© Copyright 2007 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF+/m; bagged; latex; encased; prison; future; nc; X
Authors note: This story is based on the story "PS" by RubberH, where a woman, in the distant future is sentenced to spend a year encased in rubber in public. This story is set in the same universe, just slightly before the events of that story.
I wonder if this time I'll still remember what grass looks like…
I suppose my life's story isn't all that important. Those of us who end up in my situation really don't exist anymore. All that someone would need to know is that when I was a young man, I was warned early on in school about the dangers of turning to a life of crime.
They showed us the videos, the tapes about what happened to those who broke the law, whether it was for their own selfish gain, or for a Robin Hood style "Steal from the rich, give to the poor" deal. The law, the government, didn't care about the motive of the crime, only the crime itself.
Perhaps I should try and explain a little bit more. Halfway through the twenty first century, crime was the single biggest problem worldwide. The stress of never-ending war between big nations and terrorism, the growing loss of the world's natural resources, third world nations getting deeper and deeper into debt, all of it added up to a one-way ticket towards a future where humanity would wipe itself off the face of the earth. Well, it turned out that people were tired of it all.
At a specially called UN meeting, the leaders of the world's nations finally agreed that things were just running completely out of control. The biggest focus of the meeting was two-fold. One, to enact a new system that would essentially take over and control the world's governments. Religious fanatics went absolutely bonkers, practically storming the building and screaming about this was clearly the work of the devil. They didn't understand. Sometimes, the council agreed, you just had to crack down and take complete control to eliminate the world's problems.
So it was agreed that, for the time being at least, there would emerge a one world government. There would be only one system of currency, the credit, and a universal justice system, because it was also agreed that current methods of justice were clearly not working. So this new system became very clear: Commit a crime, do the time. No mercy, no forgiveness. If you killed someone, you were to spend the rest of your life in prison with no parole. Parole was no longer even a word that existed.
Most of the world was not happy with these changes. But the governments overruled them. The new government was put into effect, as well as the new justice sweeps.
I wasn't alive to witness any of that. It all took place about twenty years before I was born. By the time my mother gave birth to me, the new government and the justice system was working so well that the decision was made to implement it permanently. Apparently almost all of the nations did not support this idea, but it still went through anyway. Though none of the history textbooks talked about it, apparently there were some very quiet rumors that dissenting leaders and some of their families vanished to make the opposition stay quiet. The justice system went through another overhaul as well. Rubber, it was found, was a very effective numbing agent when worn for long periods of time. Therefore, it was decided that all prisoners in the justice system would be interred in rubber to force them into not feeling much of anything after a while, to ensure that with physical touch gone, the mind was more open to being shaped.
The religious fanatics were all still outraged and trying to whip the masses into rising up against the government of the devil. But when some large groups began to respond, the government responded quickly against them. All of the religious leaders and all those who participated were quickly captured and sentenced to life in prison with no parole. The last anyone saw of them, they were being loaded, dressed all in body tight rubber, into cargo planes taking them to the largest prison in the world, a desolate one in the far south, away from the rest of the world named Dark Steel.
My childhood was, I suppose, fairly normal. The only difference from children a century ago is that rules were enforced much more strictly. Most parents simply tried to ensure that their children would obey the rules when they grew up. My parents however… they didn't support the one world government idea. While they did try to keep me in line, they also let me have the freedom to experiment and try to figure out who I was as an individual. In an earlier time, that might have resulted in something positive. In me however… well, all it did was help me realize that I was a loner, an individual who wanted to do whatever I wanted without being ordered around. I especially came to despise authority figures of any kind (I think this was due in part to my parent's attitude towards the government that was rapidly becoming omnipresent).
It was because of this attitude that the problems started to come in. When I entered grade school, I didn't want to pledge my allegiance to the government like the good little boy I was supposed to be. If you did that nowadays, you'd probably be reprimanded with a weekend's detention in jail. But back then… gosh, how long was that ago? Forty years?... it was tolerated… though the others scorned me, both student and teacher alike. Oh, there were a few that silently agreed with me (they told me later on), but the vast majority thought I was a rebel. It only got worse in my senior year, on my twenty first birthday.
When you're surrounded by others who make fun of you and mercilessly taunt you, eventually you're going to hate them. And eventually, you're going to snap and fight back. Everyone has a breaking point. Mine came quite easily. A bunch of my fellow students, brainwashed into loving the government, slashed my tires in high school and covered my car with pro-government bumper stickers. I had paid good money for that car. So when I saw them doing it, I snapped. I grabbed a nearby pipe and began to beat on them.
That was my first run in with the law…the firm, unyielding, unflinching law. The school supervisors caught me with a bloody pipe in my hands and several unconscious students lying before me. I was quickly arrested and sentenced to spend a week in the local jail. My parents, understandably, were horrified. But there was nothing they could do. As I said earlier, parole no longer exists, and it didn't exist back then.
By the end of that day, I was in the back of a squad car in handcuffs and leg irons, on my way to spend my week in jail. And by that evening I found myself locked into a jail cell when I would have normally been at home playing computer games.
The week itself was, all things considered, quite tame to what others had gone through…what I would go through later on. I wasn't let out of my cell the entire time. To pass the time, I could either nap, or I could read the pro-government books or the other choice of booklets describing in great detail the punishments of serious offenders and how I was to obey the law like everyone else. I wasn't dressed in rubber that time, only the standard orange jumpsuit.
Probably the most traumatic events were when I looked out of the tiny little glass window (three inches thick) embedded in the steel door of my cell, watching other prisoners being brought in and out, watching their terrified faces as they were put into their own cells and locked in. The worst were the ones who were brought out of their cells crying and sobbing as they were dragged away. I later found out that those individuals had been sentenced to either an absurdly long prison sentence, or life in prison, or…the worst, most dreaded sentence that could be given to anyone.
When the week was over, I was let out of my cell and given a very stern warning by the police officers that if I was smart, I wouldn't get into trouble again. I was then put outside the station, a free person once again. The lazy bastards were too lazy to even call a cab to drive me home, so I had to walk. My parents were, understandably, happy to see me again, but my father gave me a very long lecture about I had better damn well learned my lesson not to get into trouble again. I was lucky, he said, that those students I had beaten up had only concussions. If they had been brain damaged, I would have found myself spending eighty years in a prison cell. If they had died…I would have been sent to prison for life, regardless of my age.
But unlike what the police and my parents hoped, my time in jail hadn't made me see the error of my ways. Oh no, on the contrary. It kindled my anger towards any authority figures, especially ones in law enforcement. I was only a teenager, but I felt that all authority figures did was control your life, leaving you powerless as you drifted into old age and death.
Needless to say…that wasn't going to happen to me. I vowed it right then and there.
Despite the large black spot on my record, I did manage to graduate from high school, but not with the fancy gown and cap. No, my graduation was simply going to the office and picking up a certificate stating that I was a high school graduate. If I did not have that black mark, I could have had two options at this point…go to college or start my adult life and get a job. But due to that one mistake, the authorities and their rules decided that due to my anger and the harm I had done to others, I was not worthy to get into college. So I had only once choice…go out and get a job.
