Sam sat nervously as the bus halted to a stop in front of the towering prison walls. He was partially glad that they had finally arrived, but if the look of the rest of the prisoners on the bus were anything to go by, he was nervous as hell.
The guy sitting next to him didn't look to good. He was fairly small, especially compared to the other passengers who resembled body builders. Sam decided to sit with him since all of the other empty seats were next to men who looked like they wanted to rip him to pieces.
The other prisoners began lining up. Sam entered the line and was pushed into the man in front of him.
"Watch it, punk," said the man in front of him.
"Um… sorry," said Sam.
"Damn right you'll be sorry," he said. Sam tried to hide his fear. There was no way he was going to last in a maximum prison. Though he was far from short, with a fairly average build, he did not know anything about what it was like in prison, and he had never been in a fight in his life. Well I guess I'm going to find out, he thought.
They were led into a room by group of guards and lined up side by side. Sam heard yelling and he turned his head to see a prisoner on top of another, punching him again and again. Two guards walked over and separated the two men. Neither of them looked surprised or worried. This was obviously something that occurred a lot. They were both taken out of the room. The one who had been assaulted looked like a bloody mess. Both of his eyes were already beginning to bruise and his lip was split. Sam felt his stomach tighten. He looked away and tried to control his breathing.
"What's the matter punk? Ya never seen a fight before," said the man who he had bumped into earlier. Sam wasn't sure what to say to him but they were luckily interrupted by a man entering the room. He was wearing a suit and looked as if he belonged in the army. He was quite large and had a superior look about him. He informed them the rules of the prison.
Afterwards they were each sent to their cells. Sam arrived at an empty cell. It was quite small with a bunk bed, a toilet and a tap. Compared to the other cells it was completely spotless and both of the beds were neatly made. There were no other belongings except for a pack of cards sitting on the top bunk. Either his new cellmate was a neat freak or he did not have one yet. He doubted it was the former since he had heard of overcrowding in prisons. He sat on the bottom bunk and looked around. It was fairly depressing to look at.
Sam heard someone come in and looked up. It was the red headed guy that he had sat next to on the bus.
"Um… hi," he said. "I recognized you from the bus. My cell is next to yours actually. My name's Don." He reached out a hand to shake. Sam shook it, glad to make at least one friend. "I'm Sam."
"So what are you in here for?" asked Don.
"Second degree murder," said Sam. Don looked at him in surprise.
"You really don't look like the type. Why?"
"I don't really want to talk about it," said Sam. Nor do I want to remember it ever happened, he thought to himself.
"Sorry, I guess it's none of my business," he said.
Another man appeared at the entrance of the cell. He was tall with bulging muscles. If that wasn't enough, he had a shaved head and was sporting a menacing look.
"Which one of you fuck heads belong to this cell?" he asked. Sam and Don looked at each other with worried expressions.
"Answer the fucking question."
"I do," said Sam. The larger man pointed a finger at Don.
"You, get out of here," he said. Don quickly did as he was told. Once he was gone the larger man took a step towards Sam. Sam tried not to let his fear show.
"You are going to be sharing this cell with Andrew who happens to be a friend of mine. He's in solitary confinement at the moment so I came set some things straight. The top bunk is his. You cannot touch any of his stuff, stay away from the back wall and don't make a mess. Andrew does not like mess. You got that punk?"
"Why do I have to stay away from the back wall?" asked Sam. Suddenly, Sam felt the man drag him from the bed from the collar of his shirt and throw him against the wall. His face was in an inch of Sam's.
"You will not question what we tell you to do, you will just do it. Got it?""Yes," gulped Sam.
"Good," said the baldheaded man and walked out. Sam looked at the back wall. There was nothing there. And he didn't know what the hell the guy meant about belongings as there was none, except for the cards. He went to lunch hoping that this Andrew guy was not as bad as his friend and that there would be no more problems for the day. If he could just stay out of trouble and do what these guys wanted he might actually make it out of here alive.
It was when Sam was making his way towards the food hall when he realized how wrong he was. He felt someone grab the back of his shirt and pulled him back. He was face to face with the man that he had bumped into on the bus. Three other guys surrounded, blocking his path.
"What's your name boy?" he asked.
"Uh, Sam," Sam said trying hard not to sound scared. His eyes scanned his surroundings, trying hard to find a way to escape.
"Don't be thinkin' you can get away from us Sam," he said.
"Look, I don't want any trouble, " said Sam.
"We don't want no trouble neither, just wanna ask you somethin."
"You wanna ride boy?"
"W-what?" asked Sam.
"I said, do you wanna ride with me?" said the man, carefully pronouncing each syllable. Sam looked at him confused.
"I don't know what that means," he said.
