The Prisoner


4. A New Sunrise

When his eyes closed again and he had wrapped the blanket tighter around himself, Kai

fell asleep to the recollection of the first few days in the prison. Each time that tray had slid

through the bottom of the door, he expected it to be some cruel joke and for the bowls to contain

only air. It took a while for him to expect the opposite, that he was being fed. That was the only

way to keep track of time. Like clockwork, food was provided a few hours after the sun had risen

and again at dusk.

Presently, the familiar scraping filled his ears, gently nudging Kai from his shallow sleep.

He swept his hair back and rolled onto his other side. He smiled faintly when his eyes landed on

the tray.

Like every other meal, he treated it as if it were the last. Kai steadied himself, reminding

himself to savor it, to appreciate it. He slurped the soup, which had some chopped vegetables in

it, and soaked his bread in the broth. He hoped he never got sick of bread. It tasted fresher than

usual. Or maybe he couldn ’ t remember what fresh bread tasted like anymore.

The rain outside slowed. The thunder became more distant as he finished eating, though

the wind still howled, causing the clouds to part. Stray sunbeams pierced through the thinning

cloud coverage. One landed directly in his window, giving him a slanted light to see by instead

of the faded flickering from the torches in the corridor. This was as bright as his cell had ever

gotten. He sat in his corner — the one without the leak — and sucked on the last piece of bread,

watching the outside world brighten with the sunrise. Eventually, he chewed it and relished in

the temporary fullness of his stomach. One of his hands rested there, patting it softly. It was still

sharp, though Kai thought he seemed fuller than he was previously.

His mind wandered again, preparing for a long day. The sunny days were always the

hardest because he couldn ’ t smell the crispness of the fresh air or feel the sun warm his skin.

Instead, he tried to focus on time, how long he ’ d been in one place before he ’ d had to leave. How

long had he lived with that woman? How long did the sickness take to spread, to take his

parents? How much time had passed between now and then? He wasn ’ t sure, just as he wasn ’ t

sure how long he had been here.

It must have been long a time , he thought, I ’ ve seen snow, lots and lots of rain, and tons

of rats . He scrunched his nose, thinking of the few times that the rats had invaded his cell instead

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