Under Execution Under Jailbreak
Under Execution Under Jailbreak (死刑執行中脱獄進行中 Shikei Shikkōchū Datsugoku Shinkōchū) is a short story written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. It was originally published in Shueisha's Super Jump on January 11, 1995 and later reprinted on October 22, 2008.
It was later compiled with Araki's other stories in a tankōbon titled Under Execution Under Jailbreak.
The story begins with an unnamed blond-haired defendant at his trial. The court sentences the punishment for his crime: death penalty. The criminal is taken to jail, where he lies waiting for the execution.
The criminal introduces himself simply as Prisoner 27 and explains the reasons that led him to this situation: after having slept with a girl, he found out he was missing some money. He asked the girl for an explanation, but she claimed to know nothing about it. He would have been more than willing to forgive the theft, but his deep hate towards liars made him kill the girl.
Once in his cell, he finds out that the warden wouldn't come, no matter how many times he'd scream for help and that the room, despite its appealing look, is filled with all sort of traps, including a bee's nest, fishbones, and a chair that has been rigged to break. He attempts to escape when he finds out that one of the cell walls is as soft as butter and tries to dig a way out. That was just another trap: a grinder hidden in the wall cuts his fingers off his right hand.
He falls onto the floor where he discovers nails all over the floor, which snag his clothes and attempt to burn him with acid. He risks his life when, trapped on the sofa, he realizes it's nothing more than an electric chair. He manages to escape by sacrificing his right hand. The chair explodes, breaching the cell wall. Prisoner 27 thinks he is finally free, but before running out, he manages to see another trap in the wall: a guillotine. He decides to wait in his cell until he finds a way out.
50 years have passed since the sentence, and Prisoner 27 is still in his cell, staring at the breach in the wall. Every year, when winter is over and spring begins, he is tempted to run outside. He still swears to himself that one day he will find a way to escape, proving himself more cunning than his jailers.
- Concerning this story, Araki has declared that it was born by the idea to make the Jailbreak and the execution coincide. The story's only purpose was to create suspense. The prison is bizarre: the person who built it doesn't appear and this absence-presence was the thing Araki liked to describe.