Somewhere on the far end, water droplets fell with slow regularity. Leftovers from a heavy rain, leaking through the cracked cement ceiling. Not surprising that the cellblocks are in disrepair. It's a full house and not enough of us get out these days.
"Psst. Museman, you got dat writin' thing done yet?"
"The longer you stand there jackin' and jawin', the less I'll get done, ya numbskull. Now get movin' before one of the Bulls sees ya."
"Warden Quinn's gonna have ya in the box for a month, you watch."
I turn to glare at him through the dirty bars, the light blue paint flaking off beneath his grimy grip. I'm not sure threats will buy his silence, but I toss on my fiercest glare nonetheless. "If she finds out from you, there won't be enough teeth left to identify the body."
"Ain't scared, boy. You're already hung; you just ain't feelin' the noose yet." His maniacal grin splits into cackles as he turns away, pushing his cart of books down the row.
He's not that far off the truth either. If I can't come up with something legendary, that lady's gonna have my head. It's okay though. I got a plan, and I'm bettin' she won't expect what's coming. I pull the folded sheet from beneath the bunk, my fingerprints staining the off-white page.
It is hereby declared that prisoner 254733 be moved to solitary confinement indefinitely unless he can answer the query posed by the illustrious Warden Quinn. Any unsatisfactory response will be deemed insurrection and will serve to display why said prisoner is no longer fit for housing amongst the rest of his fellow inmates.
I glance at the stained and cracking wall across from my bunk. I've carved my answer deep, made sure it'll be there 'til they tear this whole place down. Then I reach to grab a paperback from the top of the stack nearby. She don't have a clue just where I've been every night. Fighting dragons, shoot-outs in some old Western town, even fell in love (or lust maybe) with a dark haired beauty. Tonight's different though. I finally found one that's gonna do the trick. CassaStar. It's my ticket outta here.
I ease up and walk to the bars, checking up and down. Lights are out, but there's a full moon tonight and the pale lady is giving me enough to read by. I sit on the bunk once more, the springs groaning against my weight, and I open to the first page. A few moments later, the book falls to the floor. Nothing left but my words on the wall.
Books are...escape. That's right, Warden. I escape every time I crack 'em open. I been fightin' outside these walls. I've worked as a cowboy, sailed on pirate ships, and even killed a few monsters. Tonight's different though. I'm gone, flyin' in outer space and I don't plan on comin' back any time soon. You save that box for me if you like, but don't expect it to be filled tonight.
My last conscious thought is for M.H. I hope she don't get chewed out 'cuz of me. That evil genius Sandra got extra rations for her answer, but I knew I'd never come close. This is my only chance.