The clambering of metal against metal echoed through the hall as the cell door shut. Richard Allen Carver took a seat on his tiny cot, placing his bedroll upon it. He buried his pale face in his hands with a sigh. He would have never guessed he would ever be in prison. He mumbled to himself about how stupid it was for him to try to drive home that night from the party, cursing his fate, and thinking of how disappointed his family was at his actions. His thoughts were interrupted by a man leaning out from the shadows across from him, an elbow resting against the other cot.
“So, how long you got pal?” the voice was cold, emotionless.
Richard looked up from his hands, his eyes coming to rest upon his new cellmate. The man had dark hair that receded at the hairline. Dark wrinkled bags hung under each dim blue-gray eye and thick beard clung to his chin. There was a faint smile playing on the man’s lips but Richard had a terrible feeling that he should not trust him. He had only heard rumors about the kind of people he would meet in there and he was not sure just how true they could be.
“Um, not sure yet, still awaiting the trial,” Richard responded.
The man sat up on his bed, hands clapping down on his knees, “Well, what did ya do?”
“I was driving home from a party, had a bit to drink, hit this car and some people got hurt,” Richard responded weakly.
“Is that all?” the man said with a laugh.
“Yeah, don’t really wanna talk about it anymore,” Richard said as he spread out his bedroll and prepared for sleep.
The man laid back down, his form fading back into the shadow that hung over that side of the bed, “If you say so, but it gets lonely in here. You’re gonna wanna talk eventually.”
The night was filled with random noises that kept Richard awake. When the guards came to retrieve them for breakfast he struggled to keeps his eyes open. This mattered little to the correction officers that pushed him down the hall toward the cafeteria. He was directed through a line and given a metal tray, he slid down the line and attempted to pick something he thought was edible. It was a mash of things he could not discern, so he simply took the same thing the person ahead of him had.
His tray dropped at an empty table as the masses converged on their claimed property. A few men sat across from him and began talking. They cut their eyes at Richard every time they caught him looking their direction, which made Richard uneasy. He picked up a roll and broke it in half, the piece of bread had almost touched his lips when he felt an abrupt push against his shoulder. His face turned slowly, his gaze falling on a hulk of a man, covered head-to-toe in tattoos. Richard learned quickly that there were places you did not sit and this happened to be one of them.
“That’s Bubba’s seat, remember that,” the smaller of the two heckled.
He rose quietly from his seat, the men around him laughing hysterically. He had almost maneuvered around the giant before him when the smaller man slapped the tray from Rick’s hands. His food scattered on the floor, the tray clanging like an alarm to everyone within earshot. The rest of the room joined in on Richard’s humiliation. He leaned down, picked up his tray and returned it to the station to be cleaned. He simply stood by the exit and waited to be escorted back to his cell.
When the door shut on him again, his cellmate leaned forward again to greet him. Richard did not respond and simply lay back on his bed. He was hungry, but there was nothing he could do for it. The sound of his hunger growled out into the tiny space and he grasped at it in an attempt to silence it. The man behind him laughed a little, which only made Richard feel worse. He fought back the urge to cry, knowing that he could not let himself be seen any more weak than he already had. Richard could not afford to put that kind of target on his back.
“What’s your name anyway?” the man said.
Richard hesitated, still not sure how close he should get to anyone in here, “R-Richard.”
“You might wanna shorten that to Rick and stop actin like a priss or you’re gonna keep having little altercations like that,” the man responded.
“What do you know?” Richard barked.
“Well, I’ve been in here a long time and I have seen a few things,” the voice still seemed to mock Richard.
Richard rolled over to look at his cellmate, “So, what’s your name then?”
The guy leaned closer and smiled, “Folks call me Pitch,” then stuck out a hand for a shake.
Richard let his hand rest in Pitch’s, shaking it, the grip had been far stronger than he imagined. When he released, his hand felt like ice. Richard rubbed at his fingers for a moment, looking Pitch up and down. He still didn’t feel like he could trust this guy but maybe he could at least talk to him, it would get boring fast if he kept to himself the whole time. Richard faked a smile and leaned back on his bed while Pitch went back to reading a book in silence.
Later that day, during their yard time, Richard walked passed most of the groups and attempted to keep to himself. Eyes watched him intently, murmurs erupted from tightly knit groups of men. Richard tried to listen but he could barely make out a word. None of them approached and some of them seemed to scatter when Richard came within a few feet of them. The whole yard seemed to have their eyes on the newest inmate but he had no idea why.
