Yes, I'm back with another Dark Life story... I can't help it... it's a great book and this story had to be told... There shouldn't be too much stuff like swear words and gory details... pretty much like the book itself, like my other story for this category... Enjoy!
Inmates to Outlaws
Richard is not having a good day. Actually this whole week has gone terribly. First Ms. Spinner accuses him of stealing space which is apparently the worst crime he could ever commit. Then she had him arrested for it. All he wanted to do is show his little sister Gemma a good time. Really. All he did was pick the lock to one of the quality time rooms so they could have a little quality time of their own. Of course that was a big no-no since he had no money to pay for the room and no parents to pay for the room either. Today is the day he realized that he should never trust the Commonwealth. They don't care for anyone but themselves.
Once he was in the police station, they had his finger prints documented, his eyes scanned for retina identification, a sample of blood taken for DNA testing, his picture taken next to a wall marker, marking his height. He remembers that the officers asked him a lot of questions. Parents, family, birthday which happened to be the day he was arrested. He had just turned fourteen.
After all that was finished, he was sent away to a reformatory or a jail, whatever pronunciation you prefer. It would probably be stacked full to the roof as were all buildings since the Rising. There was never enough space in the world anymore which is probably why he's in a submarine right now, diving deeper into the ocean as they speak.
The guards never told him and the other young boys, who were criminals, where the reformatory was. They had simply given them all an orange prison jumper with a number on the front. Richard thought that the orange colour was too bright.
Right now Richard is sitting on one of the seats in the sub with his hands in chains, resting on his knees. One of the guards walks past him; giving him an evil glare like Richard had killed his mother or something. Richard is no murderer. He just stole space which is practically killing someone, apparently.
He sighs and slouches forward, hands resting on his knees still. He looks at all the other boys who are travelling with him. He's one of the oldest. All the other boys are a few years younger than him. The youngest is probably ten. The oldest is probably fifteen or close to it. In total there are ten boys sitting quite still with their wrists encased in sliver manacles. This day just keeps getting better and better.
Whenever one of the boys talks, a guard arrives to shush them up. Sometimes they just give them a look or they give them a smack upside the head. Richard knows better and keeps quiet.
The dive isn't that long and soon they arrive to the reformatory which happens to be underwater. Richard has never heard of such a thing. Reformatories are always above water. Always. Something doesn't even feel right and he hasn't even set foot in the prison… reformatory, whatever.
"Listen up, you little brats!" one of the guards yelled. "I'm not going to take any of your crap from now on. I own every single one of you and you will obey my orders here in my prison. If you break any of my rules, I'll tell you what I'll do to you. We have a thing called the 'hole.' And in the hole there is absolutely nothing in their except a rubber mat for a bed. If you go against my rules, you stay in the 'hole' for a week. Continue bad behaviour and you get two weeks. You don't get let out, no one talks to you. Do I make myself clear?"
The boys around Richard shift nervously. They say nothing and the Warden of the prison smiles. "Good," he says. "You're already on your way to a better and brighter future already. Stand up!" All the boys obey and they stand. "Welcome to Seablite!" The side doors on the sub slide open. Richard is led into the new prison first. It has a clean smell of freshly paved cement and bathroom cleaners. And maybe a hint of new car smell but he isn't exactly sure.
The ten boys are led out of the sub single file. The prison is two stories, built into a square. They are in the side of the prison that has a pool of water for the subs to reside in. Dive suits are handing from the walls in this room along with green liquid packages. All of the gear looks so alien to Richard. He knows that people actually live on the ocean floor but still it's a weird concept to him, even this whole underwater prison is strange.
The cells where the boys will be staying are on the second floor of the prison. He counts at least twenty cells to be up there. A small prison yes but it is better than a stacked prison Topside.
On the first floor of the prison are tables where the inmates are allowed to eat when they are out of their cells. Two plain gray doors are directly are set at the far end of the first floor. He assumes that's what the Warden meant by the 'hole.' Other doors surround the main floor. Most of them you can't see into them but so far nothing looks too suspicious. This prison might not be so bad after all. Richard got lucky with scoring a place like this.
The guard leading Richard shows him to a cell. He steps in and waits. Another boy steps in as well and the barred door slides shut. "Step forward," the guard commands. Both boys in the cell do and hold out their wrists through the cell door. The guard takes out a set of keys and unlocks their shackles. He soon leaves.
