“What the FUCK!?!” I screamed, overcome by rage.
If I thought I was blacking out before, I had no idea. Everything was glossed over in a scarlet tint, spots exploded in my line of vision. I grabbed the nearest thing I could reach, which so happened to be the chair I was sitting in, and tossed it in the direction of the judge. Betrayal, sabotage, revenge. Those were the only things I could coherently think of, as I was about to be roughly detained by security, I threw punches and kicks at any and everyone who approached. It seemed I had lost my mind, Something inside me was set loose like a lunatic who’d just popped a Molly. Just as things seem to reach a breaking point, Ti’Hatcha restrained me from behind.
“Jynx, you have to calm yourself, everything will be just fine. You are strong, so just relax, please.” He whispered gently in my ear.
Though it wasn’t the first time he spoke to me, every time he did felt like it was. Such a rarity it was to hear the resonant baritone of his voice, it brought me to some semblance of reality. I now found myself in the hallway of the courtroom, handcuffed to a bench near the door, He must have dragged me from the room.
*Was I that out of it?* I thought.
Yurika stood several feet away, talking with my mother, they looked to be having a heated conversation. Ti’Hatcha was standing right by my side glaring at any officers intrepid enough to approach.
“I guess I put on quite the show didn’t I?.. Those mini boxing and judo sessions you had me do, they sure came quite in handy.” I said to him discreetly, out of breath, receiving a semi stifled chuckle in response.
Yurika quickly strutted up to us, giving me the same infuriated look I’d assumably get from God, when I reach those mythical pearly gates of heaven. She exchanged a look with Ti’Hatcha, before she rebuked my actions inside. Apparently I was to be immediately sentenced, reaping the rewards of my little courtroom stunt without delay. I didn’t really care at this point, why not rip the bandaid the rest of the way off. I was filled to the brim with turmoil, simmering, barely able to hold it together. Three officers approached and asked me to stand, I complied, feeling the encouraging hand of Ti’Hatcha on my shoulder as we are escorted back inside. All eyes were on me, everyone sat on eggshells. The judged looked at me sternly, as I was brought down the aisle to my fate. As the preceding restarted, he eventually got to the sentencing.
“In my many years, never have I witnessed such disrespect and abhorrent behavior in the courtroom, you acted like a fool in the face of the law! Carrying on the way you did, will surely factor in your sentence. To come from such breeding, name, and privileged standing. This is what you do with it? Let’s see how you handle being thrown into the lion’s den!”
“You’re doing nothing, but throwing in another fucking lion!” I shouted back defiantly, I wouldn’t show fear to these cowards, Yurika grabbed my arm and shushed me.
I know they already planned what my fate would be in advance, he’s already had his pay day. I look to my right at the DA, his smug grin saying it all. He sold his soul for a promotion, nothing but a pawn, they all were. I was the queen in my father’s arsenal, why would he sacrifice me in such as way?
“Jynx Joseph Ellison, for the money laundering crimes you committed AND for the assault of a government official, I hereby sentence you to twenty years in a Class 1 facility.”
“Your honor! with all do respect, a class 1 facility is hardly needed for..” Yurika tried to cut in.
“Ms. Ymoja! Hold your tongue, and refrain from interrupting me again.” He admonished, she fell back. “Continuing on, Jynx Joseph Ellison, I sentence you to twenty years in a class 1 facility. With the eligibility for parole in ..fifteen years, this court adjourned!”
I could hear my mother hooting and hollering in the background, the reality of the situation finally taking effect. She lost all of her calm, composed, and calculated facade. I’d never forget those cries, I looked and saw similar from Yurika. Ti’Hatcha caught my eye to my left, telling me this fight wasn’t over with just a glance. The three guards then escorted me to be booked and processed. My mug shot was pretty decent, as I had always been photogenic. They fingerprinted me afterward, then sent me to be searched. I felt one of the guard’s eyes feasting on my nude body, as they made me bend over and expose any cavities capable of hiding a weapon. It was humiliating and degrading, as I turned to face him he didn’t even hide his lust, licking his lips like he was looking at a three course meal with dessert. I was given a drab light blue jump suit for clothing.
*This does nothing for my body* I vainly mused, not really expecting couture, but sheesh, this garment was like a potato sack.
