Chapter 6:

Chapter 5 - Jail

The Guardian: An Unfortunate Wish

I was sitting on the cold floor of my cell. I was directly escorted by a soldier to it after the interrogation. It was the same soldier who stood behind me the whole time during the question-answer session with the other more annoying soldier. He took away my backpack. After that was done, another female soldier came to check my body and clothes for any kind of items that could be used as a weapon. Bookmark here

I kind of forgot that I still had the pocketknife from grandfather. I did not feel good handing it over. Not that I was actually planning on using it. It had a sentimental value for me now. I hoped I was going to get it back when I was released. Bookmark here

I was feeling sleepy, but it was not the time to take a nap and the bed did not look comfortable at all. It was made of a wooden board and a sheet. A pillow filled with hay was lying on top of it. There was a small window in the wall on which I leaned my back against.Bookmark here

It was still dark outside. The light that was coming from the corridor was dim and soft. It was coming from the candles that were lit after they turned off the lamps. I buried my head in my chest and knees. My left hand was lying on my head, and I couldn't do much with my right arm or my right hand.Bookmark here

What should I do? Daiyn and the others were probably waiting for me. Why did I not listen to Daiyn? I should have told the soldier the truth. But it was too late. Bookmark here

What was that sound? It was the sound of water. It was flowing from a water tap. It felt like it was coming from my cell, but it was not possible. There should not be anyone in this cell except me. That was what the soldier told me. It stopped but I started to hear a different sound. Something was being dragged along the floor. Bookmark here

The sound was getting closer. What should I do? What if it was another prisoner? I lifted my head to see what was making that sound. It took me a while until I could properly see in the darkness. I saw a steel cup. Someone was offering me a cup of water. It was an old man. I took the cup by courtesy and smiled. He smiled back. He looked unhygienic and messy. His grey fuzzy hair was braided. The jumper and the trousers he was wearing were dirty and ripped. I felt bad for him.Bookmark here

“Thank you. I was feeling thirsty,” I said to show him that I appreciated it.Bookmark here

“You’re welcome, young lady. This place does not seem right for you. Why are you here?” he asked me.Bookmark here

I looked closer to see his face and noticed that some scares surrounded his eyes. They looked lifeless. Bookmark here

“Because of trespassing and lying,” I explained. Bookmark here

“Why are you here?” I asked. It did not feel right to ask him why he was in prison. What if he murdered someone? Or what if he was a crazy person? Bookmark here

“Don't worry. I did not kill anyone, and I am not a crazy person either. Even though murdering a person would indicate that the killer is crazy. Let's just say that a mistake was made, and I ended up here,” he answered like he read my mind. Bookmark here

His look was still empty. It was like I was looking at a ghost. Bookmark here

“I guess you’re not from here?” he carried on. Bookmark here

I hesitated for a moment to answer his question. It was like he already knew my story but wanted to hear it from me. Bookmark here

“No, I am not from Deviion, if that is what you mean with here,” I told him. Bookmark here

“Well, that is not what I meant,” he answered with a smile.Bookmark here

“I meant with here this world,” he whispered.Bookmark here

I was getting more and more scared. Who was this old man and how did he know so much about me? I started looking at the ground and stopped talking to him. I thought this was the safest way to get out of this conversation. I was wrong. He carried on talking.Bookmark here

“Don't worry. I am not going to ask you any more questions. But I do want to give you some advice. It's about trust. You seem like a good girl who would trust anyone who is nice to you,” he paused for a second. Bookmark here

“But this world is cruel as you surely know. So, don't be naive. Mistakes are easily made but you can't undo most of them,” he explained. Bookmark here

“And why are you telling me this?” I asked him confused, still looking at the ground. Bookmark here

“Why wouldn't I? It’s very good advice which you should follow,” he said with a sarcastic voice. Bookmark here

“Especially when it involves a promise. Trust is as easily broken as a promise,” he said sounding very amused. Bookmark here

“If you don't believe me, you will in a minute.” I had no clue what he was talking about and why he thought he had to explain to me what trust is. Bookmark here

“Well, I shall leave you alone for now,” he said and started dragging himself to the other side of the cell. Bookmark here

“You can't walk?” I asked.Bookmark here

“No, I can't,” he said. Bookmark here

“I'm sorry,” I whispered. Bookmark here

“Don't be. You had nothing to do with it,” he replied.Bookmark here

We stopped talking. He was sitting in his corner, and I was sitting in mine. I was still thinking about what he had said to me. And why would I believe in his words?Bookmark here

A cry disturbed the silence and stopped my thoughts. It was coming from another cell. I put the cup on the ground and stood up to see where it came from. I was walking towards the jail door. Bookmark here

