From the blackest depths of his cell, Withered John, oldest of all, asked in croaking voice, “Jailer, are you new?”
Rats in the shadows scurried and scratched in the soiled and rotting straw on the cell’s floor. “Yes,” the jailer answered.
“What number are you?”
“I am thirty-fifth.”
“So, your name is also John. Will you be freeing me, Young John?”
“Oh, you will never be freed,” he replied.
“So, can I escape?”
“You could have always escaped. Like me. But now you are closer to free than I ever will be.”
Withered John confessed, “So I am…so I am.”