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Redemption Chapter Two


 

The next morning, Tam climbed down from her bunk first to use the toilet. The increasing daylight through the transparent ceiling woke her. She splashed water on her face. When she realized the others were still asleep, she climbed back up to her bunk. Maybe she would finally get some sleep. She dozed off until a loud, blaring alarm went off. She sat up in bed and glanced around. Dram and Gomet stirred. She turned toward her wall to give them privacy and catch a few more minutes of sleep.

Another few minutes brought the clanging of the plates against the bars. She grabbed her plate and implement and climbed down from her bunk. She joined her cellmates at the bars. She caught a glimpse of Dram whispering something to the guard. Then the guard glanced right at her. She swallowed hard. What did Dram just tell him? But the guard said nothing to her. She took her food and sat on the floor to eat. What she would give to have some capu right now. She drank her juice and was thankful she had food. Something scurried across the floor and it made her jump. “What was that?” she asked.

“A drizit. They’re looking for food. Make sure you rinse your plate and implement well, or you’ll find them in your bed,” Dram said.

She realized she would be giving up a lot by being in this place. Her life was no longer her own. After her sleepless night, though, she was thankful for Berto. Yes, if it wasn’t for Berto, she would still be living in hell with her father.

“You must have had one hell of a dream last night,” Thadus said to her. Her heart skipped a beat.

“Why do you say that?” she asked, trying not to look surprised.

“The squeaky springs under your mattress gave it away,” Thadus said.

“It was more like a nightmare,” she said. She stood to wash her plate and implement. “Are you all lifers?” she asked.

The three of them stood to rinse off their plates. “Yes, we are,” Dram answered.

“From what I hear,” Thadus began, “we’ll be in this prison until we die.”

“Well, that puts a damper on my plans,” she said.

“You got plans?” Gomet asked.

She rolled her eyes.

“That was a joke, Gomet,” Dram said.

“That wasn’t funny,” Gomet said.

“What isn’t funny?” Thadus asked.

“This life. We’ve all done some terrible things to get

here. It’s supposed to be a time to think on those things and be sorrowful.”

“Well, I’m finished thinking on those things,” she said. “It’s time to move on.”

“Move on to where?” Thadus asked.

“The next step,” she said.

“There is no next step,” Dram said. “There’s working, eating, and sleeping. That’s it.”

“Well, everyone in the universe is doing the same thing right now, whether they are here on Plumaris, or somewhere else. I’ll find something else to do.” She had to. She couldn’t face another night like last night.

After everyone took care of their bodily needs, a guard came to escort them to their workstations.

“Hey, is there anything to read around here?” she asked the guard. She read Jardan on his name tag.

“Read? Like what?”

“Stories, articles, anything written by another human,” she said.

“Hmm, no one ever asked me that. I’ll check around and see if I can find something for you,” Jardan said.

“Thanks.” She was back working with Thadus in the ruby

mines. The work wasn’t too difficult, but she couldn’t imagine

doing this exact same thing for fifty years or more with nothing

else to look forward to. One thing she learned from her short time being an I.S.P. agent was that reading kept her mind busy. She needed something to take her mind off her past. She didn’t want to go back to those dark places she had been mentally, when she was a child.

While she dug out her rubies, she remembered what Thadus had told her about the bonuses at the end of the month. She definitely wanted a pillow and a blanket.

***

“Kellen, we need to do something about the woman on Level A,” Jardan said.

“We aren’t set up for women here. I’ve put in a request to move her to another facility,” Kellen said.

“Have you heard back?”

“Not yet.”

“She’s also asking for reading material.”

“What?”

“Yes, anything written by another human.”

“Geez. Next, she’ll want to cleanse herself every day.”

“Well, the men have been asking for that for a while now,” Jardan said.

“Do they think they are staying at a luxury hotel?” Kellen asked.

“How long do you go without cleansing yourself?” Jardan asked.

“I cleanse myself daily.”

“Well, what’s so bad about the prisoners doing that daily? I mean, they aren’t going anywhere, right? What would it hurt? Besides, the smell is strong in those cells after a couple days,” Jardan said.

“They are being punished for their crimes. They lost all their rights and privileges.”

