Chapter 1: Welcome to Havenville
Xander Zane watched the trees whip by from the big grey bus taking him to Havenville Penitentiary. He saw a family of deer frolicking between the trees and envied it for its freedom. For the next eighteen months Xander would be wearing an orange jumpsuit and living in a cell.
It was important he began thinking of himself of Xander Zane and not Peter Frost. He left that identity behind when he took this assignment. He thought the name Xander Zane sounded super-villainous, but he guessed that was the point. His back story was simple. Xander Zane was a home robber and got caught. Plain and simple. The court system made a quick case of him after he pleaded guilty and got an eighteen month sentence. No family. No wife. No kids. Simple.
The truth was slightly more complicated.
The family of Agent Peter Frost had been sent into protective custody just in case things in Havenville went bad. They didn’t know what kind of enemy they were dealing with. After seeing the doe and its fawn he immensely missed his wife and son. He didn’t know where the FBI sent them and didn’t ask. It would be best if he didn’t know. As far as everyone else knew he had left his wife high and dry and she moved on to start a new life.
Xander was on his way to a new life too. A life in bonds in the place they ironically called Havenville in Taconic Lake, Connecticut. A lovey name for the biggest scum hole in the country. At just a glance it could be any small town in Northwestern Connecticut and a quaint New England town. The fact of it was that there was some really strange stuff going on inside Havenville. Nobody could pinpoint what, and inspections always seemed to come up clean. The only way to find out was to send a man on the inside to find out what the warden was up to. Eighteen months should be plenty of time for Xander to uncover some of secrets within the walls.
His partner on the inside would be Chris Wells (Xander didn’t have the privilege of learning his real identity). He was nine months into his two year stint and was patiently waiting for backup. He hadn’t been able to get much information out since he had to speak in code to his contact during visiting hours, but he would share everything with Xander once the two of them were sharing a cell. The FBI had a guard or two on their payroll as well. One of which was on cell assignment detail and make sure the two ended up together.
The deer were gone and the trees got thicker. The home robber called Xander Zane was almost to his new home. The bus went up the incline towards the fortresslike walls of the penitentiary that housed nearly a thousand inmates. It would be a third more if that wing hadn’t been shut down a few years ago due to the infection and resulting deaths of over three hundred inmates. Yet another mystery of Havenville.
The bus slowed to a stop right near the big metal entrance to Havenville and the driver radioed the inside. “Bus number two three niner requesting entrance to Havenville Penitentiary,” the driver said. “Importing inmates numbering seventeen to general population. Authorization code four two nova seven.”
“Stand by, bus two three niner,” the voice on the other side of the radio said. There was a slight pause and Xander noticed the cameras on the bus were whirring and scanning its contents. “You are cleared for entrance, bus two three niner. Proceed to welcome area.”
“Thank you, tower,” the driver said.
“Welcome to Havenville,” the guard standing behind the fence on the front of the bus holding a rifle said. “We’ll be dropping you scumbags off at our welcome area. You’ll be cleaned, examined, and clothed. By lockdown you’ll be in your new home with the general population. Enjoy your stay.”
The bus travelled up the short dirt road once they were inside the fortified walls of Havenville. Xander looked out the window at the rec yard. Men played basketball or lifted weights on what looked like decades old equipment. It was probably donated by some school once they had gotten its lifetime use out of it. Most of the men outside were conducting some kind of business or just shooting the shit with their buddies. It was evident that this was where most of the talk at Havenville took place. Xander noticed many men nudging their buddies to look at the bus coming in with the fresh meat.
The bus came to a stop before what the guard on the bus called the welcome area. Once the bus was stopped another guard armed with a large stun gun stepped up behind the guard ready to open the gate. “Alright, inmates,” the guard opening the gate said. “This here guard is Mr. Samson. Mr. Samson is going to take you through the motions. If you walk out of line, you will be shocked. If you mouth off at any guard here at Havenville you will be shocked. If you try to run, you will be shocked. If he don’t like the way you look a him, you will be shocked. Any questions?”
