A Prison Without Walls


This is a story done from another writing prompt in my writers group.


Prompt: There is a prison with no locks, no bars, no outside walls, and no guards, but the prisoners are too scared to escape.  Why?


Three years.  That’s how long it’s been since Wendell died.  He just wouldn’t believe us when we told him what happened to all the others who’d tried to leave.  I’d like to be able to say he learned his lesson, but he’d have to be alive for that.

We’re all here for different reasons.  Joe killed his wife when he caught her cheating on him.  Billy…he robbed a liquor store.  Not for the money, but because he was a raging alcoholic.  Danny was a serial child molester, and Lou was a leg breaker for a loan shark.  There’s a whole lot of other guys in here as well, but as for me, I was drivin’ around texting one day and ran over a little kid on his bike.  Kid was only three years old, but he was out in the middle of the street.  If his parents had only been watching him…  Anyway, when I hit the kid, I got scared.  I mean, really scared.  I knew my life was over the second I heard that bike smack against the front of my car, so I ran.  I drove off as fast as I could, but what I didn’t realize is that both the kid and his bike were caught up underneath my car.  The cops didn’t have a hard time finding me.  They just followed the trail of blood I left behind me for about a half a mile before I finally skidded off the road and hit a tree.

Thing is, we all belong here.  The stuff we did…it was bad.  I mean real bad.  The one thing they told us when they stuck us in this prison was that even though there were no locks, no bars, and no guards…we could never leave this place.  Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?  I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t just walk right the hell outta here?  Every so often someone gets up the nerve to try, but it’s always the same.  We find ‘em all torn apart on our doorstep the next morning.  I don’t mean torn apart like someone beat ‘em up, or anything like that.  I mean there’s somethin’ out there that’s literally ripping ‘em apart and dragging what’s left of their corpses back here, like it’s been trained to do it.

There were a few guys once who figured they’d have a better shot of gettin’ the hell outta here if they worked as a team and split up.  I mean hell, it sounded like a good plan.  They tried to get me in on it, but there’s no way in hell I’m goin’ out there, and it’s a good thing I didn’t.  The next morning we found three bodies on the doorstep, and it looked like whoever or whatever killed ‘em actually rearranged some of the parts, like it was puttin’ together some sort of a gory jigsaw puzzle or somethin’.

I’m not really sure how they get in and outta here, but there’s a food delivery once a week.  They also deliver stuff like toilet paper and other assorted toiletries, but for some reason they seem to be able to come and go as they please.  That’s why every so often some of the guys start gettin’ brave and take a chance on getting’ outta here.  Even had one guy try to kidnap the delivery guys so he could go with ‘em, but that didn’t work out so well…or maybe in its own way it sorta did.  They shot him and sent him back in here with a bullet in his gut.  He didn’t last long after that, but at least it was a better death than all the others ended up with.  No one ever tried it again though after what happened to him.

You might be wondering what we do with the bodies.  Most of ‘em got buried in the courtyard we have here in the middle of this place where we take our recreation periods, but the last couple of corpses we had got stripped down by a few of the guys who came up with some bright idea on how to get outta here.  They’re gonna take the bones and make weapons out of ‘em.  Ain’t gonna work, but who am I to rain on their parade?  I’m just some schmuck who killed a kid with my car.  I belong in here, so I ain’t gonna make no trouble.  When my twenty years is up, I’m gonna walk outta this place all in one piece.  Until then, I do gotta admit…seein’ these other guys tryin’ every trick in the book to get outta here is actually pretty entertaining.  I mean, who knows?  Maybe one of ‘em will actually make it someday.