Chapter 20: The War Begins
“Throw it!” little Christian yelled as he ran away from his father.
Peter grasped the frisbee and brought it back. “You sure you’re ready?” he asked across the green grass of the park.
“Throw it, daddy!” Christian yelled as he began running.
Peter tossed the frisbee in the direction Christian was running. He knew as soon as the frisbee was halfway between them that Christian wasn’t looking where he was running and the he would collide with the hard plastic dish. The frisbee bounced from Christian’s forehead, and he wailed with the tenacity of a four year old who thought his minor injury was the worse he’d ever face.
“DADDY!” Christian yelled as he sat down on the warm grass. His sobs echoed through the park.
“Let me see,” Peter said as he picked up his son. “That’s not that bad. You won’t even get a bump.”
Peter’s words did nothing to console his crying son. He saw his wife, Wendy, approaching from the corner of his eye. “Lunch is ready,” she said. “Anyone want a peanut butter and fluff sandwich?”
“Peanut butter fluff!” Christian shouted as his injury was instantly forgotten. Peter put him down and he ran towards the picnic blanket and lunch. Wendy gave her husband a smile and went to the blanket herself.
Peter joined his wife and son on their blanket for a lunch of sandwiches fruit punch. When lunch was done, Christian tried to catch grasshoppers while Peter sat with his wife leaning against him. Nothing felt better. He felt horrible that he would be going undercover into a meth ring in six weeks’ time and still hadn’t told Wendy. He decided to wait a little while longer. There was no need to spoil such a perfect moment.
“I love you, Mrs. Frost,” he said giving her a small squeeze.
“I love you, Mr. Frost,” Wendy replied. “We should get going soon. Christian should be exhausted.”
“One more minute,” Peter said. “I’m enjoying this.”
“OK,” Wendy said. “One more minute.”
Xander watched the guard towers from the rec yard. It was only seconds since he issued his final warning to the guards, but it felt like hours. Some of the guns aimed at the army of inmates wavered and went inside. Others seemed to move towards him directly. He handed the phone back to Leonard for safe keeping.
“Xander?” El Niño asked from Xander’s side. “What’s the order?”
“Attack,” Xander said.
“The towers!” El Niño shouted. Suddenly glass bottles and canisters were thrown towards the towers. Flames and smoke bombs obstructed the view of the marksmen and they retreated to the inside. Xander had the hopes that they wouldn’t return, but he knew not all of them would accept his ultimatum. There would be those who would fight for Havenville and its insane keeper.
Bullets came wildly thought the smoke and flames of the towers. Some found their marks in the inmates, but it only intensified the rage of the others. The inmates climbed up the side of the towers with hooks and picks provided by Leonard and entered through the windows. Once inside, they fought with tenacity that Xander could not see.
The guards weren’t the only ones with guns. The inmates were armed with the weapons Tajiri and Leonard provided as well. They fired the rifles (mostly with the salt pellets) into the guards that came rushing into the yard. The pellets weren’t enough to do any real damage, but it bought enough time so that they could be stunned or beaten unconscious by the inmates. Xander tried not to feel too bad for the general population guards. He did warn them, after all.
The inmate’s weapon cache grew with each guard that was either beaten down or gave up their weapons and willfully marched into a cell with their hands in the air. Xander and the inmates stayed true to their word that no guard that surrendered would be killed. Any of the population that didn’t want to be involved in Xander’s fight also locked themselves in their cells. Some unarmed guards even got put in cells already occupied by some of the scared inmates. It was an odd sight to see.
The towers were taken fairly quickly, but Xander knew this would be the easier phase of taking over the prison. The step after this would be much harder. Now that the cell blocks, the yards, and the towers were taken, the next step would be marching to Max Lockup and pitting his army against Warden Greene’s elite guards. Once they got inside Max Lockup they’d face the unknown forces along with whatever Greene would try and throw at them.
It was going to be a long day.
Wolfsky looked up from his bed and saw the guards rushing down the hall with assault rifles in their arms, and he knew it already began. He got up and walked to his plexiglass doors and looked up and down. He expected Dr. Dean to be among those rushing back and forth, but he imagined the good doctor was huddled under some desk somewhere praying for his life. It didn’t matter to Wolfsky where Dean was hiding. He had done his part, and could die with whatever amount dignity he desired.
Wolfsky took one step back form his cell door and kicked out hard. The plexiglass doors didn’t move much under the weight of Wolfsky’s kick, and a light above his cell began to flash. He kicked it four times in quick succession before the door flew from the front of the small cell. Once free, Wolfsky rolled under the sensor of the automatic gun on the wall that was searching for him. He reached above him, grabbed the gun, and pulled with all his might. He felt as he would rip his arms from their sockets, but luckily the gun came free from the wall before it could fire. He tossed the useless gun to the ground where it put a small dent. He then walked down the block hugging the wall.