Someone was talking. From the way he was talking, I knew that it was a soldier. I reached the bars of my cell. I saw a soldier standing in front of an opened jail door. He stepped back and two other soldiers came out of the cell with a prisoner. They were talking to each other, but I could not understand a word because I was too far away. The two soldiers with the prisoner started walking towards my cell. Meanwhile, the third soldier was closing the jail door. When the two soldiers were passing my cell, I could hear the prisoner whispering. He was pleading for his life. I grabbed the bars with my left hand and moved my head closer to them. The prisoner looked up and I saw his face. He had two blue eyes and I think his nose was broken. His whole face was covered in bruises, and it was terribly swollen. My body tensed up and my grip got firmer. They had beaten him in the cell. I wondered where they were taking him. Bookmark here

“Where are you taking him?” I asked the third soldier when he was walking past my cell. Bookmark here

“It's none of your business,” he answered without even looking at me.Bookmark here

He disappeared into a room at the end of the hallway like the other two soldiers did with the prisoner. I let go of the bars and sat down in my corner. Bookmark here

“Do you think the beating of the prisoner was justifiable?” the old man asked me. Bookmark here

“Probably. I mean he is a prisoner after all,” I answered with a shrug. Bookmark here

“So, what you’re telling me is that every prisoner deserves a beating?” he asked me again. Bookmark here

“That's not what I said,” I said upset. “Maybe he committed a crime and that was his punishment.” Bookmark here

“Not every prisoner has done something against the law. Sometimes a person is at the wrong place at the wrong time. But never mind. Let's just rather find out what this poor soul did,” he explained. Bookmark here

“There is no way we can find it out. We are still locked up in this cell,” I said annoyed. Bookmark here

There is always a way,” he said and started dragging his body towards me. Bookmark here

When he was finally close enough to me, he immediately grabbed my hand and started mumbling something in a different language. I did not have time to react because the next thing I knew was that I was standing in front of my cell. Bookmark here

The old man let go of my hand. I felt different. It was like time had stopped and I did not belong anymore to this world. Something else was strange. The old man was standing on his legs. But how? I looked at him puzzled, waiting for an explanation. Bookmark here

“There is no time to discuss this or give you an answer of what just happened,” he said walking down the hallway. Bookmark here

After taking one step I felt weird. I felt like someone was still in our cell. I slowly turned around to assure myself that no one was there but I was wrong. There were two people sitting inside it. And those people were us, me and the old man still holding my hand. I just kept staring at them. How was this possible? What the hell just happened? Bookmark here

“I told you we don't have time for this. Get a hold of yourself and follow me,” he said interrupting my thoughts. Bookmark here

I turned around and nodded to show him that I understood but honestly, I did not. I could not do anything at this moment, so I followed him down the hallway until we arrived at the room where the three soldiers disappeared with the prisoner. I could hear the prisoner screaming and pleading for his life again. I stepped a little closer to the door to hear their voices more clearly. When I was only centimeters away from the door the old man pushed me, but the odd part was that I did not crash into it but went through it. Bookmark here

The sudden push made me trip and I fell on my knees. The old man followed me through the door. He walked past me to the right side of the room. I decided it would be best if I did not question what had happened. I stood up and followed him again. It was a small room with bright lights. I started looking around and noticed that they did not notice us. Bookmark here

The prisoner was sitting in the middle of the room on a chair. His head was bent forward, and his hands were tied back. Two soldiers were standing behind him and one in front of him. I stopped in front of the right wall of the room. Bookmark here

“Don't even bother to waste your breath. They can't see us, nor can they hear us,” the old man told me. Bookmark here

We watched quietly what was happening right in front of us.Bookmark here

“I told you everything I know. Please let me go,” stammered the prisoner. Blood was dripping out of his mouth.Bookmark here

It looked like they had continued to torture him. Now his arms had bruises and his clothes were stained with blood.Bookmark here

“I don't think you told us everything. If you tell us everything then we will let you go. This is your own fault,” the soldier said heartlessly who was standing in front of him. Bookmark here

“But I am telling you, I told you everything I knew. Please let me go back to my cell. You promised me,” the prisoner pleaded with his eyes full of tears. Bookmark here

“So, you won't tell us. Fine. Soldiers teach him another lesson,” he ordered the other two soldiers. Bookmark here

One soldier grabbed the prisoner’s chair and the other one came to the front and started punching him in his stomach. I felt sick. It felt like he was punching me in the stomach. Why were they not believing him? Bookmark here

“Soldier, stop,” the soldier commanded who was just watching the prisoner get beaten. “Instead, bring me the whip.”Bookmark here

The soldier stopped instantly and walked to the table at the end of the room and brought him the whip. Bookmark here

