Rachel Thompson

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Collapse by Richard Stephenson


“Exactly my point, Killer!”  Spider screamed.  “What better way to end the Second Great Depression than by wiping out a bunch of people.  It cuts down on unemployment by killing off people and giving other people their jobs.  Fewer people that the government has to take care of; it makes perfect sense.” 

Richard had underestimated the stupidity of this kid.  All he could do was stare at him.  The statement uttered by this fool was probably the stupidest thing he had ever heard him say.  Richard decided to remain silent like he should have in the first place.

Spider began to reply to Richard when Tank interrupted.

“You’re a fucking retard,” said Tank.  “No way could the government control a hurricane.  Not possible.” 

“Okay.  Well then, answer me this, both of you.  Why haven’t we seen any news reports from Florida?  Not one god damn report.  I know they ain’t got no power, but the news people drive around in trucks and beam that shit to a satellite.  Why haven’t we seen anything?” Spider directed his question to both Tank and Richard.

“Big fucking deal.” said Tank.  “You know what I think?  I think they got...” 

Sirens blaring across the yard cut Tank off mid-sentence. 


Sirens meant a disturbance.  Somewhere on the yard a fight was in progress.  Without missing a beat, the four skinheads immediately forgot about the conspiracy talk and sprang into action.  Tank ran to the fence and starting looking around.  Richard did the same on the opposite end of the fence.  Spider and Head dug into the heels of their shoes and came up with homemade weapons in a few seconds flat.  The two men stepped up next to Tank and Richard, tapped them on the shoulder and resumed their posts as lookouts.  Tank and Richard went through the same routine and produced knives as if out of thin air.   Richard had rehearsed this move with the three skinheads and they had performed it perfectly.

“What do we got?” Richard asked the group. 

“No idea,” Head replied. 

Richard’s eyes scanned across the yard, making assessments of every group, every person, and saw nothing hostile going on.  All he saw was a yard full of very confused inmates.  Richard was pissed that the Aryans were split up into three groups scattered across the yard and behind different fences. Richard cursed the skinheads for not having more tactical awareness.  They would have little chance in a major disturbance if broken up into small groups. 

The siren cut off, only to be replaced by the loud speaker. 


“What the fuck is going on?”  Tank asked. 

“Nothing good, Billy,” said Richard.  “It’s only nine o’clock in the morning; they must know that we aren’t going back into our cells without a fight.” 

“Doesn’t make any fucking sense.  They want us locked up all they gotta do is wait for the next count and not let us back out,” Tank replied through gritted teeth. 

“What the fuck do we do, Killer?”  Spider asked.  Richard would know what to do; he always had a plan.

“We wait,” said Richard.  “Wait this out and see what happens.  They’re probably suiting up the riot squad right now.  Keep scanning the yard and call out exactly what you see and in what direction, remember that the chow hall is due north.”

Over nine hundred inmates stood on the yard figuring out what to do.  In the history of Highland Valley State Prison, any time they tried to lock the facility down in the middle of the day, it meant they were getting locked in their cells and not coming back out for a very long time.  The old-timers who had walked the yard for years could attest to the seriousness of a major lockdown.  Tank was right, made much more sense to wait for them to return to their cells for count.  No fighting, no violence.  Just a bunch of pissed off inmates who felt like they had been tricked. 


Richard grumbled under his breath.  He had never been on a major lockdown with Tank.  The longest lockdown Richard had known up to that point was three days.  Weeks or months trapped in a cell with Tank would drive him insane. 

“What the fuck is that?” Spider screamed. 

“What is it, Spider?  What direction?  I taught you better than that, start talking!”  Richard tensed up and scanned the yard to see if he could see what Spider was screaming about.  He didn’t see anything.  He turned to look at Spider who was gazing skyward. 

Slowly, like a ripple through a pond, every inmate on the yard stopped and looked up at the sky. 

“How the fuck is it snowing in August?”  Tank asked. 

Richard stared intently at the sky.  Flakes started to slowly drift and flutter out of the sky and land on the rooftops of the cell blocks.  Then they started landing on the inmates and then on the ground.   Dark, ominous clouds could be seen beyond the mountains to the west of the prison. 

“FUCK!”  Spider began to spit over and over.  “This snow tastes like shit!  Son of a bitch!” 


“Not happening, mother fuckers!!”  Tank screamed at the top of his lungs, his proclamation echoing across the yard.  The inmates within twenty feet of Tank almost wet their pants he scared them so badly.


A flashbang had been deployed.  It startled the inmates back to reality.  The flashbang could only mean one thing. 

The riot squad was here. 

“That was quick,” said Richard.

“They’re locking us down because it’s snowing?” 

Richard took one more look to the sky and said, “It’s not snow.  It’s ash.”

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Genre – Dystopian

Rating – R

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