Welcome to my new story!
Joe tensed as the van passed through the gates slowly, gulping when he saw the others all stood behind a chain-link fence watching. Some looked sympathetic, but most just looked amused and that was what scared Joe the most. He had no idea what to expect and nobody could truly tell him what it would be like- he’d never felt so alone in his entire lifetime. The building was old-looking and intimidating, which only enhanced the fear that was gripping every fiber of his being and he couldn’t help but let out a small whimper as he heard the gates close behind them. The sky was grey, matching the walls of the building and the chain-linked fence that was topped with barbed wire, shreds of what looked like plastic bags or even clothing snagged in the barbs. Joe knew he couldn’t cry- he had to stay strong, no matter how petrified he was.
Everybody in the van was jerked forward as the vehicle stopped, the chains tightening and forcing the men’s hands to suddenly fly forwards until they were stopped by the seat in front of them. The door at the front of the van opened the same way the doors on a bus did, and it made Joe’s heart drop to know that he won’t be able to get on a bus again for a while- he was officially trapped. His eyes went to the uniformed man who stepped into the van, his gaze completely emotionless as he scanned every face in the van. His clothes were perfectly ironed, his shoes newly polished but speckled with dirt from the path outside- not one thing, not even a hair, was out of place.
“Welcome to Litchfield, inmates. I want you all off this bus and to stay in a straight line. If anybody says a single word, I will ensure you that money will take at least a week longer to process before you can buy something. Do I make myself clear?” His voice was louder than it needed to be, and it reminded Joe of his old leader in the army. Joe joined in the nodding of the other men and the uniformed officer let a small smirk appear in the corner of his lips and he unlocked the chains on either side of the two rows of seats. The chains then fell through the loops in their handcuffs, but everybody’s wrists were still bound together individually, they just weren’t attached to each other anymore. “Oh, and it is pointless running… you will get nowhere and you don’t want to be starting your stay in Solitary Confinement.” The officer warned, before stepping off the bus and he motioned for the first person to step off the bus, the rest of his row following behind and Joe watched the varying levels of fear on their faces as they left. Some men looked just as scared as he felt, one man was even crying as he recited a prayer in a whisper, his hands shaking and his face sweaty. Two men looked bored, and Joe knew in that moment that it wasn’t their first time in prison. Joe stood up when it was his row’s turn to exit the van, having to hunch slightly because the ceiling was too low and he made sure he didn’t stumble. His eyes were on his dull metal handcuffs- a contrast to the suit he was wearing.
They were made to walk one behind the other in a straight line towards the building, chain-linked fences and barbed wire on either side of the path and guards in towers and on the ground at regular intervals down the relatively short line- there were around a dozen men being led into Litchfield Prison. They were all led into a bright, clinical-looking room and Joe was handed clothes, having to give his shoe size and a pair of what looked like nurses shoes were put on top of the folded grey clothes before they moved onto the next new inmate. Joe was then made to stand behind a curtain and step out of his clothes until he was fully naked in front of a male guard, being searched for contraband everywhere on his body before he was allowed to change into his new clothes. The sweater was a little too big, but the rest of the clothes seemed to fit perfectly fine.
“When will I be allowed visitors?” Joe asked the guard, his voice hoarse.
“Did you hand in the form along with a check for some money you can spend whilst you’re here?” The guard asked, his voice sounding bored but still professional and Joe quickly nodded his head.
“M-My Dad is mailing the check, but I handed in the form. I filled it in at the courthouse.” He said and the guard sighed.
“Then you’ll be allowed visitors when the people on your requested visitors list have had a background check and have been cleared.” The guard said, before calling for the next man and Joe was made to wait for everybody to be done, standing with his back against the wall with the others who had already been checked- everybody was wearing matching clothes, and Joe felt an overwhelming urge to join the man who was in hysterical sobs, but he held his tears back.
He couldn’t remember ever being so terrified- he was completely out of control, not knowing what to expect and that was what scared him the most.