Collision

I wander around the canteen as inconspicuously as I can muster. It doesn't go too well. Just as I think I've made it home free, a small, nervous looking man makes a beeline straight for me.

I speed up, picking my way through the sea of tattoed and hairy arms to try to get to the relative safety of my cell. It's small and dirty, yes, but there are barriers I can lock if I need to.

He reaches an arm out to stop me, but a fiery looking woman steps between us. I don't see her face clearly, and she waves me away before I can work up the courage to speak.

The nervous man's face drops as he sees her, and I notice his head swivel around the crowded room as though he's looking for someone. They obviously weren't anywhere to be seen.

A brutish arm collides with my back, and I'm thrown to the ground. Before I can look up, brown teeth are leering at me, and sharp grey eyes are staring into mine.

"Watch your step, pretty-boy" It growls in my ear. "You never know who's behind you." I shudder, and nod quickly. The ogre lets me go, and I scramble to my feet, careful not to turn my back. He cackles as I shuffle off in the direction I came in.

As I pass the fiery woman again, I catch a little of their conversation. I don't understand much Spanish, but I catch something about bluffing. The small man doesn't seem too impressed with whatever she is saying to him.

Without stopping, I continue with my trek across the foodhall. Thankfully, nobody pays attention to me, but I keep a constant lookout, my sights never settling in one place for too long. Careful not to make eye contact.

I realise that I'm sweating after my encounter with the troll. I don't respond well to stressful situations, but then again, a stressful situation is exactly why I'm here. I'm going to have to learn to accept responsibility for my actions sooner or later.

Looking back, I find myself staring into the eyes of the small man. He opens his mouth as though to mime something, but then thinks better of the whole idea. That woman really must have shaken him up.

I shake my head and climb the stairs toward work; laundry. A tall, mean looking guard hangs around at the top sneering at everyone as they amble past, waving his baton dangerously.

I try to avoid him, but the red stick swings out in front of my face, halting me.  It digs into my ribs as he bellows;

"You! What are you up to? You look guilty of something. Out with it!"

I shy away from the battery of words; an act I'm not proud of. I don't respond well to intimidation either.

"N-Nothing, sir." I stutter. " Just trying t-to get to the laundry r-room."

The baton crashes onto the bannister, letting out an earsplitting clang. My hands shoot up to cover my ears, but he pulls them away as I flinch from the cacophony of echoes. Many of the other inmates stop to watch as the guard continues to bark in my ears, but I try to tune them out by humming to myself.

This seems to anger him more, and for the second time I find myself shoved to the floor, the edge of the baton sticking into the small of my back. I can smell his breath as his nicotine stained mouth looms next to  my head.

"Name!" he shrieks. I don't answer, and the baton slams into my shoulder blade, causing me to cry out in pain. "Name!" he repeats.

"Ben!" I babble. "Ben Whyte!"

"Well, Ben." He sneers, "You better run off to the infirmary now. That shoulder of yours looks a little swollen."

I scramble up off of the ground, and his laughter bounces around the walls as I scamper away.

The End

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