They then sent me to Medical, where I was tested for HIV and any other STDs. They asked me about prior medical conditions, I didn’t have any. After coming back clear, they sent me to be placed in a cell. I couldn’t be placed with the general populace while in jail, being that I was such a high profile inmate. I was to be placed in solitary confinement until transferred, the cell was literally the size of our maids broom closet.
*How can they expect me to live in a closet for weeks on end?* I thought to myself, feeling like a dog in a claustrophobic travel crate.
I was so mentally drained, that when I laid on the lumpy flat twin mattress, I was out like a light. After a few hours, I believe around seven thirty in the evening, I was awoken by the clanging of a night stick in between the bars. One of the guards from before was the culprit, I mentally thanked the cosmos it wasn’t the pervert. After waiting patiently till I was alert and sitting up on the edge of the bed, he told me I had a visitor.
*Who’d be coming to see me this late?* I mused. *Yurika shouldn’t be here till tomorrow morning..*
After he handcuffed me, I was lead down several different hallways till we reached a nondescript room. It looked no different from the other doors and I wondered how anyone could navigate in such a place, I made a mental note to pay more attention between location transfers and change of the guard. He motioned for me to enter, leaving the cuffs on me.
“Behave.” Was the only warning I received from him, as I cautiously entered, I didn’t know what to expect.
Sitting at the table was an olive skinned silver fox, his hair was peppered with black around the nape and temples, he was in his late sixties but looked like a well rested fifty five. He was still in decent shape and handsome as a heart breaker. Looking into the dark jade and hazel of my father’s eyes, made the anguish of betrayal flush through my body once more.. How could he dare show his face to me? He glanced down at some paperwork in his hands, they suspiciously looked like a stack of contractual agreements; It seemed it was business as usual for this man.
“Please, take a seat son.” His hand gesturing at the chair, on the my side of the table.
“I’d prefer to stand, thank you.”
“But I digress, we have much business to discuss. So I highly recommend you taking that seat, Boy.” He sternly replied.
As far as I was concerned, he had lost all right to dictate my actions any longer, but I took the offered seat regardless. We sat in silence for a few moments, our identical eyes like two mirrors, face to face, staring in an intense showdown. I could see every feature of resemblance we shared, but where he was handsome, I was ‘pretty’. I looked the most like him, of all his children, but one could tell I was exotically mixed with something extra. People saw in my features, whatever they wanted to see; I tended to resemble whatever race the person next to me was.
“I’m sure you feel slighted Jynx..”
“That’s quite the understatement father!” I spat in reply, I was irritably vexed, no, ferociously furious was more accurate.
“I could not reveal the full conditions of the agreement to you before hand, as things definitely would not have progressed so.. Smoothly.” He paused, to stifle a small laugh, my face was neutral and set like stone. “I always had high hopes for you son, all that money and precious time invested to have you carry on my legacy.. but alas, such things were never meant to be. That grandmother of yours with her so called ‘premonitions’, she ruined my initial plans after that last spell of lunacy she had, May the old crow rest in peace!” Bellowing out a heinous laugh after.
“What does My grandmother have to do with any of this?” I inquired, hiding my fury at the disrespect to the matriarch of my maternal lineage, He sneered at me.
“Nothing, This isn’t about her, this is about you and me. I have always strived to reach the pinnacle of society all my life, for years I thought I was there, amassing the monetary fortune I’ve obtained took more than half a lifetime. Being near the top looking down, it’s easy to forget there is still more of the mountain left to climb. I never took my eyes off target, very few can do that, most get distracted by the indulgence of monetary gain. They become complacent, losing their drive to the luxury of elitism, but not me! Money and power are interchangeable at times, but I noticed there was always someone pulling the strings with immeasurable influence, someone behind the scenes. There are always wolves among the sheep, my boy, but the true power lays in the hand of the Shepard.” His eyes glossed over as he continued on in his tangent. “It seems to become a member of such an elusive and exclusive ‘club’ of men, one must make a certain sacrifice.. the kind that comes from the ‘blood’.”
“Did I just hear you correctly?…” I couldn’t believe my ears, this man had gone insane.”You fucking made me a blood sacrifice to join some Illuminati assholes!?!” I exclaimed incredulously.
