The Ivory Tower
It rose up inside of me; the sense of fear was undeniable, as if it were a penned bull being taunted and ready to charge. The Clean, sickly, astringent smell that clung to the air made me feel nauseated. Sweat dripped in beads down my forehead, as my eyes darted around the room trying to catch any sign of movement. My heart beat furiously in my chest, convulsing with every movement. Goosebumps suddenly rose on the back of my neck as I noticed the leather straps binding me to the chair that seemed resilient to any attempt of breaking free. Fear gave way to revulsion, as I realized where I was.
I was in The Ivory Tower, aptly named as Walls as white as milk surrounded me. The first thing I remembered was the intense headache, a black void sucking me into the depths of darkness. The only sound preventing me from falling into the abyss was the muttering behind the wall in front of me. I could just make out two men behind an opaque wall, conversing with what appeared to be a clip board in the man on the left’s hand. Beyond the walls, I heard the creaking of rusty door hinges as the inner door swung open. I heard the sound of footsteps as the two men approached the inner wall, treading upon metal.
I heard the buzz of a card, and the two men entered. One Guard and a man in a lab coat. The doctor passively gestured at the guard, then to the bindings that were digging into my skin, squeezing the life out of me. The guard advanced towards the chair, holding out his wrinkled, sausage shaped hands that looked like they could rip the buckles off with a clean swipe. Buckle by buckle he took the straps off, each kink in the mechanism seemed like a life time of a wait. When he was done the blood rushed back to my limbs, making me stumble over in agony as oxygen rushed to my deprived limbs.
After taking the constraints off, the guard led me out of the ‘white wing’ which was part of the Ivory Tower, and through the hospital. We passed through the doors, as they were buzzed open from the control tower above. As the chains around my hands and ankles clinked together, I felt a sudden surge of disappointment, as I knew today would be the day I saw my brother. Each room we passed by was as bleak as the other. Peeking through the window slits in the rooms, I could see patients sitting on their beds, staring at the walls in front of them, alongside others who were desperately trying to claw out.
We were walking down a narrow hallway now, lined with windows on one side, and the hospital ward on the other. I glanced out of the window, only to see the bleak cloud cover blotting out the sun, turning the yard to grey. The doctor in the ward took over from the guard, as I was escorted through to the examination room. A curtain separated the two beds that made up the room’s facilities, along with a drip and a cabinet of supplies. The guard took off the handcuffs and escorted me to the bed on the left, sat me down and told me not to move.
It was a confined space, no more than 5 meters across, with the stench of sweat, wafting through the air. I was stuck in this prison, convicted for a robbery that, I didn’t commit. I knew I was framed, but I didn’t know by whom. I needed to get out of this place in order to keep my sanity. My brother was visiting from the city, where he was an architectural engineer for a firm that designed skyscrapers and prisons. I had no other family, my parents had both died, my dad when I was 16 and my mum when I was 20. My brother was all I had left, but I didn’t want him to see me this way, in these chains, in this uniform.
I felt the dread of facing him swell up inside of me, I was unsure what to say to him. I hadn’t seen him in two months, and I wasn’t sure how he would react to my presence. Another guard appeared from the entrance on the right, gesturing towards the door, “He’s waiting for you”, he exclaimed. I reluctantly got up, and made my way to the exit. I could see him through the pane that separated the free from those trapped inside the prison. As I approached him I could feel cold beads of sweat dripping down my chest, staining the orange uniform I was wearing. As I sat down, our eyes met, mine full of fear, his full of determination. How is it in there? ” he asked. “Dead and bleak” I exclaimed. “Don’t worry you’ll be out soon”, “How? ” I responded. “When mum died, do you remember when you used to leave the house in the morning, and not come back until late? But you would always leave those two dolls there”. “Yeah, before I left in the morning”. “I looked up the meaning, of them and found they symbolized, family, duty and forgiveness. ” He reached for his bag and pulled out the two dolls, along with the blueprints of the prison. Ushering me up to the glass, he whispered, “I’m getting you out of here”.