3 mins

The man sat near the window of his cell, cradling his diary. It had been only a few weeks, but he felt that he had forgotten his past life. He no longer remembered the raucous, somewhat slangish chatter of his students. He no longer remembered the lush green lawns of the campus, or the noisy junction at Bering Road during lunchtime. But he vaguely remembered the library, towering and high-browed, with its familiar smell of cement and old books.

He had once been a professor in a reputed university. It showed on his face, in his polite yet detached manner, and his rather teacherly style of dressing. His face almost always wore the typical erudite expression of a professor thinking hard, pondering over the mysteries of the cosmos. His eyes, covered by horn-rimmed glasses, peered thoughtfully at the stormy waves smacking the cliffs. It almost felt as though they were reprimanding him for his terrible misdeeds. The man sighed deeply, feeling a strange sense of emptiness. He wondered where he had gone wrong. The ideas proposed by the rebel group had seemed so righteous when he had been first introduced. It had later turned out that they were catastrophically wrong. Wrong enough to land him in a dank cell in Highcliffe Prison.

He sighed again, this time more deeply and surveyed his cell for the millionth time. The ceiling was low and the cell was small. There was a very strange smell in it which he had inferred it to be the odour of the sea mingling with the damp, old-bricks smell of the cell. Lichen and moss grew in the gaps between the mortar. The floor was slippery and uneven. The atmosphere was sombre and claustrophobic, as though his captors had wanted him to feel that there was no way he could escape the long arm of the law.

The man looked down at his diary, battered and dog-eared. There were a few pages left, but what was he to write? He could think of no topic. He fingered the rough, sandpapery pages gently, and then looked out of the window once again. He could see the sunset, blood-red, holding its own against the masses of silvery-white clouds languidly floating by. He could see the turbid, unforgiving ocean, sending waves to scold him every second. And on clear, cloudless days, if he looked far enough, he could see the faint outline of the city which he had once been a citizen of. He wished he could return to his past life, but there was no going back any more. You could only anticipate the future. Tomorrow, his captors would take him to the great courtyard, where he would be classified as an enemy of the state and released from this world.

He planned to leave his diary behind. Perhaps someone would flick through his trusty pages as he had and imagine the man who penned those words.


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