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Pen Your Pride

Four

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Lester sat in his cell as he had been since they put him in. The bed was uncomfortable and the blanket too small to cover a full grown adult effectively. In the neighboring cells the other occupants cracked jokes and told outrageous stories. He was pretty sure several of them were drunk. He had no clue how they managed to keep so cheerful in this place otherwise. From listening he learned this wasn't the first time behind bars for most of them. In the morning, he was told, he'd go before the judge to see what happens to him next. He expected the worst. He would do time for this. Years of his life confined with real criminals. Not something he ever thought would happen to him.Especially for a crime he didn't even commit. He ran his fingers through his short hair and sighed heavily. This was shaping up to be a miserable week.

He realized suddenly that when he handed over all his possessions he'd forgotten the tab he pulled off the flyer. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out. "Victims of wicked men." he mouthed holding it in his hands. He considered for the moment that he may not even be allowed out of this place. His thoughts were interrupted by an officer sliding a tray of food into the cell.

"Dinner time."

Lester got up and grabbed the tray then returned to his seat. Orange drank, a fruit cup, and an insultingly small bologna sandwich. Hardly a filling meal. Lester pulled open the lid on the fruit cup and dug in with the provided spork. He was grateful he'd been allowed to eat lunch before turning himself in. He polished off the fruit and opened the sandwich taking a large bite he soon regretted. The bun wasn't terrible but the bologna tasted dreadful like the kind of cheap lunch meat you can buy at the super market for a quarter. Even so he didn't want to go hungry so he choked it down quickly and washed it down with orange drank.

From the other cells he heard various sarcastic comments about the quality of the food and a couple thunderous belches. He set is tray back on the small ledge in the cell door and reclined on the bed. He pulled the blanket up over his torso and settled in for the night. Before long he was asleep.

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Jackie couldn't sleep. It seemed like sirens blared passed her window every ten minutes. In truth she just couldn't stop thinking about Elijah. She took a deep breath and pushed the covers off. Her feet swung off the side and slipped into a pair of house shoes. She stood up and went to the bathroom. Her hand reached up and opened the medicine cabinet.Inside she found a bottle of Valium. She popped it open and shook three pills out into her hand. She shuffled to the kitchen and poured a glass of milk then threw back the pills. Fixed to the fridge by a rainbow magnet she saw the tab from the flyer. "Tuesday nights."she said. "Not like I have somewhere else to be. Not anymore."She put the empty glass in the sink and walked back to her room. She picked up a framed photo from her nightstand. From the picture a five year old Elijah stared back at her. Tears welled up in her eyes and her hands started shaking. The frame slipped from her grasp and the glass shattered when it hit to floor. Instinctively she jumped backward bumping into the bed and falling over onto the mattress.

"Son of a bitch."She exclaimed as she toppled over. She sat up and reached down to retrieve the photo from the glass and shook it off before setting back on the nightstand. Carefully she made her way out of the room and came back with the vacuum. Once she finished sucking up all the glass she put the vacuum back in its closet and returned to bed. She lie down and almost immediately felt the Valium taking root. Before long she was dead asleep.

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Spoony snored loudly next to Emma who lie there wide awake. She remained quiet and unmoving until she was sure he was deeply asleep. Carefully she crawled from under the covers and crept out into the living room.She curled up on the couch and grabbed her tablet from the coffee table. She logged into facebook, something she could never do with Spoony around, and looked through posts of her friends and family,leaving comments here and there. After that she looked up the Victims of Wicked Men support group searching for more information beyond what she already knew. Unfortunately the group had no online presence to speak of apart from location and time of meetings. She wanted to go, but knew if he found out Spoony would flip out and assume she was talking about him. She'd need a lie. A convincing one. Something that wouldn't arouse suspicion.

Her stomach rumbled so she got up and rummaged through the kitchen for a snack. Finally settling on a stale doughnut from a few days prior, she returned to the couch and resumed browsing the internet while she polished it off.

"What are you doing?" Spoony asked startling her.

"I couldn't get to sleep and I got hungry." She replied timidly. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"Then you shouldn't slam cupboards while you're looking for something to cramin your fat face."

"Sorry." She tried melting into the couch to avoid his gaze to no avail.

"Come back to bed."

"I'll be right there."

"Don't keep me waiting." He said disappearing back into the bedroom.

She quickly made sure all her accounts were logged out, placed the tablet on the table next to Spoonys scales, and returned to bed. Almost immediately Spoony resumed snoring. She lie there staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity until she finally fell asleep.

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