“Well, this is a nice change of scenery.” I grinned, looking around me at what was to be my new home.
“It’s a prison cell.”
“I was being sarcastic.”
Officer Grahams clearly didn’t appreciate my sarcasm as he narrowed his eyes before turning around and leaving me on my own in the cell. I examined the room more closely. The bars on the window were orange with rust and I would be able to pry one loose in a few days, although there was a significant drop below it. In the corner there was a wooden bench which I assumed was to be my bed for the time being. The grey stones of the walls were well worn and smooth, making the notches carved by past inhabitants all the more obvious. The doorway was made of large, heavy, steel bars and looked as old as the rest of the cell. I noticed that the lock was shinier than the rest of the doorway, it had probably been replaced recently. Still, it wouldn’t be too hard to leave if I wanted to. The biggest obstacle would be the fact that I was to be under twenty-four hour guard. I hoped that they wouldn’t all be as dreary as the one sat watching me now. If they were then perhaps I would have to escape out of pure boredom. I let a ghost of a smile pass on to my face. In reality I wasn’t planning on leaving any time soon, I hoped I didn’t have to. I longed for some peace and time to process the events of the last couple years - to be able to be on my own without the chaos that seemed to follow me everywhere.
I sighed and slumped to the floor, my back resting against the cool wall. It was my birthday soon - almost three years since everything went wrong. Nineteen. I’ve almost outlived him. The thought made my heart sink and I felt tears prickle in my eyes. Furious that the emotions still have so much power over me, I stood up, brushing imaginary dust of my pants as I regained my composure.
I turned my back to the guard as I reached into the hidden pocket inside of my tunic, discreetly pulling out my small stash of poppy seed powder. Recently I’d been relying on it more and more to get more than an hour of broken sleep. I used a pinch and lay down on the bench as I let sleep overcome me.
The nightmares started almost as soon as my eyes shut. They always start with me and Damien in the sewers. Damien and I had run down to the sewers, covered in mud and smoke and tears, after we’d heard that the guards intended to split us up. We’d hidden there until they stopped searching, determined not to let anyone separate us from the only family we had left - each other. Then the dream changes to the first time that I fought someone. Damien had taught me how to fight, most of our income at that time had been from him fighting in street fights. That first fight of mine had hurt though and I’d come out of it with a broken arm and a broken rib. We had had to use the rest of that week’s money on a healer.
The nightmare then takes me to the night that Damien died. I’m never able to move, frozen with fear crouched under the table where Damien told me to hide. I have to watch Aaron drive my brother’s silver blade through Damien’s gut, spitting on his body before leaving the room. Finally, the dream always skips to the events that took place an hour later. Except, right before my dagger rips through Aaron’s stomach his face changes to Damien’s but it is always too late and I can never stop the dagger. Every night for the past two years and three hundred and sixty four days I have killed my brother. And I think that that is slowly killing me.