Chapter 12: The Hole
Xander sat on the small cot in The Hole. There was nothing to do and nobody to talk to. All he had in the dark room was a toilet, the small cot, and his own thoughts. Three times a day the slot under the door opened and a tray of food was pushed in. From what Xander could tell it was whatever was left over from the meal the other members of the general population had. Breakfast was a small plastic bowl of cold oatmeal, lunch was two pieces of bread and some cheese, and dinner was what appeared to be a breaded chicken in gray gravy. Xander would have turned down the meals in protest, but the portions were so small he couldn’t afford not to eat.
Xander wondered what Wolfsky, Leonard, and Tajiri were doing in his absence. The three of them joined him in his mission, and because of him their lives were now in danger. His thoughts went over the information the Warden had in his possession, and he wondered who could have let the information slip.
At first he thought it might have been Wolfsky, Leonard, or Tajiri. Leonard being the prime suspect in this scenario. He soon ruled this out seeing as they couldn’t know how to find his wife and son. None of them had enough information to do what The Warden had done so perfectly.
Most of his thoughts revolved around his wife and son, and the last days they spent together before he left for his mission. For all his wife knew in her final moments, he was dead. His son was uprooted away from his friends and family. He had done everything to screw their lives over before they were killed, and now he was in hell for it.
He deserved no less.
It was the second day of Xander’s stay in The Hole, and Wolfsky was worried. The Chaplain believed that Xander had some reason to be in Havenville. At least on some spiritual level. Wolfsky wasn’t so sure about their fates and how Chaplain Freeman thought they amounted to anything, but he knew Xander was there to overthrow the Warden, and that was enough for Wolfsky to believe.
Wolfsky would have given anything to keep guard Rockwell from taking Xander to see the Warden, but he was powerless to do so. Even though Wolfsky knew what would happen if they separated Xander from the others, he was powerless to stop it from happening. The guards were, after all, Agents of the Warden, and the Agents of the Warden were not easily trifled with. Wolfsky had a bad feeling about what would happen to Xander. In the very worst case scenario, Xaner would end up in Max Lockup after he was released from The Hole. The frustration of not being about to contact Xander in any way was getting to him.
“Any news?” Tajiri said walking into Wolfsky’s cell. He must have also gotten word of Xander’s predicament.
“None,” Wolfsky said. “If what Wolfsky heard is true, he’s in The Hole twenty days on The Warden’s order. He also got twenty years added to his sentence for a murder.”
“Murder?” Tajiri asked. “Did he do it?”
“Yes,” Wolfsky said. “We found a pedophile, and Xander killed him to earn Wolfsky’s trust. It was stupid of Wolfsky to make him do it.”
“You didn’t know,” Tajiri said evidently not caring of what Xander had done to earn his twenty extra years. “There’s no way of telling how these crazy bastards think.”
“You and Leonard need to lay low,” Wolfsky said. “Wolfsky knows it’s not easy when we’re being watched by guards around the clock, but they’ll come for us next. By now they’ll know we’ve been together.”
“Understood,” Tajiri said. “I’ll go get Leonard. You keep safe, Wolfsky. Xander will need you when he gets out.”
Wolfsky nodded and watched as Tajiri went off to find his friend.
“No I don’t think I’m overreacting!” Wendy shouted at Peter. It was two days after he told her he’d be on assignment for eighteen months. “You expect us to go into hiding for you, and you won’t even tell me where you’re going?”
“I can’t,” Peter said. He knew she’d worry either way, but she’d worry more if she knew where he was going and why.
“Then there’s nothing to talk about,” Wendy said. “You know what I said, and I’m not going back!”
“Mommy?” a voice at the top of the stairs said. Little Christian stood in his Spider-Man pajamas rubbing an eye. “I heard yelling. Is everything OK?”
“Everything’s OK, honey,” Wendy said. “Mommy and daddy were just talking.”
“You were loud,” Christian aid in the air of innocence only a child could understand. “Calvin said his parents yelled at each other too, and then they got a divorce.”
Wendy looked at Peter. Neither one of them knew how to respond. Peter knew, or course, that Wendy had every intention of leaving him once he began his assignment. There was still time for him to refuse, but the persona of Xander Zane had already been created in his image, and to cancel now mean a great deal of backtracking for the FBI. They didn’t know what The Warden had planned, and the clock was ticking.
“Are you getting a divorce?” Christian asked in that same innocent voice. Peter could almost feel Wendy’s rage building and decided to step in before Christian became the target of her misplaced anger.
