The Ball and Chain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This short story provides a philosophical perspective by entering the minds of two prison mates. Both have a reason to be in prison, though they both have one thing in common: they have lost their purpose in life, and that lack of purpose weighs them down like a ball and chain.

Submitted: July 22, 2012

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Submitted: July 22, 2012

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I could hear footsteps come and go as they passed my room. It was really the closest thing I had tomusic, these days; anything to remind me that I’m still here. Days seem to feel like months when youstop and think about how long you’ve been here. Sometimes it’s best not to care. What would it matterif you did know, anyway? What would it matter if a minute felt like an hour, or an hour felt like aday? In the end, none of it matters. We don’t deserve to leave, and some of us more than others don’tdeserve to stay. We’re all trapped and have nowhere else to turn. We have nothing that could ever fillthe hole, that meaningless hole that has no purpose, that hole that reminds us how we have nopurpose.

I wasn’t always like this, though. There was a time when I was happy. I thought I had everything:I was studying for a bachelor in one of the country’s greatest universities, I was a young bachelor, Ihad a job that I loved, and I had friends who cared about me. Over time though, things began to take aturn for the worse. My university grades could never keep up with the grades my friends had: They weregetting A’s, while I was getting F’s. I began to believe I was nothing more than a deluded idiot. No girlever wanted to go out with me, let alone talk to me, and after so many years it came to the point whereI finally accepted I was destined to be alone forever. My job led me to deal with customers who wouldfind the smallest, most pathetic reason to yell at me, and even yelled at me for things they knew werebeyond my control, and just thinking about those pathetic idiots to this day fills me with hate. I loved myfriends, and even now I still do, though I’ve always been extremely pessimistic around them. They saythey didn’t mind, but I knew that one day, it would come to the point where they would grow tired ofmy negativity, and that idea of waiting for that day filled me with anxiety. My family meant well, thoughI could never talk about my problems because they never knew what to say. I couldn’t blame them forthat, but I kept telling myself that I can’t always tell people when I’m upset or depressed. I have to keepit to myself, even if it means filling my thoughts with the idea of anxiety and depression forever.

I keep asking myself why I was born. I don’t have the looks, smarts, or state of mind to live intoday’s society. I hate that I can only worry about what’s happened and what’s yet to happen. Whatreason is there to be put on this planet, only to suffer? Isn’t there a higher calling for all of us? Isn’tthere a reason that I was put in this world? If there is, then I still don’t see it. I thought it was best tofind it by myself, and by doing that, I abandoned everyone I ever loved. My friends, my family, I missthem all so much. At the same time, they’re better off not having a cynical, lonely moron on their backall the time. I had to leave them all behind. Not for my sake, but because I know they’re better offwithout me. If my purpose was to make them suffer, then I’d rather be trapped in this room forever,with idiocy, loneliness, hate, anxiety, and depression tied to me like a ball and chain.The footsteps began to grow louder. I turned myself on my bed, facing away from the door. Assoon as I did, it slammed open, and I heard the sound of a baton being banged against a metal gate.

‘Most people knock before they come in,’ I said dryly, ‘But you’re more important than theyare, aren’t you? Come on now, don’t be so modest.’

I was turned over in less than a blink before I wound up staring at the guard. He grabbed me bythe wrist and dragged me out of bed.

‘It’s time for your verdict,’ he said almost maliciously.I could feel a small crunch in my arm.

‘Little tight around the wrist,’ I said, holding back my winces. ‘You mind loosening up?’

He looked me straight in the eye. ‘Talk smart to me again and the arm comes off.’

With a final jerk, he pulled me out of my cell room. What my verdict would be, itdidn’t really matter. It’s not like I had anything outside of my walls, or anyone waiting for me outside,and with this ball and chain still attached to me, it’s not like I would be going very far. The guard walkedme to a police car; I stepped inside before being driven away, awaiting my fate.

When I had finally arrived to court, I stepped out of the car and walked into the court house.Inside were only the judge and his twelve men. I knew from this that this would be fairly short. I walkedinto the center of the room, cuffs around my hands, and two balls and chains attached to my legs. Istared at the judge. I insisted on smiling, though he simply looked down, to which I parroted his action.

‘Jason Anderson,’ he finally began, ‘You are being charged for carjacking, public drug use,vandalising city property, and thievery. How do you plead?’

