With one crude engraving in my skin, they’ve taken away my humanity, my personality, myself.
I’m nothing more than a number to them, part of a collected set with eighteen people like me, though people isn’t the right word anymore.
Prisoners? Even that seems too high of a title for us. No, they’re all like me, numbers.
“Sixteen,” a deep voice crackles out from an intercom, as one of the others steps out from a darkened corner of the room.
They call us by our tattooed number, our names have become lost among silent winds.
They line us up every morning, for nothing more than to be flooded in lights, spot lights, that present our numeral titles like the cast of a broadway show.
I think it’s just a way to degrade us, to tell us we’re just here for show. They always send us back to our cages after.
“Seventeen,” the deep voice says, as another number steps into the line, into the light.
The man behind the voice stays hidden, glimpses of his blackened silhouette stained like ink, sitting, behind the thick glass of some viewing booth above.
He is unnamed too, like us, yet different. His name isn’t lost behind code, but hidden behind power and secrecy, like a missile ready for launch. It still holds self worth.
“Eighteen,” the deep voice speaks once again, but this time the number doesn’t move. Instead, it stands in place, feet away from me.
Again, no movement. One of the armored men planted around us, a lacky of the boss behind glass, briskly walks over and shoves the number towards the light.
“James,” the number shouts, the vibration of the single syllable word echoing with newfound confidence, bouncing off every wall, finding its way into each individual pair of ears.
“I’m not some damn number! I’m a human, a James! James He-”
A gunshot rings out, overpowering the shouts with audible authority, resonating confidence louder than the final words uttered from the poor fool.
Jame’s, no, the number’s body falls lifeless to the ground, though lifeless it already became once entering this forsaken place.
Blood pooled around it, soaking into the concrete, inking a reminder to any other ideas of talking out of line, of trying to feel free again.
“They’re out of order now,” the deep voice yelled, fighting with intercom feedback.
The guard casually points the gun towards me.
“The nine in nineteen could easily be changed to an eight,” he says.