“I’ll take you back to bed, champ,” Peter said making his way upstairs.
“I’ll do it!” Wendy said nearly shoving Peter out of the way. “You can’t decide when you want to be a father. You just can’t. It’s all or nothing.”
Wendy picked up Christian and brought him upstairs while Peter stood at the base of the stairs staring up into the darkness.
Chaplain Freeman heard the light thud of a package being delivered under his altar and bent down to pick it up. He had made a rather odd request to his contact on the outside, and he was curious to see if they would honor it. Things had changed in the short time since Xander Zane was thrown into The Hole.
The Chaplain was aware of the circumstances of Xander’s recent troubles with the Ten of Clubs and the meeting with Warden Greene. He had urged Wolfsky to keep a close eye on his cellmate, but some things just can’t be helped. Wolfsky had confessed to Chaplain Freeman about his own sense of regret about what happened to Xander. In the end he had to accept that the Agents of the Warden were simply too much to overcome sometimes.
Xander had been in The Hole for four days, and there was no way of helping him.
Chaplain Freeman was closing up his trap door behind the altar when he heard the door in front of Our Lady of Forgotten Sorrows chapel. He quickly stashed the cardboard box back inside the hidden trap door and looked up. “Hello?” he called. His voice echoed through the empty chapel.
“I want a confession,” the man approaching him said. He was tall and lanky. He had a handlebar mustache and long, ratty hair.
“Yes,” Chaplain Freeman said composing himself. “Of course.”
The prison chapel wasn’t allowed confessionals, so The Chaplain urged the man to sit with him in the front pew. “Bless me father, for I have sinned,” he said. “I haven’t been to confession since I was on the outside.”
“It does not matter how long it has been,” The Chaplain said. “As long as you ask The Lord for forgiveness it shall be granted. There is nothing you cannot atone for, my son. Now tell me, What is it that brought you to me today?”
“My sin,” the man repeated.
The Chaplain gave the man a reassuring smile and patted his knee. “I understand,” he said. “It is hard to speak of some of the things that can happen in Havenville, or even what brought us all here. You are in a safe place and nothing you say to me will leave these walls. If you wish The Lord’s forgiveness you must confess your sins and repent.”
“It’s murder,” the man said.
“Murder,” repeated The Chaplain. He has heard this one many times. Sooner or later being on the inside of Havenville weakens even the strongest of evil in a man’s heart. “This is a great sin, my son, but you can still atone for what you’ve done wrong. Tell me if you can, who is it that you murdered?”
Before The Chaplain could move there was a shiv in his chest. He looked down and saw the yellow plastic handle protruding. The blood rushed freely from the wound, and he could suck no air into his lungs.
“It’s you,” the man said. The Chaplain could now plainly see that the man was smiling.
The last thing Chaplain Freeman heard were the shadows of a giggle as he fell to the floor and left his body behind.
Peter sat and waited for his boss, Director Warner, and Edward Glenn to join him in the interrogation room where they planned on hashing out some of the details of his stay in Havenville Penitentiary. He shifted his weight in his chair and winced at the pain. He had a sore shoulder and back from sleeping on the couch for the last two nights.
His wife was barely speaking to him unless she had to, and she was taking great strides to make sure he knew that taking this mission meant the end of their marriage. He was hoping she’d reconsider and see things his way, but he felt it was a lost cause while she was packing up to go into relocation. Perhaps upon his return from Havenville she’ll warm up to giving the marriage another shot.
“Sorry for making you wait,” Director Warner said entering the small room with Glenn in tow. “Something that required my attention came up. I take it you’re doing well with your training.”
“Yes,” Peter lied. He felt Munson would be hurting his chances on the inside rather than helping them, but he was connected with the right people in the FBI, and Peter didn’t want to upset the balance of things.
“Good to hear,” Warner said. “How’s Wendy and Christian? Are they taking the move well?”
“As good as they can,” Peter lied again. He didn’t want to throw his marriage problems into this arena. Now that Christian was furious that he’d be leaving his friends behind the rift in his family life was greatly increased.
“We want to go over the men you’ll be finding once you’re on the inside,” Glenn said breaking up the small talk. He was always one to get right into it. As if he had somewhere better to be at any given moment. “Their names are Leonard Kelly and Kai Tajiri. Intel from Wells tells us they’re paired together in the same cell. Tajiri has some way of moving about the prison undetected, and Leonard Kelly has been making use of anything he could find.”
