The nights were the worst.
He’d known that – or thought he’d known because Maxim had told him. Maxim from the old tenement, Maxim the Monkey Man, Maxim the Thief had told him as he lay on his narrow bed, blood-specked sheets pulled up to his stubbled chin.
‘The uniforms will go for coffee after lock-up. They’re meant to do rounds every hour but they go play cards, go see their girlfriends if the governor’s away.’
Spit gathered in the corner of his mouth, growing thick and sticky before it was licked away with a cracked tongue.
‘You must be iron.’ He’d gripped Victor’s wrist, spidery fingers digging into the skin. ‘Make your mind a fortress.’ He fixed the boy with wild, milky eyes. ‘The beatings you can survive. But the night voices …’
He remembered Maxim that first night when the voices began soft in his ear – breath shifting his hair – then by the wall – the tap of nails on rock – whispers leaking from the stones, from the plink of water, from the shuffle of bodies, from the blink of his eyelids and the breath in his lungs.
As dawn fell through the bars he wept.
Written in response to My Loving Wife’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. This week the prompt was Uniform. Take the word, use it in a sentence (or if you’re like me and can’t be brief to save you life, a longer post), use the hashtag and you’re away.
For full rules see here.