"You gonna need protection in a place like this Sam. You got half the population lookin at ya. I could give it to you, for a price."
"I just want to go to lunch, now leave me alone," said Sam, trying to leave. The man grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the wall.
"Look here you little punk, you better start showin some respect around here. Now you gonna ride with me whether you like it or…"
"What the fuck is going on here Bolton?!" said a woman's voice.
A butch looking female pushed her way through two of the men who were blocking Sam's path. Sam was relieved to see that she was a guard.
"Nothin, we were just goin to lunch," said the man whose name was Bolton. The guard looked suspiciously from Bolton to Sam.
"I swear, any more violence from you and you're going straight to solitary confinement for a week, you got it? I know that you think you can pay off all of the other guards here but not me,"
"Yeah, fine," said Bolton, letting go of Sam's shirt.
"You're lucky this time fag," he said to Sam before leaving along with the rest of his friends. Sam stood there for a moment shocked.
"And I don't want any problems from you either," the guard said to Sam.
"It's not my fault," said Sam. "They were the ones who approached me."
"I don't want to hear it, so get out of here." Sam did what she said and made his way to the food hall. He would have turned back to his cell to avoid Bolton, but then he might risk running into that bald guy or his new cellmate might have come back from solitary confinement. When he arrived his heart shrank. The hall was packed. There were separate groups, each one determined by skin colour. He started scanning for Don.
"There you are." Sam turned around to see Don standing with a young man who looked part Asian. Sam could not get over how small he was, probably less than five feet tall.
"This is Tim. He's my cellmate," said Don.
"I'm Sam," said Sam holding out his hand. Tim eyed it suspiciously for a moment before cautiously shaking it.
"Do you know where we can sit?" asked Don.
"The guys I sit with are over there," said Tim quietly, pointing to a corner that was mostly hidden. After they had gotten their lunch, they walked over and joined them. There were only two other guys there.
"Can they sit with us?" asked Tim. The taller one looked up at him.
"Yeah," he said. "I'm James and he's Jaiden by the way." They sat down. No one talked for a while before Sam decided to break the silence.
"Do you guys know who Andrew is?" he asked. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at him making him feel uncomfortable.
"Yeah," said James quite harshly.
"Everyone knows who Andrew is," said Jaiden. "He's the devil incarnate, that's who."
"He's supposed to be my cellmate, but I haven't met him yet."
"Are you serious?" asked Jaiden.
"Um yeah. And some bald headed guy started threatening me telling me not to touch his stuff."
"That guy will be the least of your problems," said Jaiden. "Andrew on the other hand, lets just say he's completely nuts."
"What do you mean?" asked Sam. Jaiden leaned in towards him.
"He likes to…" he looked over at Tim. "He likes to torture and rape the other prisoners for fun," he said under his breath. "He's not the only one who does that but he is definitely the worst. He mostly picks on us too. He'll probably be in solitary confinement for the next week though, so you won't have to worry until then."
"Unless he pays them off that is," said James.
"I heard he was in there. Why?"
"Because of what he did to his last cellmate. He went too far and I think he might of killed him."
"Oh shit," said Sam.
"I'm actually surprised he got locked up in there. Usually the guards don't care. They all know about him but he pays them off. That reminds me, if he does anything to you, which he probably will, don't complain about it to the guards. They'll ignore you or make fun of you and if Andrew finds out…" he shuddered.
"Can't you get put into protective custody or something?" asked Sam.
"They're supposed to but it's too much paperwork so they can't be bothered. Besides, like I said before, Andrew will pay them off. He'll make sure you go back into his cell."
"Can we please stop talking about him?" asked Tim suddenly. "You
guys don't have to deal with him as much as I do, I don't want to
have to talk about him as well."
"He picks on Tim the most," said Jaiden.
"Jaiden, you heard what Tim said. Let's just stop talking about him. Even when he's not here, I have to constantly be reminded of him."
"I'm just warning the new guys that's all," said Jaiden, but he stopped talking after that.
Sam looked up to see Bolton staring at him with a smirk on his face.
"What does it mean when someone asks you to ride with them?" he asked suddenly.
"Did someone ask you?" asked James.
"Yeah, that guy who keeps staring at me asked me. He said something about protecting me for a price." James and Jaiden glanced to see who Sam was talking about then quickly looked away.
"Man, you've got all the luck," said Jaiden.
"You do know what he means by payment?" asked James.
"I have a pretty good idea," said Sam.
"Basically it means you become his bitch," said Jaiden. "You do all of his chores, make his bed, and do other stuff." Sam had a pretty good idea what he meant by "other stuff".
"If you want protection from someone, make sure it's not him. That guy is almost as bad as Andrew."
"Great," mumbled Sam.