“Please. I told you everything during the six-hour interrogation. I wasn't involved in the incident which happened a month ago. I was just buying some vegetables when it happened,” he told the soldier, catching his breath after every word. Bookmark here

The prisoner's body was shaking with fear and so was mine. Why? Why wouldn't they stop? It did not seem to me that he was lying. He would have already told them the truth after enduring this much torture. The soldier handed the other soldier the whip. Bookmark here

“Exactly. That is the problem. You are telling us the same story over and over again,” the soldier said with a serious face. Bookmark here

“Because it’s the truth,” the prisoner cried.Bookmark here

With that, the soldier started whipping him. Every time the whip touched the prisoner's skin it would cut his flesh open. I had to control myself not to shout out. I put my hand over my mouth trying hard to stop crying. But my tears were coming one after the other. When the soldier stopped, the prisoner was covered in red. Bookmark here

“Are you now willing to tell us the truth?” he asked coldly. Bookmark here

The prisoner was not answering. Bookmark here

“I think we have seen enough. Let's get out of here,” the old man said and left the room.Bookmark here

It took me a while to move my body and follow him. He was waiting in front of our cell. Not saying a word, he grabbed my hand and mumbled the same words in the foreign language again, and the next second we were sitting in the cell again, in exactly the same position as we left. The old man let go of my hand and dragged himself to his corner. I did not notice until he started talking. Bookmark here

“Do you believe me now?” he asked me, but I did not answer. All of my thoughts were with that poor man. After a few minutes, I could hear the door to the interrogation room being opened. The two soldiers were half carrying, half dragging the prisoner to his cell again. As they were carrying him his blood was dripping from his body onto the floor. I could hear how the jail door was opened followed by a dull noise and then being closed again. They just left him there. Dark thoughts were rushing through my mind. Before I could realize it, my exhaustion made me fall asleep.Bookmark here

“Hey. Hey, wake up!” I opened my eyes and the bright sunlight coming from the small window blinded me for a second. Bookmark here

It was already morning. I was lying on the floor. I sat down and felt a terrible sting in my right shoulder and down my arm. It seemed my injury worsened during the night. I noticed that the cell door was open, and a soldier was standing in front of it. “Finally, you’re awake. Stand up and come out of your cell,” he ordered me with a raised voice. He seemed annoyed by me. I stood up and started looking for the old man from last night, but he was nowhere to be found. Bookmark here

“What happened to the old man?” I asked the soldier. Bookmark here

“Which old man?” he asked me back. Bookmark here

“The old man who was with me in this cell,” I answered puzzled. Bookmark here

“There was never an old man in your cell. I told you yesterday that you are going to be in this cell all by yourself,” he said looking at me like I was crazy. Bookmark here

I stopped and looked around the cell again. The old man was gone. Bookmark here

“Are you alright?” he asked me confused.Bookmark here

“Yeah. I'm fine,” I said. Bookmark here

“And what about the old man?” he asked laughing. Bookmark here

“Never mind,” I said in a low voice. Bookmark here

I followed him and ended up in the same interrogation room as yesterday. He closed the door behind me and left, leaving me all alone. I could not believe it, but my backpack and my pocketknife were lying on the table. I took both assuming that they were releasing me from this jail. Bookmark here

I bet Daiyn found a solution to get me out of here. The door opened again and to my surprise, it was not Daiyn. It was a middle-aged man with round, black glasses. He was really tall and looked lost. His hair was all messy and it seemed that he did not shave for weeks. He was wearing a white lab coat with different kinds of stuff crammed in his pockets and some black jeans. What did not match with his outfit were his brown leathered sandals on his feet. Bookmark here

“Can I help you?” I asked him politely. Bookmark here

“Actually, you can. Are you by any chance Ari?” he asked me. Bookmark here

“Yes. That's me. Why?” I asked him back. Bookmark here

“Let's go,” he said and left the room.Bookmark here

Why did I always meet weird people? I followed him hesitantly. I guessed this meant I could leave this place. I saw the lab coat man walking towards the reception room. I started running to catch up with him. Bookmark here

Daiyn and the others were waiting for me. He was talking to one of the soldiers. When Jasmine saw me, she immediately gave me a hug. Bookmark here

“Are you alright?” she asked me and started checking my body to see if I was lying. Bookmark here

She looked worried. Bookmark here

“Yes, I am fine. Don't worry,” I assured her. Bookmark here

“We can leave then.” It was Ray. Bookmark here

I was so happy hearing these words even if they came out of his mouth. We all left the building after the lab coat man joined us. Bookmark here

As I stepped out of the door, I thought about the prisoner from last night. I was free but he was not. I felt sorry for him. We walked quietly down the street.Bookmark here

Then I noticed it. Reiker was walking without his crutch. Did that mean he had his surgery already? I really wanted to ask him about his leg and the surgery, but I was too tired. Nobody was talking. The man with the glasses was leading the way. I wondered who he was. Bookmark here

