More times than Bohdan could remember, he was escorted from his cell to the commons for lunch. He got in line, picked his food and took his usual seat keeping an eye on the inmates surrounding him. There was tension in the air. He had just come off an incident in the yard where Thor the skinhead lost his head picking a fight with him. The inmate population just went from forty seven to forty six and the rest of the skinheads weren’t too happy about it.
It was rare there was a confrontation in the commons area, but it was one of the few places where the inmates weren’t segregated and vulnerable. The guards stood at various positions around the room, unarmed so the inmates couldn’t arm themselves in a takeover. Then Bohdan saw something out of the corner of his eye. One of the skinheads was walking over to his table trying his best not to bring any attention to himself. Bohdan expected a shank in the ribs, but instead the skinhead sat down opposite him and waited to be addressed.
“What do you want?” Bohdan asked.
“I came to make peace,” the skinhead said. He went by the nickname Rancid.
“I just want to be left alone,” Bohdan replied.
“There are a lot of inmates here who want to see you taken down. A lot.”
“I didn’t realize Thor was so popular,” Bohdan said.
“He wasn’t, he was universally despised. I’m talking about the other vampires, the one’s you never hear about.”
“I’ve had a target on my back since the day they put me in here, why should I worry now?”
“Talk is if they take you out, they will get rid of the tram system, get rid of the tourists. We could actually have a chance at getting out of here.”
“If that were the case, they’d house me separately and sell tickets. It’s not just me, there is no larger collection of vampire killers anywhere in the world.”
“I know that, and you know that. But there is plenty of talk out there to the contrary. You need protection.”
“And you’re offering me protection?” Bohdan asked with a grin.
“Yes, the skinheads are willing to watch your back.”
“Why? What do you get out of it?”
“We get Bohdan the Vampire Ripper as our new leader,” Rancid said.
“Oh, that’s what I figured,” Bohdan said.
“It’s no joke, I know of at least two plots to take you out.”
“Just two? I’m offended. There’s no way anyone is taking me out. I’d have to be beheaded to be killed. There isn’t a time when there isn’t a guard within twenty feet of me, snipers in the yard. And I’m no pussy,” Bohdan said.
“These guys are experts with a blade. Some of these guys could remove your head in less than twenty seconds,” Rancid said.
Bohdan loosened his collar and pulled back showing healed cut marks on his neck. There were several of different sizes and shapes. “I used to wear a steel neck brace collar. Chafed like a son of a bitch.”
“You better get refitted, you’ll need another one,” Rancid said.
“I’ll take my chances. After being locked up for the last hundred and thirty years, I’m ready to check out anyway,” Bohdan said. “Do you know what it’s like to do the same routine day after day without a chance of being set free? I don’t have a life, never had. I long for the days when I roamed the countryside free.”
“If you want to die, I can arrange that too,” Rancid said.
“I’ll die when I choose,” Bohdan replied.
Rancid looked over Bohdan’s shoulder and back in Bohdan’s eye. “There’s someone coming over right now,” Rancid said.
“Who is it?” Bohdan asked. He looked down at his plate and moved around the mush lying there.
“I don’t know, looks like a fucking zombie.”
“Zombie? I’ve seen those guys around before. I think they have their own cult. What’s he doing? Is he pulling out a knife?” Bohdan asked. Almost joking.
Then Bohdan heard footsteps and saw a dark figure take the bench seat next to him to his left. Bohdan looked over and saw a sickly, thin, jaunt man sitting next to him reeking of death and sweat. The figure of a man spoke up in a Jamaican accent, “Listen to me Bohdan the Vampire Ripper. This man has come to deceive you, don’t trust what he says.”
Bohdan looked at the sickly looking man. This is what Bohdan thought a zombie would look like in real life. “Why is everyone so concerned for my life all of a sudden?” Bohdan asked.
“You have great power here, everyone knows of the great Bohdan. Everyone wants you to be on their side,” the zombie vampire replied.
“What’s your name?” Bohdan asked.
“My name is Rodell.”
“Well Rodell, I’m not responsible for you or your clan. I have no power and I don’t plan to join anyone’s group.”
“You may have no choice,” Rodell said.
“And how do you figure?”
“My people will cast a spell upon you. You won’t be able to resist.”
“Voodoo hocus pocus? Do what you want, toss some chicken bones or whatever the fuck you do? I think you guys smoke too much pot if you ask me,” Bohdan said.
Rancid chimed in. “Fucking potheads, get lost!”
“If you haven’t noticed,” Bohdan said. “I’m trying to eat in peace. Please leave before I call the guards.”
Neither Rancid nor Rodell backed off.
“Tonight we do our magic, and tomorrow you will be ours,” Rodell said.
“If you were able to do this magic, why didn’t you do it before now?” Bohdan asked.
“What makes you think we haven’t?”
“For one thing, I still am my own man. I haven’t joined any clans yet.”
“Do you think what happened in the yard was an accident?”
“When they shot Rancid’s butt buddy and blew his head off? Yeah, that wasn’t planned,” Bohdan said.
