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Busting out

February 2nd, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Charlie couldn’t stop crying, and his wails threatened to blow their cover. Jeremy made a slashing motion at his throat again and Charlie buried his face into his palms, which only seemed to amplify the noise. The spotlight swept past their position once more before Jeremy signaled to go. He raced headlong into the darkness, leaving the others momentarily stunned but quickly following behind. Charlie emitted a snivel, sucked in his breath and sprinted to catch up.

In truth, the group needed Charlie along to have any hope of their plan succeeding, but they had no time to waste so Jeremy made a break for it, hoping to force his hand. It wasn’t until they had all ducked behind a stack of boxes that Jeremy heard some whimpering among them and knew it had worked. Without Charlie, no one would be able to disarm the electronic lock on the front door so they could escape. Sobbing or not, he was the lynchpin of the entire exercise.

The spotlight zipped past them again, and Jeremy motioned to resume running. Ever since Amazon had started buying up private prisons throughout the U.S., their group had been toiling inside this warehouse as forced labor for the corporation. Jeremy and the other two worked on the lines, stuffing boxes full of consumer goods at a blazing clip as they jetted by on the conveyer belt. To be unable to keep up was to be tasered by the sensor-enhanced vest they were forced to wear. Several inmates had died of cardiac arrest from just such an incident.

Charlie was unique within the prison in that he was allowed to move about more freely, as he was a member of the maintenance team. The electronics of the machines that kept the lines moving, as well as the taser vests and other items, were in constant need of repair, and Charlie had a natural gift for it. He was also the only inmate who was well-versed in the details about the security of the prison itself, largely because of the widely held belief that he would never have the courage to try to leave. It took Jeremy five months of cajoling, and even then, he had to make several promises about what would happen on the outside that he doubted he could keep.

They reached a far wall and paused briefly to scan the area before racing to the door. There were now shouts behind them. Jeremy stared at Charlie. “Okay, man. You’re up. Open the door and let’s get the hell out of here!” Charlie burst into tears again, but Jeremy shook him and urged him to hurry. The shouting was growing louder. Charlie looked back at the group’s leader, took a deep breath, turned to the door and said, “Alexa. Open the door.” And they were free.

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