|All for Melanie Grey
Author: Seraen PM
Paul and Virginia get paired up in the same cell at a prison full of murderers, rapists, and thieves. They both have their secrets and problems, but can they learn to trust each other before one of them loses their lives by the most powerful criminal in tRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,996 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-29-05 - Published: 10-27-04 - id: 1747851
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 2 -- Virginia
-- november -- week 1 --
"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow." Charlotte Brontë
When I first saw him through the half light of the dark, winter sky, I thought the same thing I had thought every time I had seen a line of new guys walk in the thick, brick walls. Great. More mouths to feed.
More people meant more food to make. More food to make meant less free time and waking up earlier.
Different from all the other new fish, he was tall and lean, but I could tell just by the way he carried himself, under the bright orange jumpsuits everyone in line was wearing, he was stronger than he seemed. Most of the guys in the line had long hair, piercings, and a wide, thugish walk. The kind of guys who didn't kill people with specific amounts of lethal drugs, but the kind of guys who beat their victims to death with a large pipe wrench. He stood straight, wore his light hair in a crew-cut, had no piercings, and walked in smooth strides as though he wasn't walking into a prison where he was going to spend the rest of his life, just strolling down the street on his way to work. He kept his eyes away from contact with anyone elses.
The second thing I thought was, Things are going to get interesting around here. I don't know why I thought that, I just did.
"Oh, my GOD, Gin, girl, check him out." Grace, one of the friends I had made since being sentanced to life in this damned castle was sitting beside me. She tall, dark headed, and her glare could send shivers down your spine from across the room. She was tall and leanly muscled from head to toe, the result of slaving away in the laundry rooms and working out in the weight room for the past twelve years. This was the fourth prison they had moved her to. She had a tendancy of beating the stuffing out of other inmates that pissed her off.
"What's so special about him?" I asked, shifting in my seat in the window sill next to her. We were up in the fifth floor library, sitting the large windows that over looked the courtyard.
The prison was a new design being tested out by the government, supposedly inescapable and indestrutible, which worked like a small town on the inside. The design was based on castles, with tall, brick outside walls, and short chain-link fence partitions on the inside to separate the courtyards and recreation areas.
The inside cells were one to a cell with a bed on one side, a sink, and a wall mirror/medicine cabinet to hold everything but medication. (They keep your medication, and allow you to have razors. Go figure. I think they really don't care if you kill yourself, but have to keep up some kind of public image). There was a short metal bar sticking out of the wall for hanging our clothes on and a small set of shelves set into the wall over the heads of the beds. The mess hall was large with gigantic stainless steel tables that were bolted to the floor.
Mantua State Prison was a place were people go when they have done something that society has just has too big a problem with to put them in a regular prison. Crimes so bad they locked the offenders up in a castle with everything they could possibly need. The irony of it kills me sometimes. Someone goes on a six-state killing spree and they stick him in a 4-star hotel that he only has to work ten hours a day in, provided he isn't pronounced crazy or anything.
In the Castle, as we call it here, we get counted three times each day, once before each meal. We work in our respective jobs in between meals and whatever time we don't work, including the 'free time' they give us from six-thirty to ten, we get to do whatever we wish, including working out in our
extensive gym, playing sports in the courtyard, reading in the library or just doing whatever in our cells. At eleven all lights have to be off or not visible from the ground floor. The cell doors are locked at ten by the guards and are unlocked at six to make us get up and do it all over again.
Right now, ten new prisoners were shuffling in through the thick, metal lattice of the Castles main gate. They entered a small razor wire inclosed area where they were frisked and scanned for metals objects again then allowed, one-by-one, in the main courtyard. Walking along the top of the wall were trained snipers carrying long guns slung over their shoulders, scrutinizing all the newcomers, waiting, should they try anything stupid. The guards in the courtyard lined them up like they were readying them for a firing squad. They waited for a moment.
"It's him, she said.
The warden walked out and stood in front of them with his hands clasped behind his back, observing them with deep-set eyes. "Him who?" I asked indifferently with a yawn. I pulled my jacket tighter around me. The Castle was usually comfortable temperature wise but I was sitting next to the window, in the middle of a New England November and was practically freezing. Plus I was a chick and was basically cold by nature.
"Paul Abernathy, the guy I was watching on TV when I was in LA. I pointed him out on the list and told you I recognized the name. Kinda cute."
I looked at him. He was staring straight ahead at a point beyond the wardens head. The warden was a short, balding man, of the kind who only had a tuft of hair to their name and tried sweeping it over the tops of their heads in thin strips and gelling it down. It was like trying to cover a watermelon with four pieces of string. He was talking rather loudly to the new guys and was 'laying down the law'. In the 30 degree wind chill factor they had to be cold, but they didn't show it.