I kept my head down. Did it really matter what I said?

‘Mr. Anderson,’ he said sternly, ‘How do you plead?’

I kept my head down, though I could tell he was staring at me, hoping to intimidate me, so hecould break me down, sending me to prison while I suffered. Joke’s on him, though. I’ve been sufferingfor years.

‘Very well,’ he said, ‘Jury, what is your vote?’

It was unanimous. Each jury member sentenced me as guilty. I continued to hold my head down.I couldn’t look at these bastards, and at the same time, I knew I deserved to be sent to prison. It’s theonly place where people like me are meant to go.

‘The verdict is decided,’ the judge said. ‘Jason Anderson, you are hereby sentenced for fiveyears in prison.’

With the slam of his gavel, it was all over. I could feel one of my ball and chain’s get heavier. AsI walked outside and back into the police car, I stared outside, observing all the happy people. Thepeople who were smart enough to graduate, the people who were lucky enough to find love, the peoplewho were confident that their friends would never leave them. They have something that I’ve wantedfor years. They’re the lucky ones in the world, and people like me deserve to be sent behind bars, wheretime is the only friend we have, though a friend that constantly reminds us how lowly we are. What Iwould give to escape time’s grasp, and live those people’s lives. What I would give to finally achieve thehappiness I’ve always wanted. At the same time, it’s one thing to want it, but another thing to try andget it. To this day, I still don’t know what I’m missing; I still don’t know what to count on. All I have ismyself, and I know it’s for the best.

A few hours later and I’m back inside my room, once again with only the usual ball attached tomy leg. Sitting on my bed, I allowed my mind to wander. All I wanted was to find happiness, but therecan never be happiness if meaning doesn’t exist. I’ve often thought of how it might be if I took away mymisery by myself, to simply fall asleep and be embraced by absolute nothing. It seems simple,and yet no matter how hard I try, I can never lift my ball. I try to lift it up and throw it, though the ballpasses through my fingers. It’s funny how I can never so much as touch it, yet I can feel it grow heavierevery day, some days more than others. I want to be free from everything, and yet I can’t run away.

Minutes feel like hours, and hours feel like days. All I can do is lie on my prison bed and stare atthe ceiling, listening to the sound of footsteps come by my room. Some days are worse than others.Some days, I can hear the screams of other prisoners as guards take them to another room. Theirscreams are enough to send chills down my spine. I can hear them crying and begging for help, andevery time they come by room, I turn away from the door. There was nothing I could do to help them,anyway, and if there was, what good would I be?

As the prisoner was sent to the other room, the door, his door, closing forever, the screamsslowly began to fade. What was behind that room? Will I be sent there, as well? What will happen to meif I do? Will I be as scared as the rest of those people? In spite of what I say about myself, in spite of howI tell myself I want to get rid of my ball and chain, run away from time, and be happy, do I actually wantto stay the way I am? That doesn’t seem right; it makes no sense. There’s no reason for me to be happythe way I am, so why would I want to keep things the way they are? I pondered these questions, andbefore I realized, I heard footsteps. They began to grow louder, and moments later, my door hadopened. My heart began to race as I immediately turned to the guard, only to see him accompaniedby someone else: another prisoner.

‘Got a new roommate,’ he said. ‘You get your meals in three hours.’

With that said he pushed my new roommate into my cell, closed the door behind him, andwalked away. The two of us stared at the ground for the longest time. It wasn’t until moments later thatI fell back on to my bed.

‘You can have the top bunk,’ I answered flatly.

The prison mate didn’t move. I turned around to face him.

‘Afraid of heights?’ I asked. ‘Then you can have this one; it doesn’t matter to me.’

‘You look pissy,’ He finally spoke.

‘On second thought, I changed my mind,’ I replied, turning around, again. We might be inprison, but he’d be smart not to piss off the guy he’s sharing a cell with.

‘I’m sorry,’ he panicked. ‘I meant to say you look unhappy. Do you... You don’t belong here,either, do you?’

‘What are you talking about?’ I was curious to why he said that. ‘What’s your name?’

‘Nick Thompson,’ he said, ‘sentenced to twenty years behind bars.’

‘What did you get thrown in for?’ I asked.