The bus was silent.
“Good,” the guard said. “Now get the fuck off my bus and walk in line, maggots.”
They were unshackled one by one from the back to the front and ordered to stand on the yellow line that ran down the center of the bus floor. When they were all cuffed and shackled to the man in front of them the bus door and cage door was open and they were motioned to walk single file off the bus. When they got off the bus there was another yellow line on the pavement that led them into a small building attached to the bigger prison.
Xander looked up the walls of the main part of Havenville Pen in all its intimidating glory. Here they would feed him three square meals, give him a bed to sleep in, keep him well exercised, and be the worst hell he’d ever experience in his long career as an undercover FBI agent. He’d been assigned to meth labs, gang infiltration, prostitution rings, and human trafficking cases, but nothing compared to the intimidation he felt entering Havenville as a convict and spending eighteen months of his life inside its walls. His role was designed to be backup for Chris Wells who already had an investigation in progress, but that wasn’t making it any easier for Xander to comprehend. Still, he remembered his training and goals and kept his composure. Any sign of weakness would have him raped or beaten (likely both) in some dark corner of this prison by the end of day one.
“Fresh meat’s here, boys,” a rather large man with a swastika tattooed on his chest said leaning up against the fence. “Anyone want a piece of the tall boy with the long hair?” He was referrng to Xander who had shoulder-length brown hair. In hindsight he should have cut it down before starting the assignment, but he was to throw away his clean cut agent image before he got on the bus.
“How about fat meat over there?” another skinhead said looking at the fat black man three men behind Xander. “You in the mood for dark meat?”
“You know I am,” the man with the swastika tattoo said laughing.
“Get the fuck away from my fence!” Guard Samson yelled at the two skinheads. They put their hands up and walked backwards away from the fence.
From where Xander stood he could here the fat man sniffling. The first night would be hard for him if he couldn’t keep his composure. Xander knew they left him alone because he didn’t react to the taunts. The fat man would find his stay in the pen very uncomfortable if he fell apart after a few taunts from his fellow inmates.
They were led inside the welcome area building and unshackled once the door behind them was locked. They were ordered into separate holding cells and ushered ahead one by one. When it was Xander’s turn he got up and walked with the guard into what looked like a small and not so clean shower stall. There was one bench on one end.
“Strip and put your clothes on the bench,” a guard with another stun gun said. “Then walk into the shower stall with your hands above you.”
Xander did as he was told and stripped. He piled his civilian clothes on the bench where they were quickly collected and taken away. He wouldn’t see them again until they dressed him back in them in a year and half. As soon as he was in the shower stall with his hands up he was bombarded with cold water. There was a distinct smell of some chemical or another in the water. A small bar or soap was thrown between his feet. “Scrub up,” the guard that tossed it said. Xander quickly scrubbed himself to save himself from a prolonged stay in the cold water.
Once the water was off a towel was tossed into the cold water on the ground and Xander picked it up and made a losing effort to dry himself off with the damp towel. Then he was signaled to move back into the dry area and given new underwear, socks, and a brand new orange jumpsuit that said Havenville Pen in bold black letters across the back.
“Don’t put that on,” the guard said as Xander picked it up. “Move into the room to the left.”
Xander turned to the left where an automatic door opened and moved into a small doctor’s office. The guard inside aimed his stun gun at Xander’s bare chest. “Try anything and we’ll do this with you twitching on the floor,” the guard said. “Sit on the table and let the doctor take your blood.”
Xander sat on the cushioned table and the spectacled doctor wrapped a rubber strap around Xander’s left arm. “Anything you’d like to share,” the doctor said. “AIDS, Hepatitis, or any infection you are aware of?”
“No,” Xander replied.
“The blood won’t lie anyway,” the doctor said despondently as he put the needle into Xander’s arm. Xander watched as the tube filled with his blood. “All set. If you’ll get up and put your hands on the blue circles on the wall we’ll finish up.”
