D-Day for Prison City
“Listen up, Soldiers!” the Major screamed out from atop his Stryker. “We are here as soldiers because the Governor has deemed us necessary to clear out the scum that resides inside the walls of this prison. These bastards are the lowest of the low. The fucking vermin that decay the society that we know and have sworn to protect.”
There are additional armored vehicles lined up facing the walls of Prison City as they listen to the orders that have been handed down by the Governor.
“We are to look out for two civilians inside, and if they are near the entrance, we allow them to leave unharmed. We have trained for this type of event for months now. There are moments when we have to take the war to another country, and there are times when others bring the war to us. When we go inside, remember one thing. These criminals have been convicted and sentenced to life inside these walls. They are not innocent. They are not victims. They are not allies. They are the enemy.”
The Major scans his troops, one by one looking them in the eye as he says these finals words.
“When we go inside, we go in with extreme prejudice. The order for this unit is to shoot to kill. I’ll say it one more time, shoot to kill. Remember, they aren’t people. They’re fucking animals. Do I make myself fucking clear?”
“Hooah!” yells the troops in return.
The Major just grins, “Let’s kill some fucking bad guys then.”
With the roar of the motors of several tanks starting up, the troops whoop and holler as they prepare to execute their mission.
TWELVE YEARS AGO
Jace had long suspected that Highway was cheating on him.
And there is was, right in plain sight. Highway had left his phone on the coffee table with that app open. Jace probably shouldn’t have picked it up, but he wanted to know. Had he known what this argument would lead to, Jace would have just found a way to leave, but instead, he had to confront the man he thought he loved. He immediately recognized the men Highway had been talking to. They’d been all over the news.
Jace put it all together. The man he loved was the Hookup Killer. At least three men had been murdered, and it was all connected to that app.
“I’ve had it, Way. I’m fucking leaving. You’re fucking crazy, and I’ve had enough of your bullshit!” A man says to his boyfriend of several months. “Don’t fucking contact me. Don’t text me. Don’t call me. Don’t stalk me on Facebook. I am done with you.”
Highway rushes to the door, “Look, Jace. Let’s talk. We can talk this through. You don’t have to throw it all away.” Highway grabs Jace to try and kiss him, but Jace just uses his momentum to send Highway crashing through the coffee table.
“I said, don’t try to stop me.” Jace places his hand on the door, and Highway begins to panic. Looking around, he grabs the broken leg from the coffee table, and as Jace places his hand on the doorknob, Highway cracks that leg over Jace’s head.
“What the fuck, Way?” Jace reaches his hand behind his head, and when he pulls it back, it’s covered in blood. This only angers Jace, who takes an unsteady swing at Highway.
“We can talk about this, Jace,” Highway tells him, easily ducking the swing. “You don’t have to leave. I promise it was nothing. Just talk.”
Jace is having a hard time seeing straight. He slurs his words as he yells back, “You’re a goddamned liar. You killed those men!” Jace takes another swing. This time Highway reaches around and locks in a chokehold, falling back onto the ground and squeezing tightly on Jace’s neck.
“We don’t have to do this, Jace.” But the fact is, Highway knew that if Jace walked out that door, he was going straight to the police.
Highway had always been an adrenaline junkie, and after his first random kill, he knew he’d never feel a rush like that ever again in his life. He’d done everything there was to do to get that thrill, but in the end, killing was what did it for him. After the first, the others became easier and easier. But the thrill also lessened, so he had to find a way to increase the risk, to get his blood pumping. Jace may have only discovered three, but many others hadn’t been found by the police yet.
Not that any of that mattered now as he feels the body of his lover go limp in his arms.
Highway had killed again, and this time, instead of a thrill going through his body, he was wrecked by sadness and guilt. Those feelings had to pass as he heard sirens in the distance.
It was then that Highway realized that Jace had already called the police.