That night before lights-out the guards came to Richard’s cell, removing him from it and began tossing his things about. He was told they were looking for contraband and that if they found anything he was being sent down to solitary. They found nothing in his cot but there was a sharpened toothbrush hidden within the stuffing of Pitch’s pillow. Richard was instantly cuffed and taken to confinement, begging for an explanation the whole way. He insisted that the toothbrush was not his and that it belonged to his cellmate. The guards laughed at the notion and tossed Richard into an even smaller cell. He pounded on the door and demanded to be let out but he received no response.
The following day Richard was escorted to a conference room where his attorney was waiting. He sat across from the well-dressed man and immediately asked for information regarding the trial. He learned at that moment, his date had been pushed back due to additional charges. Richard’s eyes grew wide as his attorney detailed how he had been charged with the attempted murder of a fellow inmate, a Brian “Bubba” Wells. He instantly began denying the allegations, stating it had not been him but his cellmate, Pitch. He screamed that the guards had found the weapon in the other man’s bunk but shoved him into solitary. His attorney assured him that he would investigate the claims and do his best to absolve him of the alleged crime.
When Richard was allowed back to his cell, Pitch lay on his bunk reading another book. His cellmate looked up at Richard as he entered. Richard waited for the guards to leave and slowly took a seat across from Pitch. His mind swirled with possible reactions, he wanted to be angry and he wanted to know what was going on but he could not fly off the handle. If Pitch had really stabbed Bubba then there was no reason he would not do something similar to him.
“Why’d you try to kill Bubba?” he finally said.
“I don’t like bullies,” Pitch said as he peered over his book.
“Why do they think I did it?” Richard responded.
“Haven’t the foggiest,” Pitch not seeming concerned as he turned a page.
This was not a good enough answer for Richard, but he doubted he would get the truth. He simply turned away from his cellmate and tried to sleep. It took hours, laying there listening to the rustling of the pages of Pitch’s book. The sound seemed to grow louder the longer he listened. It echoed in his head until Pitch finally sat the book down and went to sleep himself. Richard was finally able to doze off not long after, his mind still consumed by confusion.
Over the next few weeks the rumors spread and within a month Richard had become the biggest monster within Cade County Prison. The rumors even leaked through to the guards and Richard found himself being transferred to “D” Block, which housed some of the worst criminals imaginable. Pitch waved goodbye, with a sickly grin as Richard exited the room he had called home for the last month. He was placed in a cell by himself, the men around him keeping their distance. He took a seat on his new bunk, seeing the one across from him empty. He sat quietly amongst their whispers and curious stares for a while before a scrawny looking man across the hall called out to him.
“Psst…hey, you,” he said.
Richard did not even look up, “What?”
“Did ya really kill your last cellmate?” he quizzed.
“No, and I didn’t stab Bubba,” Richard said in an irritated tone.
“Not what I’ve heard,” the man said, a smirk rising from one side of his mouth.
“You shouldn’t believe everything you hear,” Richard replied before turning to lay back on his bunk.
That night, as Richard lay staring at the ceiling of his dark cell, a noise like a dripping faucet caught his attention. He turned to the small sink across from him but there was no water. The water within the commode bowl showed no sign of movement. He leaned closer to be sure and from the other side of the room Pitch dove from the adjacent bunk. The man’s body landed heavy over Richard, pinning him to the bed. He screamed for help but no one came, Pitch simply smiled as he lowered himself toward Richard’s face. Dark droplets slowly trickled from Pitch’s nose and eyes, it rolled down his face before dropping onto Richard’s. When Richard had thought the horror had reached its peak, Pitch’s mouth opened and a shower of the same black fluid was released all over Richard’s mouth.
Richard tumbled from his bunk, still gagging and trying to catch his breath. He searched the room but Pitch was not within it. When he searched his bed there was no sign of the black substance that he was sure had been vomited all over him just seconds before. He looked out from the cell, asking anyone who could hear him if they had seen Pitch just moments ago. He only received angry insults and impolite suggestions to go back to bed. Richard sat back on his bunk, rubbing at his temples. He thought for a moment and decided it must have been a nightmare. He laid back down and tried to sleep but the scene kept playing through his head. He was still staring at the ceiling when the guards came to retrieve him for breakfast.
Within the mess hall, a group of men was harassing a new inmate. Richard collected his food and watched from across the room. A feeling of pure rage bubbled up inside him as he watched them shove a small man around the cafeteria and toss his food in the trash. Before he could think, he was across the room and driving his metal tray deep into the side of the head of one of the men. His left foot rose and dropped hard against the kneecap of another, sending both crumpling to the floor. The remaining men ran in fear as Richard stood over the one who had been attacked. The man looked just as afraid of Richard as the others, but he thanked his rescuer for the help. As Richard turned to walk away, he felt liquid seep down from his nose. When he wiped it with the back of his head, it revealed an inky black smear.
