“Say you’re a bitch.”
—Unknown OPP inmate
Metal rolls and clangs.
For a little while.
Amelie feels more tired than when she went to sleep. She’s still sore everywhere, and feels even colder. Her toes and fingers are numb. Metal, she well knows from experience, is highly conductive of heat. That can be especially dangerous in colder weather combined with the body’s dip in metabolism and temperature during sleep.
But there’s another noise. Something unmistakable.
“That ain’t too bad,” says a male voice.
“Yeah, it’s not Gina’s cooking, but a man can do all right here.”
“I’ll see you guys on the run.”
There’s another metallic clang and rolling, followed by a softer chewing sound from below Amelie’s bunk. The chewing goes on, interspersed by the occasional gulp.
It’s not too much longer before there’s a loud beep, and booming succession of clangs from all over the jail. There’s indistinct noise from scattered voices, but a much clearer one yells, “Count!”
Footsteps sound from below her bunk.
Amelie: Amelie feels life breathe into her, rasp if just for a moment. She draws her limbs into the jump suit, her knees up against her chest and her arms pulled inside out trying to warm her chest as much as possible. It’s an instinct, a trained camping response, and a response to the bad days she remembers sleeping in the shop, a drunken father rampaging at all hours of the night on the second floor of what was once a fantasy dream of his. Their home.
Her ears pick up the voices again, and this time she braves it enough to peek her head up, just a small peek. Is it a guard smuggling this in? Another prisoner?
Whichever it is only matters in the long term, however, she lowers her head back and lets the world crawl by, listening to the sounds of Boxcars eating before the beep rings out. It’s a chance, an opening conversation with this cellmate and possible future contact. ‘Adam’ peeks ‘his’ head out from the bunk, looking out at the prison, and then to the man.
GM: Amelie is not able to make out the figure’s appearance before he’s left. When she looks out the door this time, however, she sees inmates lined up in twos outside their cells as guards march by.
Boxcars offers no response to the question.
Amelie: Adam is able to take the hint from seeing the others in the rung, looking around at all the strangeness as she carefully drops down out of bed again, lining up with Boxcars to be what he assumes is inspected.
GM: The two stand in place. Guards glance them over while walking past. They wait a bit longer. A few shouts go up about “tier 1, clear!” Inmates look bored or stony throughout the whole process. One rubs his crotch. A couple talk and get told to shut up.
Guards eventually yell they’re done and march off without fanfare. A few half-hearted yells and exclamations greet this announcement. People start milling out to the common area, including Boxcars.
His thick frame soon disappears among the crowd of orange-attired men. Amelie is left to make her own way among them—and deal with the issue of relieving her full bladder.
Amelie: Amelie just watches the man vanish into the sea of orange testosterone. It’s still difficult for her to believe this is where she’s ended up, but that doesn’t stop the needs her body is telling her need satisfying. The newly crowned ‘Adam’ makes his way into the cell, wondering about the logistics of using the toilet as she looks over the whole contraption herself. The whole thing looks like it was installed from an old prison, a few saved dollars in the construction of this shit-hole. Rusted iron, stains, the peel of old enamel once meant to make this thing comfortable. Now she can only see how it’ll flake off after stabbing her in the ass. She tests the knobs on the sink, seeing the plumbing still works on the top. But as she notices the empty bowl, and goes to flush to fill it, it’s clear the damn thing is broken. She doesn’t spare the time to wonder about how long, her bladder urges her on as she kneels down to fix it, actually happy to have some blue collar distraction.
GM: Amelie notes the toilet has still been used despite the empty bowl. The stink of still-drying urine wafts up from within. A few scattered droplets stain the seat… something she can probably look forward to seeing more of in the male prison unit.
Amelie: It’s tricky. It sends a small thrill up Amelie’s spine as she closes her eyes and focuses. Just the weight of the lever and bolt in either hand give her a good grasp of what is happening on the inside. With the handle in the right position, she tightens the bolt slowly, a little jerk this way and that, and a final push and she can feel it all slide together. Toilets are always simple fixes, she remembers gagging more than once being asked to fix her neighbors, and her own whenever her father abused it too heavily, vomiting the nights numbing into it. Still, it’s a happy feeling when she stands up and sees it fixed. One flush and the bowl is full of water once more. But her bladder reminds her to christen it. Grabbing her spare suit, she uses it to cover her front as she pulls the one she’s wearing down to her knees, making it quick so she can cover back up. She notes a good investment would be finding a sheet she can cover the open cell with.
