The Innocent – Prologue

The Innocent

Officer Sadler stepped out of his cruiser. He observed the situation and removed his sunglasses. This was bad, but he had seen worse. There was a man in a gas station convenient store holding eight hostages and nobody could figure out why.

“What’s the story on this guy,” Sadler asked officer Kelly who had already been on site for the last ten minutes or so. She had her tablet running and it had just finished running the man’s face.

“Leroy Trumbull,” Kelly said reading off her tablet. “Just did a stint up in Havenville from 2014-2021. He just got out a month ago.”

“Any idea on why he’s doing this?” Sadler asked.

“None,” Kelly said. “Check this out. Computer, show security cam footage from fifteen minutes ago.”

Sadler watched the screen as Kelly’s computer showed the large black man in the right blue tee shirt order everyone into the corner with a rather large handgun. He was shouting incoherently and throwing stuff on the ground. “Jesus fuck,” he said.

“Exactly,” Kelly said. “You’re a better shot than me. Think you can take him out through a window?”

Sadler looked at the small convenient store. He could make Trumbull out clearly. “I think I can get him,” he said. “What’re the orders?”

“Talk him out or take him out,” Kelly said. “I’ll talk and you aim.”

“Gotcha,” Sadler said. He removed his gun from his holster and clicked the safety off. He ducked near the trunk of Kelly’s cruiser and nodded to her to show he was ready. The crowd that had formed behind them went silent.

Kelly took her bullhorn from her front seat and clicked it on. “Leroy Trumbull,” she blared. “Come out with your hands on your head and we can talk. If you come along peacefully you will not be harmed. Nobody has to die today.”

Leroy turned and looked out the front glass doors. Sadler had a clear shot to his head and chest, but hesitated. If he fired on the mad man before he had done anything worth getting killed over it wouldn’t play well at all. “I’m not going back!” Trumbull shouted. “They did things to me inside! They played with my brain!”

“Put the gun on the ground and kick it towards us,” Kelly blared. Trumbull looked at the gun as if he hadn’t seen it in his life. “Come on out and we can talk.”

“They cut me open!” Trumbull continued. “They cut me open and went inside! They went inside my head!”

“He’s nuts,” Kelly said away from the bullhorn. “Get ready to take your shot.”

Trumbull backed up into the store and sat down behind a shelf. “Shit,” Sadler said. “This could take all fucking day!”

“Computer,” Kelly said addressing her tablet again. “How soon until a negotiator gets here?”

“Three minutes and forty seven seconds estimated arrival,” the tablet’s female voice said.

“We’ll be done here in…” Kelly said as the building exploded outwards. They were showered with pieces of glass and brick. Sadler was surprised by the shockwave and ended up on his back. Kelly leaned over and pulled him up by his hand. “Shit!” she said. “What the fuck!”

“Why didn’t you tell me he had an explosive!” Sadler said.

“He didn’t,” Kelly said. “Computer, show me the last thirty seconds of security cam footage.”

Sadler walked next to Kelly and watched the footage with his ears ringing. The security cam showed Leroy Trumbull sitting with his legs crossed and fists clenched between two shelfs of snacks and candy not moving. There was a sudden flash of bright orange and the screen turned to static.

“What the fuck was that?” Sadler asked.

“I don’t know,” Kelly said looking at the smoking remains of the convenient store. “But it’s out of my pay grade.”


The Following ad is paid for by Havenville Penitentiary, Taconic Lake, Connecticut.

I’m Havenville Warden Daniel Greene.

Since 2010 Havenville Penitentiary has been housing New England and the Tri-State Area’s criminals and keeping them off the street. Using state of the art facilities and psychiatric treatments we’ve helped many of our inmates come out as better people than when they came in.

Our inmates come to us as criminals, but they leave with the skills to contribute to society and make a living. They come to us as rapists, killers, or robbers, but leave us as functioning members of the human race. No other containment facility int he United States has turned out more successful parolees than Havenville.

But that’s not all we do here at Havenville.

We’re keeping those who have been deemed unfit to live among you and your families off the streets. For over ten years there has not been one successful escape of Havenville, nor do we plan to have one in the foreseeable future. Your family can sleep well at night knowing that the bad guys are behind the fortress walls of Havenville Penitentiary, and will remain here until they are deemed fit to rejoin society.

Havenville needs your help to continue serving and protecting its community in the best way possible. Please call your local senator or congressman and tell them to vote to increase funding to this facility. It’s a small price to pay for continued service to our community and the betterment of our population.

God bless.


Chris Wells ran through the lower halls of Havenville. He shouldn’t have even been out like this, but he had figured out some ways in the nine long months he had called this place his home. His boots tapping on the floor gave his whereabouts to his perusers. He still didn’t know exactly how it happened, but he had been made. Rule number one of coming into this hell was not to blow cover. Once it was blown it was only a matter of time before someone would come for him. It just so happened it came the day before some backup would finally arrive.

The Ten of Clubs were behind him, but making their way to him slowly. They came as a group. Only six or seven of them in all, but Chris knew he couldn’t take them alone. Maybe one or two and possibly a third but not this many. His best bet would be to find somewhere to hide out for a while and then figure out a way to get the hell out of this shit hole. It was easier thought than done.

Even if he hid until lockdown the guards would still search high and low for him. Even if he managed to get outside the prison walls he still had to make it through the yards and fences. The guards and the dogs were all over that area at night. Not to mention the towers and the lights. Even if he managed to get outside all of that he still had the defenses outside the fortress walls to worry about. Warden Greene didn’t brag about those because it was one of the many things about Havenville he didn’t want known. Escape wasn’t an option.

Chris ran into the mens room mainly used by the guards and sat with his legs up in the last stall. He was hoping the Ten of Clubs would pass it by, but he wasn’t that lucky.

“Come out, meat,” a voice said sweetly. “We have a surprise for you.”

Chris heard another voice snicker and heard multiple footfalls as the group walked on the tiled floor of the mens room. He wished there was a way to get a message to the outside. Even the smallest of warning to not send back up. Things at Havenville had gotten so bad there was no way their undercover operation could expose anything. Chris had even come across some information so shocking he barely believed it until the Warden had the guard that leaked it killed and put a hit out on him.

A hundred unanswered questions ran through Chris’ head as he the stall door slowly opened and the six men stood outside looking at him. “I think I found him boys,” the man in front said. He was holding a metal pipe in his left hand. “It’s the most foulest turd I’ve ever seen in a Havenville toilet. Let’s flush it quick.”

With a searing flash of white Chris Well’s stint in Havenville Penitentiary had come to its end.

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