Shadows

Chapter 1

Theboundariesofourcountry,sir?Whysir,onthenorthweareboundedbytheAuroraBorealis,ontheeastweareboundedbytherisingsun,onthesouthweareboundedbytheprocessionoftheEquinoxes,andonthewestbythedayofjudgement.

-TheAmericanJoeMiller’sJestBook

Shadowhaddonethreeyearsinprison.Hewasbigenoughandlookeddon’t-fuck-with-meenoughthathisbiggestproblemwaskillingtime.Sohekepthimselfinshape,andtaughthimselfcointricks,andthoughtalotabouthowmuchhelovedhiswife.

Thebestthing-inShadow’sopinion,perhapstheonlygoodthing-aboutbeinginprisonwasafeelingofrelief.Thefeelingthathe’dplungedaslowashecouldplungeandhe’dhitbottom.Hedidn’tworrythatthemanwasgoingtogethim,becausethemanhadgothim.Hewasnolongerscaredofwhattomorrowmightbring,becauseyesterdayhadbroughtit.

Itdidnotmatter,Shadowdecided,ifyouhaddonewhatyouhadbeenconvictedofornot.Inhisexperienceeveryonehemetinprisonwasaggrievedaboutsomething:therewasalwayssomethingtheauthoritieshadgotwrong,somethingtheysaidyoudidwhenyoudidn’t-oryoudidn’tdoquiteliketheysaidyoudid.Whatwasimportantwasthattheyhadgottenyou.

Hehadnoticeditinthefirstfewdays,wheneverything,fromtheslangtothebadfood,wasnew.Despitethemiseryandtheutterskin-crawlinghorrorofincarceration,hewasbreathingrelief.

Shadowtriednottotalktoomuch.SomewherearoundthemiddleofyeartwohementionedhistheorytoLowKeyLyesmith,hiscellmate.

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