|Writer||The Real Sloth|
|Artist||The Real Sloth|
Appearing in Passing Through
- Maya Hathaway
- Henry Dalton
- Cathleen Hathaway -First Appearance
- Richard Dalton
- Abigail Downer
- Emmett Garner -Mentioned
- Jackson Clemens
- Jason Tanner -Mentioned
- CO Charles -First Appearance
- Martin Gary -First Appearance
Maya takes a trip into her traumatic past as the very thing she dreads begins to surface.
Issue 2: Passing Through
Durant, School for Teenage Therapy, Missouri. Maya was still, all her life she thought her eyes would never lie, what she saw is what she got, there was nothing else above or below, no matter what people told her. She never found herself questioning her existence, never reflected on what could be, never doubted reality, she always relied on hard evidence as the absolute truth, but now, what could she do but freeze when the lie presented itself to her? A shadow that wasn't pinned to the wall, standing here, living and breathing, it was a phenomenon only described in fables and fantasy stories. But this one escaped the pages, a figure of a young girl it seemed, though its legs were replaced by what appeared to be black smoke, a gas cloud that became two-dimensional again when it touched the ground, connecting the figure to Maya herself via a thin shadow along the floorboards. This entity, this holographic shadow that projected from where Maya stood, was not as dark as the unlit areas of the room around them, in fact it was a very dark grey in colour, but its eyes were two perfectly round circles pressed onto a smooth, featureless face, both equally as black as a clear night sky.
Maya: That's not real... The brave girl took a step forward, reaching her hand out, hoping to wave away and disperse the figure like a puff of smoke in her path. Her hand inched closer to the shadow, but it seemed as if it was growing further and further away the farther she moved her hand. She had realised that she had walked to the centre of the room, and still she could not feel this distant figure's touch, as if it was intangible, nonexistent. Maya convinced herself it was a delusion, sleep paralysis like some of the other students experience, it was common, but never for Maya. She wasn't delusional, never was, her brain doesn't play tricks, she always told herself she was smarter than that, imaginary creatures were constructed by weak-willed children, and she wasn't a child, she was strong. She couldn't be delusional, but she had to be, how ever else would she explain this illusion? Unless it...
Maya: Unless it spoke. Now she could not deny it, and this sent daggers down her spine. I'm not in the mood for any damn pranks, whoever that is! Whoever it would be, they would suffer, Maya will not allow anyone below her to embarrass her like this. But it wasn't anyone, that voice, it was inhuman, familiar but not of anyone living in these dorms. It was soft as a whisper, but as loud as regular speech, someone must've heard that from beyond the confines of this dorm room. What is this... Who are you? Maya wasn't afraid, she was never scared of anything, she was only wary, but this thing alerted every part of her that ever wanted to survive, and she couldn't tell why. Tell me who you are!
Maya: It was repeating itself, had to be fake. That's not what I asked, tell me! Maya was yelling, but she watched her volume, she didn't want to alert the other students, less the caretaker. Whoever was doing this, she wanted to deal with them herself.
Maya: I did.
Maya: A shadow? Harmless. They always were, her eyes, ears and instincts may be deceiving her, but this one was harmless too. It obviously couldn't be anything more, it couldn't even respond properly. She wanted to hear more, inquire more and learn the situation, catch out the holes in this prank, and know why it seems so familiar, beyond it being her own shadow raised up. What are you?
Voice: I have wanted to see you again for a long time.
Maya: Finally, a full sentence, she thought. Not a very comforting one, but here's progress. What the Hell is that supposed to mean?
Voice: I wanted you... I'm sorry that it took so long...
Maya: What are you talking about?
Voice: But I'm where I should be now... I hope you didn't...stray too far without me... But I'm here now.
Maya: The entity had a strange warmth to its voice, a tone Maya had only heard in movies, it sounded almost loving, but who could be saying such things to her? Tell me what the Hell you are before I scream for the caretakers, I had enough of this sh*t.
Voice: The only word that comes to mind...is guardian, but it's so much more... Maya, I understand you. You are hot-headed...and cold-blooded. I am so sorry for not coming sooner... You needed me.
Maya: She thought she'd feel insulted. A shadow, the absence of light and heat, had called her cold. Maya didn't know what to do, should she threaten that which she could not attack? A guardian? Since when do demons guard people?
Voice: I'm not...that.
Maya: She didn't think so. That was the only fantastical creature that she theorised this entity could be, and just wanted to be sure. Then why would I need you? At least a demon would be more compelling. Undermine, devalue, that's how she avoided getting played. No one could hurt her if they never had a footing to begin with.
Voice: I exist to bring you in touch with humanity...under the veil of the night. I will protect us...
Maya: Protect? If you're my "guardian" then where were you this whole time? Where were you to help me out of countless hours of detention, help me in foster care? F*ck, where were you when Clemens murdered my parents? Hopefully this would catch them out on their joke. Yes, Maya still believed that was a small possiblity.
Voice: Sorry...deeply...sorry, for that... I tried to reach you, but I became lost.
Maya: Lost... You wanna expand on that?
Voice: I...can't. Splintered, diluted, I need to develop.
Maya: Develop? Develop how?
Voice: I have freed us, Maya. We should celebrate your first night... long awaited. That should've been your night, but it's fine now, together, we'll make real change.
Maya: What... Maya had come to the realisation, finally, the burning question of what she recognised from this entity. It looked mostly like a silhouette of a girl, dark grey and misty, but the only solid thing were its eyes, they never blinked, just two black perfect circles staring at Maya. These eyes were voids, as if Maya could see neverending space behind their lens, she knew she saw them earlier, in the eyes of Harry moments before he grabbed her. But there was something else, a vestige of a memory from further back, from her childhood, an image that she begged others to believe she saw yet no one did. These soulless, empty eyes had once stared at her before, belonging to the very man that haunts her: Jackson Clemens. Maya's breathing slowed as she came to make the connection, she slowly raised a hand and grabbed a bunch of her long hair within her palm, squeezing and tugging, almost ripping it out. She wasn't thinking, but she felt that her hair, her skin, her body, it was not her own, she was not living this moment and retreated into the corners of her mind for safety. Her eyes were fixated on the shadow's, but before she could tell, the entity was no longer present, it had reattached back onto the wall, then shrunk, returning to the shape of regular Maya's figure, a harmless shadow on the wall. After a long silence, Maya turned and switched off the light, she didn't mind the darkness even after what she saw, rather she felt more alone, she had always seen herself as independent, but this was a different feeling entirely. She glided across the pitch black room, finding her bed and crawling in, pulling the sheets over, but this didn't stop her from feeling cold. Maya's mind was numb, she couldn't think, and before anything else she passed into a slumber.
