Four Weeks Before Ransom Dragul Enters Prison City
A gavel pounds on the podium.
“We will have order in this meeting!” the Mayor yells over the ruckus of the building. “The motion to negotiate with the bus drivers who are on strike has been denied.”
“How are we supposed to get to work?”
“How are we supposed to feed our families?”
The gavel pounds again, “If there cannot be order in this meeting, I will have security clear the room of those without official business with the chamber. This city cannot afford to raise the salaries of all the bus drivers employed. We just do not have it in the budget, so unless you want your property taxes raised, please sit down and be quiet.”
“Mr. Mayor, I may have a solution to this problem, if I may.”
The Mayor squints down at the speaker, “Ah, Mr. Gaston. You are on the minutes for today’s meeting. You may approach the podium.”
As Sebastian Gaston rises from his seat and steps out in the aisle, we see Kyle Kline and Chris Letter seated next to him. Chris reaches out and pats Sebastian on the ass, “Go get ‘em, buddy,” he whispers.
Sebastian looks back at him, looking a tad annoyed. He buttons up his suit jacket as he approaches the podium, “Mr. Mayor. City council esteemed residents of our fine city. I would like to propose that you sell the property that is called Prison City to myself and my colleagues.”
Suddenly, there is murmuring in the chambers.
Sebastian continues, “I am looking for property to build housing for some of the wealthiest people in our city. Prison City would be an ideal location for this building.” Sebastian walks over to an easel and removes the covering to reveal the picture presentation underneath.
The picture shows a mighty tower, one hundred stories tall. “The taxes that this building would produce for this city would be astronomic,” he continues. “What funds does Prison City bring to this city? Nothing. Not a dime. In fact, it costs this city millions of dollars annually, when it could be bringing in millions of dollars annually.”
The Mayor and the rest of the counsel actually seem intrigued. The fact is, Sebastian has already met with the Mayor, and after donating a few million dollars to his reelection campaign, the Mayor was already on board with this proposal.
“It seems tempting,” the Mayor speaks up. “What of the residence of Prison City? We tore down the old prison that used to house them after we established it.”
Sebastian smirks, “It’s not like you aren’t on good terms with the governor, Mr. Mayor. I’m sure he’d be happy to send in the National Guard to help clear Prison City. Once it’s been cleared, we will be glad to pay top dollar for that property. What would you prefer? The stench coming from that location is already suffocating the rest of the city. Keep it as Prison City that costs the city money? Or turn it over to me, and we can make the city money?”
The vote was a mere formality, as the Mayor asks, “All in favor of Mr. Gaston’s proposal?”
The grins on the faces of Sebastian Gaston, Kyle Kline, and Chris Letter tell the tale as every member of the city council raises their hand.
Two Days Until The End of Prison City
Ransom Dragul was at the city council meeting. She tried to object and was told they would give her five days to find her mother, or the National Guard was coming in. Ransom couldn’t be for certain, but it certainly sounded as if the Guard would come in, wipe everyone out and reclaim Prison City. If her mother was here, Ransom had to find her before it was too late, and she became a casualty of the city’s greed.
As she crawled out of the back of the pickup, she winced at the pain she felt all over her body. She was covered in blood and bruises. The bruises were most definitely hers, the blood, well some of it was hers, but not all of it.
She takes in a deep breath, grabs her pack, and gingerly slips her arms through the straps and places it on her back. The backpack seems heavy on her shoulders today. She has a strong sense that she’ll make it to The Grand before the end of the day.
With a little limp in her step, Ransom moves towards the hotel.
Highway watches her leave and is now a hundred percent certain that she’s heading for the hotel. With a smirk, he starts to follow her when a rope wraps around his neck from behind, and he’s pulled down to the ground.
A large man with an eyepatch wraps his legs around Highway’s body and tried to choke him out. Highway tries to grab at the rope, but it’s pulling too tight. He can feel himself growing faint as his air is cut off. In desperation, he rams the tip of his elbow several times into the ribs of his attacker until he hears a crack, forcing the man behind him to let go.
Both men scramble to their feet, and Highway tries to catch his breath, but he immediately recognizes his attacker. “I remember you,” Highway says with a chuckle. “Nice patch, sport.”
“Watch your mouth, motherfucker,” Coughin responds. Coughin has plenty of reason to want to see Highway dead. That motherfucker jammed a finger into his eye, which is why he had to wear a makeshift patch over his eye. Not that Coughin hasn’t done his fair share of bad things inside of Prison City or outside, for that matter.
The riots that took place outside of city hall twelve years ago, that was organized by Coughin. The destruction caused that day cost the city millions of dollars, and Coughin was thrown into Prison City. He was barely in Prison City when Highway attacked him, blinding him in one eye.
Now, Coughin’s going to make sure he pays.