I left home soon after that, bidding my parents farewell, promising them that I would write, etc. On the outside I looked quite pleased with myself. But appearances, as the saying goes, can be deceiving. On the inside, I was seething in anger. I had always wanted to go to college, but because the world's sense of justice did not include forgiveness, I was screwed. As long as I lived, that black mark would be on my record, and they wouldn't let me forget it. The only places I could find where they would take me were fast food joints. Real bottom of the ladder, no promotion spots. Less then a month out of school and I was living in a government built mass apartment building, working for bare bones minimum wage in a burger joint.
Perhaps that's one thing that this new government did right. They made sure that if you wanted a job, you could get one, no matter how low wage it was. And if you wanted to live somewhere, you could, even with the wage. You can, if you so desire, live comfortably for life.
But not me. I wanted more. I wanted to show the others that I was more then this. But the problem was that there was very little promotional opportunity there. There was work experience, but to get up to a level two job, you need at least five years of experience. I was less then two months into those five years when things began to get out of hand.
Psychologists say that if someone is frustrated or angry at something, and if they don't have an outlet for that anger, they will eventually explode and burst. The thing that pressed my buttons more then the frustration of knowing that it would be years before I got out of that dump was my boss. Fat lady with an ego the size of Alaska, an ego so big that she had proportionally tiny ears to listen with. No matter what we, the employees said, she was always right.
For some reason that I'll never know, she latched onto me as a target for her cruelty. She was always nagging on me, ordering me to go faster, or simply telling me how worthless and incompetent I was, and that I should be grateful she had hired me. "And I can always fire you." She said. "Nobody will object to that, considering what you did in school." Whenever she gave me one of her lectures, I found myself gritting my teeth. In my mind's eye, it always took only a few seconds to rip out that tongue of hers.
I wasn’t alone in feeling that either. A few of my co-workers felt that way too. One in particular, Bob, hated our boss with a passion that equaled mine. Upon discovering this fact, both of us instantly bonded in our mission to somehow, someday, teach that fat blob of flesh a lesson in humility. But until that day, we had to bide our time.
For the next sixth months, I did my job. I took orders, cooked food, cleaned the joint and kept it looking pretty. The boss of course, never appreciated it, telling me her dog could do a better job then I could. I knew the dog. A small, scraggly lap dog that barked nonstop at everyone but it's owner (who found it highly amusing). I was so tempted to reply with something witty like "Well, why don't you bring that little mutt here and let her try?" But I kept my tongue. Revenge, I knew, would eventually be mine.
As it turned out, revenge came much sooner then I thought.
It all came down one night after we had closed up. Bob, myself, and the bitch were the only ones in the restaurant, with Bob and myself cleaning up while the bitch was sitting in her office reading the newspaper, fat legs propped up on the desk. Bob was in charge of counting the money, I was in charge of cleaning the joint of spilled soda and food scraps tossed onto the floor. Real nice work.
Anyway, it was about ten minutes after we closed when I finally managed to mop up the last gunk of soda, leaving the floor nice and clean. Picking up my mop and cleaning supplies, I went back behind the counter and asked Bob how he was doing with the money. "All finished." He said. "And I think it's time for us to leave." Of course, that was our boss's cue to ruin our plans for the evening. She poked her head out of her office.
"Do you two have any plans for the evening?" It wouldn't take a rocket expert to realize that something was up, but we just gave our standard answers. Yes, I said. I have a book waiting at home that I want to get back to. Bob had a party he had been invited too. "Well, you'll have to cancel. I'm having a get together tomorrow evening and I need the food to be cooked. I expect it to be done and in the fridges by the time I come in tomorrow morning.
"Excuse me?" I said. "Look, just because we work for you doesn't mean you can have us do your personal cooking. If you want us to do that, commission us. But I'm not doing your own personal cooking. That's not my job." My boss considered that.
"Okay then. In that case, don't bother coming in to work tomorrow." She had a smile on your face. "And on your records, I'll write down that you were fired for disorderly conduct. Coupled with your little incident from school, I think you'll have a very hard time getting a job ever again." At that point, my blood was starting to boil. But seeing that look on her face, and what she said…that was the worst insult at all. She smiled. "Have a nice day."
I snapped, my vision turning red. The next thing I felt was my arm arching back, then throwing a punch that landed hard on that bitch's jawbone. There was a supremely satisfying cracking noise and she fell against the wall. Before I could even realize what I had done, as well as the implications, Bob was suddenly next to me, the cash register in his hands. He threw it down on our mutual enemy's head as hard as he could. Needless to say…that didn't have good implications.
When the rage had subsided, both of us were standing in front of an unconscious and badly bleeding fat woman. "Oh shit!" Bob said. "Oh shit, shit, shit!" Assaulting one's employer was a criminal offense. If you simply injured them, it was a few years in the slammer. Kill them however…and it was life. "Shit, shit, shit! What the hell are we going to do?" I was still feeling rather smug about what had just happened, but considered the options. If we took her to a hospital she would no doubt recover, but remember me attacking her, and possibly Bob throwing the cash register. That would lead to charges of attempted murder, which would lead to thirty or forty years behind bars for both of us.
If we just left, we could just come back in the morning and see if she was still alive. If she wasn't, we'd say that the place had probably attacked by a thief and that she was dead. Tragic and unfortunate, but no prison time for either of us. There was the danger of her surviving and then remembering us. Attempted murder, then leaving her to die was seventy years.
Or we could just kill her, drag her body away and dispose of her. Simplest, and if nobody ever found her…Bob and I would get of scotch free. We could say that we were heading out and when we came back, the place had been broken into with our boss nowhere to be found. But then again…who would do the killing? Myself or Bob? He was still panicking at that point. "What the hell are we going to do?!" He frantically asked me. "I don't want to go to prison! I don’t!!!"
"Calm down Bob, let me think. We could take her to the hospital o-"
"Are you insane?! She'd remember what happened!!! We'd go to prison for years!!!"
"I wasn't finished." I hissed. "We could take her to the hospital…or we could leave and come back in the morning to see if she's still alive…or we could finish it and then bury her body someplace."
"Oh hell no!" He said. "I'm not killing anybody!"
"Then why did you drop that cash register on her head? That seemed like you were trying to kill her."
"I just snapped okay?! I just got overwhelmed at what she had done and I…I…I just snapped!"
"That won't hold up well in court you know."
"I don't want to go into a pod!" Bob shrieked. "I DON'T!!! I-" Our boss moaned from the ground. She tried to move, whether to stand or get up I'll never know. I just grabbed the cash register and bashed her with it. Blood gushed from her head. A deep, guttural moan escaped her lips, and just as she had gotten halfway up, she tottered then collapsed, her face down on the floor. She stopped breathing.
She was dead.
At that point, Bob utterly lost it. Rather then keeping a calm and cool head like he should of, he took off with a shout of fright, realizing no doubt that his boss was dead. "BOB!" I shouted. "GET BACK HERE!" But it was too late. He was gone. And I was alone in the building with a dead body. In retrospect, I figure I could have carried her to the hospital and said that she had been shot as she was leaving the parking lot. I could have forged an identity for the gunman. But what I really did was quite stupid. I just looked at her, then said "Up yours Bitch." And I walked out.
