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TAKEITSLOW

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“Dear God? Why am I different? I mean, I know I’m messed up, but, why?” He always felt a little deranged, Tyler did, he felt distant as if he hadn’t found his purpose or was brought into the world without a purpose to abide by. He knew something was definitely wrong with him. Otherwise he would’ve had a conscience to stop him from his troublesome behaviour, he wouldn’t have been standing in court being pleaded guilty, four people would still be alive today, and he wouldn’t be sitting in a cell living in strict conditions he can’t handle.

He did have an excuse. He was heart-broken, suffering paranoia and a heck-of-a-lot of insecurities, it made him mad. Crazy in fact.

Let’s take a step back to last year when Tyler had just turned seventeen, he had a boyfriend at this point in time named Chris. Tyler thought Chris was everything to him and it all fit so perfectly. Tyler was wrong. Chris wasn’t a bad guy, he treated Tyler with care. He would always call Tyler in the morning to check on him, stay up at 3am when Tyler was fearful, call every night and hang up as he heard Tyler’s sleeping breaths, sit by the window and watch the rain as he knew Tyler loved the rain whilst listening to the crackling radio playing Celine Dione. Chris wasn’t a threat to Tyler. And Tyler knew that.

Tap Tap

“Come on, Tyler.” His cell doors screech as they open, it made his face scrunch up and his ears curl. He hated that sound of scraping metal. It made his mouth water, taste like metal.

“Breakfast,” the two guards grab him up from his bunk “it’s your favourite!”

“It’s the same three meals every day.” Tyler grunts almost inaudibly “Yet you eat it every day, so you must like it.” One of the guards pats his back. He flinches. “If I refused to eat then I’d get in trouble, I don’t have a choice, not here.”

He stirs the slop around and around, he’s already gone past the phase of wondering what the hell is actually in this slop he’s eating, but they don’t give them anything else to eat so there’s not a choice really. “I guess I deserve this anyway.” He mutters under his breath, “After all, I did kill people.” He sighs. And the question he asked God comes to mind again, why is he messed up? Was it God’s intentions to make him the world’s cruelty? ‘Why’ was the word always floating in his mind.

A guard stood on Tyler’s table clanging two metal pans together, making Tyler flinch “Attention all inmates.” All inmates including Tyler rise and give all attention to the guard. “We have new arrivals coming this evening, meaning there will be a cell check.” The inmates around share a mixture of noises and most weren’t happy. “Quiet! Some of you will be moving cells; some of you will have a new inmate in your cell and the others may be lucky enough to stay the same. If anyone is to hesitate, there will be consequences.” Tyler grips his neck.

 

-

 

“Dear God. We are getting new inmates; I suppose you already know that. I’d like to know if I get to share my cell, and if I do, would he be nice?” Tyler kneels, arms on the bunk, hands together in prayer. “I mean, I’m finding out this afternoon whether I am sharing or not, but I need an immediate sign. Talk to me, please.” He waits. Nothing. He sighs. “I deserve this.”

 

-

 

All inmates are gathered in the dining hall. It’s the afternoon. Tyler’s hand hovers up to his neck as he holds his neck in worrisome. He didn’t think of it as a habit.

“We will call out the names of inmates who will have to share with the new arrivals.”

Names and names and names are called, Tyler’s beginning to grab his neck more often and heavily gulp. Why? Again, why?

“Joseph, Tyler.”

His hands grip tighter around his neck. He’s killed people, four people, what if he kills on prison grounds? Surely he’d be restrained?

 

-

 

The prison bus has arrived; the breaks were so incredibly worn that the screech could’ve been heard for miles, Tyler’s mouth watered, and taste like metal.

A line of chain-linked men make their way through the halls. People in their cells start becoming rowdy and hectic. An act to scare the newbies. It doesn’t work. Tyler’s praying again, and again and again, he wants words. “I deserve this.” He mutters.

“Joseph.”

He sits up and flinches at the cell bars yet again, he’ll never get used to it. He sees guards and no inmate “Wh-“He ticks “Where is he?” He stands. There are at least eight prison guards standing at the entrance of this cell. “Does he have to make this stupid promise? I can take care of myself.” Tyler looks around behind the guards and catches a glimpse of candyfloss pink.

“Tyler, as you seem quite…” the guard looks around the cell at different papers of drawings and sheet music "Innocent, for someone accused of murder, we trust you to have this new inmate in your cell.” Tyler grips his throat “Right?” His voice cracks. The guards step aside as candyfloss pink walks in. “This is inmate Dun, Joshua Dun.” The guy smirks at his own name. “If you are to cause any harm and or attempt to take his life, there will be immediate action, understood?” Tyler grips his neck. He nods.

 

-

 

“Arthur Miller?” Joshua says, head tilted sideways. Tyler follows his eyes and looks at the book resting on his pillow “Oh, it’s this book I studied last year, it really got to me.” Joshua nods “I don’t really read much, what is it about?” His eyes don’t peel away from the book. “Some guy who has to make this crucial decision leading to the death of twenty one pilots.” Joshua nods again, “A little morbid.” This makes Tyler snort “Says the guy currently in prison.” Joshua looks up at Tyler. Tyler can’t seem to decipher Joshua’s expression. “You’ll never know the psychopath sitting next to you, Joshua.” He stares blankly at Tyler “You’ll never know the murderer sitting next to you either, also call me Josh.” Tyler’s eyes sink into his skull slightly, he grips his neck.

Tyler prays again. “I deserve it.” He sighs. “You deserve what?” Josh sits up facing his new cellmate. Tyler doesn’t turn, his eyes are red from crying mid prayer, and he doesn’t want Josh to see. “I don’t deserve God’s response, I always pray but God wouldn’t want to waste his time on me.” He slumps onto his knees and grips his throat. “You’re religious?” Tyler can feel Josh looking at him; his eyes are still red giving him no intention to turn. “I live in hope.” Tyler subtly sniffs.

 

-

 

“Why are you in here?” Josh turns facing Tyler who’s currently laying on his back staring at the ceiling, he doesn’t turn again. “I killed four people that meant a lot to me.” He wants to grip onto his neck again but restrains, Josh hums.

“Josh?”

“Yeah?”

“Why are you in here?”

“Originally I was sentenced for breaking and entering, I think you only get a year for that, but I was involved in a prison murder and had added time to my sentence, then they moved me to this prison but I don’t know why.”

“Prison murder?”

“Stuff got pretty bad and people accused me of things that weren’t true so there was a small fight going on so this guy was threatening me with a knife from the kitchens, I got the knife off him and killed him. I’m not sure if you like graphic detail but it was amazing.”

“Amazing? You killed somebody.”

“And you’ve killed four.”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t spectacular or amazing.”

“Were any of them trying to kill you?”

“No.”

“Exactly, I was defending myself.”

“I wasn’t exactly killing them on purpose either.”

“Okay, Joseph.”

“It’s Tyler.”