“I’m talking simple hygiene. They are putting in ten-hour days as it is. They get no unicrin, bedding or pillows when they get here. I know we can afford it,” Jardan said.

“Jardan, there’s nothing I can do about it now. It’s up to the warden and his superiors.”

“Yes, sir.”

*** 

Tam was back in her harness, cutting out a large ruby when the cramping started. It was always mild, but what followed was not pleasant and her unicrin was white. Strapped in tight, she continued to work, knowing she had to deal with the clean-up

somehow.

By the end of the day, the harness was lowered, and the guard helped her out.

“You’re going to need to sanitize this harness before anyone else uses it,” she said.

“Oh, on whose authority?”

She pointed to the stain in the bottom.

“Did you wet your pants?” the guard asked.

“No.”

He gave her the once over, but she walked away. The darkness of the mines hid the reality. She was able to slip out without drawing any more attention to herself. As she walked with Thadus and the guard back to their cell, someone called out her name.

“Tam!”

She turned toward the familiar voice behind a set of bars.

“What are you doing here? Did you take out the man who killed your brother?” her father asked.

“No, but I did find out my brother was a pedophile, just like you!”

The men in the cell turned toward her father.

“Did he tell you he raped me when I was four anos? Did he tell you he killed my mother when she tried to stop him?” Her hands closed into fists. “My brother was a monster, just like you!” she shouted.

Thadus ushered her to their cell. Moments later, she heard

the sound of men fighting. The guard quickly locked them in and

ran toward the other cell.

“Good gosh, Tam, what happened to you?” Thadus said.

She turned around. “That bad, huh?”

“Your clothes look like someone died in them.”

“It’s my monthly. I warned the guards, but they didn’t think it was important.”

An alarm went off. Shortly after that, Dram and Gomet arrived. She felt drenched in blood. It looked far worse than it felt, but what could she do?

Dram glanced at her and immediately shouted, “Guards!” He waved his arm through the bars. “Guards!”

Two guards came running up to the cell.

“What is it?” one of the guards asked.

“We have an emergency here,” Dram said. He pointed at her.

“Good Lord! What happened?”

She rolled her eyes. “I warned the two guards that brought me here.”

The two guards escorted her back down the hall. The front and back of her unicrin was now covered in blood.

“Can I just get some hygiene products and cleanse myself. Please?”

They brought her to an office.

“Stand here. Don’t sit,” one guard ordered.

The other guard left and came back with two other guards.

One she recognized as Jardan.

“Damn!” Kellen said. “Take the shuttle to my house and bring my mate. Tell her what’s happened.”

“Yes, sir.” Jardan left.

Tam crossed her arms. She read Kellen’s name tag. This will take a while, she thought. “Will I get to eat? I’m pretty hungry,” she said.

“Yes, yes, you’ll get to eat. One of the guards told me you spoke to a prisoner earlier. What was said between you?”

“What does it matter?”

“The prisoner is dead, so I need to know what happened.”

“I called him out as a pedophile.”

“And how do you know this?”

“Because he was my father and he deserved to die.”

“I see,” Kellen said. “You know you put us in a predicament.”

“Really? How’s that?”

“We aren’t set up for women prisoners.”

“I see that. What I don’t understand is why you couldn’t

put a cleansing unit in each cell. I mean, all this kashish you’re making off slave labor should afford some type of hygiene in this place. And why can’t you supply each prisoner with a pillow and some bedding? Aren’t we working hard enough for you? After each of us spends a lifetime here, we should at least get

a good night’s sleep.”

“You’re asking a lot for a prisoner,” Kellen said.

“Not really. I’m just asking for what any human would want after a hard day’s work.”

“You forget you are being punished.”

“I get it. The rest of my life, I will work hard to compensate the family I’ve wronged. Is it too much to ask for clean clothes and a cleansing unit? Have you smelled those men, lately?”

After a few more minutes, Jardan returned with Kellen’s mate.

“Oh, Kellen, what’s happened?” a woman said as she walked into the room.

“I’ve done nothing, Marla. Can you please help this prisoner?”

“Sure. Come with me, honey.” Marla took Tam to the far end of the hall. There were rows of cleansing units lined up against a wall.

