My head was spinning a bit as my guard detail escorted me across the grounds, it was time for my transfer to Purgatory. I couldn’t dwell on my new discovery for very long, and so much was happening at once, I just had to focus on the next.
The security team lead me through the halls that would take us to B-Side, and my heart beat loud in my chest, seemingly as loud as our resounding footsteps through the empty corridor. I was nervous, no, that’s a lie, I was afraid.
There were other people like me, so many in such close proximity, it was almost frightening. Each with their own cursed gifts and abilities, how could I handle any hostilities?
Pandora nearly killed me, and I don’t even know what his ability is! I knew there was something off about him all along though, he alway gave off a certain aura, or some kind of energy. There was always of feeling of being on edge around him, whereas, I was often ignorant of others. In all honesty, I looked past people, rarely taking note unless there was a reason to, but there was something about these men in particular, the ones like me..
Pandora.. Ramón.. Wrath.. Peace…
Who knows how many I’ve come across this whole time, blind to the signs? And now they came in numbers I never could have fathomed. Who knew what these monsters of men were capable of, or why they were in this facility in the first place. There was no discernible link between the majority of these men either, I failed to see a connection or common denominator. Very few of us were in the position to even know each other, and those of us that did, had volatile relationships to begin with.
We had turned the final corner, and came to a huge steel door that had a large sliding bolt lock across the front. I would miss the freedoms of roaming the grounds, as I had the past few months, this walk felt worse than the first one into Hades. I didn’t know what to expect then, what barbaric horrors that await me, I wasn’t prepared, how could I be?
The head of my security team, One, looked down at me, though I couldn’t see his eyes, but something told me he was looking down ON me, like I was weak. Hell, compared to the guys in here, maybe I was but that’s what the fuck he was for.
These six men were the only wall between me and six hundred or so, class three level inmates, they had better be worth what the fuck I’m paying them, cause right now I felt like I was putting up a linen sheet to block an oncoming bullet train. My nerves set aflame, and my adrenaline rushed, the fear of reality ready to consume me.
I didn’t know any more now, going into this, than I did way back then, and I felt just as vulnerable. This was a whole new breed of monsters and men, ones that would exploit any fear or weakness to be found.
I tried to steel my nerve, as the door unlocked and slid open, and all seven of us walked through, I felt unsure of the my resolve to accept the path before me. Sure, I’ve done unthinkable things to survive this far, but I feared what ELSE I was still capable of doing.
Could I hold on to my humanity Or would I become a monster too?
When the door closed behind us, I told them to take me on the most direct route to my cell, I needed to get settled in. It was hot and I knew the guards had to be burning up, I sure as hell was, and I only had on my red shorts and a pair of Slip on white Converses.
One, tapped the guy I think was Three, he was the biggest of the group. He placed him on point, to lead the way, and so he did. We made our way further into the cellblock, most people jumping out of the way in time before having to be bulldozed through, and tossed aside. If I thought Hades was crowded, I was surely mistaken, Purgatory had them beat severely. One of the first things I noticed, was that everyone wore the orange jumper bottoms, blue and white were rarely seen, almost nonexistent.
We moved throughout the mass of people and tried to quickly pass through the common area, but there was a fight going on, and people were placing bets. A tall athletic black guy and a smaller lean Asian boy, surrounded all around by the chanting crowd, as we past, I could see the fight had ended as fast as it began.
The Asian boy had crushed the other guys throat with his fist and swiftly climbed up the rear of his body and broke his neck, the crowd roared in approval the carnage. It was so loud it felt like the room was shaking, these guys were crazy! I saw two guys betting on the fights started arguing and someone jumped in and threw a punch, the next thing you know the crowd got rowdy and a mob of mayhem broke out.
It began to spread till calamity and discord started to box us in, causing the six man detail to tighten the space around me, to the point it became almost claustrophobic. Number Three rammed his way through, until he had breached the mass, getting us closer to the housing quarters. Looking up, everyone seemed to be out of their cell looking down, there were people running to join the fighting and some standing around staring.