I went home that night, went to my cheap little apartment, ate a quick snack, then watched the TV for a while. I was feeling high, on top of the world in knowing that I had achieved the American dream…my boss was dead. I watched the only show I really liked, a comedy…until a special bulletin interrupted. Oh, how I hated those bulletins. You want to know why? Because when those things come on, they come on every channel. Every single show, from government programming to soap operas has to stop to hear a special bulletin.
So what was on that bulletin? No, it wasn't my boss's death. That wasn't for a little while. It was the result of the latest high level corporate corruption case. Three high level board of trustee members and the CEO of some big name company had just been given long times in prison. They weren’t going into deprivation pods, but they were going to sit in cells for thirty and forty years, respectively. The CEO got the worst because he was the one at the top.
In the darkness of the apartment, I watched as each convicted man was forcibly shackled and led out of the court. The government loves doing these, hoping to show other potential criminals what will happen to them if they commit a crime. The last sight I saw of each of the four men were their terrified eyes as they were herded into an elevator, with the doors closing behind them. Then a screen came up showing where they were going to be held. Some medium security prison somewhere in the jungles of South America. It wasn't going to be the cold prison in the arctic for them.
I turned off the TV after that. Call it a guilty conscience catching up to me, but I was very uncomfortable watching it. The elation of having that bitch dead had not yet worn off. I had, in a word, just had an orgasm and had not yet reached the stage where the excitement and euphoric pleasure had vanished. No…that was to come the next morning.
So, when my alarm went off at seven thirty the next day, I woke up realizing that I didn't have to go to work. But the thought was quickly cleared away by the knowledge that I should go in to work to try and sweet talk to the police. Reluctantly getting out of bed, I poured myself a bowl of cereal and turned on the news. It wasn't thirty seconds before the story of my boss's death came up. I watched it with interest, wondering where my next job was going to be…before the newswoman said my name, that the police were looking for me. Cereal and milk flew across the room as I suddenly felt fear tear through me.
Apparently, a security camera had caught me hitting my boss, and Bob (and me) hitting her with the cash register. To make matters worse, it had also picked up our conversation, including me talking about what we could possibly do.
I clearly remember saying, "Oh fuck."
Shooting into my bedroom, I quickly changed, grabbed a hat, a long hair wig, and some glasses, then ran to the fire escape and bolted out, heading down to the street level, and not a moment too soon. Five seconds after I began running down the alleyway, I heard the shriek of police sirens coming up to the apartment complex. "I am not going to become one of them!" Visions of helpless prisoners being dragged away, never to be seen again, filled my head. I remembered watching video of those religious fanatics being loaded onto a plane, completely helpless to avoid their fate.
"I am not going to become one of them!" I screamed silently to myself. Throwing on the hat, the wig, and the glasses, I effectively changed my appearance to a degree that nobody, including the police, was going to recognize me unless they came up real close. And with that, I left the alleyway and casual mixed in with a crowd of people going about their daily business as I pondered my next move. For all its security and technology, the government hasn't…at least, as far as I know, that could have changed by now…implemented a system where every citizen has a tracking chip implanted in them. That meant that if I could avoid being seen or caught, nobody knew where I was.
I figured my best chance was to head for the border, then head up into Canada, perhaps up to the mountains where I could live like a nomad. Living without the benefits and wonders of modern day technology and society may sound horrifying, but trust me…when you know what prisons are like, you'll do anything to avoid going there.
Heading to the train station, I managed to secure a ticket and get onto a train heading for the north. Apparently it was still too early for the police to implement the "Check every person boarding a train to find a fugitive" system. As it turned out, they set one up just as the train pulled out of the station. I was nervous all right, unbelievably nervous. Terrified. I was on the run, a convict, a criminal wanted for murder. Murder, along with rape and kidnapping, are the worst crimes in our society. All of them are punishable with an automatic life sentence with no parole. If you're really bad, it's life in a deprivation pod, the very worst thing that can happen to you.
Sweat poured down my forehead the entire trip, and I had to wipe it away every few seconds or so. I didn't sleep at all, fearing that there would be a nighttime inspection of all the passengers. And all the while, I kept chastising myself over and over again. "You should have taken her to a hospital! You should have saved her life! Sure you would have gone to prison for years, but at least you'd get out eventually! But now you won't you stupid idiot! You won't! You should have done the right thing when you could have, but you didn't!"
Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck when we reached the first stop on the trip. I got out for a few minutes to stretch my legs, to try and stay awake. In the dark and bitter cold, there were very few of us out that night. There were some newspapers and a television at the station, with the TV playing the general news. I tried to ignore it.
That's when I saw someone out and about. It was a person, I didn't know their gender, for they were coated head to toe in rubber. It was an unfortunate soul going through PS…public solitary. You're free to walk around and move in whichever city you're placed in, but you cannot interact with other people. You're sealed into your own little world and nobody even notices you. It's like being a ghost. As I watched the person walking around, no doubt trying to find a place to sleep, I could only feel pity for them, as well as a dreadful curiosity as to how long they were going to stay like that, what they had done, how old he or she was.
I never found out, for the figure turned and quietly walked away into the night. There was a chime, the sign that the train was going to depart in a few minutes. The other passengers and myself hurried on board and sure enough, we were being carried off into the night. I tried to stay awake, but my fatigue was too great and I slipped into an uneasy sleep. My last sight was the lights of distant buildings going past in the dark night. Upon awakening, I was relieved to see that I was still on the train, still a free man…though not for much longer (I didn’t know that at the time). Feeling better, at least physically, I went to have some breakfast in the dining car.
But when I entered the car, there was a television on that was announcing the latest news. It wasn’t good. Bob, my co-worker, had been captured trying to leave town. Apparently, he had tried to get onto a train, much like I had. He had been armed as well, carrying guns and knives with him. Just like the last time I had seen him, he had panicked. Needless to say, when he realized that the police had recognized him, he lost it and tried to blast them away, as if that was going to do any good. One officer had been hit, but her bullet-proof vest saved her life. The others simply swarmed like flies over Bob, overwhelming him, disarming him, then arresting him. The television showed him being dragged away, literally, shouting and pleading, all while struggling against the thick shackles locked around his ankles and wrists. A black hood was put on his head and zipped shut just before he was put into the van. He had become one of the countless men and women who were turned into objects when arrested.
He was apparently going to go on trial later that day (the court systems work very fast), with sentence being passed tomorrow. It wasn’t going to be much of a contest, I knew that much. He was an accomplice in murder, an automatic life sentence. And looking at him…I knew all too well that it could be me being dragged away when tomorrow’s news came on. I had to get to the border, no matter the cost.
The trial was over more quickly then I expected. I nervously finished my breakfast the next morning, almost dropping my spoon several times, then went into a restroom to try and wash up a bit and ensure that my disguise was still working. The wig was a bit dirty form all the sweat, but it would hold out long enough. When I came out of the restroom, Bob was already out of the local jail after being booked and was on his way to the courtroom. Most prisoners go in the standard orange jumpsuit with wrist and ankle shackles, but people like Bob, who attack law enforcement, get extra special treatment. How so?
