.44 Magnum SoulsMature

          On the 12th of January, entering my 21st year in Hollow Valley Penitentiary, I was issued my first cellmate. I can't say that I remember much about the fellow, but I do remember what the day had been like. First thing that morning, the snow stopped falling. Around noon, the almighty sun was high in the sky, melting all of that white gunk away. Even in the maximum security prison, I was pleased at how unnaturally nice it was, considering the time of the year. Of course, the wardens wouldn't let us out to enjoy the weather. Hollow Valley housed some of the most cunning and violence-prone criminal masterminds in the world and me. They did however, let someone in. Prisoner #66623 they named him, but he introduced himself as Lukas Ferdinand. 

          The young man was put in my cell, one that had been exclusively mine for over two decades. Oddly, I wasn't at all displeased about it. If it had been someone else I could've complained, but I took a liking to this Lukas boy. I'll always remember the conversation we had at the stroke of midnight, during the first hour of the 13th. "You know, it's Friday the 13th today", he whispered from the bed beside mine. 

          I shrugged. "Like it matters, kid."

          Lukas sat up and the moonlight shone on his face. Although I don't remember what he looked like now, I think he was quite handsome. "You aren't a superstitious man, Mr. Vermilion?" he asked.

          Lukas' voice was sly and alluring, yet bold and daring. If we weren't murderers, I'd introduce him to my daughter. I scoffed at his question. "Once you're in here for 20 years, Lukas, you lose interest in things that no longer affect you. For example, I haven't seen a good horror flick in twenty-two years."

          "The supernatural greatly affects me", Lukas replied in a mysterious way. "Mr. Vermilion, do you miss the outside?"

          At this point in the conversation I sat up as well. We were becoming friends, it seemed. "It's not so much the outside that I miss, but my family. My children are probably all grown up now... I won't be able to see them for another 4 years, when I get out of here. I missed their childhood, their teenage years... I miss my wife, my parents."

          Lukas turned to me and had a sympathetic look in his eyes. Ah, now I remember. His hair... it was a curly, blond mess, but looked good on him anyway. "Mr. Vermilion-"

          "Please, call me Garrett", I corrected him.

          "Garrett," he continued, "You're not getting out of here."

          "What the hell are you talking about, boy?" I questioned, spitting on the floor. 

          "Not to be blunt, Mr.- Garrett, but as I said earlier, the supernatural does affect me. I foresee an execution in your near future."

          "You shut the fuck up," I growled, standing up from my bed now, "I will get out of here, and I will see my family again,  you hear me?!"

          This heated remark apparently awoke others in our cell block, bringing angered shouts such as, "Hey dumb-shits, I'm trying to sleep in here!" and, "Shut the fuck up, mother-fuckers, or I'll call the warden!"

          Lukas just sat there and shook his head. "No, Garrett. No, no, no. I see it pretty damn clearly. You're not leaving this place alive. Lethal injection is what it's looking to be right now."

          "But even if you're right," I whispered, "Why would they execute me? I've been behaving myself for 21 years in this shit-hole. I only have four more years..."

         "Not my decision, Garrett," he whispered in reply, "I just call 'em as I see 'em."

          He suddenly tilted his head a little, possibly in deep thought. "But," he ominously whispered, looking me dead in the eye, "If you really want to leave this place... perhaps you could use some... supernatural assistance?"

          I chuckled spitefully, "Like, ghosts comin' in here and scaring the hell out of the wardens, giving me a chance to escape? Go to hell, kid."

          "Already been there", he muttered, giving me a slight smile. "So, what do you say? Do you want out or not? I can hook you up pretty quickly, Garrett. It's easy to ask for help when you have connections like I do."

          "Connections to whom?" I asked playfully, "Satan?"

         "Yes... or no, Garrett Vermilion?"

          "Sure," I replied, "I have nothing to lose anyway."

          The following morning, Lukas was gone. He didn't get transferred or anything, but simply disappeared. I asked about him from the wardens and other inmates, but none of them seemed to have any recollection of an individual named Lukas Ferdinand, or prisoner #66623.

          On the 30th of January, a correctional officer appeared at my door. He came to announce that I was to be executed, the date of this event to be February 14th. Lethal injection... just like the non-existent inmate had predicted. 

          A while after that, my real, hard evidence was found. It was both proof that Lukas Ferdinand existed and my ticket out, but I was doomed to never reveal it to anyone. On February 13, a month after my conversation with Lukas and his odd disappearance, I found a Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver underneath the bed where Lukas had slept, along with a case of six bullets. The gun was composed of stainless steel, but seemed to have been spray-painted black. On the side of the 270mm barrel, these small words were inscribed in an unsettling, crimson red: Supernatural Assistance for Mr. Garrett Vermilion, courtesy of his friend Lukas Ferdinand.

          This is where the real story begins. 

The End

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