The gloss in his eyes, was quickly replaced with an all consuming flame of rage, I already knew what was coming. He hated foul language and curses, the ‘language of the slaves’ he liked to call it. He claimed the wealthy were educated enough to properly express themselves with decency and decorum, but I didn’t give two fucks about any of that shit right now! The words flew from his lips, like the flames from a dragon’s mouth.
“As long as you still live, you will continue to carry yourself like an Ellison! I don’t care if you now live amongst the most decrepit of society. Which is exactly why I am before you now..” He shuffled the papers, gathering them together. “There is a matter of all the investments, accounts, and other open ends that I put in your name. I’ve come to collect your signature placing me in charge of all said assets, giving me conservatorship over all your financial properties. Now if you surrender these to me, I will guarantee your protection while in prison, even see about you still receiving your inheritance from me upon your release. You’ll start right back off in the life of luxury, irrelevant as far as influence, but wealthy beyond normal means. Your choice.”
*This avaricious bastard has the gumption to come to me with an ultimatum? He must think I’m as amenable as his docile wives?*
“You have me mistaken for a fool, father. After what you’ve done to me, I would rather die in here and have all I’ve earned given to the state, than to see another damn cent enter your hands” I replied, pointing a finger directly into his face for emphasis of my words, he sat there with a stone cold look.
After a few moments he broke out into an impish grin that made my spine stiffen, I knew it meant he wasn’t going to secede easily. My father relished a challenge, I think they even turned him on.
“Just like your mother, defiant and rebellious to the end. That could either be a fault or an advantage, my son. Should you choose to defy me today, things could get even more difficult than you would ever fathom was possible. Your life can be as easily molded and manipulated as it is out here, even more so behind those walls. I know just the place for them to send you, you’ll come crying to me soon enough.”
“Fuck you father, you will get what’s coming to you, If it’s not me, it’ll be one of your new friends or someone else! I’ve made many deals with many devils, but I refuse to do so with Beelzebub himself!”
After my tirade, I proceeded to spit a loogie in his face. He gave me a backhand to the mouth in response, almost knocking me from my chair. He busted my lip, the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth.
“Guard, we’re done in here!!” He screamed, I broke out in a manic fit of laugh, causing him to lose his nerve for the slightest second before his cold stern look returned.
The fraud that is my life, seen for the tragic comedy it was, the whole thing was tragic comedy at it’s finest. The guard bust into the room and wrangled me from my seat, dragging me over bumbling feet, back to my awaiting cell. Something in me broke that day, an incipient change taking hold of me. My body tired, my mind broken, and what was left of my soul would never be the same again. Yurika came to see me early the next morning, my body present but not the mind, I pretty much slept through the visitation. I
didn’t even mention my father’s surprise visit the night before, as she discussed our options and went over our contingency plans. I knew it was a lost cause to fight this, father and his secret society cult would do everything possible to undercut any attempt at appeal. I spoke only once, to assign her Ti’Hatcha as defense detail and give her conservatorship of my estate. She would need as much protection as possible, my one link to the outside. I ended our visitors session after that, I could see the tears welling in her eyes as she told me that she would never stop trying to free me. I gave her a rare hug in departure, then returned to my cell. I had nothing but time, stolen time. Time to wait, time to think..
It was overwhelming, those first few days, and this was just Jail, not even prison yet. What about when they placed me with other prisoners? My only interactions with others, had always been business or me delegating orders. How am I going to get through this. Being told when to eat, sleep, and shit had to be as low as it got. I felt like a lion at the Central Park Zoo, albeit treated with less dignity, yearning to be free from my see through cage. These self righteous guards walked around all pompous, abusing their power whenever they saw fit. Like the pervert guard who liked to watch me shower, I think he even masturbated to me one time, but I didn’t even turn to look. I witnessed other inmates, also awaiting their fates, receive worse treatment so I didn’t complain. After about a week or two of limbo in the system, Yurika came to me with news.
“I found out where they are sending you and I received a date of transfer, it’s next Monday, January 7th. You’ll stay out your sentence at Mythos Peak correctional penitentiary in Montana, it’s nicknamed ‘Tartarus’ by the locals..” She paused nervously, before continuing.
