The Prison Key – A thought exercise

There was once a prisoner named Harry. He did not like prison (of course), but had gotten used to it. He stayed out of trouble and was mostly liked by both the prisoners and guards. One day, one of the guards retired and stopped by Harry’s cell.

prison cell

“I got a present for you,” he said. “You know that door at the far end of the cafeteria that’s always locked? It leads to E Block, which has been closed down for years. The far end of E Block is open to the outside. If you go through that door, you can escape.” He handed Harry a key.

“Why are you doing this?” Harry asked, taking the key in amazement.

The guard shrugged. “You’re a nice guy and I don’t care anymore. Just don’t tell anyone I gave it to you.” He told Harry how to evade the guards and leave without being noticed. Then the two shook hands and the guard left.

The next day, Harry thought about escaping. But, it was raining so he put it off until the next day. The next day as well he put it off. Finally, he hid the key in his room. Ten years later, he was released. On his last day, he handed the key to his roommate and told him the story.

“Are you crazy?” the man asked when he’d heard the story. “You could have left at any time in the last ten years and yet you stayed here? You suffered the bad food and the loneliness when you could have seen your family or eaten home cooked food? Why would you remain in captivity?”

Harry smiled. “But I wasn’t. From the moment the guard gave me the key, I had the ability to leave and so I was free. You’re only in imprisoned if you can’t leave, but I could have left at any time.”

keys

Do you agree with Harry? Is freedom being out of captivity or can it be simply having the option to leave captivity? Let me know what you think.

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About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

6 responses to “The Prison Key – A thought exercise

  • Al

    I agree. Being able to leave raises the spirits. and makes him happier. Plus he isn’t going to get chased down.

  • starlight

    Totally disagree with Harry. The ability to leave gives hope, which is good. But it’s a cop out to say that’s good enough. Makes me mad at Harry, actually. If Harry was my husband and he’d decided the ability to come home to me was just as good as actually coming home to me, I’d be dead pissed. To say the least. And it’s a waste of life to hang out in a prison when you could be experiencing the world.

    (I’m assuming here, for the sake of the story, that this isn’t a real world scenario that would involve the morality of not escaping and such things.)

  • The Bumble Files

    Oh, so complex. I think he’s afraid more than anything. It seems you would jump at the chance to get out, if only out of boredom. I know I would!!

  • Sharmishtha Basu

    Well, I guess Harry was right in practical sense, if he had escaped he would have had to live a life on the run, as he was treated well in the prison he most probably did the right thing by accepting his punishment fully and leaving completely

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