He knew it was deep. He felt the blade push against his body and knock him off center. And another one. And another. Fifteen times as he tried to get out of the grasp of the two guys holding him. He felt no pain though. All he could feel is the warmth of his blood soaking into his clothes. As his assailants were shot at from the guard tower, Inmate 15422 fell to the ground to dodge the bullets. The sting of pepper spray from the rushing guards started to cloud his vision. He looked at his shirt through the tears and realized his panic at the blood rushing from the holes in his clothing. “Why did these two guys do this?” he asked himself. “Who the hell are they?” And just as soon as it happened, they were gone. The guards fought his hands from the wounds and rolled him on his stomach to cuff him. He could feel the stickiness of the blood that was now pooling and twinges of sharp pains started to creep in. As he was pinned down awaiting medical response, he could feel the cold setting over him. For the first time in his life, he knew real danger and feared for his life. He was the guy who got stabbed in the prison yard for reasons he may never know.

In the rush to move him to the prison’s medical unit, he felt his panic fade. The light became both brighter and more narrow. Being moved down the hall, he started to close his eyes. The life was leaving him and, for the briefest of moments, he examined what tomorrow would bring.

Tomorrow, he would see his mom. He hasn’t seen her in years. She was the rock of the family and took care of him and his two brothers after dad was killed in that car accident. Tomorrow, he’d see dad, too. Mom had been gone for almost 20 years now after the cancer took her. His oldest brother Tim should be there, too. Timmy died of alcoholism a decade ago. Life’s traumas were a lot for Tim and he needed an escape. He found it in the bottom of a bottle when his wife left him. Aunt Claire should be there tomorrow, too. Mom’s favorite sister became his favorite aunt. Claire had that about her, just a sparkplug. She passed of heart disease, the family curse, shortly after mom. Then there was Kevin, the neighbor kid who would become his best friend in highschool. Kevin enlisted in the Marines and was killed in desert conflict a few years after graduation. Kevin’s family was crushed, but damn, it would be good to see him again. Then it was difficult to recall anyone else. It was difficult to inhale. The cold grew comforting and the peace very embracing. Yeah, he’s gonna see a lot of people tomorrow. He just wishes he could see one last one today. She made his whole world bright and he was gonna walk off this prison sentence and make up lots of time with her. He owed her that, but it seems he’ll be her tomorrow someday…

He felt the warm sun shine on his face as the world became alive again. He was laying in a hospital bed, the curtains parted to let in the light from outside. He realized he wasn’t dead from a prison yard stabbing. The rest of the family will have to wait for him. Each tomorrow led to another one, day by day, until the end of his sentence. Then that tomorrow brought him his release date. He owed his daughter Donna a lot of tomorrows. She was that brightness he was looking forward to. He cried when he hugged her for the first time since she was eight. He saw how the tomorrows piled up and made his daughter into a woman, a mother, with her own family. As they drove down the road, he realized that being temped by any part of tomorrow was a peaceful thing. There are things to look forward to in all of his tomorrows. Tomorrow brought him from Inmate 15422, back to being plain ol’ Danny again. Come life or death, tomorrow has so much in store for him. From being a grandfather, to being a son, he’ll stay just a bit tempted by the taste of tomorrow…

By Rory Andes

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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272