Maya didn't have time to rest, a piercing scream ripped through the halls and towards her room, instantly throwing her into consciousness. Maya sat up in her bed, breathing heavily and alarmed. The scream continued, the familiar scream of a grown woman crying for help, Maya leapt out of bed and rushed to her door, opening it. No one else had exited their dorm rooms yet, but soon after the desperate scream had grown louder before being suddenly silenced. Maya exited into the halls and walked down them, towards where she remembered the scream came from and turned a corner towards the caretaker's room, but it was different. Instead of another room, she found a staircase descending down, which was strange as she was on the ground floor, there was never a basement in the school dorms. Maya didn't think much, she just took the first step down, then the next step, and the next, with each step Maya could feel herself shrinking, the steps and walls around her enlarging, her own heavy breathing becoming softer. When Maya reached the bottom steps, she was in a new hallway, dark as night. She navigated the dark and found a mirror on the wall, she saw herself, only she different. She wasn't her own seventeen year old self, no, she was a little girl now, her face indifferent as always, but smoother, her hair messy from a recent slumber, and her eyes blank. Maya felt disgusted at what she saw, a child in place of herself, it was too familiar, she hated it. Before she could express a new thought, she heard a squishy sound from down the hall and turned her head. There was a white wooden door, and Maya approached it with curiosity. Slowly she raised her small hand to grab the doorknob and twisted it, opening it halfway and peered through. The squishy sounds were louder and so Maya walked through, and realised she was now in a living room of an old house and couldn't quite make out what she was looking at in the dark. Maya turned her head to examine the room, but her breathing halted and her mind froze when all she could see was red. It was a fairly standard living room, two sofas, a TV screen, family portraits on the walls and a dull purple wallpaper, all centred around a coffee table. What was different this time, was that layed out on the coffee table was a body, the face staring at the floor with its tongue out, eyes open and face frozen, Maya knew this was the face of her father, still as a mannequin. Her eyes trailed, and saw the TV screen was splattered with blood and cracked, the soft carpet Maya could feel beneath her feet was stained with wet blood, and the wall was painted with this very same aesthetic. Accompanying this were bits and chunks of red viscera, bloodied organs littered on the floor like garbage, intestines tossed over the television screen. Maya's eyes scoured over to the sofa, where two figures were: one was sitting on the sofa, head leaned back against the wall and facing the ceiling, mouth open, eyes matching, the familiar face of her mother, warm and beautiful, but likewise to her father on the table, she was unmoving. The second figure was much larger, a man, standing over her mother's body and moving, he was reaching his arm's towards her mother and reaching towards her stomach, which had been torn open. He was defiling her, removing her entrails and stringing them out across the walls and ceiling like decoration, the same had been done to her father it seemed. The scream she heard, it had to be her mother's, but Maya didn't make a sound, she was staring at the back of this man who was continuing to display the guts in a gruesome fashion, this man who was almost three times Maya's height. A brief few seconds later, and the man had turned around casually but paused, he noticed Maya standing there with the door open and staring at him. The man's shoulders relaxed, and he slowly leaned forward, his head had lit up by a crack in the curtains, moonlight revealing his surprisingly normal face. An average man, teeth shown by will of his wide smile from ear to ear, and his eyes staring back at her, eyes as dark as charcoal, matching the rest of the unlit room. The man dropped a chunk of viscera from his hand, and took a step forward towards her, his smile didn't drop, but Maya frowned in opposition.
Man: Oh sweet Maya... His voice was soft and soothing, almost distracting, he approached her slowly, it didn't take long for such a tall man. Don't frown. Maya heard a distance blaring sound, red and blue lights alternated from the crack in the curtains. The same will happen to you one day... The man moved his bloodied hand towards small Maya's face, his fingers touched her long hanging hair and almost reached her cheeks, but before he could a loud bang was heard. Several footsteps were heard from the hall behind them and the door was fully burst open. Several policemen entered, running at the man and two arms lifted Maya from behind. She felt a rush, and suddenly she woke up in her own bed, cold sweats leaking down her skin and her breathing rapidly heightened.
Anamosa State Penitentiary, Iowa. A loud beep was heard as a heavy gate motioned past, granting access to two men into a new hallway. Both men were in blue, one a strong navy colour, the other a faded light colour. The former man was built like a soldier, and had one hand gripping the latter's shoulder, and another hand holding a baton against his head, ready to strike at any sudden provocation. The other man seemed quite average, though taller than his captor, and both his hands were bound in thick handcuffs. These men, guard and prisoner respectively, began to enter this new hallway, as the beep sounded again and the gate closed behind them. They passed a sign that said "Maximum Security - Holding Cells", and these halls looked lonely, wallpaper peeling off and a floor so dirty that not even rats would venture through. A decrepit building most definitely, older than both these middle-aged men.
Guard: Back in f*cking Max. I knew the Warden was wrong to switch you over to Medium. We had a bet going, I said you'd be back here in the first three days, C.O. Haley said a week. The guard put his mouth close to the inmate's ear. You just won me a hundred bucks, Clemens.
Clemens: You're welcome for that.
Guard: Your first face-to-face visit ever and you attack him. I swear, Clemens, you are f*cking crazy. The guard said, chuckling.
Clemens: I intended to hug him. The guards here are too quick to judge.
Guard: Please, you would've bashed his head in if they hadn't intervened. That won't ever happen, we're making sure of that this time. The guard lifted Clemens's hands, showing him his own tight handcuffs that were leaving red marks on his wrists.
Clemens: Is that what these were for? My God, I hadn't noticed. Thank you for pointing them out, Charles.
CO Charles: The guard was about to say something, but was interrupted by a distant, muffled screaming. It was a man's scream, from behind the walls. Oh, you hear that? Crazies wanna play. You see, solitary is full, unfortunately, so until we assign you a proper cell, we gotta keep you in the holding cells.
Clemens: Sounds exciting, I've never been in a holding cell before. They were so excited to rush me into my permanent cell the day I arrived here.
CO Charles: It's very exciting. The holding cells of Maximum Security aren't really that important, who cares about temporary housing? So we shoved this building in the corner of the prison grounds, right next door to the Psych Ward. It's going to be a few days until we can process you a new cell, so many new inmates these days, so we'll have to keep you here for a bit. Good luck trying to sleep, the patients on the other side of these walls tend to scream a lot, especially at night. Completing his sentence, another scream was heard on the other side of the wall.