I stared over at the one person that I did know. Tall, a full head of black hair. He stood right next to the guy Grace was gushing over.
"Oh yeah?" I picked at my fingernail. I had broken another one this morning in the bakery. "What'd he do?"
"Don't remember. Something bad though. Had to be to get himself in here. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! I got my letter from Brandy. She took her glittery bear I got her for Christmas last year, I think I showed to you, anyway, she took it in for something or other in her art class and the teacher yelled at her. The teacher's scared of the damn glitter."
I leaned my head against the cold glass and before the window fogged up I watched the warden get right up in a guys face. The lineup looked kind of worse, rougher, than the others. The state had a list of one hundred people who were destined to be here before it even opened, all in alphabetical
order, all with a predestined cell according to their last name. It had taken two and a half months to get eveyone here, ten every week. The last ten came in today: five men, five women. Grace and I had been part of the first group to enter.
"Yeah. Pisses me off to know end. Ooo...wouldn't you want to share a cell with that guy. I mean if we weren't required to be one to a cell." She pointed to a tall brunette the warden was now yelling at. He had a tattoo of a snake all the way down his arm. Grace had a way of picking the worst guys for herself. And a tendancy for killing them when they tried to hurt her daughter.
"Yeah," I said sarcastically. "I can only dream I get a testosterone filled, wife-beating, loud-snoring, dirty laundry piling, S.O.B. to live in a 7x10 space with for the rest of my confined life. "
"Gin..." Grace groaned.
I stood up and pulled my jacket closer. "Well, I'm going to do some more reading. See you tomorrow." She waved at me as I picked up three books from the table next to us and went right back to staring at the window. She could always dream.
In the Castle, the cells were set up ten cells per block, five floors up and stacked all on top of each other. I was on the very top level at the very end, in a corner. It was constantly warm but I was still worrying about how cold it might be when the snow outside was five feet deep.
I walked through a labyrinth of hallways, waving at a few guards, till I got to the Cave, another nickname for all the cellblocks combined. Very few poeple were in their cells, even though it was Sunday and no one had to work but the kitchen people who, in turn, only had to work half the time the others did during the week. I walked up five flights of stairs and walked down to my cell, which was closed. They locked from the outside and could be locked to keep unwanted people out, but a latch could be used to keep it open. At night, the doors all locked automatically but had to be checked anyway by the guards. I opened the door and latched it open. The left side of the room, my side, was almost completley covered in my belongings. Books and binders covered both shelves. My small amount of clothes were hung up on a tiny rack which extended out from the wall at the foot of my bed and next to the shelves.
A medium sized poster of a tropical island was on the wall above the head of the bed. Reds, oranges and yellows graced the sky of the poster, bringing the only light there was to the room. Straight ahead of me was a sink and a built in medicine cabinet, in which, held all my toiletry items on the top shelf, leaving the bottem open for I had no other belongings to put in there. The bed, which consisted of a low, thin metal frame and a futon-like mattress, was covered by a regulation blanket in a dreary shade of gray.
A pair of slippers sat on my bed and a round, blue, woven rug that was supposed to lie in the center of the cell, was sitting rolled up on the bed as well. Against the other wall, there should have been a small desk with a book and a the newest snapshot of my god-daughter, Melanie. The desk had been pushed into the small space between the foot of my bed and the wall. In its place was a bedframe and a bundle of fresh linens sitting on top of it. A box was sitting next to the bundle. It had the number 33652546 written on all sides of it with a thick magic marker, the kind that always give me headaches.
I frowned at it. The bed were only a little under a half a foot apart and the room seemed significantly smaller than it already was. Plus, when was I the only person in the place to have a cellmate? This place was one per room to prevent as much trouble as possible.
Lovely. This was going to be just lovely. No space at all.
I rubbed my temples and sighed. Oh well, I thought. They warned me about this. I'll just wait until they come to me.
After changing into my 'sleep-clothes' (we were allowed to wear something other than regulation as long as we staying our cells), I plopped stomach-down on my bed towards its foot and picked up a book out of the stack I had next to the bed. The stack was made up of books on ballistics and
forensics. I had made a point for the last six-months to use my time as wisely as possible. After getting about a third of the way through the book, I heard a throat being cleared in the doorway. I looked up, hoping it was Grace so I could take a break.
"Oh, it's you." I frowned and went back to my book. Andrew, the son of the warden, looked at me upsetly. He looked like his father only he was skinny and had a full head of dark hair. Andrew had majored in accounting in college and now took care of all the planning and fianancial stuff for his father. He and I had a sort of interesting friendship. He delivers all my mail personally because he wants to see the pictures or my god-daughter every month and just to talk to someone normal, even if its only for a few minutes. Last week he pissed me off because didn't give me a message from my outside contact.