“..and sadly, it lives up to its reputation. The facility is class 1, meaning it houses some of the most violent delinquents from all over the United States, they also house prisoners with international offenses. It will be quite dangerous, as I’ve also found out they are placing you with the general population. With all the news coverage, I’m certain more than a few people are bound to know who you are.”
“Father has really assigned me to my fate hasn’t he, I fear I’ve made things worse with the last ‘little’ talk we had..” I thought aloud, absentmindedly.
“Wait.. When did you and your father talk? Why was I not informed that you had a visit from someone? Especially your father!” She began to freak out, a rarity for her.
To calm her, I gave her the rundown of my meeting with my scoundrel of a father. She listened to every word in silence, and sat a few moments after I finished, in shock and disgust of the truth about the man. She gathered herself before she continued to fill me in, I could see in her face she was withholding something from me, but I let it slide.
“I’ve been investigating the records, trying to find out how they cooked your father’s books to pin this on you, and I want to know where they are hiding that money. Getting back to the facility you will be staying at, this prison seems to be a 2nd generation prison, privately owned. We aren’t aware of who owns the property, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few leads. This is an older prison, but it was one of the largest compounds built in its era. I’ve heard the most vile, nefarious, and perverse violent criminals call that place their home.. I worry for you.” She stopped at that, overcome with emotions but trying to show a strong face for me. She opened her briefcase, searching inside for a moment. She pulled out an envelope, handing it to me.
“It’s from Ti’Hatcha, he’s been a wreck since you were taken, he asked me to bring this to you because he couldn’t bare to see you like this.”
I didn’t blame him, I looked a complete mess since I’ve been in here. My normally meticulously straightened locks, had now reverted to their curly coarse state. When my hair was in its natural texture, I looked like a pigmentally challenged male version of my mother. All my non aryan features stood out, accentuated by the thick and coiling spirals that cascade down my back. From constant unrest, I’ve earned dark rings under my eyes. A little bit of sun wouldn’t have hurt either, my skin was reverting from its olive golden complexion to its original shade of a pale high yellow. I just didn’t look or feel like myself, the stress I’ve endured easily readable in my entire aura.
I placed the envelope in my lawyer packet, so it couldn’t be read by COs during inspection. Yurika approached me with slightly watery eyes, she succeeded in her attempt to blink back the tears. Raising her hand, she tried to tame some of my unruly hair out of my face. She placed a kiss upon my cheek and we enveloped each other in a departing hug, before she gathered her things to leave. She had mentioned her next visit would be on the first of February, as she was personally following a lead in Washington on who my mystery antagonist was. It would be long time before I saw anyone, mother more than likely would continue playing the dutiful wife at my father’s side. Her grandeur and conniving schemes, masked beneath a practiced obeisant demeanor. She had secrets I didn’t even know.
After being searched by the guards and re-cuffed, I was returned to my cell. I plopped down on the lumpy twin mattress, I pulled out the envelope from Ti’Hatcha. I opened it, unfolding the handwritten letter. His penmanship, so uniform and precise, reminded me of his own steely personality. He gave me encouraging words and embolden my nerve for what I was to face ahead. He promised to see that justice would be served for those who crossed me, my vendetta had become his own. He subtly let me know that his reach also extended into the walls of the prison, he had a few connections inside. They’d intercede if they could, and would make themselves known when need be. He gave further insight into what I might face in a cage with the rest of those animals. I would be tested by many and I should be prepared to fail. The only way to know how to live in prison, is through prior incarceration. I folded his letter back up after I finished. Exhausted and tired, I laid down to rest. It was to be my last good night of sleep before I transferred to ‘Tartarus’.
Eerily foreboding, the rest of my sleepless nights were plagued by the black masked man.. I was always chained to the bed as his captive or sometimes held by the arms of other olive skinned men. He derived his pleasure from my pain, seeming to know exactly what button to push to get any reaction from my body he so desired. I could do nothing but cry, feeling powerless to his fiendish whims. Disgusted with myself when the occasional paroxysm of pleasure, would elicit a moan from my body. Whenever it came time for him to penetrate my body, albeit forcefully, I would mercifully wake from my torment. I tried avoiding sleep at that point, as dreams were no longer sanctuary from my solitude.