“Go ahead and cleanse yourself. When you finish, put these

on,” Marla said. She handed Tam some clothes and some hygiene products.

“Thank you,” Tam said.

While she washed and dried herself off in the unit, she wondered about this woman. She seemed genuine. Was it any better at a woman’s prison? When she felt human again, she stepped out of the unit and Marla walked her back to Kellen’s office.

“Thank you,” Tam said to Kellen.

“For what?”

“For giving me back a little dignity.”

Marla smiled, while Kellen grimaced.

“There’s your food.” He pointed at a tray on his desk. “When you finish eating, Jardan will escort you back to your cell.”

Tam sat in a chair beside his desk, putting the tray in her lap. She ate quickly. Not because she wanted to get back to her cell, but because the vibes she was getting from the two mates was palpable. She wanted to get the hell out of the office.

***

When she returned to her cell, her cell-mates were lying on their bunks, staring at the ceiling.

Dram sat up.

“Oh, here are some reading materials,” Jardan said. He pulled some rolled up magazines out of his jacket pocket and

handed them to her.

“Thanks,” she said.

“What’s that?” Dram asked.

“PRMs,” Jardan said.

Dram looked puzzled.

“Portable Reading Materials. Inmates aren’t allowed to have comm-pads. These were hard to find.” He locked the door and left.

“You want one?” she asked Dram.

“Sure, why not.”

She handed one to Dram.

“How’d you get new clothes and wet hair?” Gomet asked.

“Kellen’s mate brought these for me and let me cleanse myself before putting them on.” Her new clothes were a worn t-shirt and some stretchy, long pants.

“How decent of them,” Thadus said.

“What’s in the container?” Gomet asked.

She had been clutching the container since she left Kellen’s office. “Hygiene products, if you must know.” She climbed up to her bunk above Thadus’ bunk.

“Can I have one of those PRMs?” Thadus asked.

She leaned over her bunk and handed one to Thadus.

“Thanks,” he said.

“Just for the record,” she began. She flipped through one of the colorful PRMs. “I put in a word for everyone’s benefit.”

“Oh?” Dram said.

“Yes. I told Kellen the smell around here was quite pungent.”

A pillow hit her in the face. She sat up. Dram stood

staring at her, his hands on his hips. “We smell?”

“Yes, and thanks for the pillow.”

He reached for it, but she pulled it out of his reach. Dram jumped up and tried to grab it, but she stuffed it under her back. In seconds, she felt the bed shake. When she looked up, Dram had climbed up to her bunk. He was on top of her, his face close to hers. “I’ll take that,” he said. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the pillow with one arm and pulled the pillow out with the other.

“Do you know how long I worked for this pillow?” he whispered.

“Tell me.” She whispered back. Their faces were close and a spark of electrical energy shot through her. Did he feel it, too?

“Too long,” he said. He tossed the pillow onto his bunk from across the cell, then backed off her and the bed.

The few moments of his nearness brought warmth to her body. She realized how cold she was when he backed away. These newer clothes were comfortable but not as warm as her I.S.P. unicrin had been. Maybe it had been the cleansing unit’s water that cooled her off. Anyway, she hadn’t been that close to a man in years. At least, not willingly. The more she thought about it, the more she realized she never had a meaningful relationship with any man before. At least not one she wanted to remember.

*** 

Dram watched her from his lower bunk. The thought of kissing Tam had crossed his mind. All he wanted was his pillow, but after holding her, he realized she was the first woman he held in his arms since Emma and that was so long ago. When Emma wouldn’t join him, he never let another woman enter his mind or his heart.

*** 

The next morning’s routine was the same as before. Tam got up earlier to take care of her needs, then crawled back into bed until the alarm sounded. Breakfast came and went, and she was back on the job.

The first thing she noticed was her harness was different. “Did you clean this harness from yesterday?” she asked the guard.

“It’s new. We had to burn the last one. Next time, warn us in advance.”

That’s hard to do. “I’ll try.” She worked hard on digging out rubies. She wanted a pillow. The thought of what transpired the night before made her smile. By mid-day, she was ready to eat. The rest of the day was like the day before, but when it

was quitting time, that’s when things changed.