"Gin, please. I'm sorry." I saw him lean up against the bars of the cell.
"I'd bet you are."
"Gin, you know good and well that..."
I looked up. "That what?" I grinned micheiviously. I had come up with something to throw him off subject. "That you can't get a girlfriend?"
He caught on, sighed and rolled his eyes. "Sure. Whatever. At least I'm not twenty-three and haven't had a boyfriend since I was a freshman in high school." It was my turn to roll my eyes. He knew I wasn't mad anymore. He had apologized. At that moment I was easy to please. He took a deep breath. "I have some news you may not like."
I closed the book around my finger to hold my place. "Excuse me? Might this have something to do with the extreme defecit of space around here?" I motioned around me.
"You are getting a room mate."
"Bad planning. You were a last minute addition if you recall."
"No. Why me?"
I gave him a look. "Experience?"
"In other words, we trust you. Plus, you are going to be ou-"
"Hey!" I stood up quickly, threateningly. He took a step backwards. "I told you no to mention that. Do I have to beat it into your head?" July 16th was my last day. But if anyone knew that, or my anything about my background, my oatmeal would be laced with drain cleaner. I don't know about you, that doesn't sound too good to me.
People check in here, but they don't check out.
He grimaced. "I'm really sorry, Gin. Look, it won't be for long. You'll just have to cope."
"Yeah, right, not long. Just a year!"
"...Well...okay, I guess. If its not for a long time. Will she be working in the bakery with me?"
"Yes, he will be working in the bakery with you."
"He?" I asked dubiously.
"Yes, that will be another addition to our rule-bending tirade. But the only one. Don't worry you won't have trouble with this guy."
I gazed at him doubtlfully. "Has it been approved?"
"Yes, all the 'higher powers' agree. Plus, you had a couple references."
I grinned. "References. Blackmail, you mean."
I heard noise coming from down the hall. Andrew looked to his right then nodded his head. "Gin, meet your new room mate."
I was about to correct him with a "Cell mate!" but his face was blocked from view by another.
Two guards pushed a figure forward. Standing a little off-kilter, but still gracefully, just inside the doorway, was a figure who stood taller than Andrew. Two shocked pale blue eyes caught my grey ones. As I sat, transfixed, his eyes turned from shocked, went softer, then eventually came to an
unemotional state. He averted his eyes to the floor. The guards turned around and left. They left the door open. "All the rules and everything have been explained thoroughly to him. You have to show him the ropes in the bakery. See you later." Andrew walked away, probably hoping he hadn't
overestimated me and my tolerance.
I nodded and watched as the graceful man walked over to the bed, and stared at it for a moment. I slid back slowly and leaned against the wall, still watching him closely. I pulled my knees to my chest and stared over them at him. He set to box down on the floor at the foot of his bed and picked up the bundle of bed linens. He unfolded them and quickly but smoothly made the bed. He sat down on the edge of the bed and put his face in his hands. He breathed deeply several times as if to keep himself from hysterics.
After a few minutes, he raised his head slowly and looked around at everything in the tiny room, then finally, his eyes settled on mine for a second time. "Hi." I said quietly, nodded my head a tiny bit. His eyes averted.
"...hello..." he muttered quietly, looking at a place beyond my shoulder. I moved my head over to where he was looking and locked eyes again.
He wouldn't look at my eyes.
Lovely. What was this guy, an introvert? Well, I thought. At least he can talk...and I can't see any major problems yet...other than the obvious of course.
I couldn't think of anything else to ask him and make him talk. Everything I thought of sounded stupid. A buzzer went off on the lower level and I stood up off the bed, straightening my running shorts and tank top.
I looked at him. He was gazing at my poster on the wall. "Come on. Roll call," I said quietly. He stared for another moment and then followed me out of the cell. We stood right beside each, our shoulders almost touching. "Procede!" was exclaimed from the ground floor and the command echoed throughout the Cave. At the other end, the guards on each block walked down the rows with a clipboard, checking each of us off. The Cave was almost completely quiet except for the soft clicking of the guards shoes on the concrete ground. A few of the inmates noticed Paul next to me.
I looked across, down and to the left to where Grace was standing outside her cell. She looked around then her eyes traveled up to the area where I was standing. She looked back and forth between me and Paul, her jaw dropping slightly. The guards on our row finished and the Head Guard, a jack-ass called Gary Crane, yelled the order for us to retreat back into our cells for the night. The locks on the doors slammed shut. Afterwards, the guards walked back the way they had came and locked checked all the cells locks.
I layed down on my bed, but stayed flat on my back with my eyes closed. You can't trust any one in this place, and he had just made my job ten times harder just by his vicinity. Behind me I could hear him unpacking and changing clothes. My watch said it was 10:00.
I sighed, turned off the overhead light, and slept lighter than a cat.
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