Knox quietly worked at the rivets on the door lock. His hands were large enough to wrestle a dragon but skillful like a surgeon. His nimble fingers fail him this time and he drops the last broken rivet. It tumbles into the hallway. He cannot retrieve it or he will be picked up by the security camera. With the lock disabled, he waits patiently by the door for lunch to arrive. Finally, the main cell block door opens with the usual wail of an annoying buzzer. As the guard approaches, he counts the echoing footsteps. Knox has memorized it takes thirty-two steps to get to his cell. Twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six. Knox counts in his head but the echoes stop. The guard must see the rivet. Knox turns his head to the right and presses his face against the bars. The guard is frozen. Terror-frozen. He is looking straight ahead and not downward as Knox expected. Knox turns his head the other way, once again, face against the bars. A shadowy figure waivers.
“Ladron de Almas”, Knox whispers.
Archer tumbled down the steep sandstone tunnel. Before he came to a complete stop, the creature grabbed him by the forearms and dragged him backward into an open space littered with old, wooden crates. The crates were topped with candles in sets of three. Always in threes, Archer thought to himself. Iron wall torches burned quiet and seemingly smokeless. As Archer took in the gothic ambiance, the creature poured a drink into a wine glass.
“Come sit,” said the creature. “I am Fofi.”
Archer grabbed for the glass but Fofi stopped him by saying, “Ah, first there are terms.”
“Terms?” Archer slouched back into the chair.
“Yes,” Fofi continues. “Don’t you have enemies up above? Prisoners that got the better of you. Convicts you would like to settle a score with, no?”
Archer’s mind spun as Fofi’s voice reminded him of how they spoke on the planet Dagobah.
“Yes, there are many prisoners I think would be better off removed from the penal system.”
“Ah, then drink up,” mumbled Fofi. “Lest I remind you, Archer. There’s no going back,” Fofi chuckles wickedly. “Either way.”
Without hesitation Archer raises the wine glass and asserts, “À votre santé!”
Confused? Read the Trapdoor episode previously posted.
Knox had been imprisoned for eleven years. He sat up in his cot staring through the cell bars. He became focused on the door lock, imagining he could shrink himself down so small as to stroll right out. There would be no need to break the lock. His focus sharpened and he noticed a rivet was slightly protruding from the plate around the lock. Knox walked up to the door. As he grabbed the rivet, a black cat bolted through the hall and cried. The startle caused him to cut his finger on the rivet and blood dripped rapidly to the floor. He returned to bed. He thought, if the cat was real, then, there was a way out. Knox drifted off to sleep. When he awoke, there was no blood on the floor. However, within the space between the door and the floor, rest a pair of lineman’s pliers.
Guards come and go. Prisoners stay. Some stay for life. So when L-wing reopened after thirty years, talk of the prison section being haunted spread faster than chills down a spine. The administration had only been in charge for two years. When they inspected the vacant L-wing it appeared rather clean and organized. The prison was overcrowded and they were pressured to make the move.
Transferring the prisoners was routine and time consuming. At the end of the day, Archer Wakeman, the chief prison officer, retreated to his new office. He noticed a small box on the shelf. As he walked over, he stepped on some loose linoleum tiles that cracked beneath his feet. He grabbed the box and opened it to find a skeleton key. He knelt down on the floor to inspect the cracked tiles with the key in his hand. As he fumbled with the tiles, more came loose. Archer noticed a seam bordered by gold trim. There was a trapdoor. Removing another tile revealed a keyhole. His curiosity overcame his reason as he inserted the skeleton key. The trapdoor dropped about two inches, sending a rush of dust into the air. He was frightened and wiped the sweat off the back of his neck. Archer sneezed not once, but twice. Just as the second sneeze finished he thought he heard, “Blesssss”, hissed by something unknown. Suddenly, the trapdoor slid left. He met the yellow eyes of a sub human creature with pale white skin and sharp bicuspids barely protruding from its mouth. The creature grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him down into the void.
The inmate stared down at the pool of blood. The building shook as if a low-flying airplane passed overhead. Little white flakes of paint fell into the pool making it appear as some sort of melted strawberry shortcake ice cream. The inmate pronounced he was El Castigador to the dead cellmate as he retrieved his shank from the victim’s neck. The wall on the far side of the cell began shaking. The inmate walked over and traced his fingers over the crude letters etched into the block. “El vacio,” he whispered. The concrete blocks were moving in and out until a hole in the wall formed. As the dust settled, the inmate thought he saw a shadow through the opening. He turned to run but a steel grappling hook pierced him just below the collarbone and pulled him through the wall. The shadow announced he was Ladron de Almas.
Imprisoned in an old chamber, the convict stares at the puddle. His footsteps are masked from the dripping water. He envisions the escape as he crosses streams of doubts dimly lit by the chesire moon. Alas, freedom as his eyes grow wide from a gruesome cracking of neck bone.
A little sample of my flash fiction series in development. I am pushing through my busiest time of year at work. My writing has been sparse but the ideas are now streaming in as more time frees up into the summer. This just stands as micro fiction in itself. Hope you enjoy!