“If you remember, Kelly was the bomber in Hartford some years back,” Warner cut in. “He’s made and detonated the bombs that threw Hartford into turmoil, killing and maiming some people who just happened to be around.”
“I remember,” Peter said. “That little scumbag trying to make a point about corporate greed or something. What am I supposed to do with him?”
“Use him,” Glenn said. “Use them both. Tajiri is ex-Yakuza. We believe he took the fall for a murder he didn’t commit in exchange for his family’s safety. Befriend them both and offer them their freedoms.”
“Freedoms?” Peter asked. “A terrorist and a gangster. You want them back on the streets?”
“Not entirely,” Warner said. “Kelly would be in our custody and work for us, should he take the deal. He’ll be on house-arrest when not working with a trained agent, and be on call 24-7. His life will be monitored and his movements restricted.”
“But he doesn’t have to know about the latter part until after he’s helped you,” Glenn added.
“And the other one?” Peter asked. “Tajiri?”
“He’ll receive his freedom under the Witness Relocation Program,” Warner said. “Provided he gives us enough information to take down his boss and any arms of the Yakuza operating in America.”
“If his bosses don’t kill him and his family once he’s out,” Glenn said not quite under his breath.
“That bridge can be crossed when we get to it,” Warner said. “We can pull him out quietly and locate his family in secret.”
“And you think these two will just come willingly?” Peter asked. “I’d be taking a huge risk even approaching them.”
“Wells agrees that there is no other way without them,” Glenn said. “Both of them have very long-term sentences. What we’re offering them is a vacation compared to life inside Havenville.
“But there’s always the worm in the apple,” Peter said.
“Remember who you’re working for,” Glenn said crossly. “These are criminals we’re talking about. Both wouldn’t live to see the outside otherwise. You offer the deals, and you do it how we presented it. You take the risk because it’s a necessary risk. It’s not your job to question orders.”
“But he is the one on the inside,” Warner said. “Not you, Ed. Everything will be on Frost’s discretion once he’s inside. If these two aren’t approachable it’s Frost and Well’s call.”
Peter held back a smile for his boss.
“I would just hope Agent Frost would want to do all in his power to succeed his mission,” Glenn said.
“I will,” Peter said.
Wolfsky’s anxiety over Xander’s extended stay in The Hole was growing worse every day. Xander wasn’t even halfway through his stint, and things in Havenville were going from bad to worse.
Word was out that Lockhart had killed himself while in Max Lockup. The information from Wolfsky’s network was sketchy, but the rumor was that he somehow hung himself with the elastic from his underpants. This worried Wolfsky since he knew that Xander was worried about Lockhart’s entrance into Havenville. What mattered more was that Xander had said The Warden would be faking Lockhart’s death before some big plans. It seemed those plans were now in motion.
Wolfsky’s network had began to quickly dry up as well following the death of Chaplain Freeman days before. He could still trust Rohan, but without The Chaplain to guide them, the other followers were disappearing one by one. Wolfsky still saw them around, but he didn’t get a greeting or even a nod from them like before. He knew before long he’d be on his own. At this rate he’d be completely useless once Xander was out of The Hole.
There was one light in the dim future of Havenville. The Chaplain had secured one last package before his death. Wolfsky knew of it, and knew where the Chaplain would hide it if he wasn’t able to sneak away with it. He would go retrieve it himself, but the guards were all over the chapel under the pretense of finding Chaplain Freeman’s murder, but Wolfsky knew they were really looking for any contraband or clues as to what was really going on at Our Lady of Forgotten Sorrows. It was only a matter of time before they found the trap door under the altar.
If Wolfsky couldn’t get in he knew there was only one person in Havenville that could.
Wolfsky met Tajiri in the mess hall during breakfast the following morning. The spoke in hushed voices and didn’t look at each other. Nobody could overhead unless their ears were trained to listen. Nobody outside of someone who had trained their senses like Wolfsky and Tajiri had would even pick up that the two were deep in conversation over sloppy oatmeal and stale toast.
“Can you break into the chapel at night?” Wolfsky asked.
Tajiri thought for a moment while chewing on his toast. “No,” he said. “It’s too risky with the outside guard and the dogs. Even if I go unseen the dogs will pick up my scent.”
“How about during daylight?” Wolfsky asked. “We’re usually allowed access to that area via the rec yard.”
“Not after Freeman’s murder,” Tajiri said. “The guards have been all over it. What do you need so badly?”
