This is the result of a timed fifteen-minute scribble, the title for which is a writer’s prompt, merely to focus on writing itself, and see what ideas come to the surface as a result. I wrote this in December 2015, and have reproduced it here unchanged – except no one will now complain about my handwriting.

They called them wood and iron houses, as if that made them more solid. It was not iron; it was zinc sheeting. The walls were thin. You could hear things like coughing and spluttering, and people using the chamber pot for fear of the dark and spiders biting their bum in the outhouse. You could hear when her dad was beating the living crap out of her mother. You could hear from the way he was walking on the wooden floors who would be next.

Papillon, the Frenchman banished to Guiana, knew about solitary confinement. He had a butterfly tattooed on his chest. It symbolised freedom; the freedom that you do not have alone in a room, as you pace back and forth, careful not to let too much of your soul slip through the cracks at once.

So it was no surprise to anybody really when at sixteen she drank down a bottle of brandy to numb the pain as her red and blue butterfly tattoo was inked into her deltoid the old-fashioned way; one puncture of the needle at a time.  She did not cry.  She never did. She believed in freedom. That is what she told me.

Butterly large mjn

©2016 Allison Wright

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