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5| Dead girl walking

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I examine my wrists, noting the way the skin around the handcuffs has reddened. Still, the fact Reyes didn't take them off means I won't be here for long. Either that, or these guards are cruel and want to see me suffer.

I can very well see Snake being that way with his cold, calculating eyes and his constant smirks. It's impossible to know about Reyes, but I doubt a man who would take my hand in an attempt to ease my pain would go out of his way to make me suffer.

When the guards eventually come back, they lead me down the rest of the hallway and into an elevator in silence. I want to ask them where we're going or what's going to happen, but I learned the hard way during my time in the holding facility that I shouldn't ask questions to guards whose temperaments I don't know.

At the third floor, the doors slide open and we step into a foyer. A large mirror hangs on the wall to the left, and I catch a brief glimpse of my reflection before quickly looking away.  On the wall opposite, a long glass window stretches from one end of the hallway to other, offering a glimpse into the inmates' bedrooms.

I keep my head twisted as the guards lead me down the corridor, examining each one with fascination.  Men and women in a variety of shapes and sizes, some lying on their beds watching TV, others using the punching bags or doing press ups.

Even from here, it's not hard to see the physical toll impending death has taken on them. Hollow eyes, dark circles, sallow skin—they are the tell tales signs of suffering.

We get to room number ten, the last room at the end of the hallway. It looks exactly like the other ones we've passed so far, with a king-sized bed, a punching bag, and a vanity table.

There are two doors to the bedroom, separated by a cubicle just big enough to for one person. I know from my experience in the holding facility that these cubicles are installed with full body scanners, able to scan my body both externally and internally.

Reyes uses his fingerprint to open the door and orders me to step inside, so I do. I should be embarrassed that these men can see every inch of my body on the screen, but I no longer even care.

When they are satisfied I'm not harboring anything, the bedroom door slides open and I step inside, my eyes slowly scanning the gray striped walls. If I didn't know better, I'd think they're supposed to mirror prison bars—a reminder that while my cell might be luxurious, I am still a prisoner.

"Why are the rooms so nice?" I ask, purposely directing my question at Reyes, but it is Snake who answers.

"Think of this as your last meal," he says. "Your last chance to live comfortably before you die." He turns to Reyes and opens his mouth, letting out a yawn that could swallow me whole. "All right, I'm clocking out. See you tomorrow."

Reyes nods in response and as soon as Snake leaves, I feel marginally better. Reyes turns to me, proceeding to explain that I need to be showered and dressed in the outfit provided by six-thirty pm, when I'll be taken to wardrobe to get ready for  the reveal—the banquet where all of the inmates are introduced. 

I remember from last year's Justice week pictures how polished and well-dressed the inmates are when they're revealed, and I never understood the point of it then, either.

"Why do they bother doing that?" I ask, trying to stifle a yawn. Two weeks of broken sleep is finally catching up with me. "Dressing us up in costumes, I mean?"

"Because Justice week is about entertainment first and justice second," Reyes says flatly before meeting my gaze. "I'll be waiting outside." He turns on his heel before pausing. "Keep in mind that I can see everything you're doing in this room, so I suggest when you change, you change in the bathroom."

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