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by rancho
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #1139711
The story is about a prisoner and what makes him as he is.
Bad Air
A Short Story by Hasan Shabbaz

The burning red ridges of the Rocky Mountain peaks were

somewhat overbearing for James Saxone. He leaned against a

large rock with blood trickling down his elbow. He licked

his clotted wound on the elbow. He swore from time to time.

Then slumping onto the ground, he thought of where he would

be spending his time. The summer heat was stifling, so he

pulled out a water bottle and with trembling hands he threw

water onto his face and drank some water.

Within seconds the sirens screamed and groups of armed

policemen swarmed the rocks and boulders of the ridge where

he was lying. One by one they scrambled down and before he

knew it, he had biting steel handcuffs on his wrists. They

dragged him by the hair and neck and forced him into their


‘So what are you planning?; he spoke to the police.

‘Maximum security, Perhaps’

James stayed silent.

* * * * *

Want some cool water? One of the cops offered.


“’I’m okay thanks.’

‘Take it maan,’

‘I don’t deserve it. Been arrested.’

‘So what?’

‘Hell man. You is in prison. Don’t you know?’

‘What? Well I expected it anyway.’ James shrugged as he

said this.

‘You is stronger than I thought. Don’t be too strong, maan.

I hate to think what they do to ya the stronger ya are.’ The

West Indian cop looked amused in giving this advice to the

detainee. He left the glass of water next to James in case

the offer of cool water would be accepted.

James felt strange. He was in prison and he was not feeling

paranoid or rebellious. It was darkening outside and the

full moon was getting brighter and brighter. He lay back

on the rock hard bed of the prison cell and dreamed of

better days in Dallas. He felt himself sinking into an

abyss as he slept the night.

* * * * *

He woke up the next morning to find a mark on his arm he had

not seen before. It turned out to be an injection he had

received earlier in the day. He stood up with a start. He

then looked into a cell mirror and his eyes looked strange.

There was no obvious color but they looked pale.

James clutched the iron handle of the prison, and with a

swing of his hand he banged a heavy metal against the cell

borders. He repeated this until the guard Axle came

running at him. As soon as they had eye contact, there was

pin drop silence in the prison.

Then he let loose a volley of loud abuse. He accompanied

this abuse with throwing all types of objects. Just then

James heard the bells of the phone.

* * * *

Suddenly a gang of prison guards stormed the cell and

dragged James and pinned him to the ground. He yelled for

forgiveness but they shouted back at him to calm down, and

before he knew it, he felt his trousers opening, and a

Stinging pain afflicting him under his belt.

He tried to catch his breath, but Axle the main guard, hit

him repeatedly in the back until he screamed for mercy.

Again, they shouted at him to calm down andkept on hitting

him until he fainted. They made sure his therapy included

multiple bruising. His battered and injected body was

dumped back in the cell. They slammed the cell door shut

with a huge explosive sound and left him unconscious for

assessment the next day.

He woke in the night to the sound of the radio playing heavy

metal music. He wanted so much to write to his girlfriend

but the sound of steel guitars numbed his mind into a

cabbage state. He slept then, with visions of demons and

screaming animals in his mind. He writhed in agony until

he woke up the next morning to a ray of sunlight on his

face. It was a bizarre sunlight. He could almost see the

image of the Virgin Mary but he was too weak to recognize

it clearly. Unconsciously, he reached out for a cup Of holy

water, but was disappointed. Then he managed to get up

after reciting Some religious verses. He felt the pain of

the bruises yet he was able to perform Daily chores as

usual. He even worked in the labor camp without much fuss.

Some of the other convicts were impressed but most became

suspicious and cynical.

* * * *
Cannon sat in fixed to her chair that gave her comfort from

all the miseries of life, Such as getting married, but above

all being industrious. Her steel grey eyes Were more

effective than her huge bulky shoulders. Her red complexion

was too Good, in her opinion, to be included as a redneck,

It was said that some children died in her care while she

was a matron in a home.

She had never understood why. She made sure she shouted

ferociously enough at the children when they disobeyed the

rules. She always had enough Paperwork to keep her from

worrying about the health of the children.

Her role as security guard suited her iron character.

James came back from the labor camp to find that Cannon was

eating a donut and had a huge bag of more. She sat

transfixed to the chair and went on eating donuts even when

all the Convicts were in their cells. Her white shirt was

no longer white but stained With sugar and coffee. She did

not move a inch when James begged for water.

She did not move when he asked to see Ax le either. When

James asked her What the assessment would entail, she was

stiff lipped. When he asked her if There was a phone call

she was still stiff lipped.

James abandoned all efforts to communicate with Cannon so he

picked up a pen And began to compose a letter to his

girlfriend. He wrote a lengthiest letter he Had ever


He waited for permission for parole. He wrote more letters

to her ready for the Parole.

* * * * *

James kept up a routine of prayer and industriousness, and

Parole came sooner than he thought. His first ever parole

Officer was Corrina Vasquez. She had not introduced herself

But rather assumed that he would be told his


Soon he was allowed to roam at will as long as he returned

To the prison cell. On Sunday, Corrina appeared and took him

To see his home in Denver.

The dusty road on which Corrina drove her charge objected to

Her aggressive driving. Every few minutes a pothole rattled

the whole land rover to remind the seated occupants of the

Grave uncertainty of the trip to Denver and back.

‘You have friends there in your city.?’ she enquired with a

Tolerant attitude rather than a sympathetic one.

‘Not many.’

‘How long you lived there?’

‘Thirty years.’ he replied with an air of much pride.

‘Have you somewhere to stay?’

‘yes. I suppose I could call it that.’

‘Don’t you like your house?’

‘I don’t care much for it.’ He almost swore but checked

Himself at the last minute.

‘You will have to live there when you get released.’ she

said angrily.

Then she pounded the accelerator and drove at a speed that

Only the police could achieve without getting prosecuted.

She took him to his house and made sure he settled down into

Chair. He must have dozed off, for when he woke up she was

Gone. There was a release form she signed in his absence on

His coffee table.

* * * * *


James Saxone obtained full citizenship a few weeks after his

Release. He studied religion and went on to become a

Reverend. There was one quote he used from a Dr Kildare

Soap. ‘I have seen God and talked to God.’ No one

understood him or even liked him for saying that.


Copyright by Hasan Abdulla 12/2005

© Copyright 2006 rancho (colorado6 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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