He pushed Jace’s dead body from off of him, and he walked over the apartment window and saw numerous police cars pulling up to the building. He rushes to the back of the apartment, opens the bedroom window, and climbs out onto the fire escape. He starts to climb down, and as he hits the pavement, he’s immediately tackled to the ground by a police officer who promptly cuffs him.
And that’s how Highway ended up in Prison City.
He had a night to rest before he finally caught up to the young woman heading towards the hotel. As he watched from a distance as the King and the woman faced off, Highway had difficulty reading their body language. They most certainly didn’t look like they were going to fight it out.
It was a moment later that he realized they knew each other. There was some type of intimacy between them. As he moved closer, he overhears them, and it became very clear that they were mother and daughter.
When they embraced, he made his move. He was able to sneak up behind them and raised a knife into the air, and drove it down into the side of Ransom’s neck.
It was absolute perfection. The young woman fought her way to find her mother, only to be slain by the enemy, right before her mother.
Highway watched from behind as Ransom unsteadily reached for the knife, pulling it out of her neck and then collapsing. The scream from Cam as she fell to her knees to try and stop the gushing of blood from Ranson’s neck.
It was like a symphony, and every note was perfection. The only thing that remained was the crescendo. The final note. As Cam looked up at him with tears streaming down her face, asking him why. He dropped the bag on the ground in front of her.
Cam’s final scream would be the finale note of Highway’s concerto. When she rose to her feet and charged at him, he was ready.
“You know, one day I won’t be here,” Tila says to Cam as they lie in bed together, enjoying the day.
Cam turns on her side to face her lover and comments, “Aren’t you the downer today.”
Tila smirks at her, “I’m serious. Just like one day, you could be gone from my life. I think we take these days for granted sometimes.”
Cam shrugs under her covers, “I don’t think I take you for granted.”
Tila shakes her head, “I didn’t say you took me for granted. I think we take the time we have left for granted.”
Cam leans in and rubs her nose against Tila’s, “Don’t worry about these things. Let’s just make the most of the time we have together.”
At this very moment, Cam wishes she had listened to Tila during that conversation. She wishes she hadn’t sent her out for water. She wishes she had been more open with her about her feelings. She wishes she had got to spend the last fifteen years with her daughter.
All of it. Gone. It was the first time in fifteen years that Cam felt it.
Cam sits there in shock. She’s looking at her dead daughter and the head of her dead lover. The scream that came from her was mostly involuntary, but the rush of anger that surged through her was voluntary.
She reaches for the bloody knife and charges at the man in front of her.
Highway backs up. The suddenness of her charge was not expected. He expected more anguish. More sadness. More tears. It’s then that he sees she has the knife, and he just manages to move to the side as she throws it at him, plunging into his shoulder.
“Fuck!” he cries out as he reaches for it, dropping to his knees. The King was better than he anticipated.
Cam has suddenly taken a very calm demeanor. Cold. Calculated. She hasn’t spent fifteen years inside Prison City just to let her emotions get the better of her. He’ll most definitely pay for what he’s done. But she’s going to make sure he feels every single thing that she’s about to do to him.
“Why?” she asks him again as she approaches. He’s obviously in pain as he keeps his grip on the handle of the knife that’s stuck in his shoulder. “If you wanted my spot, you could have just come for it.”
Highway winces as he looks up at her, “I figured if I took away everything you loved, it’d be a bit easier. I may have underestimated you,” he mutters under his breath. “Besides, the fact that your kid came in here was just a fucking bonus.”
He suddenly pulls the knife out and takes a swing at her with it, but she slides backward, avoiding the slash, and drives an elbow into the back of his neck, causing him to stumble forward.
He spins around and takes a few more slashes at her, the final one she blocks, kicks him in the gut, and snatches the knife from his grip as he falls backward.
Cam raises the knife up in the air and comes at him, but as she strikes out, he grabs her arm and flips her onto the ground. He tries to stomp her, but she rolls over and gets to her knees. Highway lashes out with a sidekick, but she moves, and he kicks the wall.
