An Ode to Dreams
AN: I was trying to add music to my iPod and somehow managed to wipe out every episode of Superjail! I had on it except for Ladies Night and Time Police Pt1. I took it as a sign to write this. To understand this, it's best you've seen those two episodes. Also, the tone is slightly darker and more sober than the show, but I've tried to keep it in-character. (Bear in mind this is the future version of the Warden, so he's increasingly callous.)
She hides in the attic of her grandmother's old house.
It's not because she's particularly scared. Nothing scares her. She knows when she's outdone, and she knows her limits, and this is why she hides. Once, she was the manager and owner of a prison filled with powerful convicts and femme fatales. Now, however, she is a refugee on the run from a heartless dictator threatening to destroy the planet- a heartless dictator she had met long ago. That was before the War broke out. That was before everything went wrong.
She gasps as something thuds on the entrance to the attic. Someone is trying to get in. Light shines across the dusty floorboards as the hatch is flung open- it resembles a trap-door. Hideous images of her limp body being pulled through that hatch to the world of misery below flash before her eyes, and she huddles closer into the boxes she is hiding in vain behind.
A part of her expects a soldier's head to pop up and stare directly at her, to arrest her for going against the Leader's regime and perhaps even execute her on the spot. She knows that the Leader is fond of killing, to such an extent that his obsession with death is thoroughly grotesque.
Shutting her eyes, she prepares for the worst. It's been such a long time since she's seen a friendly face, and it would have been nice to have a friend with her at this moment, considering she's just about to die. What a strange thought to have, but she remembers someone once telling her that the last thing a person should see is a friendly face, as it prepares the dying individual for the afterlife. Or maybe, she thinks with a smile in spite of herself, she's just lonely.
Her eyes open. Nobody, not for six whole months of running and hiding, has anyone called her that. Nobody even recognized her. So many people, huddling together in camps and praying to a variety of empty Gods that the war would end- who cares about one lone woman? There are many more trying to escape the Leader's rule; she is not the first and she is not the last.
To her surprise, it's the Leader himself staring back at her, eyes wide behind the polished glass of his spectacles. He clambers into the attic and stands to his full height on the uneven floorboards beneath military boots, an overly-grand cloak hitting the floor with a thud. He is too short to wear such a thing and he is trying too hard to look daunting. It's almost comical, and she would laugh at it if she wasn't so tired.
"Hello," she croaks, "Warden."
"I never thought," he says, stepping forward, almost cautiously, "that I would ever see you again."
In this moment, it's incredibly hard to believe this man is the driving force behind so many deaths and the enslaving of most of the world. Entire armies have been wiped out by the Leader, the Warden, and he doesn't even seem to care. He's more concerned with staring down at her, the woman he knows as the Mistress, examining every inch of her and trying to formulate something to say. After the longest silence she's ever experienced in her life, he finally draws breath to say, "You're hiding. Why are you hiding?"
"You're killing them," she replies, quickly. "Your men massacred them all and now you've found me. I came back here to get away from everything, Warden. I suppose that didn't work."
He crouches in front of her, level, and looks her in the eye. "But you didn't have to run. You could have just surrendered and submitted to my rule. I don't kill my followers, I'm their Leader, why would I want to?"
She laughs. Her throat is dry; she hasn't drunk anything since yesterday- or perhaps it was two days ago, time has lost all meaning in this world. "You might not kill them, Warden, but you treat them like animals. You're not running a planet. You're running a zoo."
Her breath hitches as she prepares for him to shoot her for being so disrespectful, but he doesn't. He does something unexpected- he laughs.
"My Mistress," he declares, "You haven't changed one bit."
She sneers. "Whereas you're completely different."
Visibly offended, he gets to his feet. Perhaps this time he'll draw a gun and finish her. It's an awful thought, but she wouldn't necessarily mind. She's tired of running, she's tired of keeping concealed, she's tired of the effort that surviving entails. But he doesn't. He simply continues talking.
"Tell me," he says, "What brings you to such an old house? This place is practically in the middle of nowhere and the wallpaper is really, really boring."
"My Grandmother lived here," she sniffs, looking down at her feet. "I needed somewhere to stay for a while, and I came here because I could remember where it was. That's all. It was just luck that meant nobody had lived here since she died when I was little- or at least, nobody was living here by the time I arrived last month; they'd probably died in the war."
He doesn't so much as apologise for his appalling crimes. He simply says, "Do you know why I'm here? Because Cherice told me this house is where I'd find you."
She looks up, shocked, and cries, "Cherice?"
The Warden laughs. "We found her in a camp somewhere. I think she's dead now."
"Are you going to kill me, too?" she questions.
He ignores her and continues. "I asked Cherice about it because I just wanted to see you one last time. Call me nostalgic, but before this planet is completely mine I want to make sure I've tied up all loose ends. Wouldn't want one of my old flames confronting me."
"I'm not your old flame, Warden," the Mistress snaps. "I hate you. I hated you then and I hate you now."
"Why?" he asks. "I've not hurt you personally, have I? Honestly. You're completely crazy. Why are you so against me?"
He has no right to ask her anything, but she replies all the same. "You've spoiled everything I've ever dreamt about."
The Warden laughs. "You once told me you don't dream."
A strand of hair slithers in front of her eye as she stares back down at her scuffed shoes. "There are differences between wanting to achieve an aim, and the mere childish fantasies you call dreams."
He is interested. "What do you dream about, Mistress?"
Not once had she ever believed it would come to this, to have to live life as a nothing more than a shell with the echo of the sea. She knows when she's outdone, and she knows her limits, and she knows when there's no point in even having hope.
"I don't know," she admits. "I don't know anymore."
End note: Dear, dear, this is so out of character in places, isn't it? I did try to fix it, anyhow. As for the ending... I'm not entirely sure what happens with it all. I'll leave it open to personal interpretation.