Chapter 8: Inside the Quarantine Wing
Wolfsky watched outside of the empty laundry room and nodded to the three men on the inside that it was now safe to talk. Xander Zane, Leonard Kelly, and Kai Tajiri were all eager to look at the notebook that Tajiri had taken a week before, but there hadn’t been an easy time to meet and do it. In the end Wolfsky was able to secure the use to the laundry room where the others had agreed to help Xander and heard his story.
“Have you read it yet?” Xander asked.
“No,” said Tajiri.
“I tried,” Leonard said. “But Tajiri was honor bound to let you, and only you, read it.”
“With no honor we are as bad as our enemies,” Tajiri said still looking at Xander with the journal. “You can do with this as you wish.”
Xander took the thick file from Tajiri. “Since you did the leg work you can see what’s inside,” he said. “I don’t know if there will even be anything interesting.”
“I was not able to obtain your file,” Tajiri said. “I hope the one I found gives you the answers you seek.”
“OK, Confucius,” Leonard said snorting to himself. “Open that thing up, Xander. I want to know what they’re doing in our heads.”
Xander opened the file labeled “Timothy Willows” apprehensively and began to read silently. The first page was a description of Willows followed by a blown up photo from his first day on the inside. He was a rather large man with short brown hair and was balding badly. He turned the page from the glowering man to what Dr. Dean had thought about him.
“Mr. Willows exhibits large amounts of aggression,” the text read. Xander read it aloud. “He shows no remorse for the murder of his wife and four children. Hypnosis reveals that he is much more intelligent that he lets on. He attempted to fight, but to no avail. He will now be under my power. Another session is scheduled in two weeks time to let the hypnosis settle in his mind.”
Xander’s lips were dry and his heart raced. This was exactly what he had hoped to find, but it was as he had feared. The Warden was using hypnosis to break into the minds of the inmates. He skipped ahead a few sessions and continued reading aloud. Tajiri and Leonard (with Wolfsky listening intently from the door) sat like children listening to a fairy tale.
“Session 6:,” Xander read. “Willows is showing great improvement. It’s a shame he’s scheduled for execution for the murder of his family in three weeks. We could really use a man like him on the outside. I’m personally recommending relocation to the Maximum Security wing following his ‘execution‘. With luck Willows will take the skeletal implants and survive the surgeries. Of course he’ll be disposed of afterwards, but it will be interesting to see if he can take them.”
Xander skimmed ahead, but all that was left was a description on how Timothy Willows had accepted his death and no longer had any fear of what awaited him after he was led by the guards of Havenville to his death.
“Skeletal implants,” Leonard breathed. “What the hell are they up to in there?”
“That’s what I intend to find out,” Xander said.
“I think it’s time,” Tajiri said.
“Time for what?” Xander asked turning to Tajiri.
“The Quarantine Wing,” Tajiri said facing Xander. “You and I are going in.”
“I got a little of this and some of that,” Leonard said pulling trap door from under his bunk. There was a small cache of items he kept stored there. Wolfsky was once again watching the door for intrusions, but was listening intently to every word. “Tajiri helps me hide some of the bigger stuff around the prison, but I keep some of the goods here so he doens’t have to prowl every time we need one.”
“What’s this?” Xander asked picking up a small belt that looked like it would fit around his wrist. It was in the small box with various shivs, clubs, and what seemed to be crudely made brass knuckles.
“That’s a wrist sheath,” Leonard said beaming at his own handiwork. He pulled out a small knife form the box and inserted it. “Where this under your sleeve and you can have quick access to a knife. If you’re quick enough the other guy will only see a glimmer of steel before he’s bleeding. This is a favorite of the Neo-Nazi’s.”
“Why would you do business for the Neo-Nazis?” Wolfsky asked looking down the cell block.
“Why not?” Leonard asked. “You don’t see me getting raped right now, do you? I’ve traded them for protection.”
“What about that?” Xander said pointing to another weapon eager to not hear about what Leonard was having Neo-Nazis do to potential rapists.
“One of my personal favorites,” Leonard said with the conviction of a salesman who was about to make a huge commission. “Garrotes. They’re extremely easy to make, so it’s not that big of a deal if you leave it after you’re done with it. Sometimes the wife gets stuck in the victim’s throats and gets messy to remove.”
“So you’ve used these?” Xander asked.
“Well no,” Leonard said turning a little paler. “But can you imagine?”
“What’s the big stuff Tajiri has access to?” Xander asked examining some of the other items in the box.
