Steve heard his phone ring and answered it, it was his supervisor Alex Penner calling him into his office. It was eight in the morning and he had just clocked in, now he had to see what his boss wanted. When he opened Alex’s office door, he was met by Alex and the warden Kathy Coyle. Steve instantly panicked.
“Have a seat Steve,” Alex said.
Steve took a seat across the desk from Alex and began to sweat.
“I called you in this morning because we’ve decided to make a change in maintenance. And this change will affect you.”
“What’s going on Alex?” Steve asked.
“Kathy and I have decided that we want to put in someone else into the position you have. You currently supervise three staff and we have noticed that you have been doing more on hands work than supervision. We need someone who can manage a team, not be a member of it.”
“What are you saying?” Steve asked. “Are you firing me?”
“No, we are demoting you. You will work along with the crew you used to supervise. I have a new man starting in three weeks. I’ll need you to train him.”
Steve sat looking at Alex not believing what he was hearing. He had always been short staffed and had to pitch in to get the jobs finished. He didn’t want to screw in lightbulbs and paint, but there wasn’t anyone else to do the work. “I only did that work because I had no one to do it,” Steve said. “Turnover here is horrible.”
“We know, but you were hired as a supervisor, not as crew. It was your job to manage the workload and make sure the work got done,” Alex said.
“If I hadn’t of pitched in, you would have chewed me out for that. I was screwed either way. Now that you’re replacing me, you have another crew to get the work done. Why didn’t you just hire more crew?”
The warden spoke up. “It wasn’t just the work you were doing. There were complaints.”
Now Steve really began to panic. He didn’t want to know what is crew was saying about him.
“Do you want to know what the complaints were?” Kathy asked.
“Not really,” Steve replied.
Kathy picked up a sheet of paper and began to read from the list. “The first on the list was your attitude. You’re staff said you bullied them, didn’t listen to them and created a hostile work environment. They said you were often absent from the department and hard to locate. You spent a large amount of time on the computer, and failed to update their time sheets in a timely manner. I looked into some of these complaints and I found that for the most part they were true.”
Steve didn’t have anything to reply.
“You’re also taking a pay cut, down to nine dollars an hour,” Kathy said. “Starting immediately. For the next three weeks, payroll will be done in my office, and your access to the computer will be strictly monitored. Any Facebook or other social media found will result in your termination. Do you understand?”
Steve nodded his head in agreement.
“Alright, in the interim, you will report to Alex in the morning and after lunch to go over your work. He will be responsible for what your duties were. You will still carry the supervisor keys until your replacement comes, but for the most part, you are crew now. Do you have any questions?”
Steve shook his head no. He had nothing to say.
“In that case, I want you to come back here in an hour so Alex can go over your duties for the day. I will inform your crew so they know who to report to. You can go,” Kathy said.
Steve stood up and sulked out of Alex’s office. He was in shock, pissed and a bit dizzy. As he walked back to his former office, thoughts raced through his mind. Thoughts of killing Kathy and Alex, stringing them up for the whole prison to see. He was beyond livid. Then another thought crossed his mind and he reached for his phone. He dialed Cara’s number and she answered, “Hello?”
“I’m on board,” Steve replied.
“With your plan, I want to help you.”
Cara could hear panic in Steve’s voice. “What’s going on?” Cara asked.
“That cunt warden demoted me, cut my pay,” Steve replied.
“Oh shit, sorry to hear that.”
“She’ll be sorry when she’s dead,” Steve said. “How soon can we go with your plan?”
“I’m ready now,” Cara replied.
“What about you? How will you survive the gas?”
“I have an oxygen concentrator in the E R, I can use that until the gas dissipates.”
“How long will it last?” Steve asked.
“It can run for weeks, I just need to know when you gas the prison, and when you clean out the air.”
“It will take hours to fill the whole prison, and a few hours to clear it after I take the exhaust pipe out of the central air. How long will it take to kill the staff?”
“No more than ten minutes. Carbon monoxide works fast. Do you have everything you need to connect the two systems?”
“Oh fuck yeah, I could have the boiler exhaust connected in an hour. I have plenty of stove pipe and fittings. When do you want me to do it?”
Cara knew she needed to strike while Steve was pissed. If she waited, he might change his mind. “Do it now, call me as soon as you have the gas flowing. You have video monitors down there don’t you?”
“Yes, so we can monitor the systems from here.”
“You can see when the staff start to drop?”
“Yes,” Steve replied.
“Good, as soon as you see the staff hitting the floor, wait twenty minutes and disconnect the pipes.”
“I have a carbon monoxide monitor, I can tell you when the levels are safe.”
“Is that a mobile unit? Or is it attached to some warning system?” Cara asked.
“It’s hooked in with the fire system,” Steve replied.
“Can you disconnect it so it won’t alert the fire department?”
“Yes,” Steve replied.
