Writing Snippet 5: It's Ugly. Not For The Squeamish.
So, part of my ongoing novel.
This is a scene that made my wife look at me weird for a week after she read it.
Not for the faint of heart.
A not-so-nice guy gets introduced, and it's ugly.
Spacing between paragraphs just because Blogger doesn't like to format right.
Other Snippets here.
CANTON CONTRACT CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, CANTON, TEXAS
He awoke to the smell of burning. There was a fire, somewhere. He peeled himself up from the cold concrete floor, and his stomach rebelled.
He fought back the urge to vomit, but wasn't fast enough to stop it. He propped himself up on his elbows to keep his head out of the spreadin pool. The fire wasn't just somewhere. He brought himself to his feet and looked out of the thick scratched glass that gave the only light in his dark cell. The fire stretched from the horizon to just outside the perimeter fence of the prison, and it was huge. The sky was filled with smoke. As he tried to make sense of charred outside world, the flood of noise from the catwalks and central floor filtered in from his cell door.
“The fuckin' guards, man! The fuckin' guards just left us here to burn, man!”
“Bitch, you come near me, and I'll fucking cut you. You want some of this? Come on, then, bit--”
“Oh, sweet Jesus, I don't wanna fuckin' go out like this--”
“Open the doors, motherfuckers! Open the fucking doors!”
“Time to settle the fuckin' score, snitch-bitch. C'mon and open up--”
Water spilled from the catwalks as dozens of inmates jammed up their toilets, flooding their cells. Bits of mattress and toilet paper fell in flames. There were six or seven bodies down on the main floor. Dark, still pools of blood flowed from underneath them. Some were stabbed, other bashed apart. A group of a half-dozen Latin Princes were going cell-to-cell on the lower catwalk, doing cell entries in the same manner as corrections officers.
“Vernon, man, how are we gonna get the fuck outta here?”
“What the hell happened to me?”
“I don't know, bro. One minute we're watching T.V., and the lights go out. You were up here, but you passed out or something.
“Next thing the guards are saying that Dallas is blown up, or something. They all left. They all fucking left, man.”
“Dallas? Is that what's on fire?”
“Man, everything's on fire. The whole pod is locked down, and we can't get out. It's a like a fuckin' riot out there, man. Don't go out there.”
Mario Gutierrez had been Vernon Banks' cellmate for three months now. He was clean, kept to himself, and didn't run with any of the Mexican gangs. He was in for simple assault, and was just trying to do his time. Big Pablo had 'invited' him into the Latin Princes, and Gutierrez had turned him down.
He was about to pay for that. No one turned down Big Pablo.
Another group of Latin Princes were now at the cell door. Two had broken-off broomsticks held like spears. Three others had improvised knives. All were covered in blood. None came in to the cell.
“Hey, homes, you remember me?”
Big Pablo was pulling the door of the cell closed. A bottle of clear fluid was in one hand. One of the gang produced a lighter, and lit the rag stuffed into the bottle's neck.
“Oh, shit,” Vernon and Mario said at the same time.
“You should have jumped in with us, fucker. Nobody turns down the Latin Princes. Time to pay, eh? All these fuckers are gonna pay, homes,” he said.
He lit the bottle's rag, and threw it. The cell filled with the stink of gasoline, and then with fire. One spearman jammed the cell door shut, while the other put his broomstick up to keep the two men from leaving.
Mario began to climb the bunk bed that took up the right side of the cell, screaming at an unholy volume. Vernon panicked, falling to the back of the cell and trying to brush the flames off. The flames clinging to Mario spread to the bed, growing as another bottle was thrown into the room in a crash of glass.
Vernon Banks continued to beat the fire off his clothes. The sight of it caused him to panic, but he was feeling no pain. Was this what it was like to burn to death? Was there a calming shutdown by the mind, or something?
Mario jumped from the top bunk at the door, screaming in pain, trying to make it through the group of men holding the cell door closed. One of the spearmen caught him in the side of the torso, running him through. Another man with a knife held his hair, and began to saw at his throat. Another began to stab into his rib cage with a short, repetitive motion like a sewing machine.
