Tunnel W- After being forced to run into a high-risk prison tunnel, a fearless woman uses the two officers who chased her in there to help her escape.
"I can't believe they bucketed me,” she thought. She never thought she would be a Relo. She swore she would not be a victim, but here she was captured and eating carpet. The carpet smelled like rock salt. Her face look toward the front seat. She could see a dime under the black seat. Her hands were strapped behind her back by electronic cuffs. Four large shoes attached to two large people were on her back and legs.
"It is hard enough to sit up from this position, let alone fight," she thought. "That's probably why they have me like this." She was glad she had positioned her belt buckle to her left hip. Nobody ever wears their belt buckle in the center anymore in case of being bucketed. Bucketed that is what they call being thrown in the back of a car with bucket seats.
She didn't even remember that it was the 1st of the month. She had been told by elders that the 1st of the month used to just meant turning your calendar to a new picture of a cute kitten or beautiful landscape. Now it means that you better turn and run and watch your back. You never knew when it was going to be your turn to be bucketed. It was a 1 in a 1,000 chance in her city.
There was a sharp pain in her knee.
"Lay off the knee you Swabby!" she managed to yell from the floor mats. The Swabby on her knee lifted up his or her feet and placed them lower on her calf. The Swabby with her feet on her back pushed harder and leaned down close to her head.
"Listen here, Relo," the Swabby said through her gritted teeth. "We don't have to take anything from you. We have lost many lives during transfer. It is nothing to us. We can hit you again if you want."
"Look Amazon, let's not let the estrogen run wild in here," she answered. "No reason for me to piss all over your van." Then that Swabby grabbed her hand and twisted it hard. A surge went up her arm, but she refused to scream.
"Easy," the other Swabby said. It was a young man's voice. "She will bring us a lot of points. She is in good shape. I need the points, so easy, easy."
"Hear that sweetie," Amazon Swabby said. "Your lucky my partner here is sticking up for you."
"Look just take these cuffs off me, and you and I can go toe to toe, Amazon," she answered. Amazon Swabby scoffed.
"Nothing like that will happen," the male Cutie Swabby interjected. "I have the taser on the highest level.” She heard the clicking of the taser gun. "Got it?"
"Got it," she answered. "Hey, can we at least stop for some fries?" She loved that saying. She had no idea what fries tasted like, but remembered them from some old 1990's movies.
"Get her prints," Amazon Swabby ordered. Guy Swabby grabbed her hands and gently slid her fingers into something that felt like have a soft, plastic glove. The glove tightened on her hand and she smiled.
"Whhhattt?" Cutie Swabby said.
"Is it one of those hard to pronounce names," Amazon Swabby asked as her voice trailed. She was looking out the back window.
"Nope," Cutie Swabby answered.
"Fingerprints removed?" Amazon Swabby asked.
"Nope there are fingerprints alright," Cutie Swabby answered. "According to this, she is five people."
"Let me see that," Amazon Swabby answered as she grabbed the fingerprint translator from him. "Okay, so Janis Joplin, Cassie Cain, Penny Parker, Harriet Truman and Alannah Scott. So which one is it honey?" Amazon Swabby called down to her and dug the heel of her boot into her back.
“Take your pick,” she answered as she chuckled.
“How do people address you?” Cutie Swabby asked. He actually seemed puzzled.
“They don't,” she answered.
“I am sending this in about Ms. Five here,” Amazon Swabby said.
“Sindi, we. . . what,” Cutie Swabby said and then whispered. “I have never run into this.”
This statement was followed by silence. She heard some light ticking on something and realized Sindi was probably typing a message into base.
“Vizio, they said to take her into Tunnel W,” Sindi said.
“What?” Vizio asked. “Is that necessary? She is just a . . . girl.”
“Orders,” Sindi said.
She lay on the floor under their feet with just the sounds of the road funneling through her left ear. She could see the black shoes of the driver up front. The driver's right foot pushed on the gas and left foot tapped lightly as if to the beat of music. She thought about how music, singing, and dancing helped people through many tough times. She thought about busting into song but knew that would drive Sindi's heel harder into her back.
She was going to Tunnel W. It must be a terrifying place. She heard the quiver in Vizio's voice. The car turned onto a gravel road. Sindi moved forward and tapped the hard, plastic divider between the back and front seat.
“Tunnel W!” Sindi yelled. The car veered a hard right.