“And will you still be able to tell when it’s safe for me to leave the medical unit?”
“Yes, I can call you,” Steve replied.
“Good, get started,” Cara said and ended the call. “And don’t forget to cut the power to the trams as soon as you see the staff drop.”
Cara waited an hour, then another thirty minutes before her phone rang. It was Steve telling her the connections were made and the gas was now being piped into the prison through the central air unit. She stepped away from her desk and entered the E R finding an unused oxygen concentrator setting against the wall. She found the correct tubing and locked the door. She then turned on the concentrator and breathed the oxygen rich air coming from the unit. As long as there was power to the medical unit, she’d be safe from the gas that was now starting to kill every non vampire in the building.
Bohdan sat on the edge of his hard cold stainless steel bed and watched the next tram stop. Another twelve paying customers sat in their chairs taking pictures with their phones as Bohdan watched. He sometimes flipped them off, he often ignored them. But today he watched them like they watched him. He felt something different in the air, like something was going to happen, but he didn’t know what.
Then he saw the lights on the tram blink, then go off. Immediately the emergency lights came on and the passengers began to panic. Bohdan stood up and walked over to the huge Plexiglas wall and looked at the passengers moving about trying to figure out what was going on. The tram didn’t move, and the emergency lights were not nearly as bright as the regular lights. As he moved closer to the clear wall, he could make out the sounds of an emergency siren emanating from the tram tunnel. No wonder they were panicked, he thought.
As he watched, a smile came over his face. He enjoyed watching the people scurry like rats trying to figure out what was going on. Then Bohdan noticed a slight smell of exhaust in the air. Like burnt oil or gas. He stepped over to his air vent and took a whiff of the cold air pouring down upon him. He definitely smelled gas and knew something was wrong. Was the prison on fire? He thought. If it was, the sprinklers would have kicked on.
Then he saw one of the patrons trying to kick down the Plexiglas wall to escape from the tram. Once the tram car was locked into position at the side of a cell, there was only a small escape hatch to get out. And there were too many panicked people to get to the door, so some of the guests were trying the only other option. Kick down the wall itself.
Bohdan began to feel dizzy, like he was drunk. Whatever was coming out of the vent was affecting him and he had no way to escape his cell. Gas can’t kill a vampire but it can knock them out. The last thing Bohdan saw before passing out was a woman beating her fists against the Plexiglas, screaming, but making no sound. Then all went black and Bohdan was unconscious.
Steve waited until the carbon monoxide detectors lowered to a safe level and called Cara. It had been over two hours and he couldn’t see any staff moving any longer. They were all lying on the ground dead. Including his boss Alex. Cara left the medical unit and walked to Bohdan’s cell where Steve agreed to meet her after he locked down all the exit doors leading to the outside of the prison and unlocked the inmate cells. The exits were usually locked down anyway, but the outside guards had access to open them at will. At least they did, now Steve had full control of them and nobody was getting in or out without him knowing.
“Can we stop at the warden’s office before we see your boyfriend?” Steve asked Cara.
“Why?” Cara asked.
“I want to cut that bitch into pieces.”
“She’s dead, why bother?”
“She’s not dead, I cut off the vent to her office so I could finish her off myself.”
“Do you know she’s still alive?” Cara asked.
“Yes, I put an app on my phone that lets me monitor the cameras. She has one in her office for security, she’s moving around in there.”
“What the fuck? She’s probably called the police!” Cara snapped. “I told you to cut the carbon monoxide monitors so the fire department wouldn’t catch on right away. Now everyone will know!”
“Didn’t save any time. Once I locked the gates, the guards were onto us,” Steve replied.
“Fine, go kill the bitch, I don’t care. But before you go, tell me how to unlock the safety doors to the tram tunnel.”
“It takes a code,” Steve said.
“Tell it to me.”
“I’d rather not, I’ll unlock the doors when I get back.”
“I don’t want them all unlocked, just one. I need to control where they go. Is there a door that opens near the commons?” Cara asked.
“Yes,” Steve replied.
“Can we isolate them there?”
“Yes, I can lock the gates.”
“How many tram cars were running when you cut the power?”
“Three,” Steve replied. “With twelve passengers on each.”
“That’s thirty six people, not bad, the commons can hold that many.”
“Yeah, until the vampires wake up. Then what? A blood bath?”
“No, that’s why I need to get to Bohdan, to make sure they don’t. These people need to keep the vampires alive for months, maybe years.”
“I don’t think you thought this out well. They will try to starve you out. All they have to do is stop feeding the hostages.”
“Who does that? People won’t stand for it. We will get plenty of supplies and the vampires will have plenty to drink. All we have to do is keep our hostages alive. As long as people see the hostages on CNN and FOX news, we won’t have a problem. It would be murder to starve out our food supply.
“That makes sense, but they will try you know, they won’t give up until the hostages are set free, and you are either captured or killed.”