‘I’ve been accused of murder,’ he said. He immediately noticed the surprise on my face. ‘Don’tlook at me like that; it’s not what you think. It was a suicide. I walked into the room after he had doneit. I picked him up and tried to save him, but it was too late. What’s more is my finger prints had beenmarked on him and his room. I was pretty easy to suspect.’

I remained silent. It must be terrible to lose someone you love like that.

‘My parents blame me for his death. I also blame myself for his death. If I had been thereearlier, I could have helped him.’

Hearing his story had me thinking about my own family. It’s one thing to run away from yourfamily, but another thing to take yourself away from them. The idea of never seeing them again, or tonever be seen again, is a very disturbing thought.

‘Well?’ he asked.

‘What?’ I asked in return.

‘Aren’t you going to say anything?’ he asked. I had very little interest in trying to comfort Nick,but if I’m stuck as his roommate, I might as well enlighten him.

‘Don’t think that it’s your fault,’ I said. ‘There’s no way you could have known when he wasgoing to do it.’

‘You don’t get it.’ he muttered. I was starting to get annoyed. ‘You don’t know what it’s like tolose someone you love.’

‘No,’ I said coolly, ‘but I know what it’s like to leave the people I love and lose everything.’

We stared at each other for the longest time, before I turned back around on my bed.

‘Hey, I thought you said I could have the top bunk!’ he cried.

'Be my guest.' I said sarcastically.

Nick mumbled as he climbed to the top bunk. The ball on my leg felt heavier. Just what Ineeded. I’m not surprised that I acted the way I did. At this point in my life, it’s the only way I know howI’m going to survive. It’s better not to grow attached to other people. It’s better to keep a distance. Inthe end, the always end up leaving, and in the end, I’m always the one who ends up hurt.

I guess it must have been three hours later, because the door slid open, and to metal clanks hitthe ground. I turned to the police guard, who simply turned around and closed the door behind him. Heleft food behind. That horrible prison food, the kind that tastes like used cardboard. Even so, food wasfood. I couldn’t really complain.

I looked up at the top bunk, seeing that Nick was still turned over on his bunk.

‘You hungry?’ I asked. He remained silent.

‘Alright, I’m sorry I wasn’t very helpful, earlier,’ I said a few moments later. ‘What did you wantme to say?’ He stayed silent. Defeated, I turned back to my food and continued to eat.

As soon as I finished eating, Nick finally got up and went down his bunk, took his food, andclimbed back up, again. I crawled back into my bed while hearing chewing noises the entire time. Whenhe finally finished eating, he sat up. I could tell from the legs dangling above my half of the bunk.

‘It’s my fault because I knew he would kill himself, one day.’ He finally said. I continued to stareat his dangling legs, not feeling as though anything I said would help him at this point.

‘How well did you know him?’ I asked. He didn’t say anything. ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend.’

‘He was my twin,’ he said after a while. I looked at his feet, partially stunned, and partiallyalarmed. ‘He’s always been depressed, but he never had anyone to talk to. Growing up, I was able tolook after him, especially from the bigger kids who would never leave him alone, calling him names andbullying him. His closest friends ended up moving away, so he had no one but the bullies whenever Iwasn’t around. Every day he would come home crying because no one would treat him for the personhe really was.’

‘How was he?’ I asked.

‘He was like my other half,’ he said. ‘The two of us were the best of friends, though obviouslythat wasn’t enough for him.’

‘Was he always thinking about suicide?’ I asked.

‘He didn’t start until junior high. I found him in the middle of the woods. He had an old electricwire wrapped around his neck. I managed to stop him and throw away the wire, and he never found itagain. He kept trying for a few years, and it looked like at one point, he finally decided to stop. Then, afew months later, I found him in his room with a knife held in his hand.’

I started to shake at the idea. I’ve always considered suicide to run from my problems, though Inever knew how cruel it could really be. I’ve run away from my friends and family, but I still love them. Idon’t know what I would do if they suffered because of my death. They mean the world to me,regardless if I ran from them or not.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘I didn’t know.’

‘It’s okay,’ Nick said. ‘The fact that I’m stuck in here means no one else knows, either.’