GM: There are so many people outside Amelie’s cell. Most of them mill past. She can hear exclamations, raised voices, and heavy footsteps, but no one seems to notice or take overly much interest in Amelie’s unusual bathroom habits… for now.
Her piss is an extremely dark yellow. She feels notably lighter as it leaves her body. Her empty stomach gives a long, sad growl.
Amelie: Amelie finishes up fast. It’s concerning not to have ready access to toilet paper…but she quickly uses the sleeve of her spare jumpsuit and stands. Quickly redressing, washing the sleeve she’d used in the sink, and tossing it up onto her bunk. With that out of the way, she wonders to this morning. His breakfast being brought to him like that, the hungry emaciated prisoner quickly checks the room for another wrapper. Using the time to think on approaching Boxcars.
GM: Amelie finds no wrapper in their dirty surroundings. She is left to go—or rather, stay—hungry.
Amelie: Amelie doesn’t waste much time after she finds nothing. Instead she decides it’s time to feel out the place that she’s going the next year surviving, however dangerous it is to simply walk out that door. The emaciated prisoner returns to where she stood with her cellmate and scans the crowd below to suss out cliques. If the news is right and black men have such a disproportionate rate of incarceration, she has hopes it’s simple to at least spot where Boxcars and his cadre hang out.
GM: A cursory glance across the cell block’s common area shows clusters of orange-uniformed men sitting around tables or standing together in small groups. Loners mill about between them, or simply remain seated or lying in bed in their cells. Amelie can make out a few dicks from guys using their toilets. Some of the men seated in groups around the tables are playing cards, checkers, or munching on the odd bit of food. Most simply talk. Some bump fists. Everyone looks as if they’re trying to find ways to kill time. Expressions and body language run the gamut: bored, calm, suspicious, morose, angry, aggressive, dazed, inebriated, noncomprehending. Most faces are black. Many others are brown. A sizable minority are white.
As Amelie looks across the crowd, two men start violently shoving at one another and screaming obscenities. “Ohs!” and whoops go up from onlookers. Before the jeering onlookers can form a solid circle, though, they are interrupted by baton-brandishing sheriff’s deputies who interpose themselves between the combatants and yell iterations of, “Break it the fuck up!” One man calms down, but when the second man thrashes and spits at the deputy pulling him away, he’s soon sprawled on the floor screaming as a wave of nightsticks make loud and bloody crunches against his body. The crowd whoops, jeers, and hollers as the deputies half-march, half-drag the two up the stairs and towards the grilled gate that Amelie came through last night.
Amidst the commotion, she spots Boxcars sitting at a table and playing cards with several other lighter-skinned men. They glance up at the commotion with looks of mild interest, then return to their cards.
Amelie: Amelie’s scan reveals quite a bit. Her assumption about the prison is well founded, there are plenty of black men here, a lot brown men, and not so many white men. Even the white ones she wonders about, whether prison dramas pegging the whites as a gang in and of themselves in these prisons are correct. But between catching herself thinking about the fact she’d be looking at a lot of dicks during her stay here, she finds herself getting a better understanding of things. The fight is especially helpful, how the guards react and how quickly, and how many bored inmates turn their attention to it immediately.
Her goal remains spotting Boxcars, however, and she does so just fine. She looks between him and those he sits with, trying to get a profile for each of them. It’s important to her to know Sal’s face is she can pick apart the most respected person at that table.
GM: There are four people seated around the group’s table, Boxcars included. The other three look like they are in their thirties or forties, forties or fifties, and fifties or sixties. All of the men are clean-shaven and share the same dark hair (graying in some cases) and white complexions.
It’s difficult, however, to suss out the measure of their respect for one another—or at least the greatest measures of that respect. Perhaps Amelie would have an easier time if she were closer and could better make out faces and conversational details. The group as a whole, however, seems to be idling time and chumming together. If someone fucks with one of these guys, they fuck with them all.
Amelie: It’s difficult, but she has to imagine one of those people are going to be Sal. But getting too close feels dangerous, wading down into the sea of testosterone and boredom. She doesn’t think that’s safe just yet, at least not until everyone has something they’re focusing on, like a meal. Instead she turns her attention to her next potential project. Amelie keeps her eyes forward as she makes her way down the catwalk, hoping no one stops her. That there’s no tolls or offended psychos wanting to do someone harm to sate their boredom.
GM: No one obstructs her path. Yet, at least.
