Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chapter 8 - Life in the slow lane

The court case wouldn’t begin for a few more weeks so I had to bide my time and allow myself to slip into the routine of prison life until then. As a category A remand prisoner I wasn’t permitted to join a work detail, this meant I had to spend most of each day alone in my cell. This wasn’t so bad now I had a friend in the library and Bungle kept me well stocked with new things to read. I’ve always been a voracious reader and now I had plenty of time.

Besides meal times the high points of the day was the brief exercise period in the morning and then association time in the evening. Exercise was held in the yard outside the wing, the cold weather had now drawn in, but despite the cold it was good to stretch the legs and chat with the other prisoners.

There was the option of going to the gym instead of the yard, but I’ve never needed any help in keeping fit and the guards watch us more closely in the gym. In the yard it was easier to find a quiet area where we could talk without being over heard.

The association periods in the evening lasted only for an hour and provided more time for me to get chatting with the others. In one corner of the hall where we mingled was an old television. The choice for viewing was quite limited and unfortunately we couldn’t switch the channels, so it was usually Eastenders or some other dross that was shown. Not the sort of thing I liked to watch, but it was surprisingly popular with the others. I guess watching anything is better than staring at a cell wall.

As well as the TV there were tables with various games like chess, draoughts and cards that we could play. I’d not really played chess as a child, but found that I enjoyed it and seemed to have a natural ability for it. Although it’s quite a bit easier if you know what moves your opponent was about to play. Still I rarely used these glimpses, I quite enjoyed the challenge of it. There’s a purity to it, the only random element are the people playing.

Those two hours a day helped break the monotony of the daily routine and also allowed me to get to know my fellow prisoners better. It was vital for me to know who was capable of what, who could be relied upon and who would need more convincing.

For the remaining twenty two hours a day I was locked in my cell. As well as reading I spent considerable time thinking of my plan and I came to realise that I had miscalculated. I wasn’t worried about the court battleas I didn’t need to worry about the actual case. I did not expect nor want to win. I just wanted to put on a good show. The final stand in the prison was another matter. I had not realised how separate the different parts of the prison were. It would be easy to take over the wing, but for my last stand I wanted something more visible. Something so big it couldn’t be hidden away. For that to be certain I would need to take over the whole prison.

I had used my limited time and contact with the prisoners to good effect. When I decided to act most of them would be with me. Some through their natural inclinations, others through the implanted impulses I placed into their minds. When the time came those impulses would take effect and they would do what was needed.

I also did the same with the guards, but here I had a problem. Officer Hammond was taking too much of an interest. I needed the guards to be able to take the whole prison, if I was unable to seal the main gates, reinforcements could rapidly be brought in and my insurrection would be quickly squashed. More importantly without the contact with the outside world it would be stopped quietly and without the fanfare I wanted.

Officer Hammond was indeed interfering with this plan. He was always around and watching me closely. He would interrupt as I tried to converse with the other guards and his very presence was proving to be a disruptive influence. I had no idea how he was doing it, but my impulses seemed to be weakened by him being nearby.

I tried a more direct approach with him, once again entering his mind. As before he just let me slip straight in. I could see whatever I wanted, his childhood memories, his postings with the marines even the little thoughts he kept hidden from himself. It did no good, I could do nothing with them. There was no give in him, I tried introducing new thoughts, to disrupt his usual thinking, to probe for some weakness. Nothing would work, the alien thoughts just wouldn’t fit into his mindscape. That rock that anchored his thinking just would not budge.

I needed to get him out of the way, the mental attack wasn’t working, so it would have to be a physical assault. Tempting as it was to do it personally I didn’t need the complication just yet., but I had plenty of willing volunteers to hand.

The attack took place as we were being locked back into our cells. Three prisoners from the other hallway on the same level ambushed him. Two grabbed him while the third tried to stab him. He responded quickly taking one down before he was stabbed in the arm. He took down the other trying to hold him before being stabbed in the stomach and then reinforcements arrived. It was with some relief I watched him fall, clutching his wound.

With Hammond out of the way I stepped up my campaign planting impulses into the guard’s minds. Two days later, while lying in my cell, the door opened and Hammond was standing there. He smiled at me as he told me that my court date had been set and that I needed to attend in three days for the trial to begin.

His smile dropped as he turned to leave and glancing back before shutting the door said. “Nice try by the way”. And he left me to my thoughts.

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