Mostly Hidden, Chapter Three

See, I told you it was coming.

(Also, for the record, I have no first hand experience with prison. I’m just kind of going off of whatever I see on shows, in books, and in my imagination, so bear with me.)

Gerard walked down the hall towards testing room three, where Michael now rested. Or was forced to rest, rather. The diazopralm was successful, very successful, as it always was. Honestly, Gerard wasn’t sure why they still were still testing it.
Well, he did. It worked well, while it was working, but as soon as the drugs had left the system, the patient rebounded, worse than they were originally for a few days, then leveling back out at their regular irregularity.
The rebound also hit people who didn’t have any “irregularities”, making them crazed and in pain for a while.
Gerard opened the door and stepped through into the familiar dark room that looked out into a sealed-off room, containing a bed with Michael laying on it, sleeping.
An operator sat in the room, intently watching Michael, hand anxiously gripping a pencil, obviously new to the job.
Gerard cleared his throat, and the man looked at him. Gerard tilted his head towards the door. “You can leave,” he said, “I’ll watch for a bit.”
The man got up and left, and Gerard took the chair. He looked out the one way mirror at Michael, silently watching and thinking.
Michael had been taken from the prison, as had almost everyone else. Michael was a somewhat special case, though, but many didn’t know that.
A very special case, which made everything connected to him very much worth paying attention to, especially for Gerard.
Gerard wondered how long it would take for the rebound to strike.

“These cuffs hurt,” Jem said to no one in particular. He whipped his head around to look at the guard leading him in, to see if he’d react.
The guard looked forward stoicly, very practiced in the art of putting up with bullshit.
Jem lifted up his arms and jerkily pulled his hands apart, making the chains clink softly against each other. He grinned at the guard, who kept resolutely looking forward.
Jem frowned, faced forward again, and kept walking without again talking to the guard.
He had gotten a five year sentence, all for just possessing some nice powder that was oh so tasty.
Mm. Jem wished he had some of that, right about now.
That thought triggered a nasty craving that Jem knew would last for a while. It had been, oh, what, let’s see, ten or so hours? He lost track of time during all of the processing for him to come into the facility.
Keene State Correctional Facility. Quite a nice name for such a place, Jem thought. He didn’t think a “correctional facility” was the proper place to send “people like him”, who just found relief in certain things that some unknown person had decided were “illegal”.
He liked to think of it that way. Made things seem a little more simple than they were.
Jem kept walking with the guard, saying nothing, thinking much, as he was led through the facility and brought to where he needed to be.

Michael loved the sleep, the unique floating, fading in-and-out sleep of diazopralm. It was wonderful. So very, very wonderful.
A pity that the time afterwards was so horrible. Michael had tested diazopralm three times before, and it was always the same. One day of peace and thoughtless existence, followed by three days of torture.
He hadn’t yet decided if the benefits outweighed the aftereffects. Of course, no matter what he decided, it was out of his hands.
He supposed perhaps it was that he could decide if he would gladly accept another trial run with it, or dread that.
Right now, he loved it. The dread of the oncoming pain was no trouble. It was something that would happen, yes, but nothing really mattered right now. Nothing at all, except the feeling.
Oh, god, the feeling was just so good. He thought that he probably enjoyed it more than most people who were tested with it, for some reason, but it just fit with him perfectly. Maybe he truly was just a little psychotic, and this settled him.
The feeling of the fading effects was almost worse than the torture afterward; just as saying goodbye and leaving a friend is harder than being alone afterward.

Gerard sat up a little straighter as he looked through the window at Michael. It looked as though he was stirring, Michael’s head rolled from side to side, slowly, his body obviously growing restless.
Which meant that the aftershock would hit soon, Gerard thought. He had watched enough trials with diazopralm to know when certain things would happen. And he knew, as well, that watching someone coming off the drug was almost painful. Seeing the agony that wracked them was hard, even if you cared nothing for the person.
Gerard couldn’t say, honestly, if he did  care at all for Michael. He didn’t hate him, in any case, but wasn’t sure if he “cared”. Care or not, though, the torture was about to begin. Michael, still asleep, was violently writhing back and forth on his cot. Suddenly, his eyes flew open and he sprang off the bed and started screaming. He tore at his hair, looked towards where Gerard sat, and charged at the one0way glass. He flung himself at it again and again, pounding at it with his fists.
“Fuck you, Gerard,” he screamed, his voice cracking and straining in rage and pain. “You should be the one behind here,” he said, his assault on the mirror lessening gradually.
“You… should’ve…”
He slid down the window looking out into the room and collapsed into a moaning, pain-filled pile on the floor.
Gerard stood up, looked carefully around the room for a moment, and left.

Jem swung his head to the beat of his heart, harder and faster each time until he was bashing his forehead against the metal pole in front of him every time.
They weren’t bad things, he knew, and not dangerous – well, most of them, anyway – but why, oh why, was he in such agony.
He knew the answer, of course, but didn’t like it.
The little bloody mark on the pole spoke to him, telling him they were good thing. Why did everyone want to take them away? It asked, and Jem had no answer for it.
The sharp pain in his head distracted him from the torture his body was going through at the moment just enough to make things slightly bearable. He stopped beating his head against the pole for a moment and just rested his head on it for a moment.
A guard came up to him and took him by the arm. “It’s called the yard for a reason. Don’t stand at the entrance and whack your head. Move around. Do something. Make a friend.”
The guard said the last sentence in a strange tone that made Jem want to… obey. So he did, walking out into the main part of Yard 4A, where it appeared he’d be spending a fair amount of his free time. He saw a man about his age sitting on a bench, nervously smoking, and decided to sit next to him, if only to have an excuse to leave the guard behind.
He took out a cigarette of his own, lit it, and took a long, slow drag. He exhaled, then sighed. The withdrawals were hell, but he’d try to make the best of them.
The man sitting beside him turned and looked at him. “New?”
Jem nodded. “What’s your name?”
“Christopher. Christopher Anderson.”
“Arson. Not entirely sure myself if it was intentional or not, but the court ruled that it was. Damn. You?”
Christopher nodded. “Never could get into them, myself. Except these, of course,” he said, shaking the cigarette in his hand. A clump of ash fell off the end and drifted onto the ground, disintegrating even before it made contact there. “There are ways to get things in here, you know.”
“I hope so. And I hope I can get some soon,” Jem said. “I’m going to need it.”


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