In a highschool writing class I was given a prompt for a short story. The prompt was: She was extending a hand I didn’t know how to take, so I broke its fingers with my silence.

this is what I wrote:

As I stared at the cold bars of the cage I was kept in, I silently remembered. I remembered how I had gotten here and why, I remembered why the tattoos I bore didn’t show all of who I was. Some people could fit their whole life story onto their backs.

But me? There wasn’t enough skin and ink in the world to explain my story. As the prison guard shoved my tray through the opening I grabbed onto his hand, I stared at the man in the eyes, saw his fear, then released him before he had gathered enough courage to scream.
I looked down in my hand and saw the keys I had just snatched without him realizing.

That night I snuck out of the prison and went to where it had all began. A small girl was curled up in her bed, dreaming sweet dreams of who knows what. Suddenly she started crying.

“Daddy! Daddy!!” she cried out, flailing in her sleep.

In came her mother and held the girl against herself. The girl looked at her mother, the mother started saying things that I could only guess at what they were. The girl just cried harder, making my heart ache. I wanted so badly to make her ok, to help her.

I crawled inside the open window and stood over the girl while she slept after the mother had left. I stared down at her. I began to hear sirens, they had a tracking chip in every prisoner now. They would find me. I didn’t have much time to enjoy this moment, I knew it would be fleeting, but not THIS fleeting.

The girl woke up and began screaming. Again, in rushed the mother. She glared at me, holding the girl to her and covering her ears while she cussed at me. It was like a dream, how had this happened?

As the police came and cuffed me, right before they started dragging me away, the little girl pulled a tiny picture out from under her pillow. She looked from the picture to me and back, a wide smile spread over her face.

“Daddy!!” she cried, reaching out to me.

I had been gone her whole life, she was eight now. I had committed murder while trying to protect her, a man came up and grabbed her and I had been trying to protect her. But her so called mother framed me, and twisted the story.

The little girl held her hand out to me, wanting to hold my hand for the first time. She was extending a hand I didn’t know how to take, so I broke it’s fingers with my silence.

 

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