Well, anyone who attacks an officer is automatically placed into the category of “Dangerous to self and others”, requiring that the individual be locked into restraints at all times. When I was still free, the government was trying out a new way of restraining its prisoners before they were sent off to prison. A specially constructed body bag that contained everything but the prisoner’s face, and even then it was basically just the eyes, cheeks, and nose that showed up, because the mouth was covered and gagged, unlocked only when the individual was required to speak.
So Bob was on the TV, strapped into his very own white, heavy duty cotton body bag. His arms (in sleeves) had been crossed in front of him and locked like a straitjacket, with his legs forced together. Like a certain well known fictional killer from film history, he and his bag were strapped tightly to a rolling trolley. There were at least twelve black straps encircling the bag and sometimes I wonder…no, wondered…if all the use of rubber, body bags, straps, is all just for the sexual amusement of those in power. I’m sure the kinkies in the general populace find it intoxicating.
But Bob…he sure as hell wasn’t finding it intoxicating. The hood around his head showed only his eyes and nose, but he looked, understandably, petrified. I’m not sure if it was the road he was being wheeled over, but it looked like even though it was utterly useless, he was trying to wiggle his way off the trolley and escape. Of course, considering that his life was pretty much over, that was understandable. Animal instincts I suppose. And then he was wheeled into the courthouse and was gone. The host came onto the air again, saying that they would return for the verdict within the hour. Although it took a very long time to arrive, the right to a speedy trial was definitely a new part of the new government order.
Needless to say, the next hour went by tortuously slow. I tried to focus out the window, at anything to try and distract me from the issues bearing down on my mind, knowing that if I was caught, it was going to be me in that courtroom. I wondered if Bob had squealed on me, perhaps tried to place all the blame on me. It was possible. Being the spineless coward that he was, it was perfectly reasonable that he would have tried anything to get out of going to prison for the mandatory time required by law. Oh sure, the surveillance camera footage would make anything he said trying to place all the blame on me pointless.
Still…I knew all too well what was going to happen if I was captured. But looking around…the rolling grassy hills managed to distract for a few moments.
When the end of the hour came, the television went back to Bob's trial, which was already finished. For normal, everyday crimes, the public isn't allowed to see these trials. But for big crimes, such as murder, the system makes an exception. To show us all what can happen if we break the law. The judge (there was never any juries anymore), was just starting to speak. The camera quickly zoomed in on her face. "The trial of Robert Stover is now complete. The Court notes that the prisoner has made a full confession to the charges. The verdict is automatically 'Guilty'." Bob, who was propped up in front of the judge, had tears flowing from his eyes, where they soaked the white canvas cotton material of his hood. I can't say I didn't blame him. Not after knowing what was going to come next.
"Under the law, your crime of murder is penalized by life in prison with no possibility of parole." Bob was trying to sob, but the gag and muzzle over his face kept him silent. The judge continued started to cry. "Does the prisoner have anything to say before sentence is carried out?" It was painfully obvious that Bob didn't, but custom mandated that the words be said. After ten seconds of Bob crying and shaking his head, trying to get out words through his gag and muzzle, the judge waved her hand. "The prisoner will be taken to the local correctional facility for processing, and the place for your sentence to be carried out will be chosen per standard procedure."
I couldn't be sure, but I thought that I could hear Bob going "Mmphhfffff!" in stark terror. I'll never know for sure, but I think it's a safe bet to say that he did try to plead.
"The prisoner is remanded to the custody of the correctional officers." The judge tapped her gavel on the desk. "Next case." Strapped into his bag, and strapped to the trolley, Bob wiggled and squirmed frantically as he was wheeled to a door in the back of the room…it's called the door of no return. Some have suggested putting the words "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" over it as an additional deterrent to would be criminals, but last I heard, it has yet to pass. But Bob, my former coworker, was wheeled through those doors, which closed after him. That was the last time I ever saw him. I know I'll never see him again.
With the whole fiasco finished, the television went back to showing its normal programming, Bob already forgotten. He was just another prisoner, another number, soon to vanish off the face of the earth, as if he had never existed. A chill went through my veins. The sooner I reach the mountains, I thought, the better.
But alas…it was not to be.
The train continued on for another half hour before pulling into its next stop. An announcement came over the intercom that we would be stopping for approximately fifteen minutes to allow more passengers to come on. I glanced out the window. The mountains were just coming into view, abet a very far distance away. If I got out and went on foot, I could reach them in about a week. If I survived that long. Thinking that some fresh air would do me some good, I got out of my seat and left the train. Stepping onto the platform, I took a deep breath and inhaled the cool, fresh air. It tasted good…delicious.
"Excuse me." I turned.
"Ye-" I froze. It was four police officers. "Yes?" I'll never know if my voice showed how nervous I was. It must have.
"We're on the lookout for a runaway convict and we're performing random fingerprint scans in case he's in disguise. You're our lucky winner." The officer talking to me presented a fingerprint scanner. "Put your finger on the scanner please."
A thousand possible courses of action ran through my mind. On one hand I could go down fighting. There is simply no way, short of getting an extremely obvious finger transplant, of fooling the fingerprint scanners on the market. Oh, there have probably been plans made to try and change that, but they'll have to keep working on them in secret. I could have tried to break and run, hide in an alley and change my disguise again…or I could go quietly and without a fight, no harm done to anyone.
I stuck out my thumb and pressed it firmly onto the scanner. A quick hum and my thumb print was taken. Retracting it, I waited while the officers lifted the device up to look at it. There was a wait of seven seconds while they waited for the results. They came. The officer's eyes arched upwards ever so slightly, and they slowly looked at me.
Which is exactly when I pulled out my gun and blasted one of the officers in the face.
The hell with going quietly. I wasn't going to become one of them, those nameless, faceless prisoners of the government.
I had grabbed the gun as I had left my apartment, intending to use it as a last ditch method to avoid being captured. Take one or two cops down, then shoot myself. One was down. Among the screams of pedestrians on the platform, I took aim at a second one and pulled the trigger. A bullet went through his left eye, through the brain, then exited the skull as he fell, lifeless, to the floor.
Another bullet went into the chamber, but before I had time to turn it on myself, the two remaining officers, both female, pounced on me. With their own training at tackling and disarming a stubborn and rebellious citizen, I wasn't able to put up much of a fight before my arms were forced into an exquisitely painful arm hold, the pain racking through me and making me let go of my gun, my escape. It clattered onto the floor as one of the officers radioed for backup. I shouted, mostly in fear and rage at how I had gotten so close, so damn close to getting away, at the injustice at it all as a pair of handcuffs were cuffed onto my wrists. There was a horribly familiar "Fwwp" sound.
My eyes, for some reason, drifted towards a plant holder. The grass in it that surrounded the bush…was very green.
And a black bag went over my face.
What are the first thoughts someone has when they’ve been arrested or taken into custody? For me, that was simple. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”. Those were the words that went through my mind over and over again. Mostly out of terror, which is no doubt understandable given my situation. I was no longer the free man I was an hour ago. I was now one of…“Them”. The poor, helpless sons of bitches who were taken in by the machine and erased off the face of the earth. The thing I had dreaded my entire life was now coming true.