“Well, I don’t keep my chemical stuff here,” Leonard said. “I don’t need a bomb going off under my bunk for fuck’s sake!”
“A bomb?” Xander said shocked. “You have been making bombs in here?”
“Yes and no,” Leonard said. “There are weapons and items with chemical induced capabilities based on what Tajiri can find in various closets. When put together in a tight container like this they can cause a reaction and gas me or blow me to Kingdom Come.”
“What are we talking about?” Xander asked eager for Leonard to stop having him set up questions. Leonard was relishing talking about his cache.
“I got a pipe that fires nails pretty well,” Leonard said. “The closest thing I’ve been able to make that resembles a gun, but you can only use it once.”
“Is that how those Ten of Club fools ended up full of nails a couple of months back?” Wolfsky asked from the door.
“I made that one, but don’t let that get out,” Leonard said. “I’m not too keen on the Ten of Clubs knowing that came from me.”
“What else?” Xander asked.
“I got a few dirty bombs that should work like tear gas,” Leonard said. “Tajiri has them stored up in the vents somewhere. Got a few homemade grenades floating around, a stun gun I’ve been working on little by little when I can get some electronic parts, and of course the power drill.”
“We’ve never tried that,” Tajiri said with the hint of a warning in his voice.
“What’s the power drill?” Xander asked knowing that Leonard was itching to tell despite Tajiri’s obvious misgivings.
“The power drill is a device I came up with to burrow tunnels,” Leonard said. “No more than a single man,” he added seeing the look change on Xander’s face. “A bunch of shop tools had to go missing for this to happen, but luckily the guard in charge saw that his job was in jeopardy and covered it up without knowing where they went. He said they were broken and he sent them out for replacement or something.”
“All we should be interested is what Xander needs to get into the Quarantine Wing,” Tajiri said. “With the restraints I gave Leonard he was able to build a system that will get us in. Once we’re in I don’t know what kind of opposition will greet us. It will be a good idea to take along some light weapons. I will have my knives and a garrote. You should take the same.”
“You’re welcome to whatever you want,” Leonard said. “And I do requests if I can get the parts.”
Xander bent over the box and took the wrist sheath and knife. He thought for a moment and took the garrote too.
“Excellent choice,” Leonard said. “Will you be paying with cash or credit?”
Xander was busying himself cleaning the mess hall on the night Tajiri found him to tell him it was the night they were venturing to the Quarantine Wing. He had taken the job in the mess hall at Wolfsky’s suggestion to help blend in. According to Wolfsky most of the short timers in Havenville liked to fill their files with volunteer work so the parole boards looked kindly on them. Xander swept the floors and cleaned off the filthy tables with nothing more than the gratitude he had something to do to pass the time. Even with his mission he had noticed how slow things on the inside moved.
Suddenly Tajiri was standing in front of him. He didn’t notice him come in, and the guards didn’t notice either. They didn’t really seem interested in the cleaning of the mess hall either way. It was an ideal place to exchange a short talk.
“Tonight,” Tajiri said. “It will be risky, but I am fairly sure I can get you out of your cell. Well, Leonard is sure anyway. I gave Wolfsky a package that has what you need. Change into the clothes at lights out and I should retrieve you in an hour.”
That night was a bust as Xander changed into the all black outfit that Wolfsky had given in when he returned. The night went by with no Tajiri, and Xander was stuck wondering what happened. He didn’t learn until breakfast the following morning.
“I couldn’t get out,” Tajiri said. “Guard took a post too close to my cell. Be ready tonight. We’ll try again.”
That night after lights out Xander changed into the black outfit again and waited for Tajiri wondering if he’d run into another snag. This time after an hour and a half Tajiri came and silently slid some device through the electronic lock that opened the metal cell doors. The door opened slowly, and Tajiri slid it open just enough for Xander to slip out before closing it again. Xander noticed Wolfsky did not make a single move or noise during any of this.
The walked in silence. The soft slippers on Xander’s feet felt strange, but his footsteps were muffled and unheard. He felt like a ninja out of some old Japanese movie he saw on some Saturday afternoon as a kid. Tajiri lifted a fist and Xander stopped dead. He tried not to breath and felt like any passing guard would hear his heart beat if he couldn’t slow it down. After what felt like an hour Tajiri dropped his fist and beckoned for Xander to follow again.
