilet. ” That was the last time Mike ever saw Danny and Officer Harry Mackenzie.
After they left, Mike could see the fear in the remaining officer’s eyes. He tried not to show it and stood up straight with his neatly creased clothes, but the fear was evident. The sky clouded over and it started to rain, but the men kept digging. About an hour after Danny had left with the officer one of the other prisoners, called Harry Belefontay, who had been put away for life for committing murder of the first degree, started an uprising, and challenged the remaining officer. This moment had been clouding the officer’s mind for the past hour. The attack had been imminent, and now it had begun.
Belefontay jumped up and with no warning at all, hit the officer cleanly over the head with the spade, knocking the officer out cold, and sending him flying across the road until eventually he hit the side of the prison van. The same thought went through almost everyone’s mind, “ Escape! ” Barry wasn’t coming though. He only had two weeks worth of porridge left to serve. As fast as Mike could, he left the scene and headed for the woods about a mile away down the hill. He was tired but knew that he couldn’t stop. This was his chance, he had to go to prove his innocence.
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