“You are wrong, very wrong,” Rodell said.
“Fuck off gypsy, and get the hell away from me.”
Rodell stood up and limped away. His smell lingered behind.
“I can’t eat now,” Bohdan said. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“I can take him out for you if you want,” Rancid said.
“I’m sure you can, but don’t do it for me. I can take care of myself.”
Before Rancid could answer, Bohdan felt a blade pull against his neck tight and a hand pull his forehead back pinning him against a warm body behind him. Rancid didn’t see it coming and was as shocked as Bohdan.
“Don’t move,” a voice called out from behind Bohdan. “Try to get away and I’ll take your head off.”
Rancid stood up and looked at the person holding a knife to Bohdan’s neck. It was a woman, holding a knife made from what looked like a sharpened angle iron. Something made in her cell, stolen from the workshop.
Bohdan didn’t move or say a word, he kept an eye on Rancid to see where he was looking.
“What are you doing bitch?” Rancid asked. “If you’re going to take his head off, do it!”
The woman hesitated, then pulled the knife across Bohdan’s neck cutting his skin. The knife was dull and unable to cut deep enough without sawing back and forth. She slid the knife back in the other direction when Bohdan realized if he acted quickly, he could save himself. He made the comment that he wished his life was over, but when it came right down to it, in a panic, he wanted to save himself.
Bohdan grabbed the woman’s hand and stopped her from sawing back and forth. He then leaned forward and forced her to lunge forward allowing someone, anyone to get behind her and pull her off. He knew if he waited long enough, the guards would come over and pull her off of him. He was right, in a blink of an eye, two guards were tugging at the woman trying to yank her off of Bohdan’s back. It was then that Bohdan let go and let the guards took her.
Bohdan’s hands were stained with the blood that had dripped from the superficial wounds left by the woman with the homemade knife. Pissed, Bohdan stood up and turned around to see who had attacked him He didn’t recognize the woman, there weren’t a lot of them housed at the prison, and they mostly stayed to themselves away from the general population. “Who is she?” Bohdan asked as he wiped the blood on his suit pants.
Nobody answered, nobody knew her name. She didn’t stand out, wasn’t branded, tattooed, or have any other marks. Just shoulder length brown hair and looked white, or maybe a light Hispanic. As they took her away, Bohdan asked her, “Why?”
In the distance, she yelled out, “You have to die!” and then she was gone.
“See what I said?” Rancid asked. “You are a target. People are getting pissed about this whole Vampire Zoo thing and want to go back to when they weren’t on display.”
“That’s not my fault,” Bohdan said.
“Doesn’t matter, as long as you’re alive, you will be a target.”
“These fuckers need an education. Even if I were gone, they wouldn’t get rid of the trams. It’s the wave of the future. It’s all about the money.”
“You need to go to the infirmary,” Rancid said.
“Yeah, I know,” Bohdan replied feeling his neck. The guards escorted Bohdan out of the commons and down to the infirmary, where he was met again in the E R Nurse Cara was on duty.
The sound of the buzzer filled the air and Bohdan and two guards entered the E R Cara was surprised to see Bohdan again, and shocked to see the blood drenching the top of his jumpsuit.
“On the exam table,” Cara said, directing the guards. “Doctor, we have a patient,” Cara called out to the other room.
Dr. Christian entered the E R, and took notice of Bohdan’s wound. “What happened?” the doctor asked.
“Some bitch attacked me,” Bohdan replied.
“With what? This looks like she used a rake.”
“Fuck, I don’t know.”
“She tore you up pretty bad. It’s not deep, but it’s wide, and shredded in areas,” Dr. Christian said.
“Who did this?” Cara asked. She wanted to kill whoever did this to her obsession.
“I don’t know, didn’t recognize her.”
“Since it’s the neck, I want x rays, and a CT scan of the neck and head,” Dr. Christian said.
Cara walked to the phone and called radiology. No other prison had its own radiology department, but no other prison had as many expensive assets either. These weren’t prisoners to the company, they were income.
Then a squawked voice came over one of the guards radios. It sounded like someone said the female was in custody, and needed to be seen in the E R Then the voice said she was not breathing, or dead. It was hard to make out.
“What’s going on?” the doctor asked.
“Sounds like we have another dead inmate,” the guard replied.
“What the fucks going on around here?” the doctor asked.
“It’s a zoo,” Cara replied. “You have to expect some of the animals will die.”
“I’ve heard of this place being referred to as a zoo. I tried not to think of it in that way, but I guess you’re right. I’ve never worked in a prison like this before.”
“What about me doctor?” Bohdan asked.
“Radiology will be here in a minute to take you for your scan, I think the bleeding has stopped for now. After the scans, Cara will clean up your wounds. If you need stitches, I’ll put them in. Then we’ll put on some dressings. How’s your wrists coming along?” the doctor asked.
Bohdan raised his wrists so the doctor could see.
“They look fine to me. You healed up well. I will need to prescribe some antibiotics for the new wound. What did I prescribe the last time?”
“Azithromycin,” Cara replied.