Once Tajiri got then inside the mess hall and into the kitchen he spoke in a low voice. “We can get into the vents from here,” he said. “Once we’re in the ceiling you have to really watch where you step. Only touch what I touch. One false move and you can fall to your death.
Xander nodded and watched as Tajiri removed a metal panel from above the large stove and climbed inside with the agility of a ninja. Xander followed much less graceful, and made one or two loud pangs. When he was up above the vents via another trap door and in the ceiling, Tajiri motioned him with a finger to his lips and pushed both his hands downwards (which Xander took as “stay put”). Tajiri went back down the vent shaft and returned a minute later after reattaching the panel from the inside.
Tajiri walked gingerly atop the vents pausing every now and then to wait for Xander to make his way. Every now and then he would raise his fist and stop them to listen. After forty five minutes of wandering Tajiri finally stopped at a brick wall.
“We are directly above the entrance to the Quarantine Wing,” Tajiri said in a low voice that Xander had to almost strain to here. “I’ve never been inside and don’t know what to expect. You will lower me down first, and if it’s safe you will lower yourself on my signal. If Wolfsky is correct, there will be minimal guards inside if any.”
Xander nodded and Tajiri went to work setting up the pulley system (which was already there) that Leonard had made from Dr. Dean’s restraints and other items that Tajiri had fished up throughout the prison. He attached some kind of hook to his belt and began remove another ceiling panel that looked like it had been prepared long ahead of time. It seemed to Xander that Tajiri had plans to enter this wing for a long time.
“I will go down first,” Tajiri said. “Once I’m on the ground and see that it is safe I will send the line back up to you. Then you come down and we’ll send the line back up. Once the line is up the door will close on its own.”
Xander nodded again and Tajiri went down. The whizzing of the thin rope echoed through the small ceiling passage and Xander saw two rats scurry away from the sound. He wondered just how far it would carry and what anyone who heard it would think it was.
In less than a minute the line came back up and Xander attached it to himself. He climbed gently off the edge as Tajiri had done and then fell into the darkness below.
Xander dropped next to Tajiri who was observing the big metal door in front of him. He either didn’t know how to enter, or he was waiting for Xander. Xander heard a clang above them and saw the door close as the zip line passed back through it.
“I just had a thought,” Xander said. “How are we supposed to get back?”
“We will be blending in with the crowds during all the movement in the morning,” Tajiri said in a matter-of-fact tone. “There is no other entry point in or out of Quarantine Wing. If we are caught out of our cell after we’ve been verified as locked up, we will surely be sent to Max Lockup and have our cells raided.”
Tajiri said no more, but Xander knew what he meant. This mission had a high risk and low chance of success. “I wish you told me the risk before I agreed to come,” Xander said.
“Would you have stayed in your cell otherwise?” Tajiri asked.
Xander thought as Tajiri looked around the big metal door. There were dozens of warning signs on it. “No,” Xander finally said remembering how slowly he has been progressing in his mission. “I need to know what’s on the other side of this door.”
“I thought so,” Tajiri said. He was now moving some sort of metal object through the crevices around the door looking for a weak point. “The curiosity alone drove me to this place a long time ago, but I have never ventured inside. With you coming to us I finally had an excuse to do it.”
Xander stood in silence while Tajiri worked on getting the door open. There was a small electronic pad that appeared to have its power cut. Tajiri was not working on this with a tiny screwdriver and tweezers. In the darkness he saw a faint spark and the door clicked open. The click echoed through the prison.
“Get inside,” Tajiri said. “If we’re quick they’ll assume it was the pipes.”
The door closed behind them with another click (softer since Tajiri pushed the door closed slowly). They looked down the hall at the lines of cells. Like the other blocks in Havenville there were two levels: an upper and a lower. Xander smelled the stale air and suddenly wonder if he should have brought something to keep him from breathing in something deadly.
“Do not worry about the germs,” Tajiri said somehow reading Xander’s thought. “There hasn’t ever been anything contagious here.”
Xander was about to ask how he could know that, but Tajiri had began to walk away from the big metal door. Xander rushed to catch up. Once he caught up he noticed there were men in the cells. At first he thought they were the corpses of the men that died from some disease in this wing, but he once he saw one man stir and turn over on his bunk he knew otherwise.
“They’r alive!” Xander said in whisper that was too loud. Suddenly there was a man at the door of his cage trying to pull the door off its hinges. He started barking like a dog and banging his head into the bars. He howled in pain and bared his teeth as he backed off and started punching the bars. Soon there were not only crunches of bone breaking but splatters of blood as well.