Max Lockup was still alien to Wolfsky. He didn’t know it as well as he knew the general population blocks, but he did have a great sense of direction. He knew if he moved in the direction he was moving he would find the stairwells that would lead him downwards to the subbasement of Havenville where the doctors operated and the Warden and Lockhart did their sick experiments. Wolfsky was interested in getting down there and shutting down the Warden’s operations, but not before getting a small army together of his own.
All he needed to start was a set of keys from one of the guards on this floor.
“Freeze,” a guard behind Wolfsky shouted. “One more and you’re dead!”
“What’s our next move?” Tajiri asked. They were back inside the main cell blocks of the general population. All the guards were either beaten, killed, or locked in the cells. The various weapon cache’s were emptied and divvied out per Leonard’s orders. This part of Havenville Penitentiary now belonged to Xander Zane.
“The only other target is Max,” Xander said. “The elite guard will be sure to fight us between here and there. After that we have to expect some shit like we saw the day of the riot.”
“It nearly killed the four of us,” Tajiri said. “After it killed six skinheads, it nearly took Wolfsky’s head off. I’m lucky I didn’t pass out from exhaustion just dodging its blows. How many more of those do we stand to face?”
“I have no idea,” Xander answered. “But we have bigger numbers and better weapons this time around.”
“I hope you’re right,” Tajiri said. “We can’t count on Leonard’s brain to get us out of another fight like that one.”
“Can’t we?” Xander asked thinking.
“How many assault rifles did we get?” Leonard asked as the guns and ammunition came out of the guard towers and into the yard. Things were quiet, but Leonard knew they wouldn’t be for long.
“Twenty four,” a skinhead said carrying one of her shoulder. “Some are locked up too tight. We’re working on opening the cabinet of small arms. Not not a lot of ammo for any of ’em if we can’t find a key or break it open. We’ll be lucky if we don’t end up tossing the guns before we’re done.”
“It’s still a lot more than what we planned on working with,” Leonard said. “Keep at those locks. Try and find a guard with keys. Bastards probably flushed them down a toilet. Where’s El Niño?”
“Right here, boss,” El Niño said coming up behind Leonard. “Xander said you were looking for me.”
“Good,” Leonard said. “Did you get the bus?”
“We got it,” El Niño said beaming. “All gassed up and ready. There’s nowhere to really drive to, though. Not with the main gates still locked up.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Leonard said. He took a folded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to El Niño.
El Niño opened up the paper and looked it over. “Are you serious?” he asked. “Can we really do this?”
“Yes,” Leonard said. “Most of those materials are around the yard and garages. Flip the paper over and there’s a list of locations you can find them. It’ll be crude, but we only need it to work once. Take four guys with you. That should be enough. No more than six or you’ll be climbing over each other.”
“Shit,” El Niño said. “You crazy, man. I’m on it.”
Getting into the guard’s control room was the hard part. Wolfsky only needed to pull the-wall mounted guns from the wall near his own cell. Once he was out, he was able to easily dodge the others. Once he had a tag from the dead guard’s chest that identified him as non-hostile, he was able to move around easier as long as the badge wasn’t deactivated. Wolfsky guessed he had ten minutes before he’d be in danger again.
The computerized controls were tricky, but Wolfsky was able to figure them out easily. He supposed he could have gotten it done quicker, but the killed every guard that got in his way. If he let any guard live it would mean the end of his little crusade to help Xander from inside Max Lockup.
Xander hit the button that would release the inmates that he was passing messages to via Dr. Dean. The inmates left their plexiglass cells cautiously. Quite a few looked as if they expected the guns to start firing on them, but Wolfsky deactivated them first. When he was done with his task, he left the security office. Once he was outside of the door he ripped the panel off the wall. It tore from the metal wall in a shower of sparks and smoke.
Wolfsky walked with his newly obtained stun gun ahead of him to collect his troops.
“What in the name of God is going on out there?!” Warden Greene shouted. He was watching his wall of monitors as the general population took over. “I thought you were going to take care of Zane?”
“I did,” Marshall said. “I made a spectacle of it like you asked too. The Ten of Clubs approached him in the Mess Hall. All of them! We had no idea Zane gathered so much backup.”
“You idiot!” Greene shouted throwing his lamp at Marshall who had to move to keep from getting hit in the head. “You should’ve put a bullet in his head! You trust these animals to take care of each other? I asked you to do this! Not to delegate it!”
