A Mind That Never Was
Gemma Henderson, Grade 6, Ironside State School
Excellence In Writing Award in the 'Dream Big 2013' competition
The figure, that figure, had haunted him since his first night here; the ghostly body, the charred flesh and ragged clothes, and that face, shiny red and mottled with scars, making the face twist with the slit of a swollen eye rolling in the grotesque head. The prisoner’s body started to jitter and the figure smiled a callous smile, its silent footsteps deafening to the convict’s twisted mind. The jittering came to a sudden halt and he dragged himself away from where the figure had disappeared.
It was late in the afternoon, and the guards on shift looked at the convict, a mixture of pity and disgust on their faces; they watched him writhe on the cold stone floor, his eyes seeing what no other could see. His chain rattled and scraped against the stone floor, leaving deep gouges in the cobblestone. A nervous glance was shot towards the other guard and the head guard glared back, knowing that it meant the prisoner could have seen he was unsure. If the prisoner saw, he would know that the guard was vulnerable, a weak link, a weakness that could be breached. An opportunity for escape. Not that he was capable of thinking, thought the guard scornfully. Both guards relaxed realising this and shrugged off to their positions, their concern for the convict’s health disappeared. After all, what did a madman matter to them?
The figure had disappeared. The man slowly looked up at the two guards and his body shook. The men had morphed into twisted things, created only to hate and torture, for his mind was a sick thing, where respectable things warped into fiends and fiends into devils. A piercing pain stung his ankle and he looked at the cold ring of steel the wrapped around his ankle, with an evident fear. The heavy, cold band had mutated into a snake coiling around his ankle, its body twisting around his, and somehow growing into the wall, trapping him.
The guards looked at the convict, their eyes bemused; the convict started to mutter, about devils and fiends, cursing god, the guard’s eyes widened, cursing god? He would have to go. To die. The world needed to be cleansed of his diseased, blasphemous soul. Flies returned reluctantly to their earthly confines in the afternoon heat, alighting on the prisoner. They too morphed into pets of the devil. Eyes scaled and mottled, wings distorted shattered fragments of mirror. The guards eyes meandered back to the madman, his sacrilegious muttering had stopped and his eyes looked blankly at the wall, unseeing.
It was time to go, even he , with his twisted mind, could see that as he was dragged along the ground, stumbling and lurching. The convict didn’t protest, they threw him in the bush, the twigs scratching like cats with claws, wanting to play. The gum leaves cackled under his thrashing body, laughing cruelly. The men pushed him away in disgust, so his twisted, sick mind couldn’t infect anyone else.
As the convict saw the figure, it had no pity, he knew he was ready to die, but he wanted one more thing, one more action to do, before his soul departed this earth. He looked at the figure, no fear in his eyes this time, and as he stared, he spoke, a thin scratchy voice, that hadn’t spoken for many desperate, broken years “I’m sorry….” he stopped for a moment to look at the charred face absorbing the eyes, the face, the broken expression marked permanently on his face.“I am sorry, my son.”