The lights screamed an awakening through my eyelids as they were flicked on, jolting me from a dream. A colorful dream, oozing with delicate freedoms, leaving me craving more. Instead, I was yanked harshly from its grasp and shaken thoroughly by my captor’s voice. I’ve no idea what they were saying as I pushed into a sitting position in my cot. My ears felt as if they were stuffed with cotton and my eyes were blurry with sleep. This rude awakening wasn’t the last bad thing that would happen to me in this cold, dank cell. The toilet where dignity was flushed away had a puddle beneath its base, slowly growing. But I suppose what I did so wrong deserves this kind of punishment. Probably even worse. Eleven, nearly twelve people were dead because of me.
Despite this horrid series of events that I’d caused, guilt in my mind was non-existent. I had only regretted covering my tracks so sloppily to have gotten me here. I knew I should have buried my parents elsewhere, but they’d looked so nice in their room…
I fell back into my thoughts again as I replayed the whole ordeal in my head. Back into the rabbit hole, as some may say.
“Ace, what have you done to your father?” my mother had asked me, horrified. The shock in her eyes pleased me slightly more than it should have, the fearful wobble in her legs only building onto it.
“Put him to sleep, mom. Now you two won’t argue anymore. Wouldn’t you like to join him? You’d be awfully happy together,” I had replied, smiling sweetly as if I’d just been asking for ice cream. Without waiting for an answer, I ended her. I dragged her body away and tucked her in next to my father.
I blinked out of my thoughts, scratching the back of my neck. With a sigh, I looked into the cell next to mine, observing my neighbor. It was a tall woman, face aimed at the wall and legs tucked to her chest. I felt a pang of homesickness. I missed the pale, sickly faces of my parents, lying in bed together. Determination rose like fire into my chest. A determination to go home as soon as possible, no matter what it may cost me. I dragged myself out of my cot to the bars keeping me within.
“Hello?” I called softly, hoping to attract one of the wardens. “Hellooooo…?” He poked his gaunt, disgruntled face in to see what it was I wanted.
“I’m hungry,” I attempted, resting a hand on my stomach and frowning softly. “I never got my breakfast.”
“That’s not my problem,” came his response, eyebrows twitching over his dark eyes.
Frustration bubbled in my chest, but I wouldn’t release it just yet. “Please? I’m awfully hungry.”
“Maybe you should have eaten your food, then.”
That was it. I threw myself against the bars, reaching through in an attempt to grab him, despite him being too far away.
“Give me my damned food!” I growled out at him, reaching wildly for him. All he did was step slightly farther away and flash me a smirk. “I’ll wring your fucking neck!”
He simply shook his head at me and turned back toward the exit, the jingle of cell keys dulling my anger. I sat down, panting softly to think for a minute. His keys. I could get his keys, sure, but how? I chewed on a small piece of my own red-hued hair, a subconscious bad habit. Unfortunately, I doubt he would come close enough for me to get them after that outburst. However, it wasn't too late to cause some sort of riot in the mess hall, was it?
Of course, that would be the perfect distraction. I'd be free of these flashy clothes and ridiculous cell, finally. Still, I felt a small pang of regret for not keeping my frustration in check. This new idea would be considerably more dangerous than simply taking his keys. Now that I thought about it, going home wouldn't be all that good of an idea either, would it? That's where they'd expect me to run to. This would take a little more planning. I stood once again, moving to the leaky sink, dark, slimy hair clogging the drain. Mold thinly coated the outside of each hair, covering their original coloring. I washed my hands, splashing some of the dark liquid onto my face. The warm substance felt nice on my cheeks. I then watched it congeal in the basin of the sink, slowly flowing down the drain and past the lump of hair.
Soon, it would be time for lunch, and I’d set my half-baked plan into action. The jingle of keys down the hall prompted me to glance over my shoulder at the entrance. It was a different warden, swinging the keys around her forefinger.
“Lunch time, kiddos!” She said with a small smile, tossing the keys up and catching them in her other hand. I could already tell that this warden was much nicer than the other one. I liked her already, “No runnin’, ya hear? I'll havta stun ya.”
Silently, I nodded. A silent promise I’d soon break. One of her hands was near her holster, the other unlocking my cage. Then she struck, whipping out a pair of handcuffs and locking them around my wrists. She smiled at me and jerked her chin ahead, telling me to walk in front of her. That was understandable. Nodding once more, I walked ahead. Despite my lack of exploration of this place, I was sure-footed toward the mess hall. Of course, it was the loudest room of this prison, so all I had to do was follow the sounds that echoed through the otherwise silent hallways. Finally. Here I was. When I stopped in the doorway to look around, she gently prodded me from behind to keep me moving. I headed over to the large stack of trays and the chaotic line of inmates who awaited service.
The slop that was scooped onto my tray squelched, causing me to lose any appetite I might’ve had. Now, a seat. At school it’d been difficult to find a table to reside at, but here, it proved less challenging. In fact, I was waved over by a booming table of large people, tattoos lining their body parts. They either wanted to beat my up, or they thought I looked interesting, and I wasn’t sure which I wanted more. So I walked over to them, straightening my back and attempting to have the most intimidating expression a five foot tall person can have.
“Hello,” I began, “This might be weird to ask, but would you guys mind starting a little riot?”
They seemed to ignore me, but it looked like they were already starting one. Easier than I’d thought. I backed away and toward what I hoped was an exit as the group began to slowly grow out of control, not wanting to be caught in the storm. Guards rushed in from the front, shouting various commands at the rioting inmates, only succeeding in hurting their vocal cords. Finally, I’d managed to slip out. Finally, I was sprinting through the halls toward the exit. Finally, I’d be going home. But not without a quick pit stop, of course.
Once I was out of the facility, I kept running until it was a spot in the distance, and my aching legs began to feel like sticks out jelly. I hid behind someone’s house, panting heavily. A plan was brewing in my head, and I hoped this home was occupied. Finally finding my legs, I pushed myself off of the ground to peek in the window. A teenager, at most, was sitting there and texting. She appeared to be alone.
Perfect. I edged around the house to a doorway, trying the handle. Locked, of course. I tried the window, and it slid open with ease, giving a small creak of effort. I winced and climbed through, hoping not to attract her attention just yet. My shoeless feet provided no sound as I snuck behind her, preparing to strike. With a sick crack her neck had been snapped before she had time to look up. Working quickly, I stripped her of her clothing, leaving only her undergarments. I wasn’t a pervert, after all. Then I removed my disgusting jumpsuit, quickly switching into her clothing. Smiling, I paid her with a kiss on the forehead. Now for makeup. Surely she’d have some. I searched the house for a pale foundation to mask my tell-tale freckles. It looked awful, but it had worked. I looked completely different in these new clothes. I then proceeded to take a pair of their scissors and stuff them in my pocket, climbing back out the window. I’d cut my hair later. Only an idiot would cut their hair at the crime scene, that’s almost like leaving a sign pointed straight toward you.
Carefully picking my way to the sidewalk, I continued to walk casually along, my disguise proving useful enough. Once I’d made it home, I shut and locked all the doors. My parents had been moved. I sighed, feeling my eyes burn, turning away and looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. Pulling the newfound scissors from my pocket, I began to cut away my long, red hair. Later, I’d dye it.
No one would know who I am.
No one would know where I’ll strike next.
The very thought made me smile.