She sweeps his feet, sending him to the ground, but he bounces back up and avoids her second kick, but not the slash of the knife as it cuts into his back as he screams out in pain.
The slide of blood immediately soaks through his dirty shirt as he turns his back away from her and grabs her as she comes in for another attack and drives her shoulder-first into the brick wall that surrounds the hotel. He swings her around and crashes her into it again. As she rolls into the gated entryway of the hotel, he tries to use the gate to crush her, but she blocks it with her hand, so he kicks her through the entryway and goes in after her.
Cam gets up and swings the knife at him, but he ducks and he grabs her around the neck, and drives her headfirst into the steel gate.
He takes a moment and locks in the choke, similar to the one he used on Jace so long ago. “Bitch, you’re going down now,” he mutters into her ear as her face starts to turn red and she struggles in his grip.
She can feel herself losing consciousness as her hand feels around on the ground, and she finds the knife and jabs it into his arm, and he lets go of her, allowing the air back into her lungs as she heaves deeply.
Highway has blood soaking in his shirt from his shoulder and blood running down his arm, both of the places he was stabbed. Cam charges at him with the knife, and he ducks it twice, dodges a kick, but she nails him in the face with a punch.
As the two standoff, Cam’s face is bruised, with blood flowing out of her mouth and nose and down her forehead. They each take a breath, and then Cam comes at him with the knife again, slashing it from side to side, from top to bottom, but Highway blocks her, kicks her right in the stomach, and then backhands her across the face.
He grabs her and picks her up, and just slams her onto the solid pavement. Cam struggles to get to her feet, only to take two kicks to the gut, sending her backward. As Cam crawls away, Highway walks over to the gate and wiggles a loose bar until it pops off.
He walks over and swings it wildly at Cam, who ducks, tries to cut him with the knife, which he dodges. And she takes a hit right to the thigh, and as she bends over from the pain, he brings that bar down across her back, causing her to drop the knife.
Highway picks it up, grabs her by the back of her shirt and throws her up against the wall, and drives the knife into her shoulder as she screams out in pain. She kicks him low, causing him to double over, and she headbutts him right in the nose as it cracks.
Highway staggers back as Cam pulls the knife from her shoulder and comes at him. He takes a wild swing at her, which she ducks and ends up behind him, plunging the knife right into his back.
She pulls it out and then flips him onto his back. As he gets up onto his hands and knees, she kicks him square in the face. Cam raises that knife high as she comes at him again, but he puts both arms up to block her and kicks her, but she headbutts him once more, causing him to stagger backward.
When he charges her again, she drives that knife right into his stomach, three times in a row as they lock eyes with each other. Highway takes two steps backward and then falls down onto the pavement.
Cam walks over and looks down at him when suddenly a loud explosion is heard, and she quickly whips her head around to see what’s going on.
The engines of the armed vehicles are revving up, and as go-time hits, the Major leads the way as his tank plows into the door structure of Prison City, leveling it to the ground. The tanks on either side hit the wall, making the entryway even wider as the barrier that held the prisoners inside of Prison City is turned to rubble as the powerful tanks drive through with thousands of foot soldiers moving in behind them.
As “Mars,” from The Planet Suite Op. 32 by Gustav Holst plays in the background, the soldiers storm into Prison City, firing at anyone they see. One by one, the citizens of Prison City are shot. The soldiers ensure that each prisoner is dead as they walk through firing shot after shot after shot.
Soldiers sweep buildings, parking garages, and lots. No prisoner is left alive as they make their way towards the hotel.
Cam isn’t sure what’s happening, but then she remembers that Ranson was trying to tell her something. Perhaps this was what she wanted to warn her about. Cam can see the soldiers coming towards the hotel. She rushes in by Highway, who’s still lying on the ground, and yells at those in the lobby, “Go tell everyone to lock themselves in their room. Put up a barricade.”