Amelie: It’s a minor obstacle passed, but an obstacle still. She feels as though the slightest out of character moment will take her to hell. She gets the the television though, stopping where it sits on the catwalk and kneeling to access the damage. She was sure she saw sparks coming from the thing on her way in.
GM: No sparks fly from the TV set at Amelie’s inspection. Up close, she observes what looks like a fairly simple cause and effect: the wires are torn. The insulation has been ripped open and the stripped wire beneath has been unevenly cut apart. There’s also an ashy, grayish-black residue that Amelie is fairly sure comes from cigarettes.
Her peripheral vision, however, notes the approach of three African-American men. One from her right side, two from her left. Their faces do not look friendly.
Amelie: Amelie realizes pretty quickly someone did this on purpose. She can’t fix it without getting pissed off, likely. Like the three people approaching her now. Casually as possible, she stands from her inspection and starts to walk in the direction of the one black man. Towards the stairs. If they want to cause trouble, the least she can do is follow the example of the last fight and make her beating visible. If they let her pass, she can always bring news of Boxcars’ fixed toilet to him early. Make it seem like they’re on some kind of terms.
GM: The man steps directly in front of Amelie, well within her personal space. He’s of average or so height and of a slim build. He has wide eyebrows, dreadlocks he wears in a half-ponytail, and a partial mustache and goatee. His face is set in a crooked ‘oh really?’ smirk. He’s dressed in orange pants similar to hers, but wears a plain white t-shirt and open maroon hoodie with the hood pulled down instead of a single-piece jumpsuit. His eyes slowly, almost hungrily roam over Amelie’s body—as if lingering on the nearly absent curves and emaciated, nigh-flat breasts beneath her jumpsuit.
“Hey, man…” he grins.
Amelie: Amelie feels violated already. She’s not used to the kind of eyes usually reserved for women. At least outside of prison. She can feel the others behind her as well, three on one with her body like this, it makes her wonder how hard she’s going to get beaten before-. If the guards come. Until then, she stands her ground, trying her best to appear calm.
“Hey. Sorry, but I got errands to run. You mind letting me through?”
GM: “Oh, what, you’re blowin’ us off?” scoffs a voice from behind Amelie. Close enough she can smell the speaker’s bad breath.
“Firs’ words outta your mouth, not ‘hey man’, just ’I gotta go?”
Amelie: Amelie doesn’t grit her teeth or sneer, she just looks straight ahead and lets things tick through her head. When it’s best to strike to get the first hit in, maybe.
“Blowing you off? Nah. We’re stuck here. Plenty of time to be friendly. I’m just settling in, friends. Seeing what I can fix.”
GM: Amelie feels someone’s arm drape over her right shoulder. The man it belongs to is taller and thicker than the first man, with a mustached face and buzzcut hair. He looks in maybe his late 20s to 30s and wears a gray t-shirt over orange pants. Like his companion, he has sturdier-looking shoes than the Jackie Chan slide-ons.
“Yeah, les’ be friendly,” the man grins, giving Amelie’s other shoulder a light punch with his free hand.
“Whas’ your name?”
Amelie: With how much larger the man is than Amelie, she feels the weight harshly, her scars bunching and scraping against each other. She wonders if he can feel the rough lizard-like texture where he touches her on the left side. The punch is just friendly ribbing. Unfortunately, she’s felt this kind of skinship before with boys, though it seems this is the only time in her life it might end with someone presenting their dick to her.
“Adam. Nice shoes, by the way. Hell of a lot better than these hospital slippers.”
GM: “Yeah,” the first man to speak agrees vaguely with another grin. His eyes continue to roam Amelie’s body.
“You are one ugly-ass motha, Adam.”
Amelie: “So I’ve been told. That’s why I fix shit, and not sell shit.”
GM: “Sure been sellin’ how you fix shit to us,” laughs the third man. He’s closer to the second’s size, with a goatee, close-cropped hair, and baseball cap.
“We all gotta sell somethin’,” the goateed man shrugs amusedly.
“Not right now we don’t. We’re hangin’ with our new frien’ Adam,” the mustached man smirks, giving Amelie’s shoulder another hearty clap. He sits down as he does, pulling Amelie to the floor with him. The other two follow suit.
The cap-wearing man peers closer at her. “Damn, Adam, you are ugly!” he exclaims. “I mean, no offense, but you look like a constipated guy took a bloody shit on your face an’ used your hair for toilet paper.”
“Mmm, yeah…” the goateed man grins.
“You walked right fuckin’ into that,” the mustached man laughs.
The cap-wearing man rolls his eyes. “Perv.”