Clemens: I enjoy company, maybe I'll join in the screaming, make a little crazy song.
CO Charles: Right, you'd get along well with crazies. They scream strapped to their beds all day, and you, you just laughed all day in solitary. The others and I thought you were finally done, that you'd kill yourself, we even bet when.
Clemens: It was a fun experience, it's a shame you never asked to join me in there.
CO Charles: Hell no, being on patrol outside your cell was close enough, hearing you laughing every day for two years almost made me hang myself first.
Clemens: I didn't laugh the whole two years in solitary, just the last eight months.
CO Charles: Well, those cells are built to drive any man mad, eventually. Took your damn time.
Clemens: Are you implying I was sane before my stay in solitary?
CO Charles: No. Just not literally laughing-mad. Anyway, do you like the aesthetic here?
Clemens: I think a janitor or two would help spice this place up.
CO Charles: No health inspector can be bothered walking across the entire prison to inspect these rooms, why waste the money? Better to just toss you scum in here and call it a day.
Clemens: I'm just saying, perhaps an excessively clean aesthetic would impose fear and nervousness in the inmates here, professionalism could be intimidating. White walls, tiled floors.
CO Charles: What are you, some sort of artist?
Clemens: I've decorated my fair share of rooms in my life. I wouldn't call it a hobby, though, just some experience.
CO Charles: Well, dirty floors and walls aren't all this block has to offer. You ever hear about the Maximum Security Holding Cells?
Clemens: More so from guards than inmates. COs just love to brag.
CO Charles: We like to warn. This place is more or less an off-the-books solitary confinement. Guards like to throw inmates in here for punishment, have our boy George in the office to cook the books, "accidentally" keep inmates here for weeks. The Warden doesn't care about what goes on here, no staff offices nearby to hear. The guards use this place as an excuse to vent on the prisoners, beat them bloody, teach them who has power in these walls, team them that the inmates don't f*ck with each other, that fun is for the guards.
Clemens: Ooh I'm getting chills.
CO Charles: Good. AC has been broken for eight years, gets real hot down here.
Clemens: How hot?
CO Charles: Hot enough to want to walk around naked, and still be sweating. Though I don't recommend that, we don't place many inmates down here, just the sadists, guard-beaters and rapists. If you're gonna start walking around here naked, well, you're gonna make friends real fast. The guard chuckled audibly.
Clemens: Heh, that's pretty funny... Haha... He starts to prolong a low chuckle along with the guard.
CO Charles: You find that funny? Clemens's chuckle breaks into full on laughter, and he starts laughing louder and louder. Dude, shut it. Clemens stops walking and erupts into incapacitating laughter. SHUT IT, CLEMENS! He raises the baton, but Clemens instantly stops and straightens up, though still smiling.
Clemens: Ahem, sorry about that. I wasn't allowed to laugh on the drive here, needed to let loose.
CO Charles: You'll have plenty of time to let loose in the showers, when I'm not there to hear it. Ah, finally, we're here. He turns with Clemens down another hallway, both sides of the hall are filled with empty cells with open doors, except one with a closed door. The two approach and Clemens looks into the occupied cell and sees an inmate sitting on his bed, watching a small portable TV rested on his sink. The inmate sees Clemens through the bars and turns, lowering his TV volume and watches as CO Charles places Clemens in the cell opposite his. There, looks like you got company.
Clemens: He enters his own cell as the gate is shut behind him by CO Charles, and Clemens sits on his bed and looks over across the bars at the opposite cell with the inmate, a young man in orange clothes, meaning a new inmate. Howdy, partner. Clemens smirked as he said it with a cliché cowboy accent.
Inmate: I ain't Texan.
Clemens: Ah, well, neither am I.
Inmate: I know, I've been to Texas, nobody said "howdy", literally nobody.
Clemens: So where are you from?
Inmate: Does it matter? Stuck here anyway... The man leaned forward and dug his hands into his head, stressed out.
Clemens: Well, Charles, when you mentioned the crazies, I thought that would be my only company. But now I have this colourful fellow to hang with.
CO Charles: I didn't know he'd be here. What's your name, inmate?
Inmate: Marti- I mean, Gary, my last name's Gary.
CO Charles: Right, well, there's been some congestion in the Max Cell Blocks, so sorry about the wait. You'll have to stay with Clemens here.
CO Charles: Recognise the name?
Gary: I don't think so...
CO Charles: Good. I'll let him fill you in himself.
Gary: I don't care who he is.
Clemens: I'm only mildly offended.
Gary: I meant you can be whatever, I don't care, I just want to get over with this.
Clemens: You were just incarcerated into Max, I imagine you have a while to go. Best make some friends early on.
CO Charles: Just remember, Gary, these bars are here for two reasons, keeping inmates in, and keeping inmates apart.
Clemens: We can still talk, now leave before you scare the poor boy.
CO Charles: Leave? No, I'm patrolling this block for as long as you're here. You lost what little trust the prison had in you, those cuffs are staying on you, and I'm not going anywhere. He smirks and turns, heading down the hallway casually, patrolling back and forth.
Clemens: Finally, some breathing space. Now you, Gary, I'm quite popular in Max, I've been here for nine years, you'd do well to be nice to someone like me. Not to brag or anything.
Gary: You're not a gang leader are you?
Clemens: God, no. You sound scared.
Gary: Terrified of gangs, don't want nothing to do with them. Never gonna cross them, I've seen documentaries on what they do in prison.
Clemens: You can't document prisoners, they're wild. You can't study your way through this. You gotta adapt.
Gary: I know...
Clemens: Of course, can't be too cryptic. I hope you're not on the list, they don't treat those kind of people well here. Especially if it involves children...
Gary: No, I didn't do any of that sh*t. You?
Clemens: Never. I knew the sweetest little girl, the thought of such depraved acts sickens me.
Gary: Your daughter?
Clemens: He sighs. No, I didn't have children, no family, other than my two best friends and their amazing, adorable daughter. My neighbours, they were. A lovely neighborhood, it was perfect, everyone was nice, they appreciated when I used to help them. A hobby of mine, making my neighbours smile. It may sound pathetic, no wife, no kids, but their smiles, their laughter, it makes life feel full. See, I just dropped my outside world to you, if I was a typical criminal, I'd want to hurt you less, because we've bonded. That's prison politics. Though that was easy-mode. Nevertheless, how was your life, outside?
