Twenty Three to Life – Ty Spencer Vossler


1500 words General Fiction

Robert Lincoln Washington—black man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Denied parole twenty-three years, a glitch in the system gives Robert temporary freedom, only to find  that the outside world is also a prison.

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Man smell permeated the air. Piss, unwashed bodies, and sweat that had leeched into the cement walls and floors, never to be gotten out. He’d smelled it now going on twenty-three years––sour, an assault on the senses—the smell of hopelessness. Twenty-three years, three weeks, two days give or take. Everybody––every last one innocent, and so was he. You had to believe that or else you’d go stark raving mad, and then the dying would commence. It would start with isolation and spread into sleepless nights, listening to night sounds of men coughing, diarrhea, snoring, farting, men masturbating in their bunks. When the dying got to that stage, the next was thinking of ways to make it happen quicker.

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