Amelie: Amelie feels the shudder up her back after the word ‘perv’ comes out into the open. It’s not the best thing to hear on the ground with three men, but she bides her time for now. Just needs to keep her calm for a little bit long.
GM: “This your firs’ time in the pen, Adam?” asks mustached man. “I say we owe it to welcome you in.” He gives her shoulder another ‘affectionate’ squeeze as he looks towards the goateed man. “We got any tits?”
“Yeah, man,” the goateed man smiles, removing a packet of white-ish powder from his pocket.
Amelie: “I think I prefer the Adams family jokes I usually get,” she offers, looking between them.
She wonders if she has the strength yet to hop over the railing like this, but finds it unwise to go right to the guards to get them to back off. It’d set the wrong precedent. Using her scars as a conversation of topic could get her out of her jumpsuit faster. She can’t even bluff about having AIDs, it’d foil the original reason that she came here.
“Much as I’ve enjoyed this, I’d appreciate it if we finished up later. I have to go and inform someone that I fixed their shitter. You shouldn’t look at this mug too long, it’ll ruin your eyes.”
GM: The three man laugh. It’s a hard and entirely un-mirthful sound.
The mustached man pulls a knife from his pocket.
“You scared of us, Adam?” he grins, lazily tracing the blade in front of Amelie’s face.
Amelie: Amelie finds it hard to place her recent feelings. So much fear and impotent rage built up, like they’re competing for which she gets to vomit out. The knife makes her feel… almost nothing. Her instincts are still telling her the jagged edge will cause internal damage, hard to stitch. But the handle is shit, she could slap it out of his hand and he couldn’t hold on to it. A stab is likely to cut your hand as it is to penetrate the skin.
“Yes. I am. S’why I wanna make myself useful here. I made weapons on the outside, too.”
GM: “You?” the cap-wearing man guffaws.
“Well, you don’ need to be. I ain’t gonna shank you,” says the mustached man. He grins and gives Amelie’s shoulder another hearty clap. “We’re friends!”
He motions to the goateed man. “A’ight, gimme.”
The goateed man opens the baggie. The mustached man dips his knife inside and then snorts the powder off the blade’s edge.
“Fuck!” he exclaims, rapidly blinking and shaking his head.
“A’ight, a’ight,” the goateed man motions. The mustached man dips his knife back inside the baggie. The goateed man also snorts the collected powder off the blade. He grins widely as he leans back against the wall. “Ah, yeah…”
The mustached man dips his knife into the bag again, but the cap-wearing man shakes his head and waves it off. “You know how I feel ’bout that shit, man.”
“Hey, you got at least a nickel…” says the mustached man.
“Yeah, what else you gonna do, be a wolf?” asks the goateed man. “Anyone’s guess if we all gonna catch chain…”
The cap-wearing man seems to think for a moment, then mutters, “Fuck it,” and takes a snort off the mustached man’s knife. He leans back against the wall and closes his eyes.
The mustached man scoops some more of the powder onto his knife, then holds it close under Amelie’s nose. “A’ight, Adam, you been a patient boy…” he grins.
Amelie: Amelie watches them closely. She’s already spotted handguns since her introduction here, and the powder doesn’t surprise her so much as deeply concern her. She has a general idea of what they want here: get her to snort it, say that she owes them, try and get her hooked, etc. Turn her into their prison bitch.
‘Adam’ knew this would be her role in jail, but it isn’t going to be these drug-slinging street thugs. Besides, she’s certain cocaine or… whatever this powder is could severely hurt her in the state she’s in. Amelie waits patiently, but doesn’t sniff or take a breath through her nose. The young inmate remains calm and looks towards the man holding the drugs.
“My blood is too thin, this could kill me. Haven’t eaten in six months.”
GM: “How the fuck don’t you eat in six months?” scoffs the cap-wearing man.
GM: “Yeah, right.”
The goateed just gives a bored shrug at Amelie’s protest that she could die. “Whatever.”
“Naw, Adam’s gonna be jus’ fine. He’s our main man,” the mustached man grins as he gives Amelie’s shoulder another hearty pound.
His knife doesn’t move from her nose.
Amelie: Adam doesn’t budge. His eyes fixed and steady.
“The main man needs a raincheck. I’m sorry. Once I get a meal in, though.”
GM: The other two laugh.
“Damn, you are a pumpkin,” says the goateed man.
“I’m startin’ to think you don’t really want to want to be our frien’, Adam,” says the mustached man.
He brushes the worn tip of his knife against Amelie’s neck.