Xander got up and placed his hands on the blue circles. He heard the sound of the doctor putting some kind of lubricant on his right hand and then he felt the pressure as the doctor put two finger into his anus to search for any hidden contraband. Xander closed his eyes and tried to use his meditation to try and be somewhere other than here, but it was hard to be somewhere else when you had two fingers probing your insides.
“He’s clean,” the doctor told the guard taking the glove off and tossing it in a biohazard bin.
“Get dressed and move on outside,” the guard said. “Stand on the yellow line until you have your cell assignment.”
Once again Xander did as instructed feeling cold and slightly humiliated by the whole check in process. He just assured himself it was normal procedure, but that didn’t help him feel at ease. He stood on the yellow line for what felt like hours before some man in glasses came by in a guard uniform holding a clipboard. He was wearing glasses and barely looked up.
“Xander Zane,” he said not looking up. “I have him down for a single cell.”
“None available,” the guard at the desk said.
“Well shit,” the guard with the clipboard said. “Where do you want him?”
“Upper C,” the desk guard said. “Cell 18. I think Wolfsky needs a new friend.”
“Upper C,” clipboard guard said scribbling. “Cell 18. Good.” Then he moved onto the next inmate.
Xander said nothing. He should have been set up to be in the cell with his partner who went by Chris Wells on the inside, but something evidently was wrong here. He didn’t know which guard was their guard. Clipboard guard or desk guard? It was best to say nothing and sort himself out later. Hopefully this Wolfsky wouldn’t be too much trouble.
Now it was around dinner time, and rather than spend their first night in the mess hall with the other inmates the staff at Havenville were nice enough to bring bag lunches to Havenville’s newest denizens. It had been a long time since Xander’s last meal and he salivated at the thought of getting some food in him. They brought him what looked like a bologna sandwich, but the meat was at a quality that calling it ‘mystery meat’ would be giving it a grand compliment. Xander still choked down his meaal seeing as he had no idea when the next one would come.
They sat for a while waiting for the other inmates to be back in their cell awaiting lockdown. When the time came they were to stand back in line and were led down a corridor where they split up into their respective sections. Xander stayed with the small group of four heading to Upper C block and walked with the guarded line to cell 18.
“Open 18!” the guard yelled. Suddenly the cell door slid open. “Got a new bunkmate for you, Wolfsky. Make sure he’s treated better than the last one.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” the huge bald black man said with a French accent from the bottom bunk. He was reading a book that looked like it was hand written.
“Sure,” the guard said. “Get in there, Zane. It’s lockdown. Get some sleep. I’m sure Wolfsky here will show you the ropes. Close 18!”
The cell door clanged shut and Xander was standing in front of the bunk beds holding his pillow and linens. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Xander.”
“Wolfsky should give a fuck?” Wolfsky said not looking up from his book.
“I’m sorry?” Xander said.
“Not yet,” Wolfsky said. “Here’s how this works. Upper C cell 18 is Wolfsky’s cell. You’ll climb in that bed and shut the fuck up while Wolfsky reads. If you cry and get the others laughing at Wolfsky then Wolfsky will cut you up. If you go running to the desk guard to kite yourself out Wolfsky will cut you up. If Wolfsky thinks you’ve had a good first night Wolfsky may just show you a thing or two in the morning. You got it, new meat?”
“I got it,” Xander agreed not wavering. He knew Wolfsky was sizing him up and testing him to see if he’d crack.
“Good,” Wolfsky said. “Wolsky’s not a bad dude if you get along. Get up to bed.”
Xander put the linens and pillow on his bed and climbed up. He stared at the ceiling above him and wondered what was going on with Wells. He doubted he’d sleep much tonight. He wouldn’t cry, though. That much he knew for sure. He couldn’t afford that set back. He pushed the thoughts of his wife and son out of his head since Xander Zane had no family to cry over.