A sliver of sunlight came through a crack in the wall the guards call a “window”. This window was the size of a small child’s arm and only let in small gusts of hot air, the smell of horse shit and little drizzles of rain water during the stormy season.
Four or five people sat in the cell that this window called home. Broken, hungry and on the verge of death, the citizens of this cell didn’t know they were getting a fresh body on this particular day. When the door opened, the people barely lifted their head, only seeing if it was time for “breakfast”; a heel of stale bread and one grape as a treat.
There was a bit of mumbled shuffling and protesting before hearing the loud clap of hand to face. The guards tossed a body into the cell, their head hitting the floor rather hard.
When the sunlight made it’s way to the face of the new resident of the cell, they stirred, opening their eyes trying to focus. It took about twenty minutes before they felt comfortable enough to sit up and look around. Startled that this cell wasn’t empty, they scrambled to their feet, stumbling their way to the door.
“OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR,” they screamed, banging on the cedar wood as hard as they could. “OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW OR MY MEN WILL FIND YOU AND KILL YOU. I AM THE POTENTATE OF RIEAL, RELEASE ME AT ONCE!”
They continued to hit the door for another moment before they stumbled back onto the floor, kicking up dust and dirt.
There was a small laugh from the corner. The Potentate stood up and turned their attention to the laughing.
“How DARE you laugh at me! When I get out here, I will–” They were interrupted by a shrill howl, followed by more belly laughing.
“I have been here since you were still in diapers, Potentate… They will never let you out,” the laughing figure whispered from their spot in the cell, their face covered by overgrown, matted hair.
The Potentate huffed and stomped over toward the figure, but stopped a few feet away; the smell was too much for their delicate nose. They obviously weren’t lying about being here for years.
“I refuse to be belittled by some… By some…! By some dirty, old tramp!” The Potentate squeaked out. The figure was shaking with laughter at this point.
“You’re a fool.”
“I am the POTENTATE.”
“AND YOU ARE A FOOL, JUST LIKE YOUR BLOODLINE,” the figure screamed, their head suddenly snapping in the direction of the Potentate, who took several steps back. The other residents huddled together on the other side of the cell. The figure slowly stood up, making the Potentate take more steps back.
“Do you see now, POTENTATE?” The figure bellowed, their dirty clothes suddenly showing deep blues and reds and bright golds in the sun. Within a blink of an eye, the figure was in the Potentate’s face, which was now full of fear and tears. The figure smiled, slowly tilting their head.
“Welcome, my child.”