My cell, was at the very end, on the first floor, it occupied that whole side, and I could see it up ahead. There was a cell on both sides of mine, that were both clearly occupied, the one directly above me as well. The advice from Cerberus to enclose the cell was a good idea, vital to the engineering behind the renovations, cause I could already tell these dudes were nosy as fuck.
Two black guys stood outside on the left and one Asian guy on the right, he looked Korean but I couldn’t be sure till I heard him speak, I learned early on to never make assumptions. All three stood there and watched our every move. One, leader of my guard detail, walked ahead of us and pressed something on the door, a rectangular screen revealed itself, from a hidden panel.
I looked up to see a Caucasian guy with long wavy blond hair looking down at me, I stood almost frozen, I knew those eyes and they seemed to know mine. I didn’t even hear Number One when he called out to me, he grabbed me, and told me to place my hand flat on the screen. I complied, still in a bit of shock, as another one of my visions had revealed itself as flesh and blood before me.
I was shuffled inside as soon as the door opened, and it slammed shut behind us, I was then sat down on the bed, and number Two checked me over to see what was wrong with me. I knocked his hand away, feeling exhausted mentally, I just needed a moment. The room was a little warm but that was fine given the furnishings and amenities, plus the plush comfortable bed quickly relaxed my nerves, while my heartbeat returned to something close to normal, it was like recovering from an anxiety attack.
After that, though uncertain when it must have happened, I somehow found a way to fall asleep for a few hours, when I awaken only Two, Four, and Six were there, sitting on the sofa across the room. I assumed the other three guards went to rest up for their shift, I offered the trio something to drink or a snack, but they declined. That’s when I noticed, it was twenty minutes past six, I had missed yard time and was late for lunch. I told them to escort me to the mess hall, I still had time to get a bite to eat.
When we got there, it was packed, standing room only. Four was on point, leading us through the crowd, once again all eyes were on us. I held my head high, as we made our way to the center table in the room, it was an addition I personally requested. Most of the seating was a standard rectangular bench table, but the one I had them bring in, was an arced bench table.
Almost to be expected, the table was completely full, a group of white guys just cackling and chattering on. Four took it upon himself to pull out his riot club, he tapped it hard on the table, getting their attention, as well as everyone else’s.
“This seat is reserved, gather your belongings and move, gentlemen. I will not repeat myself, so let’s do this right the first time.” He warned, in that unnerving crackling robotic voice, it caused them all to laugh and a few mimic his words.
A big burly guy stood up, he had a thick reddish brown beard and a scar on his cheek, clearly affiliated with the Aryan Nation from the tattoos he wore. His broad shoulders put me in mind of Popeyes arch nemesis, Bluto.
“What if I decided me and my brothers sit where we please? Are we really expected to move for the likes of him?!” He asked, pointing to me, sneering as he up and downed me. “I don’t care how white that filthy niggers skin is, he’s nothing but a goddamn ..AAAccccK!”
His throat closed up, as Four hit him with a swift strike to his trachea with the butt of his stick, bringing the mammoth of a man down with one blow.
“Does anyone else need me to repeat my request?” He asked, as he mushed his boot into the inmate’s face, twisting like he was putting out a cigarette.
At that point, two of the guys friends stood up, and the man closest swung first, but missed, receiving a sharp uppercut for his mistake. The other guy tried to shoot hands with Four but was quickly put to rest. Neither Two nor Six, made a move to intervene, they both stood on either side of me. All of a sudden I felt someone behind me, I turned around but no one was there, the nearest man was at a table sitting down to eat, about six feet away, so I turned back around.
A few seconds past, when suddenly, two thickly muscled tattooed arms wrapped around my waist. I went to scream but a hand came up to my mouth, stifling my attempt. I looked to the two guards next to me, in a panic, How could they not see me? We were standing right here?! I went into a panic, and started kicking my feet, I break free.
“Shhh.. Come on now, don’t ruin the fun, just relax into it… No one can see us.” A deep playful voice whispered into my ear, his laugh was like music, but for some reason it sent a chill up my spine.
