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As the soothing air of the night waved the bedroom curtain at Eddy’s home, the family dog could be seen on guard, wagging its tail in the darkness outdoors. It had been unleashed to secure the house through the night as everyone was calming in bed.

Erick was lying beside Grandpa while Janet was sleeping in her room. Maybe the bottle of wine lying on the sitting room table hinted Eddy’s presence in the house. It was unpredictable how long he had been fond of drinking, but his lifestyle was obviously revolving round both his career and the alluring taste of alcoholic wine. But what could have been his motive? Was it the taste, the courage to move against all odds or the solace he could find in the drink? Anyway, we all pay a price for our ambition, isn’t it?

The hour of the night when the family was having a sound sleep coincided with the event in the prison.

The inmates who were abandoned in the cell were cold to their marrow, having seen their fellow inmates journey in the dark towards the direction where no one had survived to tell the tale.

One of the inmates, named Scorpio, forced his aggression on a mosquito, but that offered no hope at all. “Someday we will all die,” he opened up.

Another hissed from the corner of the cell and snatched at the utterance: “You can decide your own future, not mine.”

“What future are you talking about, Scorpio? Seems you barely look into the mirror. You are close to the grey market, don’t you know?”

Other inmates burst into the laughter that finally suppressed their worries. But Scorpio reaffirmed his statement, ignoring the sarcasm of others. Still, his resolution only attracted the opinion of another inmate.

“Scorpio,” the inmate chipped in, “Did you know my father envisioned to have good health at his centenary. But at eighty nine, his sight could recognise you only if you touch him and pretend you’d kiss him. Abraham Lincoln’s teeth were better than his at ninety. He needed a third leg at eighty eight, and successfully died after defeat at a hundred and ten. That’s the struggle of even many freemen. You just need to liberate your mind when your body is imprisoned. …”

For Mount and Arry, the two inmates who were meeting with an unknown man in the darkness, the night was the longest moment of their life, as they were expecting the man to share the motive behind the incentives on the table.

“Anyway,” the man said to them, “I’m aware of your twenty-year-to-life sentence.”

“And may I know you?” Arry demanded.

“Your freedom is more important than my identity,” he tactfully evaded Arry’s question. “And most importantly, Mount, your mother has been dealing with a chronic sickness and is at the verge of dying.”

“Ouch!” Mount exclaimed. The bad news weakened him until he lost his temper. He echoed, clenching his fists in an effort to break his restraint. The echo of his voice flew fast into the cell where his fellow inmates were lying. And all the inmates had their eyeballs dilating out of fear of what might have happened to Mount and Arry.

As Mount bowed in tears, Arry explained: “Mount became a prisoner all because he wanted the best life for his mother. So, how do you intend to help her?”

“All I want is negotiation. If you guys can exchange what you have for the freedom you want …”

“What did you mean?”

“OK. My friend is on a game he must win, but the result lies with both of you.”

As the clock ticked, indicating it was daylight, noise emerged from Eddy’s home. What could have happened?

It was turmoil between Eddy and his wife. “You can’t sacrifice my comfort for your ambition,” she yelled in her room. Then she rushed out from the room and entered the sitting room, where Erick was seated. “I’m tired. No time to talk about what we need. The stress is affecting you. You don’t know. How can we be productive? I’ve been silent, but I can’t cope anymore. Today you are at a meeting. Tomorrow you are on the road. Those who will benefit from your fight may not even care about you. If you dare travel again, I don’t know what will happen… You will either choose between me or your career.”

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Jade Jackson


Jade Jackson


Jade Jackson

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