Richard turns around and looks at the cell he's in. Two bunk beds are on either side of the wall. A small bathroom is set to the side of the room with just a toilet and a mirror hanging on the wall above a small sink. Upon further inspection, he finds two, large, plastic containers underneath each bunk, probably to store stuff in.
As if on cue, some of Richard's belongings are slipped into the cell along with sets of clothes. Both the boys in the cell were given two extra sets of clothes to wear underneath the prison jumper which consists of a white t-shirt and a pair of thin, white shorts. White and orange. Richard feels like a creamsicle.
He runs his hand through his hair and set his clothes down in the plastic container he claims as his. His personal belongings consist of a much worn book that once belonged to his father and a picture of Gemma. He smiles as he thinks of her. Then he loses his smile. She's all alone now. He's no longer there to guide her and protect her. She's all alone.
He sits down on the bottom bunk as does his younger cell mate. The boy across from him is probably two years younger than him. His shaggy blond hair rests just above his icy blue eyes. The kid tucks his hands under his arms and looks down at the floor. They're silent for a moment until Richard asks him a question.
"What's your name?" he asks and rubs his hands together.
"Peter," he answers quickly but refuses to meet Richard's gaze. "Yours?"
"Richard. Guess we're cell mates for now."
"So," he says. "What are you in for?"
Peter scratches behind his ear. "I pulled a knife out on someone." Then quickly adds after seeing Richard's face. "In self defense. The lady screamed at me. I didn't even touch her."
"What were you trying to do?"
"Lift her purse. She was rich lady and it's not like she would've noticed. Then she screamed and now I'm here. What about you?"
"I stole space," he answers dryly. "Apparently that's one of the worst crimes ever."
Peter raises an eyebrow. "Really? That's all you did?"
Richard nods. "I guess we're both going to be stuck in here for a while."
They run out of things to talk about and remain quiet. It's silent in the prison. Richard can hear the structure creaking and groaning from the ocean currents. That noise is certainly going to keep him from sleeping tonight.
They sit there for many hours, not saying anything to each other. Richard often paces around in the small cell. He leans against the cell door and looks around. Every other cell is filled with two boys. None of them are talking. He watches the guards silently commune with one another. It is going to be a very long day of just standing around doing nothing.
The only thing that happens during that whole day is when the cell doors slide open and the boys walk down to the tables. They stand in a line next to the kitchen and receive a tray of food for dinner. They even have assigned seating. Richard sits down at table one since he resides in cell one and looks down at his meal. It's a standard meal that consists of mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and a piece of meat. In this case the meat is fish. Peter sits down beside Richard and looks down at his own meal. He barely eats any of what is given to him.
"You should eat," Richard says.
"I don't feel like it," he says and pushes away his tray.
Richard finishes his food, feeling satisfied since it's the best meal he's had in days. Peter eventually stands up and turns in his tray before going up to the cell. Richard soon follows since there's nothing else to do when he's allowed out of his cell.
He finds Peter lying down on his bunk. He looks at the top bunk of the other bunk bed and jumps up to it. He pulls out the picture of Gemma and sticks it against the wall near his pillow.
Peter doesn't move for a long time. He just continues to lie there on his bed. He doesn't even look at the cell door when it closes. Toiletries arrive through the cell door. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, wash cloths, toilet paper, soap. Everything that's considered essential.
Richard gets ready for bed while Peter continues to lie on his bed. When he walks back into the main part of the cell, Peter is there looking up at him. The younger boy quickly wipes his cheeks with the back of his hand and sniffles.
"You okay?" Richard asks.
Peter doesn't say anything and steps into the bathroom. Richard decides it'll be best to ask him later when he settles in. He jumps up onto his bed and stares up at the ceiling. It's still pretty quiet in the prison. No one speaks as they try to adjust to the new prison life. So far it hasn't been so bad. Dare he say it but he would actually prefer the prison than Ms. Spinner. At least the guards don't keep telling him how much of a screw up he is. Maybe he can make this place work to his advantage.
Peter returns from the bathroom and switches off the light in the cell, making it go dark. Richard heard him climb into his own bed and settle down for the night. He sniffles once more and doesn't make another sound for the entire night.
Richard slips under his blankets and folds his hands under his head. The light outside the cell continues to dim until it's mostly dark outside. He can hear the water push past the window in the cell, the low creaks and groans of the structure, and other sounds he's never heard of before. The ocean is different compared to Topside. It's certainly something to get used to but other than that it's an interesting place to be.
The one thing that Richard doesn't like about the prison was that the sounds keep him awake and he doesn't sleep.