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Salt and Sweet

He knew he should be focussed on the rest of them. Were they on the train back already? Or had they ended up in a cell of their own somewhere across the city?

Instead, he kept replaying that moment over and over. That slow process when they'd lifted every possession from him, his watch, his hotel keys, his map, his camera, his wallet... nobody had taken an interest in his shirt pocket and the crushed cereal bar.


He locked his hands over his elbows to keep his arms in place. A rogue tapping from his foot.


Hope was a wonderful marvellous thing. Except for when it was a villainous tease.


He'd lasted this long trying to think about anything but food. If he reached into his pocket and found it empty...


The silence since he'd stopped talking was suddenly echoing around the cell. The man hunched into the corner beneath him stared forlornly forward, tipping every so often. What if one of them collapsed and the bar had been there all along... He slowly lifted his arm towards his shirt pocket, then stopped himself. This was his oasis, a recollection of a meal that had happened months ago, mingled with a memory of a Belvita long ago consumed and its packet fluttering across a tip.

Or else the courteous guard had grabbed it and chowed down on it himself and his memory was mocking him to keep him going that moment longer.


He couldn't remember them taking it, but he couldn't remember them not taking it either...