The Innocent Chapter 10: The Test

The innocent Chapter 10

The Test

“So it was as we feared,” Chaplain Freeman said. “Warden Greene really is experimenting on human beings in the Quarantine Wing.”

“Yes,” Wolfsky said. “They rioted at the site of Xander and Tajiri snooping around. They must have only been in there for a few minutes before the cell doors were ripped off the cells.”

Chaplain Freeman seemed to be in deep thought. “And they got away? No retribution for their break in?”

“Not yet,” Wolfsky said.

“It is my belief that Warden Greene does not want the the Quarantine Wing on tape,” Chaplain Freeman said. “Your friends should be fine as long as this secret is kept amongst yourselves.”

“Not a problem,” Wolfsky said. “Wolfsky knows the value of a secret in Havenville.”

“Indeed,” Chaplain Freeman said. “But the Agents of the Warden inside Havenville have taken notice of your friend Xander. Do you believe in fate?”

“You know Wolfsky believes that we make our own,” Wolfsky said. “Was it Wolfsky’s victim’s fates to meet their end the way that they did? Wolfsky thinks not.”

“But I do believe it was your fate to come to me,” The Chaplain said. “To atone for your sins. Something is foul in Havenville, Wolfsky. Worse than you could imagine. You’ll have to watch out for Xander.”

“Wolfsky will.”

*

With the Warden locked away in the Max Lockup wing fixing the problem of the riot in the Quarantine Wing, Marshall Kit and Doctor Dean were put in charge of the general population. This didn’t mean much since the day to day lives of the inmates were set to a tedious schedule. Warden Greene usually played his cards close to his chest, and rarely stepped a toe into the general population’s blocks.

“All I’m saying is we can make a little wager on it,” Kit was saying. “We’re both interested to see what he’ll do, and the Warden won’t be bothered by it either way.”

“The Warden will want to study Zane in the Max Lockup sooner or later,” Dr. Dean said. “I require a few more sessions with him before you go and have his brains bashed in.”

“You said yourself the hypnosis wasn’t working,” Kit said. “We both know what happened last time we forced it on an inmate and sent him out into the world. He somehow figured out how to blow himself up in the middle of a gas station mini-mart. If you want to test Zane the best way to do it is by force.”

Dr. Dean considered what Marshall Kit was proposing. He did agree that forcing the hypnosis on someone who repelled it as well as Zane had resulted disastrously more times than not, but if Kit’s plan failed then it would be a fine specimen wasted. In the end to wager on Zane surviving this test of Kit’s might be the only way to test him.

“OK,” Dr. Dean said. “We’ll do it your way, but I want to be watching with you when it happens.”

“No problem,” Marshall Kit said smiling. “We can watch the security footage in my office. I know the perfect place to film it. Zane’s been working in the mess hall after dinner.”

*

Xander had a surprise when he got a guard told him he was late for a therapy session with Dr. Dean.

“I wasn’t aware of a session,” Xander said.

“Not my problem, meat,” the guard said with a grunt. “Walk with your hands to your sides.”

Xander was led by the guard behind him. Wolfsky was still at the Chapel, and Leonard and Tajiri weren’t around. He wasn’t able to tell anyone where he was heading in case something odd would happen. Xander decided he would have to tread carefully for a bit after his trip to the Quarantine Wing just in case the Warden or any of the guards got hint that he had something to do with it, and a trip to Dr. Dean’s office meant another dose of hypnosis.

“Good afternoon,” Dr. Dean said from his desk as Xander was led in. Xander sat on the couch as the guard attached the restraints to his arm. He noticed they were brand new. “Sorry for the intrusion, but I figured it was a fine day for us to meet.”

“What do you want?” Xander said using the same tactic he had used on his last visit. He hoped if Dean saw he was a lost cause he would give up quicker than he did last time.

“Nothing really,” Doctor Dean said. “I just thought you could stand to use a little rest.”

“What are you -” Xander said before he was interrupted by purple gas spraying his face from the folds of the couch. He couldn’t talk and felt instantly sleepy.

“Just a little rest,” Doctor Dean said from miles away. “You have a big night ahead of you.”

*

Wolfsky got back to his cell around three in the afternoon and was surprised to see Xander wasn’t there. They were supposed to meet and go over their future plans with Leonard and Tajiri. Wolfsky left to find Leonard and Tajiri to see if Xander had went to them early. He found the pair in their cell.

“Have you guys seen Xander?” Wolfsky asked.

“Not yet,” Leonard said. “You guys were supposed to come together.”

Wolfsky turned and looked behind him hoping Xander would be coming behind him. After The Chaplain had told him watch out for Xander, Wolfsky was worried. “We need to find him,” Wolfsky said to confused Leonard.

“I’ll find him,” Tajiri said leaving the cell. “You two wait here.”

