Day 88 – Portals – Part One

Inspired by an evening playing Portal on PS3.


Word count: 1017


Xyman woke with a start, head against his steely cold bed. There was no such thing as comfort at The Roosevelt Prison. It was a horrible dark place that few people ever returned from. This was the final destination for murderers, rapists and the irreparably corrupt. Fourteen floors of cast iron bars, intricate security systems, and several thousand six foot square rooms of hell.

Many screamed all night long just to stave off the nocturnal isolation; some attempted and even succeeded suicide. No one had escaped in its three hundred year history. No one dared try, less through death. Few received positive appeals. Prison though it appeared to be from the outside, with its eight lines of trenches and barbed wire electrified fences, this cubic building was nothing short of a mortuary.


Xyam wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. He’d had another nightmare. This was not an uncommon event. After nearly ten long years of confinement, his dreams oscillated between heart-wrenching dreams of liberation and turning back time to horrific nightmares that he would rather forget. Tonight’s had not been as bad as usual, but he still shook his head to forget it.

Xyman sat up and clutched the edges of the bed to bring himself back to reality. It was still dark – no where near morning, not that Xyman could really tell. His cell was in the centre of the compound. There was no chance of reflected day light and heaven forbid there was a window that the prisoners had a chance of viewing. But Xyman had spent over three thousand tormenting nights in his cell and knew only too well the torturous sound of his cellmates’ hitch pitched banshee wails that served to keep them company throughout the arduous dark.

“Water, please,” Xyam asked.

A small door in the wall – no more the size than an air vent – opened up and revealed a metal cup of water. Xyam drank the cup dry within seconds. He could feel a horrible headache coming on.

“Another, please,” he asked again, replacing the cup back in the compartment. It immediately began filling up with water once more. Again he downed the lot.

“Another, please.”

The frame around the door flashed orange. He had only one more request for water left until morning.


Life inside the prison was strict. Water rations were limited. Food was distributed at strict intervals. No one was allowed any form of entertainment. No one was allowed to speak to each other unless in specific, controlled environments and these were rare and far between. The only company, aside from the mainly brutal guards, for the prisons was their conscience, and that was exactly what the prison had been designed to achieve.

However, for Xyam, there was no contemplation of his crimes. He was a man convicted of a crime that he had never committed. Unlike many of his cellmates, he was not a murder of a sadist. He had been a simple civil servant with a penchant for travelling. Before he was arrested, he had been all over the world – he’d visited three continents and travelled to and across so many countries that he had lost count. Now the world was all but a memory, and one that, at times, he’d rather forget.

Nearly ten years ago, Xyam had been woken in the middle of the night by a team of armed police. Little did he know whilst he was sleeping, a target had been drawn on his forehead and his name and picture given to every policeman in the country. Before his mind had realised what was going on, he had been handcuffed and thrown in a helicopter and taken to a secret government facility. He supposed it was a police station, though it was more a court. There he had been interrogated for hours on end and, after a lengthy court battle, he was finally charged and given thirty years imprisonment for criminal misuse of Portals.

Portals had been around for almost a century now. They were designed to replace all other forms of transportation – and they effectively did. Portals were a link between one place and another. Only one entry and one exit would exist for any one portal – and these were interchangeable in either direction. Only government officials and licensed individuals could create and edit portals. Getting a license was difficult, but relatively common. Creating a portal involved setting up the coordinates of the desired output into a Portal Gun and then firing the particle beam generator at the place of entry. This would open up a hole in the place – be it a wall or door, floor or ceiling, and from there one could see the view from the other end of the portal. By simply stepping through it, one could travel to the other side.

It was a revolutionary form of transportation. Pollution was nigh eliminated over night. But with their rising popularity, a certain set of strict laws needed to be brought in. Portals were therefore, by law, only allowed to by set up as a means of transportation only. No individual would be able to use it to enter someone else’s home or use it for criminal means. Any portal set up for this carried a minimum twenty years imprisonment. All portals were logged on a universal mainframe computer. Not a single portal could ever be created that would not log a record on this computer.

So when Xyman was arrested for creating a portal from his home to the government agency’s top secret offices and when several high security documents went missing from their records and computers, there was almost no defence.

Xyman finished his cup of water. Something in him stirred. He did not know quite what it was; it was like his brain had registered a distant memory or it was trying to remind him that there was something that he needed to do. He leant in and felt the cold steel wall against his cheek. There were no Portals in prison, though sometimes he thought he could almost hear the sea.


~ by S.G. Mark on January 3, 2012.

One Response to “Day 88 – Portals – Part One”

  1. ooo good start

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