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Alice felt her nerves jump as she was patted down for the third time, her sword, gun and knife already removed and placed into a locked metal box at reception.
“Do you understand the rules?” the man who was getting too personal with her bra strap asked as he finished checking her for contraband. If he pinged it once more she wouldn’t be responsible for her actions.
“Your colleague explained.”
“Just so you understand, we have zero tolerance on rule breaking. This is a maximum security Breed prison.”
No shit, Sherlock, she thought to herself as she tried to smile friendlily at him.
“There will be a maximum of five minutes with the inmate. He will remain in his cell, behind bars. There will be no touching.”
“Does he know I’m coming?” She felt sick, panic rising as she fought her anxiety. The only reason Tinkerbell hadn’t popped into existence to torment her was the anti-magic enchantments carved every few feet on the thick stone walls.
She didn’t want to see him.
But knew she had to.
“He is aware he has a visitor. We do not give our inmates details as it sometimes riles them up.”
Well, this is going to go well.
“Please, follow me.”
Alice walked behind the guard as he accessed the locked door, the heavy metal bars swinging open with an audible groan as she was ushered through, the door quickly locked again behind her.
The stone walls continued throughout, creating a dark hallway with only flickers of candle light. Open archways opened out into slightly larger rooms that held four separate cells each. She could hear murmuring, crying as well as desperate spells muttered into the dark. Ones that were absorbed by all the anti-magic enchantments and totems that hung from the high ceilings.
The prison was erected inside a medieval castle. While the outside had been modernised, inside hadn’t been touched Torches and small candles were the only source of light, the arched windows bricked in to the point they kept the stench of unwashed bodies thick at the back of your throat.
“Oi, pretty lady. Come over here for a bit, I won’t hurt ya. I got something thick and juicy you can…”
Inmates called at her, their faces appearing in the thin gaps between the thick metal bars as they blew kisses and gestured obscenely.
“GET BACK!” the guard shouted as he hit the bars with his metal baton, the resonating noise a horrible high pitched twang that set her teeth on edge. “He’s just through here.”
They walked through one last archway, the torches closer together to allow more light to penetrate.
“This is the waiting wing,” he said as an explanation. “Your guy is the furthest to the left. I’ll be back in five minutes. There is nowhere for you to go, and every inmate is strictly behind bars. I would recommend you don’t get too curious with the other cells without risking your face being ripped off.”
“Duly noted,” she replied dryly.
Alice took a deep breath, instantly regretting it before she stepped into the room, ignoring the curious looks from the few inmates who were to her right. As she walked she noticed most of the cells empty, the rooms looking reasonable with neatly made cot-beds and clean metal sinks. The exception was the blood smeared scratch marks that scored some of the floors and walls.
She felt her heart race as she approached his cell, hoped nobody had strong enough hearing to notice. It was weirdly tidy when she stopped, his bed made with military precision and his food bowl and tray washed up by the sink. His back was to her, his black T-shirt dusty and ripped, reminding her of when she had seen him in Dread's office what felt like a lifetime ago.
Alice fought her instant guilt at seeing him behind the thick bars. It was strange considering she knew why he was there, that he deserved it. Yet, after giving it much thought she understood his actions. She wasn’t confident she wouldn’t have done the same thing in his situation. It was then she knew she would stand with his brothers at the court, stand against Xavier who was the judge, jury and executioner.
She had never met The Councilman who stood on behalf of all shifters, a tiger with a vicious reputation for death.
He sensed her then, his back tensing as a growl resonated across the stone.