As the two standoff, Highway asks, “So, this is payback, is it? You sure you’re ready this time? I mean, you could always lose your second eye.”
“I said shut your fucking mouth, dickbag,” Coughin spits as he clutches at his side. His rib probably isn’t broken but is definitely cracked.
The two men charge at each other, and Highway takes a wild swing, Coughin ducks and drives a kick right into Highway’s midsection. Highway takes a couple of hard knees to the midsection and then a right hand to the face, forcing him back a few steps.
Highway comes back with a kick, but Coughin easily blocks it with his shoulder. Highway throws a punch that is also blocked by Coughin, and as the two fighters lock eyes, Coughin drives a fist right into the midsection, forcing all the air out of Highway’s lungs.
It’s apparent that the stomach is the target as Coughin grabs Highway by the shoulders and drives two hard knees right into the midsection. Coughin spins him around and nails him with a kick to the side, sending Highway crashing into some nearby trashcans.
“Stay down, fucknuts,” Coughin yells at him. “You might have gotten me once, but you’re no fucking match for me.”
Highway looks up at him and then scrambles to his feet in defiance. He charges in with some fists, but Coughin easily avoids them and drives a fist right to the face of his opponent. He goes to throw another, but Highway grabs the arm and punches the man right in the face.
Highway goes for a knee, but Coughin grabs him in a front-facelock and repeatedly drives his knees into the solar plexus. Highway grabs Coughin around the waist and drives him back first into a nearby wall and then spins him around and drops him down on the ground, and begins to throw punches from the top.
Coughin protects himself, deflecting each blow before he’s able to throw off Highway and mount him with some punches in return.
Highway takes several unanswered shots to the face before Coughin finally has had enough and gets to his feet. “Fucking pussy. I expected more of a fight.” He hocks up a large wad of saliva and spits it on the man before turning to walk away.
Highway rises from the ground and charges Coughin, who hears him and spins around right into a fist to the face, staggering him back. Coughin fires back with a shot to the gut, and then as Highway doubles over, a fist to the face.
Highway takes a knee to the midsection before he pushes Coughin away. He reaches up to wipe the blood from the corner of his mouth, “That all you got?” He motions for Coughin to bring more.
Coughin runs in and hits him in the face again. Highway blocks the second punch, grabs Coughin by the jacket, and punches him right in the face. The two exchange right hands back and forth until Highway ducks a punch and then strikes back with all of his strength, sending Coughin down to the pavement.
Coughin pushes himself up to his hands and knees, and Highway runs in and just punts Coughin right in the head. Highway drops down and grabs the fallen fighter by the head, and begins to bounce his face off the pavement. Each time Coughin’s face hits the road, it comes up bloodier and bloodier.
It gets to the point that Coughin cannot even fight back as he loses consciousness. Highway pulls him up and grabs his head with both hands, and as he screams into the air, he twists Coughin’s neck, the bones crunching loud.
Highway lets go, and Coughin falls face down onto the road, dead before slumping to the ground himself.
He lies there for a moment to catch his bearings and his breath before pushing himself back up. That woman has gotten a good lead on him, but perhaps he can catch up to her.
Cam looks down from the balcony atop of the Grand when she sees a woman walking towards the hotel that she doesn’t recognize. It’s been a long few days of longing. She misses Tila more than she ever imagined. She seems to see her lover everywhere she turns, but she knows it’s not real. Tila is gone, buried by Cam’s own hands.
“Come here,” she calls, and someone walks in from the hallway. “Yes?”
Cam motions over the side, “Do you recognize her? Does she live in the building?”
The woman walks over and looks over the side, and shakes her head. “She’s not a resident. But, there have been rumors running that a stranger is in Prison City and looking for you.”
Cam narrows her eyes as she surveys the woman walking. “Another fucking challenge? A fight is what I need right now.” She pushes past the other woman and heads towards the door.
Ranson stands in front of The Grand Hotel. She’s finally made it. A figure emerges from the doorway, catching her attention. She has been imagining this moment since she was old enough to understand what her mother did and why. And now, the moment of truth will tell all. Is she here? Is she still alive? Ransom moves to take a step through the gate when someone steps out of the building.
“Who are you, and why are you here? A challenge?” comes the woman’s voice.
Ransom would know that face anywhere, and it’s no surprise why the woman wouldn’t recognize her. All the pain and suffering Ransom has endured getting to this point in time was worth it as she looked into the eyes of her very own mother.
“Mom?” she says. “It’s me. Ransom.”
Cam pauses for a moment as she takes in the words of the stranger in front of her. No, not a stranger. Her daughter. “Ransom?” Cam says in return, voice cracking and tears fill her eyes.
“It’s me. I’ve come for you.”
Cam rushes down the hotel’s steps, and soon the two embrace one another, bawling as they hug each other tightly.