Gary: Well uh... I didn't have much a family neither, just my girl... I uh, I actually proposed to her recently.
Clemens: Oh, congratulations. He smiled lightly.
Gary: Yeah thanks...He scratches his ear.' But uh, you know we was planning the wedding and uh, the cost, it was getting up, higher every week. She was a princess, heh, you know? A bit spoilt, but whatever, she just wanted a perfect wedding. And I wanted to give that. Starting with a big old ring, with a diamond and everything.
Clemens: How many carats?
Gary: Three, I think? Clemens nods and smiles, and Gary chuckles. Yeah, at retail price on top of everything else, it would've killed me. But my buddy was offering one, much cheaper, same value...almost affordable. The stress of everything, man, I don't know, it came down on me. I didn't know how I'd pay for everything, but I really wanted to buy it all for her. She's just, that one, you know? That one that I'm definitely going to be with.
Clemens: I've seen the type in movies.
Gary: Yeah, like that. So I did something stupid for movie love. Stress of everything, I just acted, at the mall, grabbed some girl. Man, I was dumb. She was with her dad or something but he didn't see, went into the bank or whatever, but I took her to my car and drove off. I hated every moment, but, I couldn't just return her, it was too late.
Clemens: Get to the point. Clemens answered, his voice stronger.
Gary: Oh, nah, I didn't like, nah, I just, I took her phone and called her dad, tried to ransom her out, get a lot of money. Her dad was at the bank already, it was fine.
Clemens: Until it wasn't. He grins, finding his solution humourous.
Gary: Until it wasn't. I didn't know if he even called the police, or if he did and they sent someone, but, when I stopped the car, the tires got slashed, some costumed bastard got me first.
Clemens: Tough luck.
Gary: Yeah... Got slapped with a long ass sentence, with parole so, that's something I guess. But my girl, she's out there... She said she'll wait, and I believe her but, I can't wait this long, can't even apologise to that girl and her parents, she'll be an adult when I'm out. I don't even know if the wedding will be worth it, after what that girl probably experienced... He lightly punched the side of his head several times, groaning with regret and rocking back and forth.
Clemens: Look, stop thinking about that. It's over. Let them say what they want about you on the outside, just do your time. We both have girls on the outside who can't wait to see us, let's just stay for them. Think about something else, like, come on, what's up with these damn cells, who designed them?
Gary: I don't know, you see the toilets? They sound like gunshots, loud as hell. Probably because they're so close to the boiler room, plumber here sucks.
Clemens: Yeah...it does... Say, why do you get a TV?
Gary: I guess they think I'm a good guy. You wanna watch?
CO Charles: Ahem. He cleared his throat, and approached the cells. Clemens isn't allowed TV privileges, and this counts. Sorry. The guard enters Gary's cell and grabs his portable TV, taking it away.
Clemens: Oh come on, I wasn't going to agree, that's just unfair.
Gary: Eh, it's fine. It was all boring anyway, I'm only in holding for like two days they said, I'll get the TV back in my new cell.
Clemens: You're a good man. I like that. Say, it's almost breakfast, isn't it? Why don't you sit by me in the cafeteria, we can discuss more about the prison's terrible upkeep. He chuckled.
CO Charles: Actually... Clemens groaned hearing his voice. That's another privilege you don't get.
Clemens: The privilege to eat?
CO Charles: The privilege to eat with other inmates. You're staying right here for breakfast, and lunch, eating in your cell alone.
Clemens: You need better punishments. Is eating alone the best you have? Hardly a privilege you're revoking, to be frank.
CO Charles: You're right. It's fine, you don't have to eat alone. In fact, why don't I join you? We can have breakfast together.
Clemens: Well, hardly what I was expecting, but this could be fun.
CO Charles: Yes, it could. Gary, come with me. Clemens, I'll be right back. He took Gary and the two left down the hall. The beep of the gate was heard once, then again shortly after. After two minutes, CO Charles had returned, and Clemens saw him holding a plastic container of generic prison slop. Got your breakfast.
Clemens: The same slop, almost forgot the taste. You know, I'd accept the death penalty if I could request my final meal right now. CO Charles opened the door to Clemens's cell, and Clemens stood up. With one hand holding the container, the CO used his free hand to grab Clemens, and he quickly walked down the opposite end of the hallway. What's with the rush?
CO Charles: You said you didn't want to eat alone.
Clemens: Yes but... He went silent, the CO took him down several new hallways, and Clemens was looking around at each intersection as they went. Charles was dragging him so harshly that Clemens was almost tripping with step as they hurried through the halls. Eventually they reached a new room, the showers. As predicted, this room was just as unclean as the holding cells, and looked more like a wet, mouldy torture house than a hygiene facility.
CO Charles: This looks like the right place.
Clemens: These are the showers.
CO Charles: Correct observation, Clemens. Hungry?
Clemens: Of course.
CO Charles: He pushed Clemens to the centre of the room. He then approached one of the showers and opened the plastic container of warm prison slop, and emptied it into the drain. The slop landed on the wet drain, collected as one giant chunk of yellow food, on the rusted drain with some hair tangled in. The CO smirked as he stepped back and dropped the plastic container on the floor, then turned on the shower as freezing cold water sprayed down onto the drain, cooling the slop and making it turn stickier and partially leak through the holes in the drain. Still hungry?
Clemens: ...starving. Clemens looked up at the CO and grinned. This is all pretty hilarious, I applaud you on that. Of all punishments the guards have inflicted on me in my years here, this is by far the most entertaining. Pain is one trite addition to my sentence, but if all abuse is like this, I welc-
CO Charles: Shut up, inmate! The CO was angry and unamused from Clemens's comments, he approached him and grabbed the back of his shirt, he kicked the back of Clemens's knee to force him on the ground, then dragged him across the tiled floor under the cold shower. Stay the f*ck down, Clemens! Now eat.
Clemens: That was unnecessary, I was seriously about to knee-
CO Charles: EAT!
Clemens: Okay! Clemens leaned in and without using his hands he began to eat the food that was tossed in the drain, the ice cold water seemingly not bothering him, and his uniform becoming clingy from being wet. Not half bad. I thank you for the cold shower, it will help me stop sweating for later.
CO Charles: What the Hell are you talking about? Nevermind, just finish this sh*t. He was disgusted at seeing Clemens's enthusiasm with finishing the food quickly.