Amelie: ‘Adam’ thinks about the thin veil she’s already crossed between here and ‘there’. All those horrors already witnessed. She regards the knife against her neck and feels the strange mortal fear, a different flavor than what she experienced in the underworld.
“Not so. I’m already thinking of all the good I can do for you. Hard to get shoes fixed in here, I can do that. This knife? You hit someone, your hand will slip and you could cut yourself. I can fix that. Fix the TV, the phones, plumbing. That’s how ugly people make friends. If you can’t be handsome, be handy.”
GM: “Oh really? How you wanna fix this shiv?” the mustached man asks amusedly.
Amelie: Adam holds out his hand for the shiv half heartedly, wondering if they’re stupid enough to hand it to him.
GM: The man does not appear to be that stupid, particularly with product resting on the blade’s flat.
Amelie: “Upset the metal, right at the base of the blade and the top of the tang, where your index finger would rest. Use glue or rivet some water-resistant fabric or rubber onto the handle. Sharpen the blade. Dull is fine for killing, but that just makes more problems. Sharp blades cut good places, make lots of surface wounds. You’ll be more feared if you spill more blood, that’s what a sharp blade does. I could cut a slipper up and use the fabric from that. Also, I’d shape it better. You want a slight curve on the blade, like a chicken boning knife, to cut through fabric and skin.”
He talks quickly and purposely, almost like talking about making a killing tool is relaxing. Rote.
“I can make anything, fix anything. But weapons are my forte.”
GM: There’s impressed, or at least hungry looks from some of the men. Especially at the words “more feared.”
“Yeah, I bet they are,” leers the one with the knife.
“Okay. If you ain’t full of shit, you can go ’head and fix the TV for us.”
Amelie: “I was checking if I could. Someone cut the wires, all I’d need is black electrical tape and rubber gloves. I was working on finding some before you came. Any of you know who cut it?”
GM: “Showerz, see if you can round up some tape for our good frien’ Adam,” says the mustached man.
“A’ight,” says the goateed man. He looks a little unsteady on his feet as he gets up, and not all the way there, but he heads off.
The mustached man gives Amelie’s shoulder several more hearty claps, laughing louder with each one.
The cap-wearing man shakes his head and guffaws, “Man…”
Amelie: Adam calls up after the goateed man as he walks away, telling him to make sure it’s the black stretchy tape.
But now he finds himself alone with two high inmates, laughing and starting to get crazy from whatever rests on that knife.
“So he’s Showers. What do I call both of you?”
GM: “Big Dawg’s what you call me,” says the mustached man.
He bares his teeth in an odd motion that doesn’t seem like a grin or a snarl so much as a display of his mouth.
“Fuck…” he mumbles.
“Yeah, man… that fuckin’ FBI guy…” slurs the goateed man. “It’s ’cuza him, I know it…”
Amelie: Amelie just nods, hoping Big Dawg doesn’t prove the product is bath salts in trying to use those teeth on her. Her head carefully swivels to the cap-wearing man next.
“So Showerz, Big Dawg, and what can I call you?”
GM: The man looks at Amelie and laughs harder. His glazed eyes roam her body.
“Thas’ our man, Adam…”
Amelie: Amelie just nods with him and lets their eyes roam where they will for now. But she considers that maybe now is a good time to get a bit of info.
“You two know Boxcars?”
GM: “Whas’ it to you, Adam?” leers Big Dawg.
Amelie: “He’s my cellmate. Seems like an important guy. Would rather not piss him off.”
GM: “Don’ worry, Adam, you gonna move to one of our pods,” says Big Dawg. He gives Amelie’s shoulder several more hearty pounds.
“You our main man!”
He and the cap-wearing man burst into a renewed fit of guffaws.
Amelie: Amelie feels no small dread as her plans going awry. She doesn’t say anything, but knows she is definitely not following any of these three into a cell. It’s smuggling in shoes and drugs vs. being able to get in sandwiches? Amelie knows she needs to eat something soon if her mind equates who she hopes is the Mafia to a panini before crime. She wonders if she should bring up Emmett, but settles on Sal.
“Do either of you know Sal? I’ve heard his name a few times as well.”
GM: The cap-wearing man only stares past Amelie, his mouth hanging slightly open.
“Sal… the wise man!” grins Big Dawg. “Head… of the wiseguys!”
He laughs harder at this. His knife wavers in his grip, spilling some of the white powder over Amelie’s jumpsuit.
“Shi…” Big Dawg mutters.
