Aswan is a nice city to be in, but behind the cities prison walls….is another story.
Around the prison, there is nothing nice except the fresh air from the Mediterranean Sea blowing fast across the vast farmland. Outside the high prison walls, the prisoners who are surrounded by guards are found. The guards busy themselves with guarding the prisoners who are labouring under the morning Sun.
Josh moves around with confident steps, keeping up with his new position as head prisoner. His uniform stands out from that of his fellow prisoners. His spirit is as high as it had been in Phar’s quarters during his early work years as he inspects each group of workers.
Mounds of debris heap behind each group of workers, piling up to be used as manure on the farm. His directs a group of workers to an area in dire need of weeding. They get on it and are done in a few minutes. He inspects it and gives a nod of approval. They’ve done a good job.
“Who is He?” A guard- Abayomi questions, his mouth twisting in disgust.
Abasi tilts his head up and smiles
“Joseph! You can call him Josh”
Abayomi frowns and says
“No I meant to say how did he get to displace Narshon?”
Abasi’s brows furrow.
“Narshon has never been loyal! He is proud and never takes orders except the ones he creates for himself. We caught him, again! trying to mobilize the prisoners to fight against us in a bid to gain absolute prison power. You don’t expect he gets to keep his position after several rounds of discipline with no visible change!”
He spits in the direction of Narshon who labours with a bruised face and stands now wiping the sweat from his face with the back of his left hand while he holds a hoe in the grip of his other arm.
“I see, so (stares in the direction of Josh and back at him) Josh takes orders and is loyal. We must be silly to think that Phar’s boy who gets to outplay his master is the one who must take Narshon’s place!” He scoffs.
“Why not? Do you have any other person that’s capable of such good service? Are you blind? Don’t you see how he carries out his duties diligently with wit and excellence?!” Abasi fixes his eyes on him.
“Within few days of assuming position, things have changed and are much better. Food supplies have been saved and prisoners are more productive and yet you still ask why he should be the one incharge of prisoners?!” Abayomi let’s out a deep sigh of disgust. There is a brief passage of silence between them.
“What’s his background like? He seems well schooled and skillful. Phar must have given him good training, yet he molests his wife. Such a wicked slave! Narshon should be given a second chance instead of this ingrate!” He lashes out.
Abasi’s mouth hangs agape. He quickly gets a grip of himself and replies him;
“Except you are in an alliance with Narshon and seek to overthrow prison power, you know nothing about the implications of what you are seeking for”. With that he trots away.
Abayomi’s chest tilts up and down, his breathing is heavy with hatred for Josh.
Within him he voices, “Let’s see how far you can go with prison power!” His anger abates and gives way to an evil grin.
In his new cell, Josh lies on his bed as he is the sole occupant of this cell- A luxury that he alone gets to enjoy for his loyalty. The image of him parading in a coat of many colours floats in his thoughts. His smiles fades when rumblings in his stomach reminds him of the bread he abandoned by his bedside.
He picks up the bread and tries another bite. His face twists with pain as it hurts his teeth because the bread is as hard as stone. He reaches for the bottle of water by the bedside, turns the cap open and gulps it down.
“Josh! Josh!! ” the harsh commanding voice of a guard reaches him.
Josh jumps out of bed and comes faces to face with Abayomi in front of his iron bar cell.
CREDIT(Editor): Robbie Kaine