One stroke, two stroke… the powdery chalk crumbled into pieces as I stroked a line over the hideous and foul-smelling walls of the jail which have never been cleaned. I’ve lost count of the days I have been captured in here. I’m guessing I would have reached the hundreds, although it feels like thousands. Outside my cell I couldn’t hear the distant sounds of the never ending ticking of clock, tick-tock, tick-tock… time was passing by. I could just make out what the time was as I pressed my cheeks along the cold metal bars and the coldness sent me shivers down my spine.
Locked up and isolated, there was no place to escape anymore. Outside my little cubicle was the familiar looking jail guard which I faintly recall his name to be ‘Leonardo’. He stood out there for hours guarding the cells and to this very day I still don’t understand how he would want to be captured inside this place of doom when he had the choice to roam free as he was innocent. I stared at him as he stared back, he showed no hint of emotions, I don’t recall one single time or moment when we showed any emotions are all, maybe he was emotionless, or maybe, just maybe, he has experienced much more than I have.
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I stared at him for quite some time and through his naked eyes, I felt a sense of sadness within him. Did the other criminals around my cell feel the same way about him or were they too busy counting the days of their release? Maybe I’ve been here for so long and I’ve started to familiarise myself with this cubical and began to feel a sense of acceptance to this place over time. But sometimes I questioned myself, where and who do I belong with? I left it there and snoozed off to sleep, what more was there to do.
I began to dream… I was back in my old home where my wife, Rose, and our daughter, Annabella, were once living. We were a loving family but the joy did not last. On a cold, windy afternoon, we were alarmed by soldiers coming to invade our village. Our fear was overpowered us as we first hid our daughter, Annabella, under the table where the tablecloth covered her existence and she was secure from the soldiers. Then we heard the loud footsteps of the soldiers rushing up the stairs so quickly that I had just been able to close the cupboard door on myself and hoping that I would not be discovered.
Whereas my wife, Rose, was not so fortunate, the soldiers broke down the door and saw her just as she was about to climb under the bed. I watched as the soldiers running straight at her and grabbing her furiously on the arm, then taking hold of her as they pointed the rifle at her chest, I could hear her yelled out my name for help, ‘Rosian, Rosian! ’ while she begged the soldiers for mercy. But they gave no second thought and without mercy, they fired the gunshot. ‘Bang! ’ ‘Bang! ’ not once, but twice.
I saw the bullet shoot through her chest as blood spurted out and she died in a split second. Our daughter, ‘Annabella’ came rushing out from under the table where she was well hidden by the table cloth and shrieked with a horror as she ran towards her mother who was lying on the ground, but she only made it half-way when I heard another sound of bullet shot through her heart just as she landed in front of her mother. With her last breath, she slowly reached out to hold her mother’s hand but without any strength she collapsed as her hands fell a few inches from her mothers’ hand.
While this all happened, I was hidden safely in the cupboard as I was too frightened to face death. I shivered with fear as droplets of sweat ran along my forehead as shut my eyes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I held my breath and didn’t move a single muscle and prayed, yes I prayed, that I wouldn’t be caught. To my surprise, my prayers were answered as I could hear the footsteps of the soldier stomping out as their footsteps faded into the distance. I was a coward. I watched my wife and daughter die right in front of me and I didn’t do a single thing. I just watched.
I cheated death. At that moment the world stopped, everything was dead silent, I stepped out the cupboard and went through the backdoor and I ran, I didn’t stop… I just ran down the road, I had no direction but I knew I couldn’t return back here. I didn’t look back as the horrors of death terrified me. I could still hear my name ringing loudly in my head, ‘Rosian, Rosian. ’ I ended up in a village 500km away and I stopped running. I was in a whole new place and confronting a whole group of different people dressed in black and white with numbers encoded on their chest.
I’ve decided I’ll start my life all over again as I began this journey in search of something new, a different life; either to change myself or to change the people and places surrounding me. I needed the change and I believed that if I left that place and found somewhere new to start, I would be able to create a new life for myself. I haven’t found that new sense of belonging but I was here in this new place called, ‘Freshland jail’ and I felt my heart racing, not sure whether this place was a new destination to start a new life and to escape from my past, death I as too afraid to confront and seeing those who once meant so much to me suffer a painful death. I could feel the rush of wind through the small hole of window located on the very top of the cell and I suddenly felt so much lighter against my cheeks. It was like the discovery of new land that has lifted every part of me, and, the wind was breezing by. I’ve made the right decision as I believe this is the right way to serve my punishment and being able to start over once again.
This place, ‘Freshland jail’ is what I call home now and is the place where I plan to live for the rest of my life. No more escaping. No more regrets. (Word count:1100) Reflection statement: 1. Rosian first finds a sense of acceptance within his home with his family then he falls out of belonging because of his fear in death. Soon he finds a sense of belonging in his cell, in jail, as he believes that is where he should belong. Therefore we can say that our sense of belonging comes from our connection with people and places.
We can see the concepts of relationship, place and self-identity in the story and how time has allowed Rosian to feel a sense of acceptance in jail. 2. Finding a sense of self-identity and belonging to a place, despite undergoing different experiences, everybody should have the right to belong and not be excluded. 3. The ability to fall out of belonging then finding it once more in a place and with people that one would normally not choose to belong to such as Rosian deciding to serve his punishment by going to jail willingly.