“Wolfsky doesn’t know,” Wolfsky said. “The Chaplain had ordered a shipment before he died. It should have been there the same day. He didn’t know if his contacts on the outside would provide it, but he asked any way. If we’re lucky it’s still in the chapel.”
“You don’t think the guards found it?” Tajiri asked.
“Wolfsky doesn’t know,” Wolfsky said. “If they haven’t it’s only a matter of time until they do. If it’s in there it’s in the trap door concealed behind the altar. Wolfsky can provide a distraction with Leonard’s help. Once the guard’s attentions are focused elsewhere you can slip in, check the trap door, and get out.”
“This will have to be a huge distraction,” Tajiri said. “You sure you don’t want to wait for Xander?”
“This can’t wait,” Wolfsky said. “Xander still has eleven days left in The Hole. They’ll find that trap door any day now.”
“I’ll talk to Leonard,” Tajiri said. “We’ll shoot for tomorrow or the next day right before lunch. I’ll have him hook up with you, and I’ll be waiting in the rec yard.”
“Thank you,” Wolfsky said. “There’s one more thing Wolfsky needs while you’re in there.”
“What?” Tajiri asked.
“After you have the package, burn the chapel to the ground.”
Peter’s final days with his family weren’t easy for any of them. The smallest comment made towards his wife set her off in a rage, Christian was now hiding from both of them since he was now a topic of long arguments, and Peter was starting to side with his wife in her arguments against him.
When he wasn’t being avoided by his family, Peter Frost spent his time training his mind to become Xander Zane: Small time thug and house robber. Soon to be just another face in the general population of Havenville Penitentiary. His temper was short as he made the transformation. It was probably a good thing his family was staying away. He was becoming more and more Xander every day.
“We need to talk,” Wendy said entering Peter’s basement office where Xander Zane was doing pull ups.
“Now you want to talk?” Xander said. He was aware he wasn’t shedding the Zane persona and didn’t care.
“Who am I talking to?” Wendy asked.
“Me,” Xander said. “Your husband. The guy you’ve been hiding from.” Xander isn’t one to take lip from his woman.
“Hiding from?” Wendy said. “I don’t want you biting our heads off! You always get like this before an assignment.”
“Do you have a point?” Xander asked getting annoyed. He still had preparation to make before his trial.
“You’re a real piece of shit,” Wendy said. “You know that, don’t you?”
“You’ve said it before,” Xander said. “You’re no walk in the park either.”
“Excuse me?” Wendy said raising her voice. “You do realize your son and I are leaving because of this job YOU took. We don’t even know where! For all I know I’ll be living on the moon.”
“It’s a year and a half,” Xander said. “You’ll all be fine.”
“I don’t like this attitude of yours,” Wendy said. “When the year and a half is over, we’re done. When I’m allowed to rejoin my real life, I don’t want you a part of it. That’s it. I’m through living like this, Peter. I’m done with secret agent bullshit.”
Xander walked up to his wife staring her in the eyes. He could see the fear in them, but she didn’t back down. There would be tears later, but for now she stood her ground.
Xander liked it that way.
He grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her face towards his. He kissed her fiercely and didn’t let got. He could feel her trying to pull away, but she didn’t stop kissing him. He hoped she wouldn’t let up, and he had no intention of stopping. Xander was about to go away for a long time, and wanted one more piece before he left for good.
Before long, Wendy stopped fighting and went into it. She fell into Xander and the two fell to the floor stripping each other’s clothes off. She had never made love to Peter so wildly, and Peter had never done the things that Xander did on that cold basement floor.
When the act was done Xander rose and put his jeans back on. He pulled a shirt over his sweaty torso and began to walk up the stairs.
“This doesn’t change anything,” Wendy said from behind him.
“Doesn’t have to,” Xander said. “I just wanted you one last time.”
“What are we to do with Zane now?” Kit Marshall asked. “I can have the Ten of Clubs finish him off like the last one. They’re all upset that I wouldn’t let them have another shot at him after the last time. They’d love to take him out for you.”
“I think not,” Warden Greene said absentmindedly rubbing his chin with his fingers. “Mr. Zane is with us for the long haul now, gentlemen. He was so intent on being here for my grand unveiling, I see it a waste to allow him to miss it.”
“How can you be sure Slate was successful in taking out everything in Zane’s former life?” Dr. Dean asked.
“I am quite sure,” Warden Greene said. “I put my faith in Ms. Slate, and you should as well. The result she has rendered since I sent her outside my gates has been impeccable.”