He slowly took his hand from my mouth, and he pulled some of my hair back, over my left shoulder. I looked and saw it was the guy from above my cell, he had these bright green eyes, that looked so sneaky and mischievous. His goatee was growing in a bit, but his skin was smooth, aside from the tattoos and coiling hair on his chest. He pulled me in tighter, and I could feel something heavy and long poking me in the lower back.
“If you call off your dogs, I’ll call off mine..” He said, in an antagonistic voice, rubbing his rising hardness playfully into my rear.
“How are you doing this? Why can’t they see me?!” I asked, ignoring his questions with a few of my own.
I looked around and noticed, NO ONE could see us, not just my guard detail. We were invisible but that was impossible, magic wasn’t real, and science hasn’t been able to achieve it, so must be another explanation.
“We all have our secrets, don’t we, you think I can’t feel the power just oozing from you? You reek of it, like a bed of roses.” He said, sniffing up my neck into my hair, his arousal growing with every breath.
“You call your people off first.” I told him, pushing away, though he only grinned at me, backing away slowly.
He let out a piercing whistle, it startled Two and Six, and they both swung around ready to attack. I halted them and told them to stand down, they stopped but regrouped around me tight, never taking their eyes off the long haired blond. He, in turn, kept his eyes on me, his men leaving the table and clearing it off.
One of the assistants from the kitchen rushed over, he wiped down the table and covered the central curve with a white tablecloth, then hastily ran back to the kitchen. I took a seat on the inside, and the guards spread out into three points around the table, giving me my space. As I sat down I finally took a look around, first thing I noticed was the demographic was starkly different from Hades, which was largely Hispanic.
While there was the obvious racial segregation, this was still an exponentially more diverse group of men. The sea of orange garbed inmates surrounded me, everyone eating the slop they’d been served by the kitchen.
Suddenly the same assistant returned, he looked a bit skittish around the inmates but pushed forward through the crowd, he had a wine glass and a bottle of Merlot. He quickly poured me a sip to test the quality, I nodded to him and he poured me a glass, half full, he gave a small bow and quickly went to leave. I stopped him and told him to leave the bottle, he gave me a knowing look of understanding.
In here, intoxicants were a salvation, one that would often lead to damnation, but you couldn’t fault anyone locked within these walls for indulging in the comfort. Everyone around seemed to either be looking at me or talking about me, I just tried to ignore the stare of the crowd. I called Six over and asked for the bag he carried on his back, I dug around and pulled out my iPad. I spent the next few minutes going through some emails and playing a few games, until I could smell my food approaching.
Turning to look, I saw both of the chefs assistants this time, weaving their way towards us, they got to the table and placed my food before me. There was a thick tenderloin steak, a side of dirty red rice, collards, and a slice of cornbread. There was also a slice of marble cheesecake, topped with cream, it was the item I had to taste first. The two guys disappeared back to the kitchen, this time you could hear considerable groans of discontent and cursing all throughout the mess hall, but nobody did anything.
The inmates in the immediate vicinity, all looked on in envy as I ate my meal, and every bite was delicious. I ate a small portion of everything, leaving plenty on my plate. There was a garbage right next to my table, I stood up and my picked up my food with me, I walked over to the trash and tossed it all in, even the plates. Everyone looked at me as if I was crazy, some even started to have conniptions, all I did was crack a small smirk as I walked back to my table.
As I sat back down and sipped some more of the Merlot, I picked up my iPad and noticed something moving on the ground, out of the side of my eye. It was a huge rat that looked the size of a small puppy, crawling through the mess hall. It had something black strapped to it back, and some food in its mouth, it was a disgusting looking creature. I tried to follow it with my eyes, but something strange happened.
I started to get a bit of a headache, I felt a dull throb coming from the left side of my head, I felt a pull from that direction, so I glanced over. It was the Asians, and there were alot of them, to hell with chinatown, this looked like Beijing had a baby with Tokyo and it was born with a Korean-Taiwanese fetus attached. They came in so many colors and complexions, from the palest off white to the rustiest brown.
The diversity of their distinct features almost rivaled that of the men across the room, it was the Black man that seem to come in the widest range of colors, snow white to purple black. I looked over and tried to see if I could pick up any vibes from someone, but it was useless.