Days began to turn to weeks, and yet prison didn’t seem so bad. Maybe it’s because Nick wasmy roommate. Maybe it’s because he’s the first person in a long time whom I’ve had a meaningfulconversation with. Maybe it’s because I was forced to bond with him, since I couldn’t run away fromhim. Nothing but maybe’s, and yet maybe it’s for the best that I don’t know the answer. Right now, whatmattered was facing prison, and it seemed a lot easier with someone by your side.

‘What did you get thrown in for, anyway?’ Nick asked.

‘The cops have been after me for years,’ I said. ‘I’ve been a thorn on the city’s side for a longtime.’

‘You have anyone waiting for you outside?’ He asked.

‘I left my family years ago,’ I said. ‘I don’t think they even know I’m here.’

‘Why would you want to leave them behind?’ Nick asked.

‘They’re better off without me,’ I said. ‘I was just slowing them down. This way, they can livetheir own lives, without having to worry about me.’

‘Maybe they wanted to worry about you,’ he said. ‘That’s why they’re your family.’

I remained silent. I didn’t need him to sound so condescending.

‘When do we get our visits?’ I asked him.

‘One week from today,’ he said. ‘Why?’

‘I guarantee you that nobody will be out there waiting for me,’ I said.

Nick grew silent. I turned over in my bed. I didn’t expect him to know how I feel. He’s not theone who threw his family behind.

‘If it means anything,’ he said. ‘I probably won’t have anyone waiting for me, either. Myparents believe that I’m the one who killed my brother. Nobody believes that I’m innocent. It’s betterthat I’m in here. At least this way, I’m guaranteed a roof over my head.’

I remained in silent before I heard the sound of him rolling over in his bed. We heard the gateopen, as well as the sounds of food trays hitting the floor, but neither of us were willing to eat. The ideaof being alone forever filled us both. Nick was probably more alone than I claim him to be, and to him, Iwas nothing more than a stubborn child, thinking that the world was cruel, though it was my choice toleave my family. Even then, I knew that nobody could help me. I couldn’t even help myself.

It was a week later, and Nick and I walked into a room: It was a room where inmates could seetheir friends and families waiting outside the prison. Nick and I both sat alone at a table, watching theother prisoners hugging and kissing their loved ones. It was enough to make me sick. Even in prison,they have something that I’ve longed to have. How is it I can look for years, though can never find thehappiness that I’ve always been looking for, and yet people can find their happiness in less than a heartbeat? It was an idea that was enough to disgust me. I didn’t even know why I was waiting at that desk,anymore. I looked at Nick and he had the same look on his face.

‘You were right,’ we both thought to one another. We both stood up and began to walk to theofficer to ask to return us to our cells. It wasn’t until we stood up that we heard a small voice comefrom across the room.

‘Jason?’ I heard the voice ask. My heart began to race. Where did I hear that voice, before? Iturned around and saw a woman standing and staring at me. I began to walk towards her.

‘Mom?’ I asked the woman. She just stared at me, her eyes turning red with each passingsecond. I ran up to her and hugged her. My mind was still in shock, and yet my body wouldn’t keep mefrom crying. It’s been years since I’ve seen my mother, and the fact that she was here was enough tomake me abandon all the grief I’ve bottled up inside me.

‘How did you find me,’ I asked her. ‘I ran away years ago.’

‘We had no idea where you were all this time,’ she said. ‘But we got a call recently saying youwere in prison. We had to come see you. We wanted to see how you were.’

‘I’m fine, mom.’ I told her reassuringly.

‘There are other people who want to see you,’ she said. She then proceeded to walking meover to a table, where I found my father, my sister, Ariel, and my two best friends, Justin and Claire. Itwas unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I never thought I would see any of them, again.

‘You look surprised, Jason!’ my father said.

‘Why are you guys here,’ I asked with a little resentment. ‘I ran away from home. I’ve left eachand every one of you behind. Why did you come here?’

‘We wanted to see you,’ Ariel said. ‘Do we really need a reason for that?’

I was surprised to hear what she said. Of course you need a reason. They must be here totell me off for running away from home without so much as a good bye.

‘I made you all worry,’ I said. ‘I never called, I never even left a note, and you’re just okay withthis?’

‘You’re our son,’ my parents said.

‘You’re my big brother,’ Ariel said.

‘We still love you, no matter where you are,’ Claire said.

‘Makes no difference if you run away,’ Justin finished.

