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Strange and Unusual Punishment (standard:horror, 1702 words)
Author: red1holsAdded: Feb 07 2005Views/Reads: 2729/1873Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Society insists that justice is done and seen to be done, but surely the punishment must fit the crime?

Strange and Unusual Punishment. 

Society insists that justice is done and seen to be done, but surely the
punishment must fit the crime? 


Mr. Davies gripped the edge of his leather topped desk and pushed
himself backward on brass castors. Levering himself out of the walnut 
chair, he pursed his lips and observed his prey. With the silent tread 
that belied his bulk, he made a circuit around the huge desk and me 
before coming to a halt at the window. With his back to me, he caressed 
his salt and pepper beard. He clenched his hands behind his back, rose 
onto his toes, and lowered himself down again. 

“You know the rules, boy.” His resonant baritone brought the dramatic
pause to end. “You should be setting an example. Instead, I am forced 
to make an example of you.” 

Nausea and dizziness struck me. I scrunched my fists and eyes closed in
a superhuman effort to remain upright. Under my feet, the threadbare 
rug over ancient floorboards swayed and softened. A new, yet strangely 
familiar odour filled my nostrils. There was sweetness mixed with the 
tang of petrochemicals. It was the smell of the school Chemistry Lab, a 
Beauty Salon and the vague promise of home made cake. The stale scent 
of musty books, ink, chalk dust and peppermint simply vanished. 

I opened my eyes. A perfect sphere surrounded me. The walls resembled a
failing fluorescent tube. They denied any glimpse of the outside world, 
yet let in a dim half light. The light wasn't constant. It was brighter 
on one side compared to the other and the floor. 

My chest tightened, a void opened in my stomach as I realized the sphere
appeared airtight. My punishment had very definite end. If I didn't 
achieve contrition before the air ran out, I would die. 

Pi politely worked its way to the front of my brain. Three point one
four gently ushered forward a series of mathematical formulae. 

I'm sorry Mrs. Crabbe, you were right. I was going to need these things.
It was just that I never thought it would be to calculate the time to 
my own demise. 

First, I had to find out the radius of the sphere. I looked around me
and then craned my neck back. It was about two foot to the apex of the 

I lifted my arm to confirm my guess. My centre of balance shifted
slightly causing the cell to lurch into motion. I tried to compensate 
only for it to move more violently. Another clumsy over compensation 
and my prison started to roll. 

Staying on my feet was impossible. I fell to the floor which became a
wall and then a ceiling before gravity caused me to drop and start the 
cycle again. 

After several rotations and an equal number of bruising falls, my prison
tired of its cruel game. It wobbled from side to side before coming to 
a stop. I didn't try to regain my feet. I huddled at the base close to 

Cursing my stupidity, I fought to control my breathing and return to my
calculations. The volume of a sphere is Four thirds of Pi times the 
radius of the sphere, cubed. The radius must be about seven foot. No, 
that is the diameter. Make that three and a half foot. 

Mental arithmetic was never my forte. Thankfully, I had a pencil in my
blazer pocket and I used the cell floor as a notepad. It was like 
writing on soft concrete. The structure had the same texture as 
concrete, yet it yielded under the graphite tip of my pencil as it 
etched my grey calculations. 

The mathematics was a welcome distraction. It shut out all thoughts of
my predicament as I strove towards an answer. My breathing became calm. 
The sweatiness of my palms decreased and the pain of my bruises faded. 

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