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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Ward

The Prison Timer

Updated: May 13, 2021

When you think of a prison, what comes to your mind? Dirty cells, prison bars, horrible prison food maybe? Well I want to tell you about a prison that’s unlike most you’ve probably heard of.

In this prison, there are countless cells lined up across sparkling clean hallways. However, each door is swung wide open.

Now you might be thinking, the guards are idiots. Who opened the doors and what’s the point of a prison if everyone leaves?

Well, to answer the first question, someone snuck into the prison a long time ago, risking his own life to set the cell doors on a timer. As long as the prisoner leaves in time, they’re free to escape.

However, no one really knows why or cares. Now for the second question.

The guards were quite clever. See they knew they weren’t strong enough to overpower and contain everyone, so instead they dedicated their time to making the prisoners feel comfortable.

Unlike prisons you’re used to, this one serves gourmet food and each cell is spacious with thick carpet and anything the prisoner requests, whatever fills their long inventory of desires.

All the guards have to do is distract the prisoners and keep them content for just long enough, because once the timer is up, the door snaps shut, leaving them trapped with no way to escape.

Now the prisoners know the doors will shut, but the guards just keep bringing more pleasure inducing distractions to placate them until it’s too late.

Some do escape to freedom, but that brings me to the guards’ most brilliant move, adding windows. Now you might be thinking that being able to look out a window would make the prisoners want to escape, but in fact it does the opposite.

The legend states that those who do escape the prison will get to enter a lush and glorious palace, but when the prisoners look out their window, all they see is a vast desert, a desolate wasteland.

Unlike in the prison, the outside world is filled with hardship. The escaped prisoners have to work hard out in the hot sun, stumbling towards the hope of what’s to come, some mythical oasis they pray is real, while those inside lounge in the commodities provided to them.

Some who do venture out of their cell come back, the longing for luxuries proving to be too enticing compared to the hardships of the journey.

So now you might be asking, why would anyone leave the prison? It sounds like a pretty sweet deal compared to the risk and toils of leaving.

What then happens when the timer inevitably runs out?

For those who do escape and don’t return, their journey comes to a jubilant finale, with a joyous and triumphant celebration as they are welcomed into a glorious place better than any cell in the prison, making their difficult journey worthwhile. Even though they were prisoners who deserved their sentence, they chose freedom and so they are embraced by the very man who risked everything to open the cells. The love of this man proving so insurmountable.

But for those who don’t leave the prison, whether they were enslaved by their passions, by their distractions, or by the longing of security, the door to their cell will slam shut. Their luxuries stripped away and only a single piece of bread harder than a rock is left.

Worst of all, the window that once provided the prisoners with certainty that they should stay, now serves as a reminder of everything they missed, if only they would have stepped out before the locks clicked.

Where will you be when the timer runs out and the gates of Sheol close in?


If you like this, check out an exclusive short story here

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