“I’m sorry -”
“Get out of my sight,” Greene said. “He’s coming for Max. He’s coming for me. Get out there and stop him or die trying.”
Warden Greene sat down in his chair and waited silently for Marshall to walk out of his office. “I’m so close,” he said. “So close.”
Greene massaged his temples for a moment before picking up his phone. “Get me Lockhart,” he said.
“How are we looking?” Xander asked Leonard. He had spent the last ten minutes making sure the injured were tended to and the remainder was getting into formation to lead to Max.
“The bus should be ready on time,” Leonard replied. “We got more guns than we expected but not too much ammo. I’m urging the men to use only when it’s necessity. Not too many injuries.”
“The towers are ours,” Tajiri said. “We’ve secured them. Any guard or Havenville employee is bound or locked up. We won’t have any more problems from our perimeter.”
The main gates slowly opened, and Xander turned to look with the others. “What’s going on?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Leonard replied. “Could someone in the towers have opened them?”
“Some of the inmates could be using the chaos as an excuse to escape,” Tajiri said.
“Idiots,” Leonard said. “Don’t they realize what’s out there?!”
Xander suddenly realized that he’d been way too focused on what was inside Havenville and never asked what surrounded it. “Leonard,” he nervously started. “What is out there?”
Leonard didn’t have a chance to answer. A large pack of wolves rushed in through the gate. Xander only registered the green and yellow collars before the wolves began attacking anyone unfortunate to get in their way.
“Holy shit!” Leonard yelled. Tajiri pushed Leonard behind him and took his small, curved sword from his belt scabbard.
“Tajiri,” Xander said getting his stun gun ready. “Get Leonard to the towers. Get those gates closed.”
Tajiri nodded once and started to move towards the towers with Leonard on his heels. A wolf lashed out from between two inmates, but Tajiri was one step quicker and cut the wolf’s throat open. The wolf fell to the ground where it died on its side with its leg twitching. The pair moved quickly towards the tower door.
Xander had to take his attention away from Tajiri and Leonard. The pack of gray wolves were tearing their way through the inmates. He aimed his stun gun at a wolf that was coming near him after ripping the throat from an inmate next to him and gave the beast a full dose. The wolf fell to the ground twitching and smoking.
The other inmates began to follow suit and started shooting whatever they had at the wolves. Salt rounds found their marks in the faces of wolves who started snarling and biting blindly. Inmates clubbed and slashed at the pack with whatever weapons they were holding, but more were coming in. Xander was horrified when he noticed what they were doing.
The wolves were surrounding their prey.
Wolfsky’s small group of solider made quick work of the Warden’s elite guards. Wolfsky had killed seven or so himself. His group started out with sixteen members, but he was down to eleven. They moved quickly and quietly. Wolfsky chose them specifically for this mission. He knew they were in here based on The Chaplain’s notes, and he made use of each one (minus those that had been taken for experiments).
Wolfsky approaches a door he was hoping to avoid, but decided to venture inside now that it was in front of his face. He tried the door handle and wasn’t surprise to find that the room had been locked from the outside. He pushed the door, and it opened under the pressure from his left arm. He let the door swing open slowly.
Here was the room where Wolfsky devised his plan to set Max Lockup into chaos from the inside. Here was where he spoke with Dr. Dean all those times and sent out messages to the inmates to let them know that Wolfsky was going to lead them into bloody glory. This was the empty office of Dr. Dean.
“Are you in, doctor?” Wolfsky asked the seemingly empty room.
Dr. Dean’s head popped up from behind his desk. “Wolfsky!” he said. “Thank God. I didn’t get out in time. I’m stuck until this fight is over.”
“Have you gotten word on what’s going on outside?” Wolfsky asked.
“It’s complete anarchy!” Dr. Dean said. “It’s Xander! He took over the general population and the towers. He’s really doing it!”
“Of course he is,” Wolfsky said stepping closer to Dr. Dean. “What’s the last thing you heard?”
“The inmates were laying in wait in the rec yards and common areas,” Dr. Dean said. “The Warden and his Elite Guards couldn’t figure out what they were planning next, so the Warden gave the order to override the main gate and let the wolves in.”
Wolfsky stopped. He knew of the packs of wolves that Warden Greene had under his control from The Chaplain. The woods outside the fortress walls of Havenville were more dangerous than inside. There were hidden cameras and guns as well, but The Warden liked his pets that circled the prison in search of fresh meat.
“He’s sick!” Dr. Dean said coming out from behind his desk. Wolfsky was a little shocked to see him so scared. He wasn’t even this shade of white when Wolfsky was threatening his life. “The Warden! This is only the tip of the iceberg! You have to get me out of here. Take me with you. Get me in a car and I can drive to safety. I’ll call for help. I’ll call the FBI! I swear I will. Please help me!”
