October 23, 2018 – Prompt – The Condemned Cell stank of cats.

My first moment of awareness came abruptly. I saw flickering shadows as my eyes adjusted to the faint light. What looked like columns covered the far wall. Then my nose honed in on a sharp, prickly odor. At first I thought it might be my own body odor or the smell of my damp, sweaty clothes. But as I concentrated on the smell I suddenly recognized it. I had smelled that distinct odor before. My Aunt Dori’s house was permeated with that same odor. She was a “cat lady”. Echoing sounds just beyond the wall suddenly interrupted my memories of visits to her house.

Where was I? A closer scrutiny of the wall revealed a door with a small slot and a large lock. What I thought were columns were actually bars. I must be in prison. Who knew a condemned cell stank of cats? Or stank of the fear of the condemned? Why was I here? What did I do? What was making the echoing sounds outside of the wall?

The echoing sounds were replaced with the sound of metal on metal; a key turning in the lock The door creaked as it was pushed in. The guards were coming for me and I can’t remember why.

JoAnne Mowczko