The city looked even more beautiful than yesterday evening. The houses were built inside the mountain and the roads were plastered with cobblestones. It was very peaceful, and I could not see many people, probably because it was very early in the morning. We stopped in front of a house that did not look any different than the other ones. Bookmark here

The lab coat man, that was what I was going to call him until I knew his name, opened the door. Everyone followed him inside. I had no clue what was going on. Reiker sat down on a sofa next to Gagan. Jasmine went into another room. So did Ray. Daiyn started talking with the lab coat man. The two twins decided to sit on the floor next to the sofa where Reiker and Gagan were sitting. Bookmark here

It was only me who was standing in the middle of the room, not sure what to do or what to say. The floor was made of white and brown marble and the walls were the mountain itself except for one. It was made of glass, and you could see the garden. I saw a beautiful cannonball tree in the middle of it. The room we were in looked like the living room and was modestly furnished. The lights were made of crystals and had the shape of a small sun. Jasmine returned and was holding a glass of water. Bookmark here

“I bet you’re thirsty,” she said handing me the glass of water. Bookmark here

I took a sip out of it. Bookmark here

“Let me show you where the bathroom is so you can freshen up,” she suggested. Bookmark here

“Thank you,” I nodded. She grabbed me by my intact arm and led the way.Bookmark here

We went up some stairs that led from the living room to a hallway. She opened a door, and we entered a bedroom. Bookmark here

“If you like you can take a shower. I provided some new clothes for you. They are over there,” she said pointing to the bed. Bookmark here

“You can leave your dirty clothes in the bathroom so I can wash them. If you are finished, please come downstairs to the living room again,” she said with a smile and left the room. Bookmark here

The bedroom was as modest furnished as the living room. I took the clothes from the bed and went into the bathroom. There was not a shower but a silver bathtub. I opened the tap and water ran into it and filled it up. The sound made me remember the old man. I shook the thought off and opened my hair and took off my clothes. Bookmark here

I left my right shoulder bandaged, fearing it would get worse if I would touch it. I closed the tap and sat down in the bathtub. I kept my right shoulder and arm out of the water.Bookmark here

I started thinking about everything that had happened until now. It all seemed like a dream. Unreal. Bookmark here

After I finished bathing, I looked at the clothes Jasmine gave me. Some grey sweatpants and a white top and a grey sweater. I got dressed and threw my clothes and the thing which grandfather gave me for supporting my arm in the clothes basket. My hair was open because I could not manage to tie it up myself. I put my hairband around my wrist and left the bathroom. Bookmark here

Before going downstairs, I put my pocketknife within my bag and left it in the room on the floor. Reiker and Gagan were still sitting on the sofa, but Benjamin and Edwin were gone as well as the lab coat man and Daiyn. Bookmark here

“Are you hungry?” Reiker asked me. Bookmark here

“Yeah, a little,” I answered. Bookmark here

“Jasmine is waiting for you in the kitchen. It’s the door on the right,” he explained. Bookmark here

“Thanks,” I replied. Bookmark here

I went into the kitchen to see what she was preparing for breakfast. I sat down at the table and waited until she finished. The kitchen was surprisingly small but cute in a way. When Jasmine finished, she turned around and placed a plate with sandwiches in front of me. She sat down next to me and filled a glass with orange juice and gave it to me as well. Bookmark here

“Now eat,” she said smiling at me. “You must be really hungry.”Bookmark here

“Are you not going to eat?” I asked her, hesitating to pick up a sandwich.Bookmark here

“We already ate,” she told me while picking up a sandwich and holding it in front of my mouth. I took it out of her hand and ate it silently. We both did not talk. Bookmark here

After I finished, she took the glass and the plate and started washing them. Bookmark here

“Daiyn told me to tell you to go downstairs when you have finished eating,” she said. Bookmark here

“OK,” I said and stood up and left the kitchen. Bookmark here

Reiker was still wearing his eye patch, but I noticed that he was looking a lot better than yesterday. Bookmark here

“How are you feeling Reiker?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“I am feeling great, thanks,” he answered with a big grin on his face. “The doc fixed me up really good.”Bookmark here

“The doc?” I asked him. Bookmark here

“Yes. The man with the glasses. He is the doc and the friend of grandfather,” he replied. Bookmark here

“So, he is going to fix my arm and shoulder then. Is he going to do it right now?” I asked him, getting a little anxious. Bookmark here

“Probably. But don't worry. He is a good man and an excellent doc,” he assured me. Bookmark here

“Go now. They are probably waiting for you,” he said with a reassuring smile on his face. Bookmark here

I grabbed my right arm and went down the stairs. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.