Owen Murphy felt like he had been walking down this hallway for hours. His legs hurt and he was starving. The last meal he remembers having was breakfast earlier this morning with the rest of the inmates. Usually, after their morning meal all the prisoners were led out to yard for some fresh air and exercise. Today, (was it still today?) Murphy was escorted away from everyone else by police guards, Venezia and Rooker. They led him out of the cafeteria and down multiple flights of stairs. That’s where he first saw the beginning of this hallway. The one that he was now currently walking through
“Seems like you got someone looking out for you, Murphy” Venezia sneered through his tightly pressed lips.
Murphy remembers how confused he felt hearing such an odd comment.
Rooker had then chimed in. “It’s like this, Murphy. You’ve been picked to be part of spme new rehabilitation research. All ya gonna do, is walk down to the end of this hallway. The staff is waiting for you to take you to their research room at the end. If you whatever research they have in store for you, the DA will look into either reducing your sentence or in some of the previous cases, DISMISS IT ALL TOGETHER”.
At the time, Murphy remembers almost giggling at Rooker’s words. Why choose him? He was already serving a life sentence for killing his wife and three kids. He really had no feelings toward’s their deaths, remorse or anything else. His days of “rehabilitating” were long gone. What reason could they even think for picking him in ANY type of rehabilitatatin? Whatever it was, he did’nt give a shit. Walking freely down a dirty hall was better than wasting away in his cell, anyday of the week.
He had been assured by both guards that this entire thing was legit and that all he had to do was simply walk forward towards the room at the end that would conduct the research.
Seems like that talk had happened days ago and not hours. Or was it even just thirty minutes? Murphy had lost all track of time as he continued his trek. He had looked back at both guards a few times, even asking them if they were still there once out of his sight. They answered a few times then stopped altogether.
It was cold in the hallway, raw with a smell that unnerved Murphy. No windows, no other rooms either. Just the endless rows of cement blocks and pipes overhead. He started to get frustrated and decided that he was going to get to this damn room even if his feet were bleeding from callouses. He stood up straight with a new resilience and started walking faster.
Minutes (hours?) later, Murphy spotted a man walking slowly towards him off in the distance in the shadows.
“Oh, thank god! Hopefully it’s whoever is conducting this test finally here to greet me.” Murphy desperately thought.
He yelled out down the hallway towards the approaching man.
“Hey! Are you with the rehabilitation group? I was sent down here by the guards. I’m supposed to be working with you”
Murphy’s words echoed all the way down the hallway with no response coming back from the stranger.
The stranger was now only about fifty feet away. He appeared to be young, maybe in his twenties. Short cropped hair, close to a crew-cut. His grey uniform looked somewhat familiar to Murphy.
“Hey, Buddy?” Murphy stood out and stuck his arm out to stop the young man from walking any further past him.
The young man looked at Murphy somewhat startled by his appearance.
“Are you with the..rehabilitation research people?” Murphy asked, hoping for some type of informative answer.
The young man stared back at Murphy with confused eyes.
“Rehabil-Who? Don’t know anything about that. I was just told by a couple of the prison screws to start walking. They told me that theres these Eggheads at the end who might help me get out of this joint. I just started walking a little while ago. They tell you the same thing?”
“Yea, they did” Murphy said in defeat. He glanced closer at the man’s uniform. Suddenly, he remembered where had seen the clothes before. On the right wall of the small hallway that led into Warden Keller’s office, there had been some vintage photographs hung up from the history of the prison. Murphy remembers seeing one of the photos, was of a lineup of prisoners out in the yard from 1955. The young man standing in front of Murphy was wearing the same exact prison clothes that those men were wearing in that picture.
Murphy was silent, not answering the young man’s initial question. He felt his mind slowly slipping into a state of disbelief and anxiety.
“You ok, buddy?” The young man asked Murphy with genuine concern.
Murphy slowly nodded yes, his hadn’t blinked his eyes once since his realization of what couldn’t possibly be true.
“Well..You take care of yourself now. I’m gonna get going here. I’m looking to be free soon. I heard Brooklyn made the world series. Maybe, I can catch a game if they let me out by the weekend.” The young man smiled at Murphy and proceeded to walk away.
Murphy watched him shuffle back down into the direction of the hallway from where Murphy had just walked from. He stood and watched for the longest time as the young man eventually disappeared out of his line of vision.
The hallway stretched out in both directions for what seemed like miles. Murphy contemplated for a moment walking back to Venezia and Rooker, the two guards who sent him here. He then thought differently with an overwhelming feeling that, both guards are most likely long gone. There was probably no new rehab research center either, Murphy thought.
He looked down towards the Hallway in the direction he was originally walking. For whatever reason, out of all the low-lifes that were housed in the prison above (?) him, someone had chosen for him to finish out the rest of his sentence down here.
Owen Murphy did the only thing he had left in his life and started walking again down the hallway.