Just Desserts
rating: +37+x

Dear God, this cake is absolutely scrumptious. I really can't describe to you how good this cake is… but I'll try.

Before I was sent here, I was just some poor little kid in the jungle. I'm from a little village about twenty minutes out of Lelydorp. I lived with my mother, my two sisters and my little brother. We didn't have much room.

I'm not telling you this as some sort of sob story. Look at poor old me, grew up in the slums. I don't deserve to be locked up working for some shady company. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm giving you some context.

Right now I'm eating what I've been told is Brooklyn blackout cake. The chocolate pudding is rich. The cake itself is so soft that it almost feels like it is melting in your mouth with every bite. There's a wonderful sweetness to this cake, but it isn't so sweet that it makes you sick to your stomach. A truly unique flavor. Decadent. Chocolaty. Moist. Perfection.

This is without a doubt, the best cake I've ever eaten.

I eat cake everyday. Just yesterday I had four cakes. A black forest cake for breakfast, a mooncake for lunch, angel food cake with blueberry sauce for dinner, and a red velvet cake right before being sent back to the dormitory. I've had an entire cake served to me for every single meal for the last fourteen years. Some of those cakes were absolutely delicious, others not so much.

Five years or so ago, I had something called a Smith Island cake. One of the researchers here, she was very excited about it. Said she was from the place where that kind of cake was invented. She took a slice of it before handing the rest to me. It was a deceptively simple cake. Thin little strips of yellow cake with fudge in between each layer. A healthy pour of fudge icing on top and some sprinkles for decoration. The icing was loose and dripped down, the cake ended up soaked in this wonderful flavor. Every bite was better than the last.

That cake was always the cake I liked the most. For years not a single cake lived up to that one. That changed this morning.

Must have been thirty five years ago when the war broke out in my end of the country. The government took out a bunch of dissidents. You had these armed resistance groups making attacks on military outposts as a form of retribution.

Rumor went around that our village was harboring some of those fighters. Wasn't true. Didn't matter.

One day I woke up to the sound of my mother screaming. I was young and dumb. Still a teenager. I thought that I'd run in and be her savior. Whatever it was, I could handle it. I was the man of the house. Nothing could stop me.

What I saw when I ran into the other room was a soldier using the butt of his rifle to beat my mother's face in. Her teeth were knocked out. Her eyes were bruised shut. She was screaming and crying in a puddle of blood.

The soldier looked up and saw me. I locked eyes with him for a split second. There was a deep anger in him, like he was a beast let off of his leash. I must have only been there for a moment, but I knew I'd remember that face forever.

I ran out the back door. I ran and I didn't look back. I ran until the gunshots were distant echoes and the smoke was just a little black cloud in front of the sunset. I never saw my mother again. I never found any of my siblings either. Lost, confused, distraught. Eventually I hit a road, which I followed west. I knew I'd reach the city eventually. When I got there, I found I was just one of thousands who had been through the same thing. Homes burnt down. Families missing. Alone and helpless. We all came seeking shelter.

The army men were there sorting people out. They were dressed the same as the man who I saw leering at my mother's bloodied face. They asked me where I came from, the name of my village, how long I'd lived there.

They must not have liked my answers. Within minutes I was in handcuffs.

The trial was a joke. Over and done with before I knew it. Life in prison for aiding insurgents. No chance to avoid it. I begged, I pleaded, I cried. Nothing could change my fate.

The first two years of prison were brutal. The next dozen or so were routine. That changed though, obviously. One day they asked if I'd like to work with some scientists. They promised better work conditions, warm showers, and good food. I said yes, mostly for the food.

First time eating here, I finished in seconds. It had been so long, I had forgotten what a warm meal was like. I had to fight back tears when I was done. I was using my spoon to get little bits of mashed potatoes off of my tray.

A man in a lab coat pointed at me. Next thing I knew, I was being escorted to another room. I asked the guard if I was in trouble. He told me that I was in luck. The room they lead me to had too many cakes for me to count. About two dozen men sat there, knives and forks in hand. Some of them cut the cake into slices and ate it piece by piece. Some of them just carved out chucks and shoveled them into their mouths. Others just ripped into the cake with their bare hands, licking their fingers between every grab. I felt a warmth. One I hadn't felt for a very long time.

The cake this morning probably isn't all that special. It's great. No chocolate lover like myself would ever complain. But the cake itself wasn't what makes this morning so delicious.

Three weeks ago they got a new group of prisoners in. I overheard a guard mention Suriname. As they're all settling into the dorms… I saw him.

That bastard. That fucking monster who took my family away. He was older now. His hair was gray. He was balding. Starting to wrinkle and shrink. But I never did forget that face. He didn't seem to notice me. He had already probably forgotten me. I was just one kid who ran away so many years ago. Nothing for him to bother remembering.

I sat in angry silence. He was so close, this horrible beast… Sleeping not twenty feet from me. I spent many nights thinking how easy it would be to walk right over and smother him with a pillow. Some nights I even stood up and thought about walking over, but I never did.

Late last night an alarm went off. This is not a common event. There's a feeling of dread and panic as the guards seemed to be missing. I ran off to the emergency shelter, as I was trained to do. This vile old man decides this is his chance to make a break for it. He knows there's a way out of the building. He could be out in the free world again in minutes. I watch him run in the other direction.

We're locked down for a good five hours. A guard limps over to let us out. He says some of us are going to be on clean up duty. Not twenty minutes later and I'm mopping the floor.

As I'm washing away the puddles of blood, I see his face one last time. Torso torn to pieces, missing an arm… I watch as he disappears into a body bag. Whatever killed him, I hope it was slow.

So here I am. Four hours of sleep, the stench of blood on my shoes, the sound of the siren still ringing in my ears.

Eating the best cake I've ever had.

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