The prisoner had existed in the same large cell with forty seven other stinking, rotting men for over two years now. Or so he thought. There was no real way to keep up with the passing days here, no clock to mark the ticking of time. The rusted iron shackles around his wrists and ankles seemed to be part of his own body now, a permanent festering wound where flesh met metal. The ache that accompanied the clanking weight of his bonds made his shoulders and back droop and hunch. He looked an old man now, crooked and unkempt, though he was just past twenty five. The dank smell of the prison had seeped into his skin as well, making him feel as moldy as the icy stones on which he slept, tossing and turning throughout the long nights, trying to find warmth and comfort in any way he could.
There was no comfort to be found, not in the prison. And so at night, amongst the shuffling, grunting mass of men, he would let his mind wander. He would conjure thoughts of a previous life, one that was gone forever. The sun shining on his face as he worked his land, sweat leaving jagged rivulets of color on his face, as he made the red earth ripe for growth. The coolness of river water as it rushed over his skin, soothing his aching muscles and taking the dust coating his body with it. The taste of a well earned meal, the sound of laughter, the feeling of a soft warm bed, the soreness of muscles that were worked for gain and not greed. He would play these scenes over and over until he fell asleep, only to wake up cold, smashed against the heaving bodies of his fellow prisoners.
There was one memory he saved for special occasions, when he felt like he might just fade into the stench and the cold darkness and become nothing. He thought of the girl with the pale hair and the big green eyes. She smiled at him through thick lashes, sitting on a bench at the gathering, all innocence and light. He smiled back at her and braved a wave of his hand, but other matters needed his attention, and so he reluctantly turned away, reminding himself to find her later. That never happened. He couldn’t remember why, but it wasn’t long after that he was brought to the prison, stuck like a mouse in a trap.
He fell asleep with her pretty face swirling through his mind, smiling and laughing, a shining light of escape. His thoughts turned to dreams, and suddenly she was standing in front of him, eyes widened in nervousness. He reached up and touched her cheek, soft and pink, and she leaned into his fingers, a gentle smile illuminated her face. He leaned in and kissed her on the mouth, his wet lips sliding against hers. Her mouth opened and allowed his tongue to explore. He could feel his heart beating in his chest, a hard steady thump that crept down to other parts of his body. He ached in a whole new way, and he felt suddenly nervous, but she still smiled at him, meeting his eyes with her own. He tentatively reached up with his hardened fingertips, and tugged the strings of her bodice, the laces slowly unraveling to reveal tender pale flesh beneath. He hesitated, looking for reassurance, before gingerly stroking the exposed skin, bountiful mounds dipped into shadowed crevices, mysteries soon to be discovered. He wanted to dive in with both hands, mauling her, but he was scared. He didn’t want the moment to fade, so he held back. Keeping his eyes on hers, he gently pulled at the fabric still confining her and released her breasts, small pink nipples blinking in the light. She moaned, the softest sweetest, almost imperceptible sound. When he finally grabbed her flesh, his fingers sunk into her soft skin, almost as if he could reach right through her and take her heart in his hand. He shuddered at the thought of possessing her in that way, of owning her heart and body. His cock was now throbbing, a need he’d never paid any attention before now making itself known, clearly and loudly. The girl reached her small hand towards him, curiously resting it on the growing bulge in his breeks. He jerked at the warmth of her touch, the softness. It felt so foreign. Without warning, his release overtook him, the violent rush of his own body woke him with a start.
He floated for a moment between reality and dreams, and the girl’s glowing face faded into the black. He blinked his eyes wide trying to find some light, trying to remember what was real, his breath coming in labored heaves. And, the he remembered. He was on the cold stone floor of the prison, lying in his own sticky puddle. He turned his face into the stones and cried, silent tears striping his dirty face as shame and loneliness washed over him. The grunting and snoring of the other men wafted through the rank darkness and reminded him of where he was, what he was. Alone. Celibate. A prisoner.