Clemens: Do you want some? He picked up a piece with one finger and raised it to the CO, who smacked his hand away. Whatever, I thought we'd be eating together.
CO Charles: We got lunch for that, Clemens. He saw Clemens grin with a mouthful of food, and almost felt himself throw up at the sight.
Dalton Residence, Iowa. A blond haired man, Harry Dalton, had just pulled up to his house, parking his black SUV next to a midnight purple sedan at the same driveway. Before exiting his car, he looked at himself in the rear-view mirror. He looked into his own eyes, making sure they were still the same brown as always. His sighed in relief every time he found them to not be as black as charcoal, as they were last night. He exited his car and headed inside the house, passing a small office room with the door left open. Inside he saw a dark-haired man, in a suit that was perfectly fit for a man as large as himself, it was Harry's husband Richard Dalton. Richard was mumbling to himself, hunched over his desk and examining some files. His phone was unlocked and tossed onto the desk, it appeared to have been recently used.
Richard: What? The man replied without moving or turning around, his voice much deeper than Harry's, as he was a man a decade older.
Harry: Everything's good? You're mumbling.
Richard: And? People mumble, I'm not mad.
Harry: Never said you were. He entered the office slowly, looking around at the mass of paperwork scattered around the desk. Busy day?
Richard: Do you need something? He swiveled around on his chair to face Harry abruptly.
Harry: I need to know what's up with you? You seem a little...
Richard: What? Stressed? Because yes, Henry, I'm stressed. My client, I was working day and night to get him into Medium Security, just to get him to have a damn psych re-evaluation. But now it's all a waste, it'll never happen! He held up a bunch of papers to show Harry as he spoke, then quickly tore them in halves, then quarters out of anger, tossing the remains in the rubbish bin beside his desk, though not all pieces fell in, some scattering and landing on the floor.
Harry: It's fine, you can finally relax. He's just some old psychopath in prison. Let the case die.
Richard: I can't! He's my client, I don't give up on my clients. There's more to his case, but the courts don't believe me. How does this keep happening, some progress made in his case, and then it all gets undone just like that! He slams the desk with his hand as he spoke.
Harry: Richard...calm down, what happened, he went back up to Max? What'd he do?
Richard: Ah, apparently he attacked some visitor. It doesn't make any sense, there has never been another person on his visitation list, only me, no one else! I tell you, they're lying, you know how prisons are, they abuse the inmates, it's corrupt!
Harry: No one else? Harry was confused, Clemens told him he had other sources of information, but yet no one else had ever visited him to provide such.
Richard: Yes, no one. Why, why does it feel like the entire state is against me, why doesn't anyone see my point? That man isn't sane, he needs to be treated as a psychiatric patient. God, it's like I have bad luck!
Harry: I thought you didn't believe in bad luck, or God?
Richard: Yes well spend so many visits with one client and you'll start copying their speech patterns.
Harry: Too many visits.
Richard: Visits gone to waste, all my work in vain! Someone must've impersonated me, I just got off the phone with the prison, they said I visited him yesterday. That's a lie, I was home all day. My last visit was on Monday, yesterday was Thursday.
Harry: I doubt he even went to Visitation yesterday. Can't trust the words of law enforcement officers, they decide the whole story.
Richard: Speaking as an Officer of the Court, I'm going to pardon that slight against my associates.
Harry: No, you're an attorney. My job makes me interview police and correctional officers a lot, I can tell you that a lot of them like to lie when they're the guilty ones.
Richard: Either way, it doesn't matter. It's all ruined, I lost my case, if I head into court after this, they'll laugh at me. It's all over.
Harry: Hey, it's fine, plenty of psycho-murderers out there that need a diagnosis, pick one. He smiled, as Richard lightly chuckled. Richard stood up and Harry hugged him. For once at least we can go to bed at the same time, no more late-night phone calls.
Richard: Henry. He whispered, his voice more serious, closer to Harry's ear. I know you visited Clemens.
Harry: He pulled away and looked at Richard, shocked. What?
Richard: It was you. I know you used my name and saw him yesterday. No, don't try to lie your way out, I'm not guessing, I know. He noticed Harry was silent. I don't want you to admit it, just tell me why. I need to know. Harry just stared back at him, not knowing what to say or how he knew. Not going to tell me? Fine. He moved away from Harry and grabbed his car keys from the desk. I'll ask him myself. He's not in solitary, apparently, so he still has visitation rights. If not, I'm tearing my way in there, and I'm asking him what you two discussed.
Richard: Save it. I can't believe...that of all people, the person to jeopardize my case the most was you. Provoking Clemens, making him out to be violent for some petty reason...a reason I'll find out from him. Before Harry could protest, Richard stormed off, slamming the door behind him and driving off in the sedan to the prison.
Durant, School for Teenage Therapy, Missouri. Maya just headed out from her last class of the day. She was shuffling along, her mind distracted from what occurred last night. She was wearing a polo shirt with the collar unfolded up to cover her neck, as the finger marks of Harry were still present on her neck from the night before. She didn't want anyone's concern, she didn't want anyone to see that someone got the best of her, so she tried her hardest to keep the marks covered up the entire day, avoiding most contact with students and teachers alike. She had made it to the end of the day with success, until now, when she heard the familiar, sharp and annoying voice of Abigail call out from behind her ear.
Abigail: Maya, hey!
Abigail: She caught up to her as Maya groaned and turned to face her. You were quiet in class today.
Maya: When have I ever been loud?
Abigail: I mean, you were physically quiet.
Maya: As opposed to metaphorical silence?
Abigail: No, I mean you were barely doing anything, usually you're doing your own thing, today you just kinda...sat there.
Abigail: Is everything alright? It's my job to make sure everyone's happy here.
Maya: What do you get out of doing that? You're a prefect, a volunteer, you don't get paid or anything. Why would I accept a job for nothing?
Abigail: Her face scrunched, bothered. You weren't even offered a role!
Maya: Ow, don't shout at me.
Abigail: Sorry, but don't make fun of my role just because you're envious.
Maya: I wasn't making fun of it, and why would I be envious of what's basically slavery?
Abigail: That's making fun of it!
Maya: Okay Abbie, I'm sorry. She said sarcastically. Why are you following me? I don't have your stupid journal anymore. I dropped it in the staff car park.
Abigail: That's a lie, Emmett gave it back to me.
Maya: Okay, so why are you bothering me for? Going to accuse me of stealing your ADD meds too?
Abigail: Because I'm worried, I heard you talking last night.
Maya: You spying on me or something?
