The riot began almost immediately all the cell doors slid open and the lights flickered out. The backup generator of the prison kicked in spilling out small beams of dull pale blue light. After five minutes the dealer who killed Tommy was called out by a group of ex DOF activists who were angry over the death of their comrade. I had banked on this, the anger of these men boiling over and t. The first opportunity to exact bloody revenge would be taken. This was the cover Henry and I needed.
You see the genius of the system electric door system was simply that it was flawed. They were linked into the same system, and controlled by a remote server somewhere in the prison, although it was linked to the local area network that allowed the screws access to the internet. It would take a technological genius to crack into the system, but once they had access to one door, they had access to all. Joey was a technological genius, and Grace was able to get him the schematics of the prison to leave us an open route. The only problem was, we needed cover. We couldn’t sneak out alone before one of the inmates started kicking up a fuss and alerting the screws, so all needed to be open, giving us a crowd to sneak through, or past. I had created the diversion by having Tommy killed, the powder keg was exploding and all we had to do was sneak down to the ground floor, out through the double doors from our block, through a corridor, out across a courtyard into the main building and from there into the car park and out through the gates. By this time the armed guards should be in the block dealing with the rioting inmates. It was the best plan we had, but I always worried about the best laid plans.
The carnage began before I ushered Henry out of the cell and we skirted the first floor keeping to the wall next to the open cells. Below us were the ominous dark thuds and cracks of a massive fight for life. There was a war raging below us, pillow cases filled with mugs and books became vicious weapons. Pens, fists, plates, broken pieces from bedsteads, all were used as portions of a base and Spartan arsenal. The resourcefulness of warriors never failed to frighten me. I remembered a story my father had told me about a battle I ancient Greece involving a mere three hundred Spartan soldiers, against an almost endless horde of Persian warriors. After this handful of warriors had been betrayed at the point of victory the Spartans refused to surrender, and when their weapons broke, used their shields to inflict damage to their never ending nightmare. The Spartans used shields; the inmates used crockery and stationary.
Silently and tentatively we had made it to the stairs leading down to the fray. In the dim light I could see that most of the chaos was concentrated in the centre of the floor, there were at least three men already brought to the ground, and a dark greasy pool lay around the head of one of the prone soldiers. The most obvious route would have been to run to the left of the floor and head straight to the double doors, skirting the violence and saving us valuable seconds. But that is where the onlookers stood. We needed to head to the right and skirt right around the room before we found the exit. Joey was only able to guarantee us fifteen minutes to escape, five of which were used up in the cell waiting for the fight to start. Grace had told us that he was only sure he could remain undetected in their system for that long.
“Henry we are going to have to go to the right. There are more shadows and less people. We can’t stop for anything.” Henry curtly nodded, his brow already glistening with sweat. Not through exertion, the little punk stunk of fear, the sweat trickled from him and fled his pores as if it were as terrified as he was. Fuck it, as terrified as WE were. I didn’t relish getting stopped and caught in a bloody battle, before I could moved I saw the dealer swing a pole from his bed across the jaw of a small stocky skinhead. Blood arced up in the air, spraying the dealer with viscous elements of passion and death as the skinhead fell to floor prone immediately.
Henry and I moved, keeping low in the shadows, but our eyes remained fixed upon the slaughter before us. It was difficult to tell who was winning, but it was relentless. I wished I had that mp3 player with me now. I could hear the song in my head again as if my mind was trying to block out the sounds of screaming, roaring, swearing and the cracking of metal against bone. I nearly burst into song momentarily. “I’m not a pessimist but sometimes hope is missed.” How fucking ridiculous is that? I wondered if my mother would still be proud of me now.
We had reached the double doors almost without incident, just one crying skinhead grabbing at Henry’s ankle as we slunk by. A swift kick to the already broken nose was enough for the downed man to yowl like a sick cat, and double up into a contorted fetal position. The rest of the journey we encountered nobody.
Quietly I pushed through the double doors into the deserted corridor. As the door slammed behind us an alarm sounded. Word had travelled to the armed guards and pretty soon they would all be heading this way to deal with the rioters. We had little time to act, the shrill shrieking air raid siren spurred us both into action and we sprinted through the all encompassing black to the dim glimmering double doors leading to the courtyard. We were lucky, the backup generator had not enough power to fire up the floodlights outside, we were still granted some cover as we burst through the door. For this we were grateful because the armed guards had started to come across the walls and were leaving the main building moments after we had reached the outside. It was Graces idea not to take the power out online, but to do it by physically breaking the power box outside the prison. There would be nothing they could do about the backup generator coming on but at least the dark of night gave us enough time to clear out of the armed guards way and flatten ourselves against the soft wet dewy grass.
Boots passed us by a mere five feet, trampling and thudding the ground, echoing in our ears as we tried to make ourselves paper thin against the slimy ground. I counted two minutes in my head before the last urgent tramping of boots passed us. Looking up I saw nobody and I began to crawl toward the main building, a minute later we were on our feet and running. One building more, one building more, one building more and we would be safe and outside.
Clumsily we tore through the door to the main building, which consisted of one office, a reception area and a large waiting area before we made it to the car park outside. So far this had been too easy. Grace and Joey had obviously done their jobs well, but a dark foreboding pulsed and throbbed at the front of my mind. I kept moving in spite of the warnings ringing through my mind. Slinking through to the reception area I reached the door and tried to open it. The handle wouldn’t move. It was locked in place, evidently Joey had greatly exaggerated the time he thought that he could give us. The door system was back up and running, and there was no way through the door, our sister just the other side.
In a heartbeat all hope was gone.