Tajiri left swiftly leaving Wolfsky and Leonard in the cell alone. The two didn’t speak as the minutes passed with Tajiri looking for Xander. After twenty long minutes he returned out of breath.

“Found him,” Tajiri said. “It’s bad, Wolfsky. Dean has had him held up in his office since early this afternoon. Something is going down.”

Wolfsky thought at Tajiri’s words while Leonard sat quiet looking worried. “The mess hall,” Wolfsky said. “Only the cleaning volunteers are allowed in there after dinner. They’re testing him. If they found him out he’d be in Max Lockup or dead by now. They want to get him when Wolfsky can’t protect him.”

“We may not be able to protect Xander,” Tajiri said. “But I can prepare him. Leonard, get me the duct tape.” 

“Duct tape?” Leonard asked. Suddenly his eyes got wide in understanding. “I don’t have much here. What else do you need?”

“Anything,” Tajiri said. “Xander’s going to need help.”

*

Xander must have been day dreaming. Where else would the time have gone? He didn’t even remember having dinner, but here was was in the mess hall after all the inmates had gone back to their cells. He stood wiping down the tables of the mess hall with his old rag and spray bottle of strong-smelling sanitizer. He was wiping up an especially bad gravy spill when he saw Tajiri from the corner of his eye.

“Xander,” he said out of breath.

“Hey!” the guard watching the mess hall door yelled spying Tajiri. Xander found it odd since Tajiri had been able to walk right in with no problem the last time he needed to talk to Xander in the mess hall.

“Middle table,” Tajiri said. “Three quarters of the way towards the south wall. The window side.”

“Last warning!” the guard shouted raising his stun gun. “If I have to tell you again you’ll be dragged out.”

Tajiri turned and left as the guard gave him dirty looks over his stun gun. The guard took back his post by the door and closed the steel gate with a bang.

This was when Xander noticed something else was odd. There was usually three or four other inmates cleaning the mess hall, but tonight it was only him. There was nobody sweeping or mopping. There was nobody cleaning the grills or kitchen equipment. There were only the guards, and there seemed to be less of them than usual.

Xander made his way towards the middle table, three quarters of the way towards the south wall. Window side. 

Xander noticed a small arrow was carved into the table and wondered what it could mean when he heard the other doors bang shut. He looked up to see six large, black men entering the mess hall. “Looks like there’s white meat on the menu tonight!” the one in front shouted to forced guffaws from the men behind him. Xander moved his fingers under the table and felt the cold steel of a pipe under it. Tajiri must have known this was happening and hid this for him.

“What’s the matter?” the man in front asked again. Xander recognized him as one of the Ten of Clubs members he had steered clear of. He was muscular and wore a white tank top with his orange jumpsuit tied around his waste like El Niño did. “You all alone and scared?”

The other men laughed again and surrounded Xander near the end of the middle table. He dropped his spray bottle and rag and surveyed the situation. They were all unarmed, but very muscular. If he wanted to get out of this alive he would have to rely on his quickness rather than strength.

Xander felt, more than saw, a movement on his left. He quickly grabbed the end of the pipe taped under the table and swung it towards the movement. The pipe connected with the man’s forearm and he heard the snap of bone. The man grabbed his wrist and backed away from Xander with the look of shock on his face.

“KILL HIM!” their leader shouted as they rest converged on Xander.

Xander’s quickness didn’t let him down. He brought the pipe across the face of the closest man charging him. There was a crack as his jaw broke and he went down in a heap. Xander side stepped the body and brought the pipe up nailing another in the chin. He staggered backwards into another, and Xander kicked him hard in the stomach knocking both men to the ground. 

Xander turned and barely ducked a punch aimed for his temple. He swung the pipe, and it found its mark in the man’s ribs. He swung wildly knowing another attack was imminent, and connected with an arm or shoulder. Suddenly Xander saw stars as a punch finally connected with his skull. He was hit hard and had to fight to keep conscious.

With only two men left standing and another getting to his feet, Xander made his break. He ducked another punch and charged in between the two standing men and headed towards the only door that was left open. Once he was through the door all the air painfully left his body and he hit the concrete ground hard. He felt stupid for not thinking they’d leave lookouts on the outside.

The pipe was picked up by someone that Xander barely registered. Another large arm pulled him up and gripped him tightly around the neck. “Hold him steady,” the man with the pipe said. “We was told not to kill you, but that was before you came at my boys with a pipe.” He handed the pipe away and pulled a shiv from his boot. “Now what am I to do with you?” he asked cutting Xander along the left side of his chest. Xander winced, but it just made the man behind him tighten his grip around his neck.

“Bleed ‘im!” someone off to Xander’s left said.

“Nah,” the man with the shiv said. “I want to take my time with this pretty piece of meat. I wonder how he’d like that pipe up his white ass?”