Even though they were saying all this, I could still feel my ball and chain grow heavier. I wasovercome with guilt at this point. All these years, and they never stopped caring about me. All theseyears I’ve made them worry, and all they can say is it doesn’t matter? I then felt a heavy smack on theback of my head. I looked up to see Justin with his hand lifted.

‘Stop worrying so much,’ he said. ‘We’re not mad.’

‘We’re just glad to see you’re safe.’ my mother said.

‘I’m sorry everyone,’ I finally said. ‘I’ll make it up to you guys, somehow.’

‘You want to make it up to us,’ my father said. ‘Then stay out of trouble.’

I looked up at him and smiled. Even though I was filled with grief, for the first time in a longtime, I was happy. I was happy because I was back with the people I cared about. It didn’t matter to meif I was stupid, ugly, lonely, and miserable. Right now, all that mattered to me was my family. All thatmattered to me was being with the people who were most important in my life.

‘Visiting hours are over.’ the guard said. We all looked at one another one last time before theguard began to take me away.

‘We’ll see each other again soon,’ I told them. As I saw them grow smaller the further I walked,the more I told myself that I meant what I said. I will see them again, soon. They’re the most importantpeople in my life. I would do anything to be with them, again.

I walked back into my prison cell to see Nick sitting on his bunk.

‘I see that you have people waiting after all,’ he said. ‘You’re lucky.’

‘I didn’t know they were waiting for me,’ I said.

‘Must be nice.’ he sighed. ‘You have something to go back to when this is all over.’

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘I guess I do.”’

Part of me wanted to comfort Nick, though what was there to say? I didn’t feel like I needed toapologize for something I didn’t know about. What’s more is I asked myself what would happen if Iapologized. It wouldn’t matter to him. I didn’t do anything to affect him in any way. Even so, I felt asense of guilt: All my life, I’ve been looking for what everyone else had that I never did, and for the firsttime in my life, I had something that someone else wanted; I was loved by people who mattered most tome, whereas Nick had nobody who loved him. The ball on my leg felt heavier the more I thought aboutit.

It was almost comforting to know that ball was attached to my leg. Even though it rendered meanhedonic, it was the only thing reminding me why I was in prison; it was the only thing that remindedme why I’m still alive. I’ve been looking all my life for the key to its lock, and no matter how hard Ilooked, I could never find it. The longer I was trapped in this prison cell, the closer I was to finding thatkey. I may never find the key, though the things I’ve been through have brought me closer to what I’mlooking for, and that alone makes the ball feel lighter.

‘We’ll get through this,’ I told him.

“What are you talking about?’ he asked.

‘Prison, of course.’ I said. ‘We’ll get through prison.’

He looked at me seriously, as though I said something profound.

‘I know,’ he finally said. ‘It won’t be so bad.’

I meant what I told him. Looking back at everything, I began to think of the family I left behind,the life that I threw away, and the decisions I made. Whether prison is the punishment I’ve alwaysdeserved, or the answer I’ve been searching for, I cannot say, and oddly enough, I don’t regret thedecisions I’ve made in life.

‘You shouldn’t live in guilt, Nick.’ I told him.

‘I could have stopped him,’ he told me. ‘I should have been there to help him, but I wasn’t.’

‘Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to,’ I told him. ‘Sometimes, they happenfor a reason.’

‘Do you really believe that?’ he asked me. ‘Do you believe that it was fate that you endedup in this hell hole?’

‘I don’t know,’ I told him.

‘I don’t have anything left,’ he told me. ‘There’s nothing waiting for me, out there. No one tocome get me, no one who will understand what I’ve been through.’

‘That’s the problem with this world,’ I told him. ‘People jump to conclusions too quickly.’

Nick stood up and walked across the room. I noticed he was moving slower than usual.

‘What do you think is in that room?’ he asked me. ‘People who go in never come back.’

‘I don’t even want to think about it,’ I told him. At the same time, I knew that we were wellaware that the room was our ticket to darkness.

‘Why are you asking me this?’ I asked him, almost frantically.

‘My brother’s in that room,’ he told me. ‘I would give anything to see him again.’

Nick was pacing across the room, moving as slow as ever, now. I stared at him, shocked.

‘Why do you think that?’ I asked him.

‘I just have this feeling.’ he said. ‘He’s waiting on the other side of that door.’

