Hey, my dear reader!

It's amazing that you are here. This part of the story is the second part of the build-up to a novella called Inmate. I suggest you read the previous part, as it tells you about how the story starts.

I love to hear your feedback and suggestions. If my writing inspired you to write, please share it at https://app.t2.world/t/shadowwalkers. You can also read other parts there.

Happy reading!


I walk along the halls of this prison and its sections and see empty masks walking past me, side by side. I look for eye contact, but no one seems to be looking. Maybe the masks are hiding the eyes too; I don’t want to accept that. We walk past each other, but we don’t see each other.

There were times I tried to reach out to their masks, slowly persuading them to let me take them off. Some yielded and showed me everything behind them. It was painful; it ached my heart to figure out that my persistence to find their truth unveiled a torment that I thought should have been only mine. Then it would have been only my responsibility to deal with it, but now I could see it being common with my fellow inmates, and the resistance would be much harder.

They opened up and told me about their memories of childhood and the traumas they induced in them. I saw them crying behind the masks. I figured out that most of us here are only strong enough to keep the mask on our faces, and dealing with the punisher inside is out of the question.

I would take their mask off, and huge waves of anxiety, depression, fear, doubt, and uncertainty would flow and clash on the rocky shores of my ignorance, eroding the confines that I built to keep my sanity.

They bear the guilt of the past, the confusion of the present, and the fear of the future. Their punishment is a never-ending pursuit of perfection, unity with others and themselves, and maybe a perfect leader, a lover, or a thing.

Some had nothing behind the mask except a void, like a black hole sucking in anything to feed its insatiable appetite, which is of the nature of meaninglessness and insignificance. They are the mercenaries for any next cause; what is their currency? Meaning! Their torture? Boredom!

They consume and devour, be it material goods, comfort, media, ideas, or movements. Having no reference to who they are, they consume themselves too. They have become incapable of creation, content with the role of the puppet in the hands of the puppeteer. Their masks change every day to suit their new cause.

And then there are "the stitched ones." Tired of the constant struggle with their ever-changing soul, tormented by their memories, and the deep, unbearable solitude that rules their nights, they choose to give up. There is a room where a faceless man known as "The Seamster" is paid to stitch forever masks for them. The currency is subordination. He is also compensated by the prison's owners for marketing the Forever Mask. These masks are identities, the ideas that subjugate their wearer to themselves. The advertisements are all over the walls. They personalize it to your taste and show you accepted roles and a productive life. They promise alleviation from having to choose different masks every day; they speak of stability, a big community of same-looking others, an easier life, and no more solitude.

All of this is under these conditions: that we advertise the forever masks to others. We must play by the rules of the community, be obedient to the laws, and make good and model citizens. Absurd reasoning, if you ask me!

And us, mon cher? We are somewhere between all of these modes of being, but we have found profound happiness in accepting them. In accepting our duplicity, or, if you may, our multiplicity, we have indeed permitted ourselves everything.

Do you want to go inside the seamster's room? If we are lucky, we can see that deceitful seamstress stitching a poor soul. And I also have a bone to pick with that seamster.

He looked struck by a profound, albeit morbid, curiosity. I knew that look.

“Do I wish to see this eternal pretense?" Clamence replied;

"Mon cher, how could I resist? Not out of a desire to unmask the poor souls trapped by their own consent, but to confront the reflection of my own multiplicity. For in that room, I suspect, lies the heart of our shared imprisonment—the fear of facing the void within."

With a new wave of enthusiasm, he glanced at me;

"But tell me, what bone, precisely, do you have to pick with this artisan of falsehoods? Is it his complicity in our bondage, or perhaps the recognition of our own complicity mirrored in his actions? How deliciously ironic that by accepting these masks, we embrace the solitude we sought to escape, entombing ourselves within walls of our own making.”

“I don’t know exactly how it would go; this is the first time I dare to confront him, but I think with you on my side, I will be much more able to proceed with it."

"Lead on, then. Let us confront this seamster, this architect of illusion."

This way. It's somewhere after Section E, for ease of commute for the graduates. I'll tell you more about Section E later, but for now, let’s take one of these prisoner transport buses, driven by another fellow prisoner.”