All of a sudden, we heard a commotion coming from near the kitchen, I looked over but the three guards with me paid no attention. I couldn’t see so I got up and stood on the table, I saw one of the chefs assistants getting hassled by someone, it looked like it could get physical. Apart of me wanted to just sit there and ignore the problem because like the guards, my safety was the only priority, and they signed off knowing full well of the danger. I almost did, but it was like I saw myself in him.. so afraid, so weak, so helpless, it was like looking in a mirror.
“Two, you guys need to go help, they are going to hurt him!” I yelled, he turned to me, and that’s when I remembered the stipulation of no solo missions. “Ugh.. You can’t be serious! Well if you don’t do something, I’ll have to improvise.”
I jumped down from the table and walked up to him, I snatched the taser gun from his belt, and ran towards the commotion. Two yelled after me, but I ignored him and the danger that surrounded me, now that I was out in the open. I pushed my way through the crowded aisle, until I arrived on the scene.
There was this light brown skin boy with long golden tipped dreads screaming at the assistant, who stood there looking like a beat dog. The boy sounded so ghetto and belligerent, putting his hands all in the guy’s face, getting to close for comfort.
“Leave him alone!” I yelled, making my way up to them, the boy with the dreads turned to look at me.
“And just what the fuck are you gonna do if I don’t bitch?” He asked rudely, giving me an up and down stank eye.
I held up the taser gun, pointed it toward his chest, and pulled the trigger. His light brown eyes opened in shock, as the high voltage coursed through his body, dropping him like a flower pot off a balcony. I looked to the chef’s assistant and told him to get out of here, he didn’t need to be told twice and subsequently vanished like a Vegas magic trick.
That left me all alone, and by looking around, I could see we’d caused quite the scene. If every eye in the mess hall wasn’t on me before, they all were now. Finally, Two and the rest of the guard had made it through the thick crowd of inmates, and quickly surrounded me. He snatched the weapon from me, and growled, clearly agitated at my rogue actions.
I was about to say something slick, but before I could, three waif-ish boys ran up. The three of them were almost feline in appearance, body type and facial features, but they each had something different about them as well. One was a light butter tan skin and looked Puerto Rican, another had East African features and a rich rustic brown color, the last looked the most feline of them all and came with a smooth sable complexion. They immediately checked on their fallen comrade, as he lay knocked out cold on the floor, the Spanish looking one cut his seething eyes to me.
“I should rip your goddamn eyes out! Just who the hell do you think you are?!” He asked, screaming at me as jumped to his feet and tried to lunge in my direction, but Six flung him back, causing him to fall to the ground.
The other two stood up and were about to attack, but suddenly another brown skinned guy comes running up, he stops them, then quickly looks from me to the guy on the floor, who was now coming around and standing to his feet.
The rising dread head had daggers in his eyes and he was pointing them straight at me, he let out a scream and ran towards me, but the new guy restrained him in his muscular arms.
“Beyo, Yo, calm the fuck down girl! You can’t be doing this shit without say so from EnKai, you how shit works, what the fuck wrong wit you?!” He asked, trying to calm him down, he had a rich deep baritone that complimented his maple brown complexion.
“This fucking prissy mutt bitch just tazed the shit out of me, now that punk bitch is scared, hiding behind these bitch niggas here!” He screamed, spitting at Four who stood there between us, the projectile saliva barely missing him.
“I’d rather be prissy than pissy, you worthless gremlin.” I yelled out to him, pointing down to his pants, where he had a dark stain running down his leg.
He looked down and finally realized what I was talking about, apparently he had pissed himself when I zapped his ass. The crowd of inmates around us broke out into a riotous laughter, only further burning him, his face quickly turned a deep reddish brown, his eyes were ablaze with hatred.
The bell signaling the end of chow, rang overhead, Two turned to me and signaled we had to go. Four grabbed my arm and started to pull me along, and I could hear them still screaming and hollering behind us, so I turned to get one last look.
“This shit ain’t over! I got somethin for you bitch, just fuckin wait!!”