Abigail: Our rooms are right next-door, Maya.
Maya: Whatever, you're gonna snitch on me for staying up late?
Abigail: I'm just concerned, okay? Does this have to do with the phone you have?
Maya: How did you know that? Did that f*cking Emma tell you?
Abigail: Obviously, he tells me everything.
Maya: I'll kill him for that-
Abigail: Maya, no. Blame me, but who were you talking to?
Maya: She paused. My mum... I used it to call her, that's why I have it. I get scared here, I don't get along with the other kids, so when I need to talk, I call home. Maya's voice went lower than normal.
Abigail: Oh, I'm sorry. I uh, okay, I won't tell... She awkwardly backed away, frowning then turned around and left Maya, who dropped her sad face and rolled her eyes.
Maya: That was a waste of time... Maya finally exits the school, this is the only time students can head home, weekends. All other days the students sleep at school. Maya's adoptive mother had come to pick her up in a car, so when Maya left she saw her mum, or rather her ex-elementary school teacher, Miss Hathaway, waiting in the car. Maya approached and got in the backseat, Hathaway turning and smiling as she saw her.
Miss Hathaway: Hey Maya! What's with the polo shirt? She began to drive the car, noticing that Maya ignored her. Uh, so how was this week of school?
Maya: Doesn't matter.
Miss Hathaway: Really, how is everything?
Maya: That's a stupid question, just like the last one. 'Hathaway awkward continues driving, heading home in silence as Maya stares out the window nonchalantly. When they reach their house, Maya gets out the car and heads inside, Hathaway asks a question but she ignores it and rushes straight to her room, locking the door behind her. Maya closes the curtains, switches off the lights and turns on her bedside lamp. She turns around and looks at her own shadow on the floor. Okay, come out. Now! I want to talk. She kept her voice low so Miss Hathaway wouldn't hear. Soon enough, her shadow on the floor started the become physical, and manifested as a smokey shape as tall as her, facing her with dark eyes.
Maya: I want to know more about this, about you. You said we can make real change, what does that mean? Did you give me that nightmare? Is that what you're talking about?
Shadow: I wanted to see your life... Feel it. You are troubled, and I can fix that. It's my purpose.
Maya: What even are you? What do I call you?
Maya: No, that's my name. What's your name?
Shadow: The shadow turns towards the wall, pointing at it. Suddenly, on the patch of wall lit up by the lamp, dark outlines of letters appear, spelling out, in English, "Maia". Maia.
Maya: It just occurred to her, this thing wasn't just copying her name, it copied her voice. That's why it was so familiar, though it sounded a lot calmer and warmer than her own strangely, she felt weird hearing it from something else's mouth. Why...why are you mirroring me?
Shadow: To become you... To fix and improve you, to humanise and empower you.
Maya: Humanise her? Was she supposed to feel insulted, or ignore it? She chose the latter. Empower? As in, make me powerful? How so? She asked curiously to the figure that resembled her own.
Shadow: I can take over if you want me to show you...my words are limited. Growing ever more but limited...
Maya: Take over? Maya noticed as the shadow let out a large sigh that rattled around her mind, echoing across the room. It then tensed up, and quickly dived at her, flying forward and passing into her body through every inch of her surface. Everything in the room was black, even the light, Maya felt that there was a presence within her, latched onto her spine and holding all her limbs, scanning her mind and controlling everything down to her breathing. Before Maya could stop to take a breath, she took a step forward so strong that she almost threw herself to the floor. Her arms then raised up, something she didn't tell herself to do, and her palms began emitting what seemed like black smoke. The smoke travelled, and wrapped around her arms and legs, and before she knew it, she began to hover to the middle of her room. Her body spun around, facing the lamp in the corner that was previously providing sight, but now when she saw it, the bulb was blindingly bright. The smoke around her travelled again, in small tendrils that attached themselves to the lamp, and the brightness grew dimmer and dimmer, until she heard the bulb crack. Maya didn't like this, she wasn't in control over her actions, she couldn't move her body, she couldn't run away, she couldn't even think about anything else. No one has ever taken control away from Maya, especially not of her own being, and so she forced it back, wanting to scream, mentally ripping the shadow away from her until it worked. She landed on the floor, in a pitch black room. Maya rushed around, sensing where every piece of furniture was in a desperate attempt, switching on her lights, turning on the large TV screen on the desk, opening the curtains and grabbing her phone to switch on its flashlight, anything that would keep the room lit. She searched around for the shadow, and it was nowhere to be seen. Where... Maya looked around, but she finally heard its voice, but only in her head.
Maya: You, what the f*ck was that?! What did you do to me? She was looking around her whole room, aiming the phone light at every corner to deter this dark entity.
Shadow: You wanted a demonstration.
Maya: Not like that, I didn't even say yes!
Shadow: That's what we are, Maya, together we are powerful.
Maya: Did you have to force control like that?!
Shadow: No...I can't explain in full words...
Maya: Then never do that again, never "take control" of me.
Shadow: I won't. But we will have to be one someday.
Maya: I-... I'm not ready to deal with this, stop talking to me.
Shadow: Please, there's no time to delay-
Maya: I don't want to f*cking hear you! She went on her phone to play some loud music, she could only pull songs from YouTube as she didn't listen to her own. She found a video, "Ten hours of Heavy Metal", and thought it would be appropriate. She put it on max volume, but she could still hear faint whispering in her head, incomprehensible. She approached her bed and dropped on top of it, face buried and hands over her ears to block it out. After a minute, she heard her door knock, but she ignored this. It knocked louder, more harsher, before a yell was heard.
Miss Hathaway: Maya! Open the door! Maya's adoptive mother banged on the door, and Maya groaned and ran to it, opening it and seeing her standing there, her face worried but also slightly mad.
Miss Hathaway: Turn that music down!
Maya: Maya rolled her eyes and shut it off on her phone. Why?
Miss Hathaway: What do you mean, why? What's with the loud music?!
Maya: Ugh, get lost, please? Maya is about to walked away and close the door, but Hathaway grabs her by her arm to pull her back, Maya looks at her hand grabbing her then looks up at Hathaway, her face annoyed and almost disgusted. Hathaway notices and lets go, breathing in and out, her voice now much calmer.
Miss Hathaway: Maya. You can't just walk off like that.
Maya: Why not?
Miss Hathaway: It's rude, and disrespectful. You have to be considerate of other people, would you like it if I ignored you mid-conversation?