‘You’ll see each other again one day,’ I told him. ‘You’ll have a lot of catching up to do.’

Nick just stared at me in silence. At that moment, the gates slid open with the guard leavingtrays of food. Nick stared vacantly at the guard.


‘Eat your food,’ the guard said before walking off. I stared at Nick, who looked weary. I couldn’thelp but feel empathy towards him; I also felt like a hypocrite, telling him that no one was out therewaiting for me. Nick really was all alone in the world.

I felt as though I was moving as slow as Nick the longer he and I both rotted behind our bars. Iknew there was nothing I could do or say that could make him feel better. All Nick wants to do is see hisbrother again. His brother: The only person who he knows would never run away from him. Weeksbegan to turn to months and over time, Nick began to look older; he looked as though he were an oldman, waiting for an old friend to step inside and take him away. He and I would still talk, though it neverfelt the same as from the day we met. When it was time for visiting hours, he refused to leave the cell. Iwanted to stay with him, to try to comfort him, but I wanted to see my family, which only made me feelworse.

‘It’s been three months,’ I said to him one day. Nick just stared into the distance, looking paleand exhausted. I sat next to him in spite of his inattentiveness.

‘I want to go in that room,’ he said.

‘You don’t know what’s in that room,’ I reminded him.

‘My brother’s in that room,’ he said.

I couldn’t help but let out a sigh.

‘You really miss him.’ I said to him. ‘As long as you remember him though, he’s never reallygone.’

‘Don’t give me that crap,’ he said, irritated. ‘You don’t know what it’s like to have no one in theworld.’

I couldn’t help but feel empathetic for him. The world’s too cruel for people like him. It onlyloves the ones who have everything in life; the ones who have nothing are left to fend for themselves.

‘Jason,’ he told me, ‘You’re a good guy. You have everything sorted out for you once you get out. Whatabout me? Once I’m out of here, I’m better off dead. There’s nothing left for me out there.’

‘What are you trying to say?’ I asked him.

‘I’m saying I’m much happier here,’ he said with a smile.

I couldn’t help but stare at him in surprise. He’s looked miserable for months and yet,somehow, he could still smile. I couldn’t help but smile back at him. The two of us then heard the soundof footsteps approaching our cell. It must be time to eat.

‘I’m so tired,’ he said. ‘All I want to do is be with my brother.’

‘How are you going to do that?’ I asked. The sound of the footsteps came to a halt as the cagedoor slid open.

‘Like this,’ he said.

No sooner did he tackle the guard and steal his baton, clubbing him until he was unconscious.Alarms began to go off as the sound of footsteps grew louder; more guards were coming.

‘We’ll see each other again,’ Nick told me. ‘My brother and I will be waiting for you.’

I stared in shock as he ran away. At the same time, I couldn’t help but realize he was movingfaster than I’d ever seen him, as though a heavy weight had been lifted from him. The guards wererunning towards him. I watched as one of the guards closed my door before he ran to help the otherguards. I heard yelling in the distance, the sound of bullets coming soon after. It was so sudden; I didn’teven have time to think about what just happened. Has he been planning for this day, all this time? Why didn’t I see the signs? Why didn’t he talk to me about it? I sat on my head and waited; I waited forthis nightmare to be over. Three minutes later, one last bullet was fired, and I knew it was all over.

He finally reunited with his brother. I had no way of knowing this, and at the same time, I knewthis was true. I sat on my bed, thinking about it, replaying what just happened in my head. Nick wasgone. My friend let himself be taken away. At the same time, I wasn’t upset.Maybe it was because Iknew Nick finally found the peace he was looking for. Maybe it was because he wasn’t alone anymore. Isat on my bed and stared vacantly at absolutelynothing. My mind was rattled, and at the same time,clear. I thought about this for the next few weeks in absolute silence.A few days later, the guard called us all for visitinghours. As I stood up, I walked slowly towardsthe door. As I stepped out, I couldn’t help but look back into my cell. I knew this was what Nick wanted.He’s finally found what I’vebeen looking for. Actually, we both found what we were looking for, and as Iwalked to the room where my family was waiting for me, I felt at ease. Both Nick and I had finallyfoundour purpose; we’ve both found our reason, and as I sat down and heard a small click come from myleg, I couldn’t help but smile.


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