Because of the black bag over my head, I couldn’t see what was going on, but I could feel and hear just fine. We were in a car or truck for quite some time. The handcuffs around my wrists dug in tightly. Normally, double lock is supposed to ensure that the cuffs don’t continue to close around one’s wrists, but the way they were already locked on told me the cops had intentionally put them on extra tight. To cause nerve damage I guess. After what felt like ten minutes, the car stopped and I was pulled out of the car roughly, hands dragging me under my armpits. Whoever the two of them were, they didn't bother trying to let me stand and walk. No, I was just dragged along, helpless to stop them, feet banging on the ground.
Getting dropped down on the floor didn't bring any relief either. My clothes were quickly and roughly torn off, leaving me buck naked and helpless to do anything. Well, not exactly. I tried to kick, but two hands instantly went down and held my ankles to the floor, digging them into the rough concrete. A shout of pain came out of my mouth, but my unseen captors simply held me down. Well, aside from the fact that my legs were spread apart and a hand went up my ass. That was so damn uncomfortable that I instinctively tried to wiggle away. Standard cavity searches are never fun.
There was a few moments of relief as the hand withdrew, apparently satisfied that I wasn't carrying any contraband or deadly weapons. I briefly wondered what was going to happen when I heard the sound of heavy duty cotton being moved around, most likely being unpacked from a storage box. I had a very brief moment of remembering the bag that Bob had been sealed into. As it turned out, my memory was dead on. A few seconds later, there was a zipping noise and my feet were picked up and packed into something that definitely felt like heavy duty cotton. The body bag! Instinct took over and I struggled, kicked, and cursed trying to stop the process that was happening. Having killed at least two police officers, I was getting the special treatment…fully body restraint at all times.
My legs were forced further and further into sleeves sewn into the legs of the body bag until they were fully in. I of course tried to pull them out, but strong and unyielding hands forced me deep into the bag. My back was placed into it, but first the handcuffs were unlocked and hands stronger then my own gripped my wrists. If it's anything to my credit, I fought as hard as I could, trying to twist away. With the bag still over my head, I could see nothing, only feel as I lost the struggle and had my arms forced into sleeves that ended in a mitten with no fingers.
Heavy cotton canvas touched my bare chest as the front of the bag was pulled together and zipped up tightly. Straps and belts were pulled together and the body bag was pulled tighter and closer to my body. My arms, confined to the sleeves tried to flail around in a last, desperate attempt to stop what was happening, but they were held down. The heavy cotton collar was pulled around my neck, going up to touch the very bottom of my jaw, and I felt the heavy duty zipper being pulled up to the top and padlocked in. And throughout it all, I could only sweat in fear with the realization that I was being sewn into a body bag…not for the dead, but a bag designed to contain and restrain the living.
There was a very uncomfortable thud as a very heavy boot came down on my chest. "Hey!" I cried out.
"Will one of you shut him up?" A voice asked.
"Yeah, yeah, hang on." There was a quick zipping noise and part of my head bag came off up to my nose…only to have a very thick piece of rubber enter my mouth.
"Hey, no! No…mphhhhh!" My attempts to call out, to tell them to stop…well, stopped…as a thick gag entered my mouth as was quickly inflated, silencing my attempts to protest my treatment. I felt the bag getting, if it was even possible, tighter and tighter as ropes were pulled and tightened on top of the bag, most likely from strings woven into the bag itself. In a few seconds, breathing itself was becoming an ordeal as the last straps, belts and ropes were tightened and secured.
The last thing that they did to me in the bag was to cross my arms in front of me in a self hug, then buckle them down and forcing me into a self-hug position from which it was impossible to wiggle free. With the heavy cotton encircling me and pressing against my body like a second skin…there was no possible way to escape. "MMMMMMPPHHHHH!" I moaned. "MMMMPHHHHHHH!!!" My captors ignored my tortured moans, as well as my frantic wiggling and squirming, my efforts at trying to get my arms to move the way I wanted them to.
"Come on, let's get him on the cart." I turned my head. Cart? Oh no, not the hand truck!
My bag was lifted off the floor and placed onto a metal surface that was hard and cold. More and more belts were produced with wound themselves around my helplessly bound form and I was helpless to do anything about them, other then to moan with fear into my gag as more and more restraints were applied to my already enclosed body. Within a matter of seconds, I was tightly secured to the hand truck, the truck that Bob himself had ridden only hours earlier. As wheels squeaked and as I was moved away, I vaguely wondered where he was now…what was happening to him…and if what was happening to him was going to happen to me.
I was wheeled, helpless and unable to move, out of whatever room we were in. The bag was, to the credit of whoever made it, soft and comfy around my body. Perhaps it was meant to be the last bit of softness, warmth and comfort that I would ever know as I passed through the gates from which there could be no return. After a few moments, we passed through a door, which was then closed behind me. Someone leaned down close to my face. "You will be spoken too by the deputy now." The voice was female. I recognized it as the policewoman I had met. She sounded angry.
The hood was pulled off my head. An incredibly bright light assaulted my eyes, blinding me momentarily. "Mr. Prophen." Somebody was speaking to me, but I couldn't see them. "You are being charged with three accounts of murder, one for your employer, and two for the murder of police officers. The punishment for such a crime…is life."
The next several hours of my captivity are but a blur to me. Perhaps my brain, in an act of mercy, tried to wipe the horrible memories of realizing that I was now a prisoner of the government, arrested and captured for the murder of my boss. I don't remember much…to be honest, all I can recall is that after that, I was kept in a cell for a few hours. Then the guards came back, took my gurney, then carted off to the nearest courthouse. My captors were wasting no time in sending me through the system, wanting to see me locked away as soon as possible. I watched it all, as my eyes were still uncovered, though a plug filled my mouth, forcing me to shut up and silence any protests I might have had. Of course, the media were on hand, assembled quickly after no doubt hearing that the two murderous fast food employees had been caught so quickly. Their cameras and flashing light-bulbs caught me vulnerable and helpless.
Deep down inside, watching them…I was utterly terrified. Tried not to show it, but I'll never know if I succeeded or not.
They went away when we got into the courtroom, though I managed to glimpse some of the cameras mounted in the back, on the side of the room, and near the judge, all positioned for maximum dramatic effect in their angles. Wheeled in, I tried again to wiggle free of my bag, but the straps, laces and belts that held me tight refused to budge, as if to say, "You're going to do this, and we'll ensure that." It wasn’t long before the judge entered the room. She was an old woman in her sixties, marks of malevolence and cold, cruel judgment etched into the old lines of her skin. My trolley was parked and left in place, leaving me helpless before her. And as I watched, she began.
"This session of the local court is now in session. Today's case, suspect Prophen, convicted of first degree murder, as well as accomplicing a co-worker in first degree murder. The prisoner has not made a full confession, but due to video and audio evidence, it is clear that he is not innocent. Therefore, the verdict is automatically…" I squirmed and gave an involuntary whimper into my gag.
The words cut deep, into my very soul. I started to cry, knowing what was coming next.
"Under the law, your crime of murder is penalized by an automatic life sentence…" the judge continued. "But because of the especially brutal murder you have committed, you will be sentenced to life in prison, as well as life in a deprivation pod."
I tried to scream, failed.
