“Sometimes our addled heads need lies to believe in.” The voice on the upper bunk replied.
Bailey sat up. When he came back into the cell it was empty. A light depression showed on the bunk above.
“Hey, you,” it said.
Bailey stood and stared at the old man. Long ratty hair and a big grey biker’s beard framed a radiant blue eye that took everything in. His head turned to reveal an eye patch and Bailey felt very cold.
“Figured I was in this long haul by myself,” Bailey said.
“Do you think any of us are ever truly alone?”
“You were saying, sometimes the mind needs time to heal . . . find a lie to believe in boy.”
“I found out my reality was a lie.”
“Welcome to the world of grown-ups. Our castles are made of tissue paper. Just like our tortured psyches.”
Bailey felt that last syllable from the old man slither around the room. “I've seen you before.”
“For some people, I’m the last thing they see. You got lucky, someone else stole my attention.” The old man nodded once and Bailey sat back down. He gripped the side of his thin rubber mattress took a deep breath, and let a tiny laugh escape.
“So is there some debt still between us?”
Bailey listened to the metronome-like beat of his heart and counted to 50. He stood waiting to find a shank or a gun in the old man’s hand, but found a bare mattress with a slight indention.