Maya: Did you seriously disturb me for nothing? Just go wear earplugs and let me play my music. She is about to close the door again but Hathaway slams it back open with her fist.
Miss Hathaway: I'm still talking to you.
Miss Hathaway: Look, Maya, you know I do so much for you, a lot of it at my own expense-
Maya: Like what?
Miss Hathaway: Are you serious? You have your own TV and phone, both really expensive for me, I gave you the bigger bedroom, I even bought you a dog, despite how costly it was for all the trips to the vet-
Maya: Well I don't have the dog anymore.
Miss Hathaway: That's not my fault, Maya. I don't even know what happened to it.
Maya: I told you what happened, coyotes.
Miss Hathaway: She stared at Maya briefly, then moved on. That's besides the point, I did so much for you, and not out of personal gain.
Maya: Then you're not very smart.
Miss Hathaway: Maya!
Maya: What? Are you going to tell me that was "disrespectful" again? You don't deserve my respect.
Miss Hathaway: Excuse me?
Maya: Yeah, you don't. She stepped closer. Why should I respect you, why shouldn't I disrespect you? Both have the same outcome, you barely shout, and even when you do, I can keep pressing, because you're too afraid to hit me. Her voice became more condescending, as she smirked. I could do whatever, torment you, but you're too afraid to say anything other than "that's disrespectful". You think you deserve anything, but you're weak. She noticed Hathaway's face form a frown. Go on, do something, anything, slap me if you want. Just try it, Cathy.
Miss Hathaway: No, Maya, I would feel terrible for hurting you.
Maya: There, that's it, exactly that. You're tiptoeing around me, you're too afraid to harm me or say anything real, afraid of offending me? Do you think I'm weak? You're the one disrespecting my strength, I'm returning the favour. Say it, say anything about me, about what happened to me, bring it up to spite me, because I don't care. Just do something, and walk away like you're still a person worth some respect.
Miss Hathaway: She was silent for a few seconds, shocked at what Maya had to say. Maya... you're grounded. You're not allowed to use your TV or your phone.
Maya: What? That's it? She rolled her eyes and walked back into her room, closing her door behind her and jumped into her bed, unaware that the voice in her head was silent.
Anamosa State Penitentiary, Iowa. It was leisure time in Maximum Security, an hour of free time for the prisoners to do whatever they wanted, within reason. Clemens, however, was still confirmed to the Holding Cells, laying on his bed and staring at the chipped ceiling, almost grinning to himself. He heard footsteps approach, and so eagerly jumped to his feet and looked out his open cell. He saw inmate Gary approach, heading to his own cell opposite Clemens's.
Clemens: Ah, my new friend. How was your day in this institution?
Gary: It was weird today. The people are talking about you, you know?
Clemens: The people? My God, what's with such formalities? The inmates were talking about me. What were the inmates saying about me?
Gary: Well, it was just one...inmate that I remember, he said, well, told me to do something involving you.
Clemens: What was it? Wait, first, who was it?
Gary: Well... He fiddled around with his sleeve, and pulled out a balled up piece of food, and swallowed it. In an instant, he threw up, both the food and a small white bag, it appeared he hid it in his throat. He turned to Clemens holding it, it was quite obviously a bag of heroin.
Clemens: Ooh, can I try some?
Gary: Uh, yeah- He fiddled with the bag in his hand.
Clemens: No, the food.
Gary: W-what? That was just to-
Clemens: To what? Hide the bag of horse you were about to hand me? Clearly you weren't paying attention to what the people are saying about me.
Gary: Oh, uh, but... He looked around to make sure the guards weren't around. He approached Clemens and held the bag up. So this dude sits next to me at breakfast, he heard me mention you to another inmate. He said that you had beef with his boss, Tanner.
Clemens: Oh yes, Tanner. I wonder what he wants.
Gary: Nothing, his guy just told me to send a message to you.
Clemens: A love letter?
Gary: What? You and Tanner?
Clemens: For Christ's sake, Gary, it was sarcasm, now out with it, before the guards approach. Clemens quickly scolded him, a completely different tone of voice with urgency.
Gary: Oh uh, he said he doesn't want any more trouble, he did what you wanted, and hopes this'll clear anything extra. He handed the bag to Clemens, who looked at it and touched it between his bound hands. Some sort of courtesy, wants to establish peace or something. Clear the last of a debt I think?
Clemens: I'm touched by the sentiment. I thank you for acting in my absence, but your service is not quite over yet.
Gary: What do you mea- Clemens quickly raised his bound wrists, and shoved his hand into Gary's mouth. He used his fingers to push the bag of heroin down his throat, and his thumb to keep his head steady as he did. Gary was gagging and stepping back, but Clemens pulled his head forward with the same hand by pulling his jaw, and in one swift movement he headbutted Gary hard. Gary stumbled backwards, but Clemens dashed forward to his and grabbed him before he fell, holding his head and slamming it against the cell bars, then letting his body drop into his own cell. Clemens stepped away, in the doorway of his own cell and watched as CO Charles rushed down the hall and stopped near them, staring at Gary who was in his cell choking and struggling to pull himself up.
CO Charles: What's going on here?!
Clemens: Ah, I don't know! His voice was heightened, light and anxious. He swallowed something and started choking and acting strange!
CO Charles: What? He entered Gary's cell and kneeled over him, lifting him partially off the ground and shining a flashlight in his mouth, using two fingers to remove the bag from his throat and examined it with the light. Is this heroin, inmate? You're sneaking contraband in my prison?! Disrespecting the guard this early in your sentence? Looks like you need some early discipline, inmate. Charles stood up and took out his baton, he kicked Gary in the stomach then smacked his back with the baton twice, yelling at him about respecting the rules, Clemens couldn't understand what with all the swearing and anger in his voice. As this happened, CO Charles was quickly interrupted before he could swing his baton again, as a chain had wrapped around his throat and pulled him back away from Gary. It was the chain connecting both of Clemens's hands, as he was holding CO Charles from behind, and then whispered in his head as he was choking and struggling to speak.
Clemens: I thank you for your service, CO Charles, rampant drugs are a serious problem in this prison after all.
