Disclaimers: This story is my own original work and may not be reproduced, either electronically or in print except for personal use. All disclaimers, title, author, and copyright must remain on the copy.
Content Warnings: The story touches on subjects of an adult nature, including sexual abuse, sexual scenes, violence, and strong language. If you would be offended by this, or a minor, please stop here and find something else to read
Author's Notes: This story is a continuation of Duster. I suggest reading that story first before beginning this one.
"Stone walls do not a prison make nor iron bars a cage. Minds innocent and quiet take that for an hermitage."--Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)
Duster entered the visitors' room and looked towards the table always taken by Sandra. She smiled towards the waiting woman and waved. Each week, the injured guard came to see her, always bringing homemade goodies and soft looks. They couldn't quite call each other girlfriends, it was too early in the relationship to make such a claim, but the prisoner had hopes.
The petite woman stood as she approached, brushing aside her shaggy bangs from her eyes to merge with the rest of her short cropped black hair. Duster loved how her hair shined, always tempted to nuzzle the thick tresses. Well, and the rest of her would be nice to nuzzle too. Looking her over, Duster noticed her heavy cast was gone and a walking brace was now worn. It wouldn't be long before she returned to duty. When she reached her, the prisoner shyly placed a kiss on her cheek.
"I see your big cast is gone. I bet that's a relief."
"Yes, now I don't have to wrap it up like a mummy to shower," Sandra grinned with glee as the mention of a shower brought a naughty sparkle to Debra's eyes. Her savor's behavior might be shy but her thoughts easily strayed to more daring places when she referred to some actions. Such as showering, dressing, sleeping, or even washing her car. Debra was so predictable anymore.
Any second now, she would ask-
"Where's the stash? I gotta have my fix you know," Duster said, looking around the table for the usual box of treats.
Sandra chuckled and grabbed the canvas bag from the floor. "Here you go."
Duster eagerly opened it, anticipating what might be found. It was different each week. Opening the box, she found triangular pastries covered in powdered sugar. "Oh! I have no idea what they are but they sure look great!" the prisoner said, taking one and quickly biting into it. It practically melted in her mouth. Her eyes closed as she savored every bite. Once finished, she closed the box, saving the rest for the remainder of the week.
"Thanks Sandra, you're too good to me," she smiled bashfully.
"Hey, nothings too good for my rescuer. So, how's therapy going?"
"Okay, Doc Williams has me writing a journal. Said it would help me focus better."
The Therapist didn't add that it would help her with her communication skills and writing ability. The prisoner was attending prison sponsored classes for those wanting a GED and life skills for the outside. She also was attending anger management classes along with her sessions with Janice Williams. Duster's largest hurtle was dealing with her father's sexual abuse. Duster still had trouble speaking about it, often skirting around the questions related to it.
Sandra knew all this since Debra had given Janice permission to speak about her progress. Duster's aggressive behavior stemmed from her past, having the need to be in control after so many years of having it taken from her. The guard wondered how far that need for control extended. Actually, Janice had been rather surprised by Debra's submissive behavior with Sandra considering her past. It was something they were exploring.
The petite guard wasn't going to worry about it. Duster was gentle with her and that was all that mattered. She didn't fear the powerfully built prisoner, far from it. Sandra felt rather protective of the vulnerable woman. In some ways, she was as needy as a child, wanting nothing more than kind words and attention. Although the child in her appeared fully when given sweets.
"Touch that box and I'll rip your fingers from your fucking hand!" Duster snarled at another inmate who was sniffing around their table. The woman hastily backed away.
"Down tiger. Be good or else," Sandra warned. Duster slumped and sat back, contrite.
The guard patted her large hand and smiled. The outburst was ignored and they chatted until their time was up. Sandra stood and impulsively leaned down to kiss Debra's forehead. Debra blushed and stammered out her goodbyes. Charmed by her bashfulness, the guard ran her palm over Debra's red cheek before she left.
Duster watched her hobble from the room then slumped over the table. "I am so whipped," she groaned into her arms.
Staring through the chain-linked fence, the leader of the white gang wondered if she dared ask. The forklift operator ignored her watching eyes and continued unloading the pallets into the docking bay. She had nervously called the number on the business card in her pocket and spoke to Doug Wilson, the factory owner who had promised her work if she got out. She had wanted to ask him what skills she would need to do the job well. Pleased at her dedication, he described the job and its duties. One of them would be running a forklift. She had thanked him and hung up.
Warden Southerland fumed. "Absolutely not! I will not have a felon like her in a high risk area. She could easily try to escape," he told the head guard, who was passing along Debra Michael's request to learn how to operate a forklift.
