Photo by Herrmann Stamm on Unsplash
The golden orb looks more magnificent from this side of the border. Malcolm cannot see much from his cage. It should be dark at this hour but instead brilliant shadows dance across the empty cell. And the birds, they can’t understand that it is night. Their cheerful chirping is apt, as they man the gates to paradise.
He does not think his incarceration will last long. The dank smell of sweat, tears and piss waft on the warm air. Malcolm can ignore it. He channels his thoughts toward his destination of salty sand and water. When day breaks, he will have his chance to elaborate. They will see that he is not some selfish border jumper, yearning for greener grass. No. This is his home. This is where he belongs.
There is a cut on his shin. He places two fingers over the wound and frets about the ooze that still pulses from it. It will not do to present in front of the committee looking dishevelled and grotty. He searches through his canvas bag for an object. Something to help him tidy up. The metallic smell of blood seeps into his nostrils. He hears a cry, louder than the birds. Then murmuring from places beyond his sight. Someone with a baton walks the length, bouncing it between the bars. The walls around Malcolm vibrate as the clanking sound drowns out all other noises. He stops his search and looks up once more, meditating on the knowledge that this is but a little hiccup in his path to happiness. Moonlit clouds, thick and dense, begin to obscure the view. But still the strength of the light is too great to be snuffed out.
As the night settles back into natural quiet, and the birds resume their incessant celebrations, Malcolm too, resumes his search. He finds the meagre emergency kit. Rosalie would have made more sense of the packing, but she was not there to help. He laughs as he pulls out the pitiful Band-Aids, cream and matches, and then a tear escapes, because Rosalie is no longer with him.
The tender cut on his leg is throbbing. It is filled with dirt. The barbed wire, alive with germs and disease, now live within this wound and the thought is terrifying. He has nothing to clean it but hopes that the cream will be of some benefit. He slathers it on and around, creating a paste with the white lotion, blood and grit. The dressings are laughable and so instead, he uses the linen band from the kit, to wrap around his leg.
He hears footsteps approaching. He hastily throws the items back into his bag, hope inflating within him. This will be it. This is his chance. But the footsteps continue on, past his cage, and he hears the keys clank against someone else’s door. Malcolm sits back down, breathes in his salty air and sunshine, and then looks back up at the moon.