When he returned to his cell the tiny book that Pitch had always been reading lay neatly on his pillow. He lifted it slowly, noticing no distinguishing marks or lettering. It was simply a black leatherbound book with yellowing pages between. He opened it to the first page and another drop of black dripped from his nose. It splashed upon the pages, splintering out onto the blank page before him. He turned the page and noticed that every page was blank as he wiped at his nose again. When he returned to the first page, his actions within the mess hall had been detailed in its entirety.
Situations continued to occur that Richard could not seem to avoid being drawn into. His body would instinctively interfere and each and every time his nose would bleed black and every time it would get added to the book. It had become a hobby to keep him entertained within his lonely cell. Richard would smile as he watched the inky liquid move independently and form words upon the page in a neatly scrawled cursive. It did not take long to fill ten pages and he would read them over and over again before the guards would signal for lights out.
Eventually, his actions afforded him a transfer to a maximum security prison. Cade County could no longer tolerate his violent nature and decided to hand him over to the federal prison system. As he took a seat within his new cell, he noticed that he was again alone within it. Richard started to feel as though they did not trust him in a small space with another person. He flipped through the pages again, having filled half the book. He wondered what would happen when he reached the end. Would the pages return to blank and he start all over? Or would he need a new book? He pondered this as men within his cell block began to make obscene gestures in his general direction. A sinister smile played on his lips, just thinking of the words that would fill his little diary of destruction.
Within six months he had made a new name for himself and would be serving seven consecutive life sentences. Richard no longer cared, he just wanted to keep filling his book. It had become an obsession and he would sit quietly in his room reading from it until he had an opportunity to strike again and add another page. Richard wanted nothing more to see what happened when he got to the last page and did everything he possibly could to reach that goal quickly. He simply had to know the result. His thoughts were interrupted by the door to his cell opening and being gestured to exit for yard time. He smiled, knowing this was an opportunity to add another page or two.
When he returned, new pages awaited to be filled after he stabbed two gang members with a make-shift knife fashioned from aluminum foil. He took a seat on his bunk and slid back into the shadow that covered it. Then opened his book and let the black droplets add to his growing journal. The cell door opened again, a new inmate being placed on the bunk next to him. Richard was scanning over the newly formed words as the man sat his bedroll down. Richard looked up over his pages, seeing that the man appeared to be far more dangerous than he. The man laughed at the sight of Richard.
“So, this is the monster I keep hearing about?” the man laughed.
Richard smiled and turned the book to a fresh page, “Yes,” he said without looking up.
“You don’t look like much of a monster to me, what’s your name anyway? Probably something nerdy like Bill, or Bob, maybe even Richard!” the man leaned forward, laughing while bits of saliva sprayed Richard’s face.
Richard thought for a moment, his anger boiling up inside of him. Then a drop of the dark liquid fell to the page and formed large letters that read “PITCH”.
“Pitch,” he said quietly.
“Did you say, bitch? I think he just said his name is bitch!” the man yelled out to the cell block, the men around them cowering from the commotion.
“I said Pitch!” Richard screamed into the man’s face as he rose from his bunk, the dark liquid flowing more rapidly from his nose and eyes.
“What the?” the man said as Richard drew closer.
A few moments later guards came rushing in to find Richard crumpled on the floor and the new inmate sitting on his bunk, flipping through a tiny black book. They revived Richard and took him to the infirmary to check him for injuries. All of his tests came back fine and he would be allowed to go back to his cell, that is after he spoke with his attorney who happened to be waiting for him in the conference room. The guards directed him to the room and placed him just across the table, still shackled for the protection of everyone within the room.
“I’m sorry to inform you that we are going to lose your case,” his lawyer said with a sigh, “The evidence against you is just too strong. I think you’re going to get charged for murder again Richard.”
“Murder? What are you talking about? I have never killed anyone,” Richard cried, tears flowing from his eyes, “It must have been Pitch, he framed me again!”
The lawyer rubbed at his eyes, frustrated, “That’s what you said the first time Mr. Carver but your actions within the penal system prove different. Plus neither this facility or Cade County have any record of an inmate by that name or nickname. I even looked up the description you gave and it doesn’t fit anyone here.”
“This is impossible, it can’t be. I haven’t killed anyone!” Richard yelled, his hands slamming on the table.
The attorney jumped at the action, fear rising up in him, “I-I’m sorry Mr. Carver there is nothing more I can do for you,” he said as he quickly gathered his things and rushed from the room.
Written by L0CKED334