She was back in her cell with the others. She lay on her bunk as Dram and Thadus paced the floor of the cell. Her stomach growled and she heard someone else’s stomach make the same noise.

“Something’s happening,” Dram said. He pressed his face against the bars. “All I can see is people moving out of their cells.”

“Is that normal?” she asked.

“Only once a month when we get to cleanse ourselves,” Dram said.

“Yes, but it’s only been a couple weeks,” Gomet said.

“You cleanse yourselves once a month?” she asked.

“I smell food,” Thadus said.

Several long minutes later, the guards moved to the cell next door.

“They’re being taken to the cleansing compartments,” Dram said.

“Is that a fact?” Tam asked. She picked up her PRM and thumbed through it. The smell of food made her stomach growl again. A few minutes later, the cell next door was served their food.

Dram, Gomet, and Thadus had their faces pressed against the bars. “They’re back,” Dram announced.

“Our turn,” Thadus said.

The guards unlocked their cell and escorted all of them to

the cleansing units. Tam grabbed her container with hygiene products and fell in line with the others. When they finished, they were each furnished clean clothes, a set of sheets, a

blanket, and a pillow.

“What’s the occasion?” Dram asked.

“We are tired of getting complaints. Once a week, you will turn in the dirty sheets and get a new set,” the guard said.

“What about the clothes? Thadus asked.

“You’ll get a fresh set daily when you head to the cleansing compartments.”

“Daily cleansing?” Dram asked.

“Yes. The cells apparently stink,” the other guard said.

“Here,” the first guard handed something to Dram. “Use this to sterilize your mattresses and old pillows before putting the new sheets on.

Dram turned and glanced at Tam. She shrugged her shoulders, then followed the first guard out.

Once they sanitized everything, their food arrived. The four of them ate then made their beds.

“I’m going to sleep good tonight, Gomet said.

“Me, too,” Thadus said.

She didn’t want to mention that the temporary prison cells

at the I.S.P. station came with bedding, pillows, and a unicrin. But she would at least be comfortable when she slept. The problem was trying to sleep without the recurring nightmares from her past. She rolled over to face the wall, once the lights were out. Then she heard a whisper in her ear and felt the

warmth of someone’s breath.

“Sleep tight, little one.”

She opened her eyes and turned to see Dram’s head above the side of her bunk. He touched her nose with his finger and turned to leave, but she was quick to grab his wrist. He didn’t pull away.

“Thanks,” she said. Mariposas jumped in her belly, when they exchanged glances. She released her grip, and he walked back to his bunk. Why would he do that? Was he thankful for being able to cleanse himself? Or did he appreciate the new bedding? She watched him a few minutes before turning away.

Something was happening between them, but she didn’t know what it was. Maybe it was her imagination. Without having something to compare it with, she had no idea. She pulled her new sheet and blanket over her shoulder as she turned to face the wall. She pictured his face once more as he tried to retrieve his pillow earlier and fell asleep, thinking of Dram.

***  

Dram lay in his bed, thinking about what this woman was

doing here in Leviticus Station. He already felt punished for slave-trafficking. He had made a good living off it all those years. The people he sold were just products. He never gave them a second thought. So why was he thinking about it now? Was it something Tam had said when she first arrived? Or was it something she had done? He remembered she tried to kill Berto for killing her brother. Her brother had raped Berto’s little sister. Berto himself had told him that story years ago. But for someone to hold a grudge like revenge for so long and then not act resentful, there must be more to the story. Was it that she didn’t know how evil her brother was? The one thing he had never done was to take advantage of any of the young women or girls that he captured. They were off limits to him and his men. The house maidens were another thing. He let his men take them whenever they wanted. He had to keep them happy so they wouldn’t touch the products he was selling. He glanced up at Tam’s bunk. He wanted to learn more about this new cellmate.

 

 

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Chapter One As the shuttle flew over Plumaris, Tam could see the southern portion was inhabited with small clusters of villages among wooded or forested areas with lakes and streams flowing nearby. It

1 Comment


CRYSTAL
CRYSTAL
Jul 16

I really liked reading chapters one and two and look forward to reading mor, it was interesting, page turner and kept me wanting more

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