“Why? How?” Cam whispers into her ear.
“Mom, they’re gonna tear this place down. I think they’re going to kill everyone inside. You have to come back with me,” Ransom says to her as they hold each other tightly.
“What are you saying?” Cam asks as she pulls back, but her voice stops suddenly.
Ransom stands in front of her now with a knife sticking out of her neck. Cam looks on in horror as Ransom slowly reaches up for it and slowly wraps her hand around it.
Cam knows exactly what she’s going to do and starts to shake her head, “Don’t…” she starts to say but it’s too late.
With a tug, Ransom pulls out the knife, and blood begins to spray from her neck.
Then she slowly collapses to the ground, and standing behind her is Highway. Cam screams then drops to her knees and cradles her adult child, trying to put her hand over the wound, but the blood just seeps past her fingers.
Cam stares up at Highway, her daughter now dead, as her blood flows from her body onto the ground. “Why?”
“I needed to get your attention. The fact that she was your daughter was just a happy coincidence,” he tells her as he tosses the bag he’s been carrying down at her feet. “I really thought this would be enough to entice you into a fight.”
Cam is curious as she reaches for the bag and opens it, finding the decapitated head of Tila inside, and she screams out loud again.
Highway just laughs.
This was all too much for the King of Prison City. Her daughter and her lover, all on the same day. The same hour.
Anguish turns to anger for Cam as this man standing in front of her, who she can’t even remember laying eyes on before, has, in a matter of moments, turned her world upside down and inside out.
As she charges at him, he readies for the fight, and just as they are about to connect, the screen freezes.
TO BE CONTINUED
Cam JAZMIN DAVIS
Highway RIEL BUCK
Ransom CASS BAUMER
Coughin TREN DESCARRILADO
Sebastian Gaston SEBASTIAN EVERETT BRYCE III
Kyle Kline KYLE YOUNG
Chris Letter CHRIS MOSH
NEXT WEEK THE FINALE
SPECIAL PREVIEW: MADISON TOWER
A shot over the city opens the scene, and, in the distance, the magnificent structure known as Madison Tower is clearly seen. The camera switches to the brightly lit streets, and over Madison Tower, fireworks are going on to signify the one-year anniversary of the creation of the skyscraper that stands stories over every other building within sight.
As the camera peeks into the penthouse of Madison Tower, we follow Jessica Gaston walking towards her bedroom as she wraps her nightgown tightly around her and heads up the spiral staircase.
Outside, fireworks continue to decorate the sky as Jessica stands in front of the window and lets the robe fall down around her feet. She places earrings into her ears, and then her attendant zips up her elegant gown, then fastens the necklace around her neck.
As she fastens the second heel onto her foot and turns to leave, the servant gives her a respectful bow. Jessica picks up her purse on the way by.
The scene shifts to the celebration down in the party room off the foyer of Madison Tower. The residents are dancing, laughing, and having conversations. Sebastian Gaston is dancing with Zoey Kline, Chris and Angel Letter are dancing together. Amber Cian and Kyle Kline are chatting at the punch bowl.
Back up in the penthouse, Jessica gets onto the glass elevator. She presses the button for the 20th floor and then turns and looks straight ahead. The expression on her face is determination. She has been working herself up to make the announcement she plans to make tonight at the party, but she knows it’s going to cause a disruption in everyone’s lives. Some might even call it scandalous.
The door to the elevator closes and then begins to slide down from the 100th floor. She turns to watch the fireworks out of the glass walls as the elevator descends down. She’s late to the party, intentionally so, wanting to make a grand entrance. However, as she turns to the side, something catches her eye.
Jessica walks to the side of the elevator to get a better look when she sees a struggle between two people, though she can’t make out who they are. Her curious turns to fright as she screams when one of the combatants suddenly flies off the edge of the alcove and begins to plummet towards the ground from the 81st floor.
As the person falls in line with the elevator, the scene slows to a crawl, and we see that person is Layla Kwon. Her hands are bloody, her face looks like she’s been beaten. With the look of terror on her face as she makes eye contact with Jessica, we can see Jessica’s reflection in Layla’s eyes.
Suddenly, everything goes back to normal speed as Layla plummets towards the ground. Jessica drops to her knees, looking over the side of the elevator, and she screams again and again.
Layla continues to fall, and the camera angle is now from the top-down as Layla flails her arms and legs until she crashes through the glass ceiling of the foyer, through the stained-glass dome, and into the waiting arms of the angel statue that stands there proudly.
As she lands, blood splatters all over the angel as fireworks continue to explode, covering up the sound of the crashing girl.
We see Layla’s blood pouring down from the fountain as the camera pans up, showing us Layla’s blood splattered all over the angel statue and her dead body resting in the angel’s arms.
The scene fades to black.