A Clean Slate
Mass finished his early morning exercises and flopped back on to the bed. With practiced ease, he opened the drawer of the lamp table, his fingers dipping inside to retrieved the finger-length piece of chalk that mysteriously reappeared every day. He carefully kept his eyes away from the framed saying above his bed. He was well aware that Contrition is Freedom. He hated it almost as much as he hated being trapped in this gray room.
He tossed the chalk into the air and caught it. With a snarl he hurled it at a wall covered with white markings. The chalk cracked in half and fell to the floor. Mass counted that as his one mark for the day. He knew that he had a lot, maybe more than a thousand.
The face of the wall flashed and blurred into a swirling pattern that reminded Mass of ashes. When the wall returned to the familiar gray color, the markings were gone. Mass stared in disbelief. His progress had been erased.
Manic laughter bubbled up out of his throat. Mass knew it wasn’t right but he couldn’t stop.