CO Charles: Get...off me, C-Clemens! He tried to swing the baton but Clemens was purposely moving in a way that it was difficult for Charles to get a proper swing in. Before he could, Clemens released him and shoved him forward into Gary's cell. Charles landed over Gary's body, his head landing on the metal toilet in the cell. Before he could react, Clemens approached and lifted his head up from his hair, then slammed it back down onto the toilet seat. Before Charles could scream, Clemens flipped the toilet handle and it began to flush, the sound of the water was violent due to poor plumbing, and the flushing water screamed alongside CO Charles. Clemens slammed his head down again, Charles's nose bleeding heavily. Clemens did it again, and some of Charles's teeth had been cracked or fallen out. Charles was muttering, drooling blood and desperately crying for help, but couldn't let out a word over a whelp as Clemens repeatedly bashed his face against the toilet seat, again and again until his face no longer resembled anything human, mangled and bloody, his body fell limp with a final squish of flesh, as the toilet sounds died out. This brutal display left a bucket of blood leaking down from the toilet bowl, covering the shirt of Gary, a few teeth scattered around too as CO Charles's body hung over him. Gary was whimpering in fear and pain, he had thrown up all over the floor in the meantime, and Clemens looked down at him, almost frowning but struggling to not grin.
Gary: P-please...leave me alon-alone...
Clemens: Aw, don't let them scare you into submission. This place is Hell, come with me. Your services are over, but you still need to put in the legwork to get out.
Clemens: Come, it's okay, I have you... His calming voice became louder as he kneeled down towards Gary, using one hand to push CO Charles's body aside as he was hunched over Gary. With his bloodied forearms, he hugged Gary, and stood up, lifting him to his feet with him. Come, we must leave quickly. Grab his keys.
Gary: He looked down at the body of the Correctional Officer, the navy blue uniform now a mix of dark red. He whispered as he bent down and searched the body, until the sounds of moist flesh with soaked cloth was broken by the jingle of keys, stained with blood that now painted his fingers too. He looked at Clemens, who smiled at him with delight.
Clemens: Well done. Now let's get out of here. He grabs Gary by the arm and drags him out the cell and into the halls. I had a chance to look through this place earlier today, I know these halls. Follow me. He held Gary's hand and hurried down the hall, almost skipping with him but Gary's limping movement was slowing him down. Clemens's turned back, frowning from dissatisfaction. No, come on, we have to hurry! Despite the conditions, his voice was still cheery. He sighed at Gary's lack of compliance, and so went behind him and held both his shoulders, guiding him forward and a faster pace. They navigated down the halls, making random turns and accurately avoiding sight of any security cameras, until they reached a small yellow door, labelled "Boiler Room". You see this? This leads to the boiler, of course. It's locked, so you'll have to open it with one of the keys. I assume the yellow one works here, but uh, they're all red and bloody now...just try them all.
Clemens: No time for monologues, we need to be quick if we want out. Let's head inside before the bad men see us! He lifted Gary's arm for him and moved it towards the door, Gary fumbling with the keys and trying to clean them with his sleeve, and then using the right one to open the door and Clemens rushed the two inside, closing it behind them. Ah, wow, this place looks industrial. He looked around the room, and saw a large air vent leading to the wall of another room, a room with a heavy metal door. The vent was singing an eerie sound, a scratchy sound similar to a thousand needles being blown through it and into other room. There, that door. Open it.
Gary: He looked at Clemens, he was obviously still dazed and confused from the blows to the head, but now looked even more scared. No...
Clemens: Just trust me, this will work. Come on...He dragged out his words as he approached Gary and grabbed him gently again, moving him towards the heavy door. Shouldn't be too hard to open, doesn't even require a key.
Gary: It's just...the boiler...
Clemens: I know, this is our way out. To the other side. Our one way ticket to freedom. Let's go, what are you waiting for? Your fiance may have said she'll wait for you, but that doesn't mean you have to wait too. Don't you want to see her again? Walk down that aisle and restart your life with the woman you love? Trust me, I'll be at your wedding, but if you want it to even happen, you'll need to open this single door for us.
Gary: ...O-okay... I...I will... Clemens held his shoulders tighter, eagerly looking down at Gary's arms grabbed the large door handle, twisting it for a few seconds until the door clicked. Both Clemens and Gary smiled, and Gary slowly pulled the door open, just a crack. He then opened the door fully and looked inside, the room containing a large boiler.
Clemens: Good job, now, go inside and open that air vent. Just remove the cover and return here quick as you can.
Gary: Okay... He took a deep breath and walked inside the room. He saw the air vent, blowing out a trace of black smoke with a hissing sound kept behind it. He quickly removed the cover, as a large mass of smokey darkness poured out and began to fill the room, Gary hurried out the room towards Clemens, whimpering from fear.
Clemens: No, don't be afraid, just watch. He grabbed Gary and held him in front of himself, and turned him around to face inside the doorway, seeing the darkness engulf the room. From instinct, Gary slammed the heavy door shut, but a loud explosion soon occured inside the room, knocking the door off its hinges. A huge burst of fire and black, hissing smoke flew out from within, spreading powerful fire everywhere. The blaze threw the two back, and severely burnt the front of Gary's body, and slightly burned the arms of Clemens who was standing directly behind him. The whole wall leading to the new room had crumbled, revealing the whole room. They saw a glimmer of sunlight, seeing that the room ahead had been destroyed, and a second wall was cracked from the explosion which lead outside. Clemens laughed through the roaring flames and jumped up to his feet. Oh my goodness, it worked! We're out! The parameter wall, it's broken! Come on, we have to be quick! He lifted Gary's charred body and flung him over his shoulder, heading into the room containing the boiler and approaching the broken wall from where sunlight could be seen. It was a double layered wall, one regular wall, and the thick concrete parameter wall that surrounded the prison. The cracks in the wall wasn't enough to allow passage, so with one hand Clemens punched the wall several times, each punch bloodying his knuckles and chipping away chunks of the concrete until a hole large enough to crawl through was cleared. Clemens hopped through it, then pulled Gary along with him as a loud siren was heard all around the prison. Oh dear, we must run before the dogs arrive. Clemens lifted Gary again and ran off, as the ground changed from concrete to grass as they entered the forest surrounding the prison. They heard shouting and barking in the distance, and so Clemens dropped Gary's body to the ground and looked at him, holding his face to look into his eyes. We did it, we're free now! You're welcome for the assistance. He looked at Gary, who was too badly burnt to even respond, just strained huffs of breath escaping his mouth. It's fine, thank me later. At you wedding, after you marry that girl. Go now, go live your life a free man! I would do the same, but I have to make sure I checked the last box off my list. Goodbye, Gary, and good luck! Clemens happily ran off into the distance, laughing aloud and blowing kisses to the sky, leaving Gary's body in the dirt as the prison guards and their dogs began to catch up.