Wolfsky reached out and wrapped his large fingers around Dr. Dean’s throat. “Wolfsky is done with you,” he said. “You are to blame for much of The Warden’s evil. You warped the minds of men to suit your own curiosities. You’re also a coward who won’t take the blame for his part in the Warden’s evils. Resolve yourself to die like a man, and Wolfsky will make it quick.”
Wolfsky relinquished his grip on Dr. Dean’s throat and he fell to the floor. He knelt on the floor in front of Wolfsky for a moment fighting the urge to crawl away and hide again, but he knew Wolfsky wouldn’t let him. He knew what this man was capable of, and didn’t want to find our how much pain he could really inflict.
Dr. Dean also knew that Wolfsky was right. The was only one absolution for his sins. He stood up and looked Wolfsky in the eyes. “Do it,” he said winning against the urge to curl up and sob. “Make it quick.”
Wolfsky’s hands turned into blurs, and Dr. Dean’s vision went black.
The wolves circled the large group of inmates. Xander was glad so many were inside the prison, and morbidly wondered who would lead the rest if he were to fall so early in his crusade to take Havenville and kill its master. Leonard? Tajiri? Would anyone take up his mantle, or would the Warden systematically kill each inmate in some twisted fashion or another?
Xander took aim with his stun gun again at the moving wolves. They picked up their pace and moved closer, herding the men as if they were doe. Xander took aim at a wolf, and fired the stun gun. At full blast it would nearly kill a full size human, and it made quick work of the wolf that died in a heap of fur and smoke. Two more charged Xander after he made his kill, and he quickly tossed down his stun gun while it recharged. He took the knife from his wrist and and readied himself for the attack.
Shots rang out in the yard. The two wolves that were approaching quickly on Xander were dead and bleeding by his feet. He looked up and saw the inmates that had taken the towers aiming sniper rifles and automatic weapons at the ground below.
“Fire!” Xander shouted. “Shoot them all!”
More shots rang out in the rec yard. The barrage of bullets cut through the circling pack of wolves. The men on the ground used their clubs, knives, or whatever they had to beat the wolves as they lunged and attacked. Xander wasn’t worried about the men getting hit by bullets. There was no time to do this carefully. He saw someone get hit in the leg with a bullet, and went down where three wolves quickly attacked, showing no remorse whatsoever for the wounded.
Xander bent and picked his stun gun again. He fired it into the three wolves that were thrashing their kill. At full blast, the stun gun was enough to get all three. Xander began to sweat as more bullets bit into wolf hides. They didn’t have much ammo, and they still needed to storm Max Lockup. Their efforts will end in death the Leonard couldn’t close the gate.
With the inmates raining bullets from the towers and the inmates fighting relentlessly, the wolves didn’t stand a chance. The problem was: there were just too many of them. A dead wolf was a drop in the bucket compared to a dead inmate. Xander needed every man he could get, and the wolves had already killed a dozen or more, and that was only what Xander could see from where he held his ground.
Xander turned and looked at the gate. It was closing! Leonard was able to override it up after all. A few more wolves rushed in as the large gates closed with a clank. The wolves on the opposite side began to howl, and Xander felt chills he had no time to feel run down his back.
The battle with the wolves didn’t last much longer. Once the gates were closed and the wolves’ numbers were thinned, they went from surrounding to attacking. A normal group of men would have been culled and killed easily, but these were not normal men. These were the inmates of Havenville Penitentiary.
“You wanted to see me?” Lockhart asked as if he didn’t know what was going on outside.
“Things changed,” Greene said. “We need to release them now.”
“They haven’t been properly tested yet!” Lockhart pleaded.
“This is the test!” Greene said. “We have a small hoard of inmates approaching us as we speak. If they survive the wolves and the Elite Guards at the gate, we need to be ready for them.”
“They can be ready in minutes,” Lockhart said. “Is it Zane?”
Greene’s face twisted. If any other man had asked him that in such a mocking tone he’d be dead, but Lockhart didn’t hold back when he spoke to Greene. It was one of the reasons he respected Lockhart so much. “Yes,” he answered. “It’s Zane.”
“He’s wilier than we thought,” Lockhart said. “I have one more weapon we can use to put an end to his existence before he gets to you.”
“I have a backup plan,” Greene said. “I always do.”
“But you’ll like this one,” Lockhart said. “You’ve been dying to try it.”
“Really?” Greene said. “He’s ready?”
“Oh yes,” Lockhart said smiling. It was clear he was actually relishing this moment. “The final John Smith is ready.”