The other men chuckled and laughed as Xander was being eyed with a look of lust from the man with the shiv. He brought the knife to Xander’s check and pushed the blade into Xander’s skin. It dimpled but didn’t break. Xander could smell the man’s breath and sweat as he tried not to choke under the pressure of the arm on his neck.

“Put him down!” a voice said from behind the Ten of Clubs. Xander strained to look and saw seven or eight men who were heavily tattooed in swastikas and other Nazi symbolism. Xander noticed they carried chains or clubs. One even had a knife unsheathed from an apparatus he recognized as Leonard’s work.

“He’s ours,” the man with the shiv said turning around. “Mind your own business!”

“He is our business,” the biggest Nazi said. His bald head was tattooed with a spiderweb. “Besides, we don’t take orders from scumbag niggers.”

Suddenly Xander was on the ground again on his hands and knees gasping for air. He registered enough noise to know that the last comment set off the Ten of Clubs and they were brawling with the Neo-Nazis. He looked up to see the Ten of Clubs being beaten to a pulp by the Neo-Nazis. He was picked up and dragged off by his armpits as he saw a member of the Ten of Clubs lifted off the ground with a chain around his neck.

“Where -” was all Xander was able to get out.

“Keep your mouth shut,” a voice said. “We’ll take care of you.”

Xander did his best to walk along side his mystery savior and was thrown into a cell with another skinhead sitting on the bunk waiting for him. “What’s the damage?” he asked.

“He probably has a concussion,” the man who dragged him said. “Plus a nasty gash on his chest.”

“Take your shirt off,” the man at the bunk said taking a small metal box from under his pillow. “I’m Chad and that’s Carl. We’re going to patch you up and get you back to your cell before lights out.”

Xander didn’t have the energy to argue, so he stripped down his bloodied shirt. Chad looked at it and sighed. “Not bad,” he said. “He didn’t cut too deep. A few stitches and you’ll be all set. You’re lucky we still owed Kelly a favor or two.” He began working on threading a needle and humming to himself.

“Why not just take me to the medical wing?” Xander asked.

“They ask questions,” Carl said from the door. “Do you have the answers?”

Xander didn’t speak, but he knew they were right. He was lucky to have gotten out alive, and he didn’t need the Havenville staff tailing him if he wanted to stay out of the Ten of Club’s way. A thousand thoughts went through his head as Chad stitched him up.

*

The Neo-Nazis got Xander back to his cell right before lights out. Wolfsky was standing at the cell door when he came. He nodded to Carl as he walked away and Xander sat in his bunk heavily wishing to go right to sleep, but he knew Wolfsky would want to talk about what just happened.

“This was only a test,” Wolfsky said. “If they knew who you are they would’ve killed you or moved you to Max.”

“What are you talking about?” Xander asked. His head was heavy and pounding behind his eyes.

“The Warden is gone right now,” Wolfsky said. “Marshall and Dean orchestrated this. This stinks of those two. They want you.”

“For what?” Xander asked.

“Wolfsky doesn’t know,” Wolfsky said. “They must have something in mind for you if they’re going through the trouble of sending the Ten of Clubs to attack you.”

“I’ll have to be extra careful from now on,” Xander said.

“Yes you will,” Wolfsky said. “Always have a weapon or two hidden. Try not to be too far from Wolfsky or the other’s. Especially Tajiri. He can hide you if everything goes to hell. Wolfsky doesn’t think the Ten of Clubs will move against you unless they’re told, but you should still be cautious.”

Xander lay down with his head still spinning. He was sure he’d be found out, but Wolfsky was right. There was no way his cover was blown. If it was he’d know. He fell asleep knowing his family was safe.

*

Susan Summers put her son Jordan to bed. It had been months, but she was still annoyed at these changes. It seemed such a long time ago when they were Wendy and Christian Frost. Now she was a single mother living alone with her son. She had a small job stocking shelves while her son was at school, but this was mainly to pass the time. Otherwise she was alone with her dark thoughts. She felt like she was in some kind of prison.

So on the Thursday night after she put her son Jordan to bed and the doorbell rang she had no idea who it was. She was encouraged by the men at the FBI to make friends, but it was hard when you knew absolutely nobody. She had made a few acquaintances at work, but the only relationship she could claim with them was a cigarette in the break room while they bitched about the manager or the nasty old ladies that came in to buy the baubles they sold.

She opened the door with a shaking hand wondering who could it be. There was a woman standing outside who could’ve been a little older than her. There was a large man in a suit and tie standing behind her. She held up her badge and ID. “I’m from the FBI,” the woman said. “My name is Jodie Slate. Can I come in?”

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2 thoughts on “The Innocent Chapter 10: The Test

  1. Pingback: Table of Contents | budgiebigelow's Blog

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