Tough Choices at the Door of the Prison of Guilt




            Section A.

      Welcome to the Prison of Guilt. Since a building’s architecture is never fully understood from the inside, let me give you an overview. As you can see, all the walls and floors in the Prison of Guilt are made of glass. Look to your immediate left and you will see an open doorway. Look up, and you will see that your cell is a large cylinder. Now, look to your right. Do you see the kittens? Aren’t they cute? They too are enclosed in a glass cylinder, the difference between the cylinders being that the kittens’ cylinder has no door. This is all plain enough for you to see. Now, please look up again. You will notice a great chain attached to the top of your cylinder, and if you look further, far, far above, you will see a wheel. The chain passes over the wheel and continues down, down, down, to attach on its opposite end to the cylinder containing the kittens.

     As it happens, the weight of the kittens is exactly matched to your own. Look further down, please. Down, down, down. Do you see the great iron spikes below? Do you understand now how the Prison of Guilt functions? You are free to leave at any time, of course, free to pass through the open doorway immediately to your left (there’s no one around to stop you) and carry on down the winding glass steps to the wildflower meadow which you can plainly see from where you stand. If you do this, it is obvious what will happen. Is it not? Do you need me to spell it out?

     Good, I’m glad it’s obvious. I hate to belabor gruesome details. So the question now is, what will you do?

     If you choose to stay in the Prison of Guilt, skip to Section B.

     If you choose to leave the Prison of Guilt, skip to Section C.


            Section B.

     You are an idiot. Congratulations. The kittens would thank you, if they had the concept of gratitude and could speak. You all die here, eventually.


            Section C.

     The kittens plummet to their deaths as you step onto the glass staircase and descend carefree to the flowery meadow. Here a man in a black raincoat and black bowler hat greets you. Next to him is an umbrella stand from which many curved wooden handles jut.

     “Welcome to the Meadow of Infinite Regret,” he says. “Would you like an umbrella?”
     If you choose not to take an umbrella, skip to Section D.
     You can’t not choose not to take an umbrella, because of the type of meadow this is.


            Section D.

     “There isn’t a cloud in the sky!” you say, as you cheerily pass by the man in the coat and hat.

     “No,” he says, peering up from under his brim, “there isn’t.” He inhales the fragrant air. “Ahh! Smell that! The Should-Have-Done flowers are just in bloom! Well, have a pleasant walk! Don’t look back!”
     If you choose to look back, skip to Section E.
     If you choose not to look back, skip to Section F.


            Section E.

     You look back. “What have I done?” you say, and you fall to your knees in despair as thunderheads gather.


            Section F.

     Whistling a jaunty tune, you wade off into the meadow—which really is infinite—as thunderheads gather. The Rain of Pain begins to fall in chilly daggers, and you reflect upon Section A. You can’t help but wonder what you would do differently if you could do it all again.
     To find out, return to Section A.
     Otherwise, continue to Section G.


            Section G.

     The meadow really is infinite.




Trevor Shikaze suffers from Evasive Bio Syndrome. Find him online at 


Cover Photo:”Kirby’s Hard Night” by D.S. West (