"The prisoner will be taken to the local correctional facility for processing, and the place for your sentence to be carried out will be chosen per standard procedure. The prisoner is remanded to the custody of the correctional officers." The judge tapped her gavel on the stand. "Next case."
Panic gripped me, completely taking over as hands took my cart and began to wheel it out of the room, towards the double doors that Bob had passed through…where I was now going. I thrashed and struggled as hard as I could, trying to scream past my gag. Life in a deprivation pod! That was the worst sentence that could be handed down to a prisoner. In many ways, death was more preferable to spending the rest of your natural life sealed into one of those pods.
We passed through the doors, which quickly closed behind me. An elevator was our next stop. And as it began to go down, I was struggling and squirming all the way, much to the delight of my guards, who taunted me mercilessly. "Life in a pod huh? You know, I hear everyone goes mad after a month in one of them. When the lucky ones get out, they're little more then babbling vegetables. All of them kill themselves soon after."
When the elevator stopped, my mind was racing so much, my heart pounding so hard that I barely noticed what was going on. All I knew is that I was being taken to one of those pods, that I was being wheeled there and there was nothing I could do. I barely noticed as the guards and I got onto what appeared to be a heavily armored train built specifically for carrying prisoners. There were many other naked people on the train, all of them shackled and fettered into their seats. That wasn’t to happen to me though. My trolley was simply bolted to the wall as the last passenger was brought aboard, a young woman. My brain, in its terror, briefly recognized her as someone who had just been discovered doing some tax fraud. The train took off as she too, was stripped naked and shackled to her seat. My fellow prisoners said nothing, looking terrified as the train rolled along. How many of them were facing life sentences like me? How many were on their way to the pods?
I would never find out, as the train came to a stop a while later, far away from the court. The others were unloaded, but I was not. When the train was emptied, it started up again and went on for another hour before coming to another stop. My attendants unlatched the trolley from the wall and wheeled me out the doors, into a new stage of hell.
We had arrived, as it turned out, at an airbase…the place where the condemned were loaded onto planes for the flight out of the country, to the harshest and hardest prisons in the world…Dark Steel. I was going to be on the next flight out.
My trolley, with me still attached to it, was rolled into a tall processing facility. There I was unbuckled from the trolley, but one of the attendants walked up to me before the zippers and ropes were loosened. "Prisoner Prophen, you are about to be processed for your transportation to the maximum security prison in Antarctica. You will comply with our instructions, or you will be punished severely with pain. Do you understand?" Still too stunned to realize what was going on, I didn't answer her. A quick taser shock to the neck made me nod my head meekly. I was pulled out of my body bag and quickly stripped naked, clothes being torn off me. The guards knew what they were doing, no doubt from years of practice.
I was forced down onto the ground to have several tubes and hoses pushed into me, but the experience of things being shoved down your throat, your ass is too painful to recount. But when all was said and done, I could no longer speak, and I could no longer hear anything. Fearfully, I wondered if I was ever going to hear anything ever again.
A sign was held up in front of me that said, "Stand still". I did as the guards put on some big rubber gloves and began to coat me with a horribly cold clear goo of some kind. The handling wasn't gentle either. As the goo began to settle onto me, the next phase of this humiliating treatment came forward. A black rubber bodysuit, complete with thick mittens and feet, a big zipper going down the front all the way from the neck to well underneath the crotch. I knew what that suit was for, remembering how rubber had been deemed a good material for de-sensitizing a prisoner's sense of touch. That didn't make putting it on any easier.
The rubber slurched and sucked at my goo covered skin as it was pulled on, the material clinging to my skin. Up and up it went. When the guards reached my genitals, they simply shoved them back to make room. I was crying softly as I was forced to place my hands into the sleeves and eventually into the mittens, which were so tight that I had to clench my fists to make them fit. But when the suit had finally reached my chin, the zipper was grabbed from under me and zipped up tightly until it latched with a "click".
But as the tubes, protruding from specially created holes, were pulled out from the suit, the purpose of the clear goo began to emerge. Feeling in my body, my entire body, began to fade! My arms, legs, torso, chest, all were going completely numb. So numb in fact that it was extremely difficult to just stay standing. Which, I realized, was precisely what these people wanted.
A gag went back into my mouth, strapped down very tightly to make sure I couldn’t speak. I could have been trying to shout "fire!" and nobody would have heard me. The last thing that was put onto me was a hood that was similar to a gas mask that covered my entire head. One of the final indignities I had to go through was having them cut all my hair off and shaving me bald before the hood went on. As it did, my world became much, much darker and more quiet. There was quite a bit of heat and warmth from the rubber as the buckles were locked down, sealing my head inside. I could see, but the lenses were apparently tinted, as my vision was black and white.
Rough hands gripped my arms and pulled them behind my back. I felt something come down on both of my wrists (but could barely feel even those), most likely handcuffs as I couldn't move my arms apart after that. Leg cuffs were applied to my ankles as well. Combined with the numbness of the goo, it was very apparent that there was absolutely no chance of escape. I was forced to walk down the halls but it was a great struggle with almost all feelings in my legs gone.
As we walked, there was still terror within me, as it is even now as I remember all this. Terror, fear, anxiety, all routine feelings experienced by the newly captured. Random thoughts shot into my mind. I wondered what those other prisoners on the train were doing right now. Were some of them already confined to deprivation pods? I realized that looking around, this was the last time I was going to see the sun or green grass, or any other sort of nature. There were no flowers there, or on the airfield as I was marched out onto it. But there was grass…green grass And trees…there were trees too. There were other prisoners there, waiting to be loaded onto the transport plane. I was marched into the line, but my attention was on the tree several yards away, standing behind the concrete, barbed-wire fence lined wall. It looked grey through the lenses of my mask. Yet, in many ways…it was suddenly so beautiful.
We were all marched forward as the large cargo plane opened its back door. Cuffs were locked around our necks and we were all attached to each other via chains. But even as a cuff was locked around my neck, I didn't look at it. I just kept my gaze on that tree…that beautiful, beautiful tree. There was a very rough yank on my neck chain and I was forced forward. I tried to keep my gaze on that tree as long as I could…but I couldn't.
That was the last time I ever saw a tree...or the grass around it.
We were all marched onto the cargo plane, then ordered to sit in the seats along the side of the walls. More chains and more cuffs were produced, locking us into our seats. I was bolted into chair A-35, sitting next to two other faceless, nameless prisoners. Trying to maintain some of my dignity when all I wanted to do was sob, I tried to stay still as my wrists were manacled onto the hand rests. I tried to keep my attention on those in front of me, but behind all the guards who were securing them, they looked exactly like me…dressed in latex catsuits, heads covered with hoods, impossible to determine who was male and who was female.
In the end, it didn't really matter. All of us were being taken to hell together, without our permission and against our will.
With the cuffs and restraints secure, the back of the plane was slowly closed. The engines rumbled, making the entire plane shake. Soon it felt like we were moving at great speed. And then there was a great tilt as the plane went up into the air. We were on our way. I couldn't see anything outside the windows, save for the vague and dim outlines of the clouds. The plane continued upwards and upwards, gaining altitude until it leveled out. We were, I realized with horror, on our way.
