Friday, June 10, 2022

The Price Of Wishing

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

pickles ~ summer ~ thunderstorm ~ puppy

They were submitted by:


It was a summer night just like this one when I came here. A thunderstorm just like this one. If I believed in portents, I would definitely be a little concerned. But I don't. So it's fine. It's finally going to be fine.

In less than a day I will have done my time, and I'll be free. Sort of free. You don't live out a 400 year sentence for the kinds of crimes I was found guilty for without it being, you know, a big deal. Everyone seems to know who I am. I'll never get a minute's peace, but I'll finally be out of here. I'll finally move outside of these gray walls and the parade of hoodlums that come in and out changing styles, changing names, changing crimes but never really being different people. 1997 was a good year. pre-9/11. I mean things weren't great before that either but inevitably things hit a pretty steep decline afterwards. 10 years, 20, 50,100... All the milestones came and went. Wardens changed. Rules changed. The outside changed... And here I still am, still living in 1997 in my head and being pushed out into whatever awaits me in 2397. It's a tenuous freedom, but it is freedom.

When I accepted immortality as my gift from that djinn I didn't expect to spend eternity in a box watching as humans devoured each other metaphorically and then literally. I didn't expect to be handed a 400 year sentence for feeding a hunger I didn't ask for in the first place.

A hunger that's been satisfied by involuntary donations from the prisoners here once the cops figured out what happened when they denied what I am..

The last night.

I've missed my kids lives. Their kids lives. Their great grandkids lives. Do I even have family left? I've missed world war 3. 4. Nuclear fallout. An apocalypse and rebirth. Revolutions that won and revolutionaries stomped out by their own people's greed. I don't get to watch the news anymore. Not after my last freakout that left a few screws dead. I don't know what it looks like except words from the kids coming in here, a revolving door of outside culture. I hardly recognize the language anymore.

400 years.

4 years of this place is enough to drive some men insane, and I've been here 400. Am I even getting out of has my grasp of reality completely obliterated? Sometimes I don't even know if anything I know to be true actually is the truth. Sometimes in the dark of night when nothing is quiet, after all the sleeplessness, I don't know if I haven't made it all up.

And then I get hungry and for at least those few moments that hunger is being sated with pulse against teeth, I see it all so clearly.

Hours. Hours left.

I miss pickles I can't have anymore. I miss the smell of puppy breath right before they lick your face and fill you with joy. Are those things even real? Am I really? What's the price of 400 years? How can you leave one world and re-enter another you don't recognize anymore and be ok?

But I won't be here... At least there's that?

I won't be fed anymore either.

I won't be fed.

And I'll be so hungry.




Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


What TF Sarah

Part-time Working Hockey Mom


  1. I truly hope you're not coming to my neck of the woods, for the sake of my great, great, great, great (is that enough greats?) grandchildren.

  2. Now, I need to know what crimes he committed to get 400 years!