“But her cover is blown,” Marshall said.
“Indeed it is,” Warden Greene said. “She is now completely useless. Even the Doctors say any more surgery will likely kill her. Even so, it was worth it to discover the secrets she uncovered and put an end to so many buzzing insects.”
“But Zane,” Dr. Dean said. “He shouldn’t be allowed to live.”
“Are you deaf?” Warden Greene asked. “Xander Zane poses no threat to me whatsoever. Perhaps Peter Frost of the FBI could have done some significant damage, but where is he? He no longer seems to exist! There is no Peter Frost. There are no records of him at his headquarters. What’s left of the headquarters anyway. He has no family. No life. Peter Frost is dead.”
“I’ll hear no more,” Warden Greene said. “The worst torture I can do to Mr. Zane is leaving him alive to live with what he’s become. He has twenty one years to think about how he tried to come in here and play this game with me. Well, as far as he knows he’ll be here twenty one more years. If he survives what’s coming, that is.”
Warden Greene laughed as a chill rose through Kit Marshall and Dr. Dean’s spines.
“What about his friends?” Kit Marshall asked. “The guys he’s been spotted with.”
“Whom are you referring to?” Warden Greene asked.
“Wolfsky, Leonard Kelly, and Kai Tajiri,” Dr. Dean said. “A troublesome trio if they rally behind Zane.”
“I could care less about them,” Warden Greene said losing his smile. “Do as you wish with them. Just make sure you do it quickly before Zane’s back in the general population.”
“You be good to you mother,” Peter said to Christian. “I’ll be by to get you guys soon. You just sit tight and do as she says.”
“I don’t want you to go!” Christian said. “I don’t want to change my name and leave. I want to stay here with you and mommy.”
Peter looked over at Wendy who was watching this with her arms crossed. She even refused to warm back up to Peter even in their last moments before his assignment began. She hadn’t even spoken to him since the time they were together on the basement office floor.
“I have to go,” Peter said willing the tears not to come. In a matter of minutes he’d have to once again put Peter Frost aside and become someone else. Another man he hated.
Christian hugged Peter so suddenly he almost knocked him over. “We’ll be a family again, right? When you come back we can all be a family again.”
Peter didn’t have to look at Wendy to know she was shaking her head. No matter how bad Christian may have wanted it, Peter didn’t think they’d be a family again. As much as he hoped Wendy would come around after his mission was over, he knew the marriage was done. The damage he caused this time around was catastrophic.
“We have to go, Christian,” Wendy said. “Get in the car.”
“Goodbye, Daddy,” Christian said pulling away from his father. “Be safe.”
“You too,” Peter said ruffling Christian’s hair. “You better get going.”
Christian nodded and ran into the car.
Peter stood up and looked at Wendy who still had her sunglasses on and her arms crossed. “I guess this is goodbye,” he said.
Without saying a word she turned and got into the back of the black FBI SUV. The door slammed shut, and it sped off bringing Peter Frost’s family somewhere he didn’t know where. He wouldn’t even be able to say he was sorry for a year and half.
Putting his mindset back into that of the criminal Xander Zane, he stepped into the car that would take him to the courthouse where he would be tried for crimes he never committed.
“I pronounce you guilty,” the Judge announced to the almost empty courtroom. “I sentence you eighteen months in Havenville Penitentiary with no chance of parole.”
Xander kept his head down low. He knew what the outcome of this farce of a trial would be, but he had to act the part. He was placed in handcuffs and led to a cell in the back of the courtroom. The bus would be pulling up soon to take him to his final destination: Havenville Penitentiary.
Xander looked up from his cot at the walls of The Hole. He felt the name was unfair since he felt like he was in a box rather than a hole. He had no idea of the passage of time since sleep came to him randomly. He had no idea if he slept for hours or days when sleep did come. When he did sleep he dreamed of Wendy and Christian who were now dead because of him. Murder by some Agent of The Warden. Rockwell.
A sneer appeared on Xander’s face. He realized that The Warden had succeeded in killing Peter Frost, but he wouldn’t be successfull in breaking Xander Zane. Once he got out he vowed to find Rockwell and kill him. Once he was done with Rockwell he would go after The Warden and anyone that got in his way. Marshall. Dean. They were all dead men. No matter what it took. If anything occupied Xander Zane’s mind once he was done torturing himself with the final moments of his time with his family it was vengeance.
And Xander Zane had all the time in the world for it.