I don't know how long we flew in that plane, being transported to prison. There were no clocks, no instruments to count the time. Absolutely nothing. All I could do was to try and get comfortable in my seat, but with the shackles and the giant gag in my mouth, it was very, very difficult not being able to move or do anything about the aches and pains coming from my jaw. If it means anything to anyone or anything, I did manage to avoid breaking down into tears during the flight. I had every reason and every opportunity to do so, but I never did. Inner strength maybe. One person across from me, I don't know who it was, did break down. I couldn't hear anything, but I did see them try to buckle in their restraints. He (or she) was almost certainly crying. Most of the others on board were no doubt crying too, but it was impossible to see if they were.
After a while, maybe several hours, I somehow dozed off, the weariness and misery of the past several hours persuading my body to try and get some rest. When I woke up, not much had changed, save that I was starting to get very sweaty in my suit, and my body was getting sore from where the bands encircled me. And there was also the gag in my mouth, which was making my mouth muscles unbelievably sore. "How much longer is this going to take?" I wondered. It would be a relief to be out of these restraints, even considering what I knew was going to happen.
I had stopped thinking about that when the outside air suddenly got darker. The steel behind my back, the side of the plane, grew ice cold. There was only one explanation for that. We must have reached the artic circle…home of the most high-security prison in the world. This place is named Dark Steel for good reason. Its black steel walls stand in sharp contrast to the white snow stretched around it for mile after endless mile.
The plane tilted, and I saw a brief glimpse of the prison through a small window on the other side of the plane. Within those walls lay a pod with my name on it.
We landed several minutes later, the plane coming to a stop on a concrete runway covered with snow. When the back door of the plane was opened, I found myself glad that I was covered head to toe in rubber, for I could feel the howling wind that forced itself into the cargo hold of the plane, blowing over guard and prisoner alike. It was a cold wind too. Not even my rubber bodysuit could disguise that.
The bonds holding us to the plane were released, but the chains connecting all of us remained in place. Not feeling the urge to fight back, I slowly got to my feet when ordered to, stood still as my arms were pulled behind my back and handcuffed in place like everyone else. At least this time they weren't too tight against the wrists. Small favor I guess.
A thickly dressed woman walked up the ramp. Judging by her outfit and cap, she was an officer at the prison. She pressed a button on her collar and sound returned to my ears. "Ladies and gentlemen." She began, voice deafening to my sound-deprived ears. "Welcome to the Black Steel prison. As this facility houses only the very worst of criminals, I know that all of you are here on life sentences. Therefore, we will take you inside, process you, and confine you to your cells to begin your sentences." She turned to walk out, but paused a moment. "Hope you all enjoy your new home." She said with a smirk. Pointing her fingers, the head guard motioned for the first prisoner to start walking. He (she?) did so, feet slowly shuffling along the floor. The chain pulled tight on the person behind, who started to walk as well. One by one, like dominoes, we were all forced to start walking. And soon, it was my turn. I was near the end of the line. The chain pulled tight around my collar, instantly squeezing my throat. Walking was the only way to relieve the pressure.
Upon getting off the plane, we were all led through the snow towards the prison, now even larger up close then it was in the air. It was at least fifty stories tall, maybe two miles in width and length. But even then, construction on new wings was underway to house prisoners en route. The rough road that we traveled on led to an enormous double gate ten stories tall. We all came to a stop. Inside my suit, my muffled breathing was the only thing I could hear, aside from my rapidly pounding heart.
The gates opened. Slowly, agonizingly slowly. The mouth of hell stood before us. The chain on my neck was pulled tight, and I was forced to follow it, follow it into the Black Steel prison for lifers. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to go into that dark hellhole from which the only exit was in a pine box. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life confined within a pod! The tears began to flow from my eyes. Knowing that no one could see them, knowing that no one cared, only made it worse. My legs began to buckle. Yet somehow, I kept walking. Kept walking through the snow, being taken into my new home.
I reached the gates. And then I went through them, stepping onto concrete. I twisted my head one last time, and saw the snow behind me, with other prisoners marching through it. That was the last time I ever saw snow…will ever see snow.
The next several minutes were, mercifully, brief. The officer had been true to word, as we were all processed. The chains that connected us were unlocked and the vast majority of my fellow prisoners were marched off into the normal cell bays to be locked away. Only myself and two others remained behind. We stayed there, standing, waiting for whatever was to happen next. It wasn't long before the officer arrived, looking particularly smug. "You gentlemen, are the unlucky ones. According to your sentences, you're all going to spend the rest of your natural lives in deprivation pods."
My two companions whimpered. The officer smiled. "Sucks to be you." Again pointing her fingers, the guards came up and forcibly marched us down a secondary hallway. I had to work hard not to stumble, but the ankle chains didn't help. I did fall, and with my hands cuffed behind my back, I couldn't stop myself. The guards however, did stop me, quickly reaching down and grabbing me. They didn't even bother raising me back up again, simply dragging me along, feet and chain dragging on the floor.
We passed under a sign that read "MAXIMUM SECURITY". Two airlocks, two checkpoints we went through. And when that was done, we emerged into a cell block where there were no bars, only windowless doors that led into individual cells. "As we currently don't have many 'pod people' as we call you, you each get your own individual cell." The officer said. "Upon being sealed inside, you will be fed, watered, and have your wastes drained twice a day." She said nothing else.
We went through two more steel checkpoints before emerging into a very long hallway. Each of these cells again had solid steel doors with no windows. But within each cell, I knew, contained a deprivation pod. And within each pod, a poor human being serving life sentences.
There was one door open as we went passed it. The officer stopped so we could witness what was going to happen to us. It was an open cell, a pod contained within it. There were three guards wrestling with a rubber coated prisoner, forcing them into the rubber pod. The individual had only their eyes uncovered. They were filled with absolute terror. She…I think it was a she…was struggling with all her might, but the guards won. She was finally shoved into the pod, her tubes being pulled up as the deprivation pod was permanently sealed, entombing her inside for life. With the tubes connected, the three guards left the cell and closed the door, locking it behind them.
I don't know what my companions were thinking, but I was utterly terrified. The officer however, was grinning. "Mmm…" She said. "Just watching a prisoner being shoved in turns me on." A quick snap of her fingers and we went on. I was dragged along the floor for many more yards before my guards came to a stop, turning me around. We were facing an empty cell.
A single, large rubber pod dangled inside the cell, open in the back…waiting for me.
I have never known such terror in my life.
My companions were dragged into their own cells. I could faintly hear them screaming into their gags. But I did not scream. I was too terrified to scream as I was dragged into the cell. Once inside, I was forced down onto the floor, a knee going into my back to ensure I was going nowhere. The cuffs holding my ankles, and the cuffs holding my wrists together were undone and removed. "Don't you dare try to get away." The guard kneeling on my back said. I ignored him. The panic made me ignore him, made me thrash and try to get away.
"Hmm…a struggler. What do you say Hank? The body bag?"