As her face lay against the rug, she felt her adrenaline kick in. She slowly started moving her wrists back and forth trying to loosen the restraints. She attempted to pull her wrists away from each other the restraints got tighter.
“Sweetie, you are going to get your wrists cut-off if you keep struggling. So struggle all you want,” Sindi laughed.
“They are mechanical, electronic ya' know,” Vizio said. “Stop struggling.”
She said nothing. They stopped and she could hear the driver roll down the window and share words with someone. It sounded like two guys speaking. She tried to lift her head and to look at the guard. Sindi pushed her feet into her slamming her to the floor.
“Easy there Amazon!” she said. “Save it for your husband.”
“You know you will get what you deserve. You should be scared,” Sindi's voice grew to a whisper. “I wouldn't even step foot into Tunnel W.”
A small horn sounded and she heard what she thought was a gate opening. Her adrenaline was kicking in faster. She steadied her breathe, closed her eyes, and smiled. The car stopped and Sindi got out first. As she stepped out she put extra pressure on her captives back, and pushed the palm of her hand into the back of her captive's head. Sindi slammed the door shut.
“Easy now,” Vizio said. “Don't make me zap you.” Vizio opened the door. “Ok get up on your knees and I will guide you out.” She got on her knees. Vizio grabbed her wrists and pulled her backwards out of the van.
Vizio led her a few steps away from the van. Before her stood a man in a brown suit, another man in what seemed to be a guard uniform, and a woman about six feet tall. She guest the woman was Sindi. Vizio stood behind her still holding her wrists that were fastened behind her.
“This her?” the man in the suit asked. He had brown and gray hair and a receding hairline. His face wore many wrinkles.
“This is she,” she answered.
“Feisty huh?” the suit asked.
“Yes, sir,” Vizio answered. “But no problem picking her up. I am thinking that this must be some misunderstanding. I don't think she is Tunnel W level.”
“Officer?” the suit man asked as he looked at Sindi.
“No problem, just a big mouth, sir,” she answered. With that the man in the business suit waived the guard off and the guard walked over to a booth 100 feet away. She looked around her. They were in the middle of what looked like a common. In front of her was a wall made of gray, square rocks. It looked to be about 200 feet tall. In the middle of wall was an opening with an arced entryway. Behind her was the road from which she came down. There was a weird blue hue that tainted the trees and mountains.
“Surrounded by a force field,” Vizio whispered to her. “You don't want to get within ten feet of that.”
A few guards emerged from a building attached to the wall. They were about 100 yards away. She looked back at the man in the business suit. He was squinting with the sun behind her. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a pair of sunglasses and put them on.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked.
“I am assuming I should,” she answered.
“Yes you should,” he answered. “I am High Commander, Sam Day. I run the tunnels.”
“You must be fit,” she answered. “You know all that running.”
He let out a short laugh and said, “Now your turn.”
“Turn?” she asked.
“Turn to introduce yourself,” he answered. “That was rather clever with your aliases.”
“Did you guys know them?” Sam asked Vizio and Sindi.
“No sir,” Vizio answered and Sindi just shook her head.
“One of them was a druggie a hundred years ago,” Sam said.
“Janis Joplin, musician,” she said over her shoulder to Vizio. He tightened his grip on her wrists.
“One of them was the name for cat woman or bat woman or something,” Sam continued.
“Cassie Cain,” she said as she turned to Sindi. “She would kick your ass.” Sindi's lips formed a snarl.
“Then there were two names that were tough,” Sam said. “But with some time I found it. The female versions of Spiderman and the Green Lantern.”
“Nobody reads comics anymore. It is such a shame,” she said as she moved her wrist apart and the restraints got tighter.
“Stop squirming,” Vizio whispered. “I can't loosen them on you.”
The guards were only 20 yards from them at this time. One of the guards slowed as he saw her. He put his arm out and stopped the other guard and seemed to say something to him.
“And then there was Tubman,” Sam said as he looked at her.
“Queen of the underground railroad,” she said to all of them.
The approaching guards turned pale and reached for their weapons. She was the only one that noticed the fear in their eyes.
“Rebel,” one of the approaching guards said. “Rebel!” he yelled. Sam's eyes went wide. Vizio tightened his grip on her wrists.
“Rebel?” Sam asked. “You?”
Tunnel W is
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Michele M. Reynolds is author of three publications Trail Swap, Off-Trail, and Tunnel W. These can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble
Check-out her blog at mmreynolds.blogspot.com.