short story

‘Hé! You!!’ A male voice shouted on my left. I turned to him, my eyes locked on his. ‘Get the fuck off of my grass!’ I looked down at my shoes. The grass he was referring to barely showed up under the dusty ground. I looked up again.

‘What grass?’ He got down of the bleachers and walked furiously toward me. I didn’t flinch. He stopped his course few centimeters away from my face. He was slightly taller than me. His eyes were green-ish, his nose small and pointed, dressed with a teenager’s mustache. A strong and spicy smell of sweat and greasy hair emanated from his entire body. I could smell his breath without him opening it. It stank like a piece of chicken has been left too long in the trash amongst a bottle of old milk and some cheese. He clearly didn’t know the existence of a toothbrush. ‘You mocking me, boy?’ Boy.

‘I have a name, idiot.’ A stare contest began. To intimidate me, he approached his face closer to mine. His muscles tightened. I sensed a circle forming around us. He did too. He lost the contest the moment he gazed around to see his homies ready to hype him up.

Under the pressure, he pushed me. But not hard enough. I made one step back, stretched my right arm behind me, brought it back, closed my fist, pivoted my hips on my left and landed my hand on his chick. As my weight carried me away, i felt his jaw crack and dislocate. Suddenly, louds screams and cheerings raised in the yard. I quickly scanned the crowd: they were clapping, throwing their fist in the air, whistling, yelling unaudible names. They looked like animals claiming their territories. A fist came at me, taking my attention away. I barely dodged, raising more cheers. The fight went on. I didn’t try to hit him again, All i did was to avoid being hit, not even once. My opponent, on the other side, was determined to end me. His face transformed into a unknown creature, showing his teeth out and breathing loudly, as if he lost his humanity. I didn’t understand. How something so vain can lead to this situation?

I’ve been put in jail four months ago after a week in and out of the courthouse. The jury decided without a doubt that i actually beat a man to death. And i did. I don’t deny it. In my opinion, that man deserved it. He had the time of his life when he sneacked into my sister dorm room, made her breathe a tissue filled with chloroform in her sleep, undressed her and took her trust in men away for ever. The police opened a case. A suspect was found but no charges had been held against him.

When i found out who he was, i followed him into a bar. I sat in his voice reach and waited for him to reveal himself. Few liters of alcohol later, i finally knew the reason of his action: he had spotted my sister days earlier and she became an obsession to him. That’s it? He confessed to his friend, who came in shortly after them, every detail of his plan. I didn’t think of recording him. I was disgusted. By his words and his friend’s reaction: a lack of empathy. I waited until he decided to go home. I made my choice. I was committed to waste my freedom in order to give my little sister a sense of relief that justice was done.

The inmate had stamina, the group had grown and the guards looked away. They probably thought that we will kill each other or one of us will fall. One less person to survey, control and feed. They, too, had lost their humanity.

A sudden pain made me stumble. I had enough of this game. I ran to my ennemy and knocked him until he lied still. The guards finally felt concerned and broke up the horde by shooting in the air. One of them checked on the loser and another one tackled me on the ground. He pulled my arms behind my back, cuffed me, pulled me up and dragged me to the isolation section. He knocked me on the head with his gun’s grip. Instantly, i lost consciousness and my body slammed the ground. My brain memorized one sentence before shutting down:

‘Prisoner n°7344, isolation time: two weeks.’

I woke up in the darkness. I lost track of time and space. Every now and then, they opened a small window to pass me food and water. My eyes forgot the colour of light, my hearing and sense of smell were more accurate. I spent most of my time on the bed, holding on my sanity. I will not let them break me. I will not become one of them. ‘I have a name. An identity.’