"Sir, I really
"I don't care what you think!" the warden screamed. "I won't let that bitch have one iota of privileges over another inmate and that's final. Now go back to your duties Officer Stevens," the warden commanded.
"Yes sir," the guard said stiffly. He was among the growing numbers of prison officers who had warmed to the prisoner, amazed at her changes since obviously falling for one of their own. She was co-operative, polite, and if treated fairly, a model inmate. Even the members of her own gang had slowly changed, their aggressive behavior toned down. The fights had lessened and more inmates were joining the classes offered, inspired by the young woman's determination to do well outside prison.
He admired her grit. Oh, a few wondered if it was all an act, but the shy blushes couldn't be faked by a truly hardened criminal just pretending. No, he really believed love softened her heart.
Stevens and Gomez entered the yard and tracked down Duster.
"Psst, Duster, the Warden isn't here today. Do you still want to give the forklift a try?" Stevens asked with a huge grin.
"Really? You bet!" She followed them through the maze of corridors until they reached the dock. They entered a bypass code that allowed her past the security doors without setting off the alarms. A man on the waiting machinery smiled and waved her up. She sat next to him, excited, looking over the controls. Her lesson began and the guards left them alone.
Two hours later, she was escorted back to the common area, full of excitement at her adventure. She had thanked the men over and over, knowing they had risked their careers if discovered. They nodded and left, pleased at their little defiance of the Warden. None were happy with his administration. They hoped a new Warden would be assigned at the end of his contract.
Squeaker approached her, curious where their leader had disappeared to. "Where have ya been?" the redhead asked.
"Answering questions," she lied. "The Warden is hot on trying to find the still. Actually, we spent most of the time drinking coffee and watching the stereovision," she said, winking with a grin. Squeaker raised her eyebrows and smiled. She figured the guards were friends of Officer Yunez's and probably used the excuse to loaf.
"Lucky bitch, you could have had a few more of us dragged in for questioning too ya know," the tiny woman whined.
Duster laughed and promised to try next time. Checking her watch, she excused herself, reminding Squeaker that she had a GED class in ten minutes. The little redhead waved and joined a few others in a game of ping pong.
After her class, her head spinning with new information, Duster grabbed a fresh set of clothing and headed for the showers. It was still early in the day with women wandering in and out. Most knew to avoid the showers during the evenings, it was too risky.
Tossing her clothes onto a chair, she quickly jumped under the lukewarm spray. The prison didn't provide water heaters but the hot desert warmed the pipes somewhat, giving some warmth to the water inside of them. It was amazing what you took for granted until it was gone.
She closed her eyes and began rinsing her hair. *Pain*
A hard object struck her in the kidneys, stealing away her ability to even scream. She could hear voices whisper harshly as she was beaten. Time lost all meaning as the agony seared her body.
Duster woke hazily in the infirmary. She was in pain but felt the telltale effects of drugs in her system, making thinking nearly impossible. A comforting hand brushed her hair, then she faded out again.
When she woke again, the little toad of a doctor was checking her vitals.
"Ah, you're awake. How do you feel?" he asked.
Duster hurt everywhere and she realized she couldn't see from her right eye. Painfully lifting her hand, she felt the swollen skin keeping it closed.
"Like crap," she answered.
"I wouldn't doubt it. You took quite a beating. You have several cracked ribs, a mild concussion, a broken arm, and are bruised all over. Whoever did this really did a number on you. Did you see who did it?"
"A shame. Well, you've been out cold for nearly three days. Feel like eating?"
Duster pondered the question then thought she could eat something.
The doctor returned with a bowl of instant oatmeal and began feeding her carefully, certain she would have trouble even chewing for a while. His patient managed to take in half of it and drifted back to sleep.
A warm hand caressing the back of her own woke her later. Her eyes fluttered open to find Sandra sitting there.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," Sandra whispered an apology.
"S'kay, always nice to see a pretty face first thing in the morning," she grinned.
Sandra smiled weakly and brushed her fingers along her brow, her eyes miserable.
"The Doctor said you don't know who did this. I hope you're not trying to follow some prison rule about not squealing on another inmate or something like that."
"No, never saw them coming. I just know it was women."
Sandra nodded, believing her. "Why do you think they did it?"
Duster sighed, not wanting to tell her.
"Please?" the guard asked.
"Because of you and me." The prisoner sighed. "Shit is supposed to stay on the bottom where it belongs, not try and move up to the top." She explained.
"So they see us as a threat to that rule?"
Duster nodded slightly.
"Maybe we should just-"
"No!" Duster croaked out, refusing to even have her voice it. "Don't take this away from me, please!" Duster begged, her eyes tearing. "I need you," she whispered.
Sandra caved in, unable to deny her. She nodded and lifted her cool hand to her lips. She would find a way to keep Debra safe somehow.