He waves the shiv precariously close towards Amelie’s eye.
“Fuck…” the cap-wearing man echoes past half-lidded eyes.
“Naw, naw…” Big Dawg says, waving the shiv towards him. “S’okay… we up t’ our ears in titties… wise man Sal keeps ‘em flowin’ in…”
He guffaws again at ‘wise man.’
“Fuckin’ dagoes…” mutters the cap-wearing man.
“Yeah, man… them bikers…” grins Big Dawg.
Amelie: Amelie listens closely to get as many clues as she can. Wiseguys is obvious. Something tells Amelie these men wouldn’t appreciate the slur ‘dagoes’ getting back to Sal and Boxcars.
Her jaw tenses when the product falls on her, the reaction isn’t as violent as she fears it could have been. The sober newbie still stays stock still, eyes following the shiv like only a fencer can. She can only thank God her eyes work well enough to do so despite the rest of her body being in such disrepair.
Amelie wonders about ‘bikers’ though, deciding to follow that thread instead of their mention of titties.
GM: The cap-wearing man looks directly at Amelie.
“Say you’re a bitch.”
Amelie: Amelie looks the cap-wearing man in the eye when he says that. Part of her wishes she was able to pay him back for the comment. Take all her frustrations out on this druggy gangbanger. But she bites her tongue and puts up no resistance. Not yet.
“I’m a bitch.”
The beaten and dogged young woman wonders if he thinks this is degrading. She’s spent months being a doctor’s plaything, shitting herself regularly, and made to lick boots. So long as she keeps the jumpsuit on, she knows they can’t bring her lower than she is.
GM: “Firs’ straight words you said.”
The cap-wearing man closes his eyes and leans back against the walls.
“Shut… stupid fuckin’…” he trails off.
“Preach it, Fizzy!” Big Dawg guffaws.
Amelie: Amelie can barely hold back rolling her eyes at their words. But as the cap-wearing man leans back on the wall, she sees a familiar olive-skinned older man.
Boxcars is walking by, much too close not to have heard the ‘dagoes’ slur on his way towards their cell. Her expression changes from slightly annoyed to a little eager, starting to sit up, stand if they let her.
“Mr. Boxcars. I fixed your toilet, sir. It’ll flush now.”
GM: Boxcars glances at Amelie for the barest of seconds and walks back into their cell without a word.
Big Dawg suddenly whips his palm against Amelie’s forehead and smashes the back of her skull against the wall. It hurts. She’s already so woozy. Her months-empty stomach moans.
“Shut your mouth. You our bitch, Adam.”
A piss stream sounds from inside her cell.
Amelie: Amelie feels as though she might throw up from the sudden rush and whiplash, but the tight moaning of her stomach reminds her there’s nothing to puke. Hearing the piss stream, she pulls together the best plan of attack she can. She raises her voice loud enough she knows Boxcars can hear them.
“If you’re going to say that kind of shit about big fish like Sal, I’m going to be a dead man in under a month. I was going to ask permission to fix the TV, too. What if its wires were cut for a reason?”
GM: “SHUT YOUR FUCKIN’ MOUTH!”
This time it’s the shiv, not Big Dawg’s open palm, that stabs towards Amelie’s face. But even emaciated as she is, white working class as she is, this is one environment where Amelie Savard is well at home.
Amelie: Amelie feels it again. Her surge of focus and power she only feels when something dangerous barrels towards her. When her paper tiger comes to life. Amelie’s expression turns to Roberts family stone as her body moves all at once, pulling just enough to the side that the knife hits the wall. Just like she said, the lack of a grip makes the blade slide down into the other inmates large hands. More than enough for Amelie to reach up and grab the handle, yanking it viciously through his hand. She has the knife now, and the blade rests against Big Dawg’s throat hard. She’s been here a day and she’s already willing to push harder.
“Back off. I don’t want anyone hurt. Or any of our blood on Mr. Boxcars’ shoes.”
GM: Big Dawg’s much larger hand shoots towards Amelie’s wrist, pinning it to the wall before the shiv can get close to his throat.
“YOU DEAD, PRAG! YOU FUCKIN’ DEAD!” the intoxicated man roars, his bloodshot eyes bulging wide. His teeth flash as thick peals of hollow laughter spill from his mouth like the punchline to some awful, incomprehensible joke.
‘Fizzy’ seems to pull out of his stupor as a sharpened toothbrush appears in his hands.
Whoops, jeers, and exclamations go up from a rapidly gathering crowd of inmates—along with, Amelie distractedly notes, heavy footsteps from the nightstick-wielding sheriff’s deputies charging towards her location.