Soon the entire wing had been set off. Inmates barked and howled as Xander and Tajiri stood transfixed not knowing where to go. One cage door started coming off its hinges and suddenly it was on the ground with a loud clang. A large hairy man started running towards them using his hands as much as his feet.
“RUN!” Tajiri yelled as the man started running at them like a mad ape. It was no use. In no time he had caught up. Tajiri swung around and kicked out at his thigh before he could drag one or both of them down and tear their limbs off. The madman staggered, and Tajiri took advantage by tossing the huge man with his hips into the hard floor. The man made to get up, but Tajiri had hit him in the throat with a half-curled fist. The man made once more to get up, but fell flat on his back this time.
The other inmates of the Quarantine Block all started shaking their cell doors and ramming into them at the site of Tajiri downing their brethren. Soon more and more of the doors were coming off the hinges and loudly falling on the floor. more gutteral howls and barking emanated form the animal-like inmates as they all began pouring out of their cells and attacking each other while they made their way towards Xander and Tajiri. Xander looked over his shoulder in horror while three or four of the men began tearing apart and eating the body of the man Tajiri had downed.
Xander got his knife ready to defend himself with what little good it would do him while Tajiri pressed wires together behind the panel that controlled the door. He thought the hoard would be on him and readied himself to slash wildly when he felt Tajiri’s hand on his shirt as he was tugged roughly out the door.
Xander hit the ground hard as the door clanged shut again. He heard the unmistakable sounds of bodies hitting the metal door from the other side as Tajiri panted by the door holding himself up with one arm. “Do you need to go back in to get a second look?” Tajiri asked. There were muffled howls coming from the opposite side of the door.
Xander looked at him, then got himself off the ground. “I think I got enough info,” he said.
He turned towards the sound coming down the long concrete and metal hallway. The guards had come running to see what the commotion was in the Quarantine Wing. As the footfalls got louder Tajiri made his way to the shadows with Xander right behind him.
Daniel Greene sat in his office high above Havenville Penitentiary. He looked down at his fortress. Never in his long career had he been so at peace with himself. He once was a wanted man for what they called crimes against humanity. What they failed to see what that the man he used to be, the man named Hugo Keene, was a genius. He was the next evolution of a man made God.
Stumbling into the original Daniel Greene was a stroke of pure luck. The two resembled themselves so much how could Keene not act? As soon as the opportunity presented itself, Keene took advantage and got rid of the man whose identity Keene had already began to steal. Once Greene and his wife were sinking somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, Keene was free to take Greene’s dead-end career to heights that he couldn’t even dream possible. Who would have thought he’d be in charge of his very own playground of steel and concrete?
Greene fantasized about the first time he stepped foot in his wondrous fortress. He was in near orgasmic glee as he strolled down the empty cell blocks that would soon house the criminals and low-lifes that would fuel his experiments and be turned into an army against the world that had shunned him for his genius. Soon the powers-that-be would pay once the men they had turned their backs on reemerged with a new sense of purpose and rise to glory under the rule of Warden Greene.
Warden Greene was almost doubled in fits of laughter when is phone rang. He looked at the time and knew this phone would only ring this late if something had happened in his prison. He picked it up on the second ring and his harsh voice ordered whomever made the call to speak.
“It’s the Quarantine Wing, Sir,” the voice on the other line said. Greene would have picked up whom he was talking to, but his anger was blurring his thoughts.
“What about it?” Greene asked through gritted teeth.
“They broke down their cell doors,” the voice said. It sounded far away, but Greene was picking up every word. “Many are dead and they’re still fighting. They’re eating the dead!”
Greene was silent. He had to think.
“Get Lockhart up,” Greene said. “It’s fortunate we have him. Tell him to take whichever specimens are left to Phase Three. Have them gassed and muzzled. When they are safe to move bring them to Level Four of Max Lockup. Whichever we don’t have room for are to be executed and brought to the grinders.”
“Yes, Sir,” the voice said hanging up.
Greene hung up and looked out his window into the night sky and the trees that bordered his fortress. Tomorrow he would have a lot of work to do. Lockhart was going to have to be moved into a full time position whether he liked it or not. Dr Dean and Kit Marshall were going to have to run things for the general population on their own while he tended to this business from Quarantine Wing. He cursed to himself for not allowing cameras in the area. He would have liked to see what agitated his specimens so much, but in the end what was the difference?
Most of Havenville didn’t have very long to live either way.