Gutierrez pulled away, blind with panic and pain, away from the blades. The fire now filled the cell. There was no where to go. He fell to Vernon's knees, trying to claw his way up Banks's chest as hot blood pumped out of his aorta into the fire.
Vernon pushed him away with a panic-induced burst of energy. Mario's body fractured under the sudden force. The gang members blocking the cell door went from hooting and cheering to fearful silence.
Vernon Banks looked at Mario's burning body, his head bashed to pieces from hitting the floor, his arms at odd angles. Oh, shit, sorry, Mario, he thought.
He looked at his hands, covered in flame and blood. His clothes were peeling from him. He walked calmly to the cell door and slammed it to the left. It folded like cardboard, coming off the tracks with an enormous crashing noise. The nearest Latin Prince, the one who slit Mario's throat, tried to carve Vernon's jugular in a similar manner. The knife slipped off his skin. Vernon backhanded him, bashing his cheek bone into bloody splinters.
A spearman was next. Vernon grabbed the screaming man by the throat, and threw him. He flew over the common area, smashing into the catwalk on the opposite side of the pod some fifty feet away.
The cacophony of the rioting prison pod ceased when the man splashed against the concrete wall. The only sound to be heard in the collection of four dozen prison cells was burning beds and gang members being pulled to pieces.
The wet ripping sounds and terrified screams continued for twenty seconds as Big Pablo's group of men was reduced to a collection of separated body parts and torsos with fist-sized holes punched in them. The other Latin Princes working the far side of the catwalk responded to the sight of Big Pablo being dismembered by Vernon Banks, and charged to his rescue.
Vernon was now intoxicated with the strength surging through him. His stomach was contracting from the impulse to vomit, but it was not because of the sight of the killing floor he had made of the southern side of the second-floor catwalk in pod seven. He gripped the rail as another wave of nausea bolted through him. It passed after he threw up that morning's powdered eggs from the cafeteria, and he pulled his hand away from the crushed metal railing. Latin Prince blood dripped from the furrows he left in the steel. He wiped his mouth on an unburnt portion of his sleeve and looked up, elated, at the men charging him.
He split the first man from his shoulder to his navel with a single karate chop. Blood and bile sprayed from the man's ruptured torso over his comrades. They recoiled from the splashing entrails. The five men back-peddled as one, stumbling over each other while slipping in the gore.
Vernon Banks set on them, a demonic grin on his face. He found one man's head in the pile, and popped his skull like a water balloon full of spaghetti sauce. Vernon grabbed the corpse by a stub of spine sticking up from the neck, and flung it over his shoulder. He reached in to the group of gangsters for another victim. A hand held up in pleading submission was crushed at the wrist. Vern pulled the screaming man to his feet, and head-butted him. Banks was drenched as the man crumpled like a scarlet-stained rag doll. Vernon stomped his foot between the shoulder blades of a man crawling away, smashing the legless man's spine into his heart.
The last man tried to jump off the catwalk into the common area below, but Vernon caught him by the foot. Banks swung him back into the air, caught him at a better angle, and snapped the screaming man in half over the edge of the handrail.
One dozen Latin Princes, slightly soiled, he thought to himself with a chuckle. The nausea was forgotten. The kill was all he cared about. He looked at his hands, dripping with blood and meat, and ran them through his hair. He licked the fingers clean on his right hand. Glorious.
Vernon walked slowly down the the catwalk to the stairs. His fingertips dug furrows in the concrete walls as he passed cell after burning cell. The fire outside was brighter and closer. He didn't fear it. He welcomed it. He knew it had no power over him.
The remainder of the prison pod's population, those who weren't already dead or hiding in their cells, were now piled at the main entrance doors of the pod. They were two dozen men, blind with panic, all attempting to break down unyielding doors. They were doomed rats crawling over each other, trying to escape the cat locked in their cage with them. They were pathetic. They were meat.
Vernon's face pulled back into a blood-soaked smile, and he leapt into them.
* * * * *