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They say the world moves in a pattern of constant reliving; something about the bend of light hitting one eye, sending pistons firing in the brain before the other eye catches up. The brain scrambles, filling in the gaps between now and next, until the other eye processes and repeats the same information all over again; it’s the primary cause of déjà-vu, that feeling of experiencing life in a time loop.

He would never want to relive this:

Cold, slick mud between his hands.

A coppery tang between his teeth.

He fell, first to his knees, catching himself on scuffed, raw hands when brutal fingers thrust him down. The dull iron clatter of a bolt sliding into its catch brought him up from his knees, but only so far; his hand found his side and the wound there, a dull keening ache beneath his ribs.

A soupy rush of cold blood spilled into his hand.

He staggered back against the corner of the cage and slid down into a crouch, the desolate wails of the demented stabbing in, penetrating the membrane of peace he’d found on his way here, inside unconsciousness, wrapped in sleep.

Bringing his knees to his chest, he curled a shielding arm around his injured midsection and bent his forehead to his elbow, hiding his face.

He knew where he was. The heap, the slovenly hole. He was on death row.

And the single sad Please in his throat was a prayer and a farewell.