Sometimes you can tell they're guilty by a glance. This was one of those times.
|As I walked into the cold, metal holding cell, my shoes reverberated as they connected with the floor. A coarse voice emanated from the corner of the room. A mixture of passion and madness echoed in the voice, sending a cold shiver down my spine.
“Nobody ever suspected me.”
It was like nothing I had ever heard before in all my years as a cell attendant, something so hate-filled, defiant and proud. My skin bristled with fear as it shook me to the very core. I froze, captivated. I had attended to many hardened criminals in my time, and yet none had ever affected me such. The rasping quality of the voice hurt my ears, similar to the sound of fingernails on a blackboard or knives scraping across china plates, but I had to listen.
"The blank stares as they swarmed past me through the dank hallway, paint peeling off the walls like bad sunburn, looked straight through me. I was a dull grey in their kaleidoscope of colours. I was ignored, pushed to the side like dregs in a teacup.”
My mouth hung open in shock. The sheer eloquence of this voice didn’t seem to fit the short, lanky teenage boy cowering in the corner, only just growing into a man. I caught a brief glimpse of his sweat-drenched face reflected on the mirror plated walls before he hid it behind his hands. Surely such an awful crime could not have been committed by the baby-faced child in front of me. Surely there had been a mistake. The boy looked defenceless, innocent looking with red cheeks and a stance that reflected his fear.
“They would never have thought I was capable of something like this. They all went on with their lives, complaining about irrelevant things, acting like precocious three year olds. As if their problems were any worse than my own! As if they had endured the hardships I have! They all live in their own little plastic bubbles, believing all that they were fed to believe.”
The light flickered, as if shaken by our mere presence and the boy’s apparent confession. With that, he glanced up, studying me with the curiosity of a small child, but in that brief glance, his bloodshot eyes were illuminated. They flashed electric blue, glowing with fatigue, insanity and sheer resolve.
He chuckled to himself, seeming to replay the scene in his memory.
“You and I both know that I popped those bubbles today. They never saw it coming. Are you going to keep me here for that?”
He had spoken dryly, showing no remorse, seeming almost proud of the horror that he had just admitted to. I reached out and latched myself onto the vast aluminium desk, straining to stay vertical as the full force of his words enveloped me like a magician’s cloak. Who knew what would emerge from the cloak once the magician had completed his trick? I was a rabbit, hidden from the eager public; a marionette, with this young boy, nearly half my age, pulling the strings and forcing me to dance an emotionally draining and complicated dance. What a cruel, twisted puppet master.
“I... you... you’re insane!” I spluttered, letting my composure slip for a second.
The second the words left my lips I regretted them. How shameful, to let this boy get the best of me, a seasoned guard. What if a supervisor found out? I would be out of a job, and this boy was just smiling his warped grin at me, eyes dancing, knowing that he had shaken me.
My mind span, and for a brief moment I saw the universe through his eyes. The light overhead was too bright, the sporadic rhythms of its flickers causing his head to ache. It was too much for his tired eyes, grown accustomed to the darkness of the holding cell.
Realization set in and I was relieved, knowing that with a confession like that, he would be off my hands soon, off to the big house. Smirking, I turned away. No longer would my time be spent listening to the rasping confessions of this deranged adolescent. No longer would I be forced to gaze into these cold, hard eyes, radiating with insanity. The eyes of a murderer.