A steady pee stream continues to sound from her and Boxcars’ cell.
Amelie: Amelie sees the laughing and has one clear and simple thought. Dogs like this should be put down.
She takes all her fear and powerless frustration, and pulls her tiny arm down, though the sweaty overexcited gorilla’s grip. Her one blessing in this besides her skill over this thug are her thin limbs, sliding through his grip once again with just enough grappling practice to strike.
She drives it forward, stabbing into whatever flesh she can on the laughing rabid Big Dawg. Her first real bloodlet.
Big Dawg down at Amelie, just like the last bigger man did when she seemed small and weak—and once again, her hands move like they’re not even hers. Sickening wet ‘sclurtches’ sound as the prison shiv stabs in out, in and out, in and out, faster than Amelie can count the fleshy punctures, and does what it does best. Amelie smells the telltale copper odor, sees those mind-of-their-own-hands—can they really be hers?—coated a slick wet red. The clinical part of Amelie’s mind, the same one that told Big Dawg about his shiv’s construction, notes that there’s less blood than there might be with another blade, but the uneven jagged cuts and resultant internal injuries are really going to fuck up Big Dawg’s recovery.
“AAAAAAAAAAAHHH! AAAAAAHHH!!! AAAAAAAAAAHH-HHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAA-HHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!”
The man’s mouth no longer bellows—but jerkingly works, shrieks, and froths and pumps the same wet red as Amelie’s hands, the same wet red as his horrified—terrified—all-too sober eyes.
The horror, the pain in Fizzy’s voice is so raw—Amelie thinks that’s where her own is coming from.
And then she sees the red washing over the floor beneath her.
And suddenly the floor is close—so close—
Screams, shouts, jeers from all sides as it all closes in—
Amelie: The hands aren’t Amelie’s. Not really. They have always been her mother’s and father’s. Muscle memory pounded so deep into her sinew she feels how scarily easy it is to disconnect from their actions. Her mother is here, grabbing her by the weak thin wrist, carrying her blade into a man’s body over and over. Just like mother said. Thrust through—not into—through the opponent.
She can feel that infantile face flash behind her eyes, the demon who tricked her into stabbing her phone in that house. If it was real, this is the same feeling. Bred into her very bones.
The sounds all ring tinny through her ears, like yelling in a tiny concrete room. ‘Cuz’. If there was a part of her that felt sorry for these apes, it’s screaming in blind fury too. All the screaming and all the disconnection doesn’t stop the pain. Amelies whole body explodes into fire as she feels her attacker making their move. Her paper tiger rips, nearly in two. So much blood, flowing and pouring. Boxcars shoes. Guards. Everything starts to black out, a familiar all too comfortable feeling.
Amelie feels her fury at the world grab the borders of the world closing in on her vision and rips them open. Just enough. Like a boxer’s swollen eye sliced to let him see just a little longer. She knows she’s in trouble. But if she’s going down, she’s going down making a screaming impression, her teeth grit as she turns on Fizzy.
“YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT ME ALONE!!!!”
She jumps, clear out of her slipper, her palm pressed onto whatever this thing can count as a pommel to keep her hands from slipping. Fizzy ceases to be a person. He is vital points. He is a piece of filth who decided to pick on someone small. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. She feels the blade slide into his skin, and she lets it go, leaving it with him to rattle and rip as she stands panting in a pool of blood.
She feels… free. Parts of her rage feel as though God vented them through her arms and into the people she had to defend herself from. Her plan, whatever she can call a plan, puts her hands up on her head, waiting for them to take her. Peacefully. Peace. A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
GM: The hands aren’t Amelie’s. Not really.
The words aren’t to Fizzy.
They’re to the pathetic excuse for a father who finally came at her after one too many drunken benders.
They’re to the stupid cunt who called her a dyke and stole her clothes.
They’re to those lying blonde bitches at McGehee who told her to sit somewhere else, that they had friends coming, that of course she could find Sarah Whitney in this room.
They’re to that corrupt bumpkin cop and his boss Mr. Moreno who extorted her, threatened to send her here, where is now, anyway, if she didn’t pay them to go away.
They’re to that shrimp-dicked little weasel who called her a dyke hag and kept trying to steal her wallet.
They’re to that fat, wrinkled, actual, fraudster hag who stabbed her in the fucking hand for no reason at all.
They’re to that too-friendly, too-creepy doctor who kept smiling and saying she was in good hands. His hands.
