Sonny Lucas was twenty two and had never even been in a police station, much less the Death Row of a state penitentiary. He was directed to his seat in the kiosk by a prison guard who resembled a henchman from a Bond movie.Sonny reflected for the umpteenth time that day on how closely the reality of visiting a man on Death Row resembled the innumerable fictional depictions of it he had seen. That the man he was visiting was his father, and that they were meeting today for the first and last time in their lives, placed this iteration firmly on the 'True Life Drama' cable channel. To his left a dirty yellow phone sat squat and mute, bolted to the kiosk wall.
He looked down at his hands, slowly turning the palms toward him, as if unsure what to do with them.
Forty four year old double murderer Sal Lucas entered the visiting room between two hulking prison guards, his feet and hands tied together and to each other. He reflected yet again on how the failure of his final appeal had led to his seeing some parts of the prison for the first time in his eighteen years. He sat, as one of his wrists was chained to the desk in front of him and the other was released to use the phone on the wall beside him. He had asked more in hope than expectation for a meeting with the son he had never seen or spoken to. He had no idea then why he was asking, just as he had no idea now what he wanted to say. Although the Good Lord Jesus knew he hadn't been short of time in which to reflect on such matters.
There was a <tik tik> on the thick thick Perspex. Sonny's eyes remained fixed on the palms of his hands. In the soft folds of the flesh there he saw grit from the prison air and minuscule droplets of sweat conspire to create tiny glittering diamonds, reflecting back at him the stark prison lighting overhead.
On the other side of the desk, Sal stared at the inky blue jay tattooed on the back of his hand as it took flight from the Perspex screen back down to the desk.
Sonny still didn't move. Sal sat soundlessly. His head droppedonto his chest. The silence was total.
Then, at precisely the same instant, the two men lifted their heads until they stared one another squarely in the eye. In that moment, each saw the reflection of their own face superimposed on the others' in the screen between them. Sal saw himself as a young man, a blank page latent with mistakes as yet unwritten. Sonny saw a life gone wrong: an older, harder, defeated version of himself.
Then that moment too was over.
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
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