It might not do much good, but it’s the only chance they have. She rushes back out to the courtyard as she watches the soldiers getting closer to their location. Her mind was definitely on nothing more than this when Highway rises up behind her, grabs her by the head, and drags the knife across her throat.
Blood begins to pour down Cam’s chest as her eyes go wide. She falls to her knees and then onto her face as Highway grins from ear to ear.
He did it.
He did it.
The smile is wiped away as a bullet goes right into his forehead, killing him instantly.
Some of the soldiers branch off, but those still heading to the hotel continue to fire on anyone they see as the music continues to play in the background. The shot starts to move away from the hotel and towards the sky as we see the soldiers enter the building and the scene slowly fades to black.
Cam JAZMIN DAVIS
Highway RIEL BUCK
Ransom CASS BAUMER
Tila ANAQUIN ADAMS
Gatekeeper ULF HEDNIR
The scene opens up with Cam lying on the ground. She sits up and immediately grabs at her neck to see that the slash she experienced at the hands of Highway is not there. However, as she looks around, she realizes that she’s no longer in Prison City. The last thing she remembers is the crashing of the wall as the tanks drove through it.
She gets to her feet and realizes that she’s not even wearing the same clothing she was wearing before. She’s got on new clothing. T-shirt. Jeans. Sneakers. They all look brand new.
The first thing she notices is the presence of grass. Trees. Things she hasn’t seen in over fifteen years.
Then she remembers the death of her only child. The beheading of her lover. The fight with Highway. She was distracted long enough for him to cut her throat. So, the question lingers.
“Where the fuck am I?” she yells out loud. Her voice echoes back in reply.
Wherever she is, there are clouds all around. She starts to walk when a voice calls out to her from the heavens, “I wouldn’t go that way if I were you.”
She looks annoyed as she starts to go in another direction, “Or that way,” the voice tells her. “In fact, if I were you, I would just stay right where you are.”
Cam ignores the voice and walks through the clouds only to bump into a brick wall. She follows the wall, and it seems to be built all around the area where she woke up.
In a circle. Completely surrounding her.
“What the fuck is this?” she yells out loud. Despite the fact she’s spent the last fifteen years cooped up in Prison City, she’s not particularly a fan of being held captive.
“Welcome to Purgatory,” says a voice behind her, and Cam spins around to come face to face with… a man.
The man in question is dressed in a very nice blue suit, complete with a tie.
“Who are you?”
The man smirks at her, “That is usually the first question I get asked. I am called the gatekeeper. It’s my job to determine which way you’ll go.”
“Go?” Cam asks curiously.
“You know,” he responds and points upward, “Up there,” and then he points downward, “Or there.”
Cam walks up to him, “Are you talking about Heaven or Hell?”
The gatekeeper’s eyes go wide, “Shh. They don’t like those words.” He leans in close, “But, yes,” he whispers. “You see, you were just kinda so-so when you were alive….”
Cam blinks her eyes at him, “So-so?”
The gatekeeper shrugs his shoulders. “So-so. That’s a legally binding term. And being ‘so-so’ means that he,” the gatekeeper points upwards, “Doesn’t really give a shit, and he,” the gatekeeper points downward, “Thinks you’re boring as fuck. Which leaves it up to me which way you get to go.”
“You get to decide if I go to heaven or hell?” she asks.
The gatekeeper nods his head. He waves his hand, and the clouds part behind her, and there’s a path that leads towards a fiery pit.
“There was a wall there,” Cam notes aloud.
The gatekeeper nods his head, “It’s one of the perks of being a half-deity. I can create walls at will. Can I finish?”
Cam nods her head. “Sure, whatever.”
He waves in the other direction, and there’s a path that leads into the clouds. “One of these two locations will be your destination.”
Cam looks in both directions, “What if I just run?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t recommend that… but you’re doing it anyway.”
Cam has indeed taken off in a sprint towards what appears to be heaven, but as soon as she gets to the path, she runs into something hard yet invisible, knocking herself out.
“I told her not to do that,” the gatekeeper mutters as the scene goes to black.