They’re to Headmistress Strong, for trying to expel her. For actually expelling her.
They’re to Warren Whitney, for being a sick rich fuck who gets off to fake-hanging—maybe for-real-hanging—girls who take her shopping.
They’re to whoever raped Ms. Perry and made her call off her engagement.
They’re to that subhuman piece of scum who beat Mrs. Flores bloody and tried to saw off her leg.
They’re to those three taunting girls who anonymously, cowardly, called her names from behind a bathroom door.
They’re to—well, she’ll start with that cheap fucking creepy painting that wasn’t even a real antique.
That rich cunt Sarah Whitney, the queen bee, the ringleader who masterminded the dyke hazing when she just wanted to keep everyone alive.
They’re to that also rich, extra malignant cunt Yvette Devillers, who was there with her every step of the way along that fateful project, who wouldn’t even pretend to be nice like Sarah towards the end, whose face needs to turned inside out—who could deserve being left to the tender mercies of Madam Marie Delphine LaLaurie, the long-dead cunt who started this all—who destroyed so many lives, including hers—
They’re to every cuntish nurse in that hospital who tormented her, and oh, that creepy doctor again, for probably her, to Detective Hill and Moore, for tricking her, to Yvette, again, for—
Lick my boots, filthy peasant!!!!!!! >:D
Filthy peasant!!!!!! >:D
They’re to Detective Hill and Moore, again, for doing jack shit, they’re to Caroline’s Malvaux uncle or cousin or what the fuck ever, for sending her to this shithole—they’re to the guards, for laughing, telling her she fucked up her life, to the incompetent nurse who stuck her with a needle twice, to the surly fat cunt who looked at her like she was an idiot, to these fucking dogs calling her their ‘man man’—and whatever sadistic piece of sputum sent her to the fucking men’s unit—
She says it.
She says it to all of them.
She screams it. From her soul. From the bottom of her being. From whatever fathomless, atavistic recess in all homo sapiens that transcends culture, transcends language, that is incapable of communicating anything except pure and unvarnished truth, from one human soul to another:
“YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!”
The words burn her throat like fire. She turns them to action.
The hands aren’t Amelie’s. They really aren’t.
They’re everyone’s. Everyone who ever fucked with her.
They did this to themselves. And she, she is their instrument—doing this to them.
The rage doesn’t pour through—it explodes through. Hotter than any forge. Sharper than any steel. Everything she is, was, or will be, channeled through the pitifully small hunk of steel in her hand—into the pitifully small, pitifully frail chunk of flesh on its receiving end.
Excise the tumors. Lance the boils. Cut the rot. Amputate the leprous.
She was born and dragged through since day one.
Born pure, and from day one dragged through mud. Only given to extremes in kindness and vitriol in a world where kindness is an island and bile is an ocean.
Drain the ocean. Burn it. Burn that black ocean of tar off her body.
Amelie has always tried to be kind, to be the person she needed when she was so young. Crying in pain, welts across her body from metal sticks and hands raw and calloused from the back breaking work she had to do just to feed her and that drunk.
Hate digs deep into her soul, only to find it’s always been balled up there, walled off in its own cyst. Now it’s exploded and bleeds everywhere, staining her white sheets with red. Bloodletting, a graduation from virginity. Flesh pierced. All those voices, all those hates and all of her cheeks turned over and over, letting it heap on her for the meek inherit the earth. Not anymore.
Her body seizes on its own, she feels the her body separate from her. All her spiritual pain pouring out into the world in screaming and laughing. Her whole being frenzies, her soul and body vibrating against each other as…
GM: The screams are too brief. The gushing, coppery red, too little. The body thudding against the floor, too few. She’s just gotten started.
Only just started.
The laughter wells within her lungs and bursts from split lips like a rising geyser. Only just started. Only just started. Only just—
No no no no.
It’s back. It’s not real. It can’t have followed her. Her exhausted body crumples as she rests for the next fight and clasps her bloody hands together as she denies the demon confrontation. Her mind melts, sanity a blurred line left behind in an unknown state on her travels to this sick place. Tears well in her eyes, but she doesn’t have the energy to cry. She tries to remember the prayer.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our… defense against the Devil. God… we humbly pray, and… prince of the… heavenly hosts, best, thrust into hell Satan, and… all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
GM: Praise, Hail Satan
Father of the Earth
our guiding light
who walks between worlds
our potentate of the night
As it was
in the void of the beginning
and shall ever be
*Well done, thou good and faithful servant.*