"Sure, why not? It's not like anyone's going to check!" Laughter. From them, not me. I was pawing at the concrete ground, trying to get away. I heard a mild shuffling noise and felt something drape across my rubber covered legs. "Okay cutie, stay still." Like hell I was. If anything, I tried to kick whoever it was that was talking to me. But my wildly flailing legs hit nothing. They were simply grabbed and held onto tightly, stopping them. "What do you…say Aaron? Should we break his feet for trying to kick us? Let 'em heal really funky?"
"We could…" There was an uncomfortable twist on my left ankle. "But nah…let's just suit him up and be done with it." My legs were forced down on the ground and pressed together. "Hold still."
I had no intention of obeying my captors. The thought never crossed my mind as I still tried to kick and hurt them. I had reached that point of despair when you know that escape is all but impossible and your thoughts turn instead towards harming those who are putting you into captivity. The bag that they were putting me into was just like the one back at the police station, only this one was constructed of rubber. It too, had sleeves for my legs, which were forced in, the sleeves going up to the very top of my legs. With the rubber suit and the rubber bag, I could barely wiggle, let alone squirm. I was turned over onto my back and the zipper was pulled up to my waist.
My arms were grabbed and forced into the bag…this one had no external sleeves, only internal ones. I tried punching my captors but couldn't see well enough out of the gas mask to hit them. And as my hands and arms were finally forced in, I finally let out a sob of despair that wasn't even heard, muffled by the gag.
With my arms sleeved and inserted, my captors grabbed the tubes protruding from the crotch of the suit and pulled them through a tiny hole inside the body bag, which was then fully zipped up, the tight rubber pulling taunt against my rubber bodysuit, which I was now going to wear for life. A few extra belts were pulled around, just to be cruel and cinch me tighter inside.
"All right buddyboy, your mask." There was a quick zipping sound and my gas mask was pulled off, exposing my flesh to the cold prison air. That didn't last long through. The gag in my mouth was undone and pulled out, finally giving my aching jaw muscles some relief…but it didn’t last long. The tubes that went down into my stomach were quickly pulled out, a small, deflated looking gag was forced into my mouth, and before I could utter any protests, the gag was quickly inflated, filling my mouth to capacity within a matter of seconds. Panic gripped me as my jaws bulged. I was going to have to wear this thing for life?!
"It's not standard procedure." One of my guards…Aaron, I think, said. "But this is all being taped. The warden really likes watching these videos." He leaned down and gave my cheeks a quick squeeze. "You're going to have that thing in there for the rest of your life." He whispered. "Filling your mouth, never being deflated…never coming out. You're never going to speak again, just like those religious nuts we got years ago. And you know what? They're still here, still breathing, still trapped inside those pods." His arm waved to some of the other locked cells. "And now…it's time for you to join them."
A hood was procured, also made of rubber. It was pushed up to my face, the guards took my breathing tubes and forced them through the nose holes, and then the fiendish device was put onto my head, pressing down hard and tight. It had to be at least a size too small for me. The rubber squeaked and squelched as it slid over my skin, my head, embracing me. When it was completely on, my eyes were uncovered but the rest of me was completely covered in thick rubber. And not just my head…my full body, head to toe. Mummified and cocooned within layers of rubber…and I was never being released.
"All right, let's finish him up."
My own pod dangled from the ceiling, waiting for me, mute and silent. With so many tubes touching my vocal cords and the huge inflatable gag in my mouth, it was impossible for me to make a sound, save that of a pathetic little whimper, like when a little animal is about to be put down.
Aaron lifted me up, propping me on my feet, which still automatically tried to balance themselves from within the bag, not knowing they were never going to be walked on ever again. The back of the black rubber pod was opened, revealing a black void inside…empty and waiting for an occupant. I cried, tears dripping down my second skin. Air was sucked rapidly into my air hoses.
"Okay big boy, in you go."
Strong hands gripped my upper body while another set grabbed my legs and lifted me up. The opening got much, much bigger as I was forced up to it. "Oh, almost forgot!" Something dark went over my eyes, blinding me. "Forgot to cover up your eyes." I tried to scream, to shout, to yell, plead, anything, as I was shoved into the pod, helpless. Utterly, utterly helpless. The interior of the pod was even more rubber, sliding and gripping my body bag. I came to rest on the bottom of the pod as the rest of my bound body was shoved inside. The world was dark as I felt my tubes being pulled out. I squirmed and struggled, trying to move. But I could faintly hear the sound of something being sealed. It was my pod, being sealed by the guards.
It went on for several seconds until finally…it stopped. Then, noise near my ears. "Can you hear us now? Well, we don't know if you can or not, but we're going to fill your pod up now. If you have a position you want to be in, better do it now, as you're not going to get a second chance." Fill it up? What did they mean by that? Blind and helpless, I tried to wiggle around, trying to get more comfortable. "Hope you did it, because here we go."
There was the sound of something being stuck inside the pod. It bumped into my body bag, feeling like a nozzle. I whimpered, wondering what it was for. A few seconds later, ice cold liquid began to pour out of the nozzle, filling up the empty space inside the pod. It rose quickly, covering my legs, then my chest…my head. It was bone-chillingly cold, feeling thick and like gel. Thankfully I could still breathe through my tubes, but it was harder now. Several seconds passed as the interior of my tomb was completely filled, the cold gel compressing and squeezing me. Hard. Soon, breathing became difficult. Not impossible, but difficult enough to be very unpleasant.
And then…it was done.
"If you can hear us," the voice near my ears said, "then your ear microphones must be working. That gel in your pod is going to harden soon into an almost uncuttable substance, almost like really thick jell-o. It's going to settle and keep you immobile, meaning that you're never moving again."
I tried to whimper, to moan. Failed.
"You will be fed, watered, and have your wastes emptied twice a day. We'll also pump some numbing agents into you every now and then. Other then that…you're on your own." There was the sound of footsteps walking away. "You'd better get used to it in there…because you're never coming out."
There was the sound of a cell door being closed, of latches sliding into place and being bolted shut. Then a click as the guard's end was shut off.
And there was silence.
Horrible, horrible silence.
That was the story of my life. And now, here I am. Sent to the most remote prison on earth, locked into a maximum security cell, sealed and entombed in a rubber pod, my body sewn into a rubber body bag, wearing a rubber suit. I'm forced into immobility, completely unable to move, sealed forever in this gel.
I've learned why they call it a deprivation pod. With nothing to see but darkness, unable to move, surrounded by numbing gel…you soon loose all sense of touch, of feel.
I have no idea how long I've been here. There is no sense of time, no night or day, only darkness. I lost count of how many times I've had food and water pumped into me. The others…those religious fanatics…they've been here since before I was born and they are still alive. Perhaps I'll live to be 100. Imagine that. Live to be 100 inside this rubber tomb.
I wonder what happened to Bob. He's probably in a pod too. How is he doing? Has he gotten those sexual urges from being bound and sealed away like I have? Not being able to jerk off or be sucked on is…well…horrible. But this is my punishment for murder. I have to do my time, pay for my crime. I fought the government, the law…and the law won. But after a while…it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I hated the government all my life, feared it even. But now, sealed away forever…I don't seem to care anymore. There's not a whole lot I can do anyway.
I know that the only thing I can do, the only thing I can do to pass the time…is to simply tell myself my story over and over again
Maybe I'll start again now…and maybe I'll remember what grass looked like.