The day before my transfer, I received another surprise visit from the grande Dame herself. There mother was, dressed in a pale peach ensemble, sitting in the same seat I had seen my father in. I knew the route we took looked familiar, I almost put it off as deja vu. She was aghast, immediately complaining about the state of my appearance. Quickly yelling to her personal attendant for a wide toothed comb, moments later the guard enters to hand one to mother. She motioned for me to sit and I soon felt the gentle strokes of her fingers through my tangled and nappy curls. After doing as much detangling as she could with her fingers, she sifted the wide tooth comb through my hair. Moving from the bottom to the top until she was finished, the guard appeared suddenly with a organizer kit full of hair products. She proceeded to coat my now detangling mane with some of the hair potions she had available. Spreading my hair into semi large sections, she began to braid my hair.
It gave me a moment of lethargic meditation, it had been more than a decade since my mother had, PERSONALLY, done my hair of her own accord. The guard came back in and said I must return to my cell, I hugged my mother trying to remember every touch and detail. In that whole meeting, not a word was spoken between us Really, and I don’t think there needed to be. I have never felt such love from my mother, than in those few moments together. Her pursuits of my father often left her distracted and distant. When returned to my cell, I made my way over to mirror above my basin. I was thankful mother had prepped my hair, I could take the braids out and my hair would wave nicely into coiling frizz free ringlets. Walking over to my bunk, I lay myself down, for what would more than likely be another restless night.
In the morning I was awakened by a guard, he was bringing me my morning meal. It was seven in the morning and in a few hours, I would be transferred to ‘Tartarus’. I was allowed to shower around nine or ten, and they had me on the road to the airport by eleven; Right on time for the departing flight. They flew me to Denver, Colorado to liaison with another prison transferring inmates to Mythos Peak. Bussing it the rest of the way, the trip was pretty quiet and uneventful. I overheard one of the guards mention it was ‘fishing day’, whatever that meant, and the inmates were ecstatic.
Another prison novice across the aisle from me, asked his neighbor what that meant. Apparently new prisoners such as myself were considered naive ‘fish’ fresh for the picking, the prisoners anxious to cast out their bait for us guppies. He gave a warning about accepting gifts, as they always came with unseen implications.
“Shut your fuckin mouths, you gott’damn felons! We’re not gonna have any scheming and such going on!” The burly guard screamed out at us, bringing our inquiries to an abrupt end.
We sat in silence for the rest of the hour long ride, I spent the time gazing out the window. Since I was from the city, I wasn’t used to the site of such terrain and landscape.
*It would make sense to build a prison out here in ‘West Bumbafuck’.. Just where the hell is this place?* I thought solemnly, the nervousness gradually returning.
After more than an hour and a half of driving, without sight of any semblance of civilization, we eventually could see the facility in the distance. Right away, the seven lookout towers stood out. They gave whomever inside perfect view of the landscape and prison courtyards, I imagined it would be like shooting a sniper rifle into a barrel of crabs. As we came closer, we noticed the two huge twin buildings, that appeared almost identical. The only difference was the color of the buildings, green on the left and yellow the right. They cradled the main compound that housed the processing and administration, topped by the wardens office in the penthouse. The fourth smaller building in the rear, was where they placed the insane and many of the higher risk inmates, known officially as the Special Housing Unit(SHU).
We arrived, pulling up in front of the prison, and as we slowed, my heart seemed to beat faster. There were two expansive yards, separated by the admin building and the walkway to the entrance. We drove past the wall of fences. The outer gate was electrified, with a second fence topped by barbed wire. Guards monitored the inner spaces and dogs were placed between the innermost gate and the middle. The security was outdated but still impressive, the containment tactic was timelessly effective.
I can’t lie and say I wasn’t a little ill at ease, as I noticed both yards were full and that meant all of us ‘fish’ we’re going to be on display. We came to a stop and were told to rise and exit the bus in a single file. As soon as the first new inmate stepped off the bus, the prisoners burst out into a roar of catcalls and jeers. I watched the five guys in front of me exit and I followed behind, each of them received differing reactions from the rapacious animals caged behind those fences. I will my heart to slow, as I felt the pounding in my chest. Feeling like a piece of meat being thrown to the wolves, as I took my first step off the bus, I couldn’t help but to feel humbled in the moment.
*Do I have what it takes to survive this?*