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Off To See The Wizard
Still in his first week in the Land of Oz, Ryan continued ignoring his bunkmate. Barely even registered his face after that first day. Looked only long enough to learn what he had needed to know. Guy was nothing. Some scumbag that knew enough to keep his head down, didn't even snore. An old hand like Ryan. He knew to stay out of the fucking way. He posed no danger. Lasted this long, though. No use trying to manipulate him. Ryan wouldn't be here for long, anyway. Ryan wasn't antagonizing him though. A connection here couldn't hurt once he was elsewhere. Never hurt to keep your hand in. He threaded his arms through the bars, resting against them as he looked out upon the cellblock. The smooth press of metal against his skin was coldly familiar.
Fucking cellblock was familiar, too. Like a second home, worse than the one he'd fled with Cyril once they'd started trading tits and spilled blood for enough cash to dig their own little hellhole away from their Pops. Faces similar to those on the streets filled this place. Trapped in between these grey halls now just the same as they were trapped in the life outside. Stupid fucking prison issue clothes that made them all look like wayward mechanics, trying to make them stand out from the rest of humanity and blend together at the same time. All tucked snug in their beds with bitter dreams at the moment.
Same old smells, too. Toilets. Sweat and stone and metal. Blood buried deep underneath it all. Ryan tuned out the accompanying sounds in disgust. Grunts, the low slam of body to body, and muffled crying. What being caged with animals always sounded like.
Ryan avoided his thin cold cot for the landscape of his mind, instead of curling up in resignation or pursuing some after hours release like everyone else. Thought better standing up, in this case. It motivated him to move, speeding along his plans to get out of here.
Someplace with a slightly better view.
He knew better than to try some half-assed escape plan. His only escape plan was long term. Keep the blood off his hands and the shit out of his particular fan, until he had served enough of his time to smooth-talk a parole board. He'd be trapped in the particular hellhole of Oswald for another decade. One of many stays Ryan had made in the prison system of his fine state. They all looked the same, no matter how the layout changed. Different paint, different uniforms, different walls. Didn't matter. Same old hotel, just a longer checkout time.
But Oz, Oz had a little something special. Or so he'd heard. Some crazy little idealist tucked away, trying out a new kind of punishment and reform. Good news for Ryan.
Somewhere, along the piss-yellow brick road, there was an Emerald City. A place with more amenities. Privileges. Looked fucking good on your sheet to a parole board, too. Ryan wasn't a perfect handpicked candidate. He'd been thrown in with the anonymous scum right from the start. Guess the bastard in charge hadn't seen his...potential.
Ryan would change that. He would get there anyway. He knew it, even as he watched the guard patrol the shitty little cellblock he was currently housed in.
"Lights out! That means you!"
Ryan felt the rattling vibration in his teeth, down to his bones, as the Hack's billy club clanged against the bars, bare inches from his arm. Ryan's nerves stayed steel.
Without a single betraying twitch at the jolt, Ryan smirked and slowly backed off. Like he'd been planning on bunking down for the night right then anyway. Couldn't look like a pussy, but wouldn't do to antagonize a Hack at this juncture either. Ryan balanced it perfectly.
He stretched before climbing into bed, throwing off his shirt and shaking off the stiff chill from the bars. Ryan curled up under sheets, closing his eyes. Still able to see all he needed to see.
The path to Emcity, all the bricks along the way.
All roads intertwined in this life, making his goals that much easier and harder at the same time. Everything connected. If you knew how to spot the junctures, which thread crossed which, where each tug would stress, strain, and unravel, knew how to finesse it all...it was yours to dictate the pattern. If you didn't know what you were doing, couldn't see all the threads, were clumsy or slow -- then you were fucking screwed. Fuckers who were blind or dumb just ended up ensnarled.
Not him. He saw what he needed to see. Had more finesse than ten of these fuckers put together.
For Ryan, even Emerald city was more than just a destination. His hand slid over his chest under the blanket, subconsciously searching even as he settled in, grazing a soft long pucker of scar tissue with his fingertips. Didn't need to see it to find it.
Here, in the dark, he was back there again. Same cold, same scents blending together from the hints in the air. Could almost feel the weight of his old gun tucked away against his body. Phantoms. The smell of gunmetal and burning atmosphere. Heavy taste of blood in his mouth. Distant memory of that fucking sharp shock ripping through him.
Ortolani. Wop who'd made this mark on Ryan's skin, and earned him a shorter stay down the road when he'd given the cocksucker up. He was right there smack dab in the middle of Ryan's soon-to-be new home now. Probably planning his own revenge.
Everything connected. It was all in how you worked it.
Ryan was faster than Dino. Better. Wop didn't stand a chance.
He'd leave a nice hole in that new unit for Ryan to slip right into.
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