Early evening creeped in and the group in the pod were becoming restless. Only a few vampires could be seen walking the halls across the commons as the sun glared through the window and began to set.
Then Bohdan spoke up to Steve, “How come you didn’t get gassed?”
Steve turned and looked to Bohdan, “The maintenance department is on the same vent system as the tram lines. That’s so we can fix them when they break down.”
“Didn’t your boss die in the gas? Isn’t his office in the maintenance department?”
“No, his office was in the administration section, down the hall from Kathy.”
“Kathy survived,” Bohdan said.
“I kept her office off the vent. I wanted her alive. Long story.”
“Seemed odd that you survived when all the rest of the staff died.”
“I wasn’t going to connect the boiler to the vent system if I knew I was going to die in the process.”
Then the lights in the pod blinked on and off. And again, only this time it went dark for a full second.
“What’s going on?” Ted asked.
Steve replied, “I don’t know,” and looked to the control panel. He looked back at the display screen and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary either. Then Steve heard a clank of metal on metal, and another.
“What was that?” Ted asked.
Steve saw a display light up. “They unlocked the doors.”
“They managed to unlock the pod doors,” Steve said. “They must have broken into maintenance.”
“Kent stood up and walked over to the display. “Shit, what are we going to do now?”
Steve got off his chair and walked over to the nearest door. He bent down and looked at the panel. He pulled a pair of pliers from his belt and tugged at the door cover and managed to peel it back far enough that he could see the inside. He shoved his finger inside and pushed on a metal bar tugging it back and forth.
“What are you doing?” Kent asked.
“I’m trying to lock the door manually,” Steve replied. “I can’t get the bolt to slide over.”
“Let me try,” Kent said.
Steve backed away and let Kent get access to the door.
“Which way do I slide it?” Kent asked.
“To the left,” Steve replied.
Kent shoved his large finger in the opening of the panel and pushed the metal bar as far as he could. “There’s something blocking it. It wants to slide, but it won’t.”
“It could be the difference in temperature, it gets pretty cold in here. Try shoving the door and pushing the bar at the same time.”
Kent put his weight into the door and tried to shove the bar. Then he pulled the door and felt it give a little.
Cindy spoke up,” Look at the television, there’s someone coming,” she said pointing up at the monitor.
Steve looked up and saw two vampires traversing the halls on their way to the pod. “Hurry up,” Steve said as he jumped to the other door. He again pulled his pliers and pulled back on the door lining. He shoved his fingers inside the door and this time was able to slide the manual lock all the way. “I got this one, how are you doing?”
Frustrated, Kent tugged and pulled to no avail. “How long till they get here?”
Cindy could see the two vampires enter the commons through the window of the pod. One was Isaac and the other was Rancid. “Hurry, they’re here.”
Kent punched the door repeatedly, shoving and pulling until the metal bar found the receiving hole and slid inside just before the two vampires arrived at the pod. Kent sat back and got his breath, panting with a racing heart.
Steve sat back in his chair and looked out at the two vampires who were now standing at the pod. Rancid stepped over and tried to pull on the door latch, he expected the door to open and was surprised when it didn’t. He stepped around to the other door and it was also locked. Steve clicked on the page button and spoke into the microphone. “Sorry guys, we locked the doors.”
Rancid walked back over to where Isaac was standing. He was holding a set of keys, the same keys that Charles had when he came back into the prison. He held them up for Steve to see.
“Where did you get those?” Steve asked.
“Found them on a dead vampire,” Rancid said with a grin. “I was able to unlock the door to the maintenance department and fuck with the locks in your pod. I don’t know why the door won’t open, what did you do?”
“The pods have manual override, in case something like that ever happened.”
“Smart, very smart,” Rancid replied. “But that won’t save you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I cut off your air.”
Steve looked up at the ceiling vent and back at Rancid. He knew the vents could be controlled back at his old workstation.
“See for yourself,” Rancid said.
Steve stood up and put a hand by the vent, it wasn’t blowing any air. Steve sat back down and looked at Rancid.
“You have about a day’s worth of air in there, after that, you all suffocate.”
Steve knew Rancid was right.
“Now Isaac here told me he made a bargain with you, and you declined. I think you might reconsider now.”
“I’m not sending out a woman so your butt buddy can kill her.”
Then Bohdan spoke up, “Send one out.”
“What?” Cindy asked. “What are you talking about?”
“Send out a woman, if it will save the rest of us.”
“You have no dog in this fight,” Cindy replied. “They won’t kill you.”
“You’re wrong, I’m despised in this prison. Many of the vampires feel I’ve been given special privileges and would have no problem setting me on fire if they had the chance. I’ve been threatened more times than you know.”
“That’s fine and all, but you can’t die from suffocation, you still have no right to kill one of us,” Cindy said.
“If they can turn off the air, they can find a way to get to us. We need to buy time, until the National Guard can save us. Sacrificing a few women can buy us that time,” Bohdan said.
“What kind of misogynistic prick are you?” Cindy asked. “I’m not some animal you can send to the slaughter to save your own hide.”
“You’re a woman, basically worthless,” Bohdan said.
“Fuck you asshole!” Cindy yelled.
Paula stood up and pointed a finger at Bohdan. “Keep your mouth shut!” Paula said. “I don’t know what I ever saw in you or why I ever came here in the first place.”
Kathy chimed in, “You do realize why Bohdan is an inmate here don’t you? He used to kill women for sport. He’s known as Bohdan, the Vampire Ripper. Don’t expect that zebra to change his stripes.”
Bohdan shook his head in disgust. “There are nine of us in this metal trap, if we give up two females, in let’s say twenty four hours, that could buy us enough time to be rescued. I think that’s a valid trade.”
“What if he’d take you instead?” Cindy asked. “You said yourself they hate you.” Cindy waked over to the control panel and pressed the page button, “Would you take Bohdan in trade?”
Rancid stood silent as he thought. He spoke quietly to Isaac and then turned back to the pod. “Maybe, but after you send out a woman first.”
“Bohdan first, then you let us go,” Cindy said.
“I can’t feed on Bohdan, I would love to tear him apart, but I need to eat. You send out a woman, and then Bohdan, and we have a deal.”
“Why does it have to be a woman?” Cindy asked.
“Women taste better,” Rancid replied licking his lips.
Bohdan spoke up, “I think we should send you,” he said looking at Cindy. “Or maybe we should put it to a vote.”
“A vote?” Cindy asked. “Are you crazy?”
Kent spoke up, “No, I think he has an idea.”
“What the fuck?” Cindy asked. “You’re not seriously going to vote to toss me out to them are you?”
“If we can save eight of us, I think we should consider it,” Kent said.
“Sure, you’re a man, you don’t have to die!” Cindy yelled.
Paula snapped back, “I’m not voting to send anyone out to die! There are five females in here and four males, I don’t think any of the women are going to vote to send another out.”
Then Kathy spoke up. “No, I think it’s a valid idea, we should put it to a vote.”
“Holy shit!” Paula yelled.
“If we don’t send out one, we all die,” Kathy said.
“What if you’re the one that loses?” Paula asked.
“I won’t lose, I know this prison and I’m too valuable. It will be one of you that goes.”
Kent said, “What do the rest of you think?”
Ted said, “I’m not voting, nobody’s sending my wife out to die.”
Paula looked to her husband and nodded. “You guys can vote if you want, but nobody’s going to be able to shove anyone else out the door. It’s a stupid idea.”
Then Kent stood up and walked over to Paula. Kent was a full foot taller than her and much stronger. “When it comes time, I’ll make sure the loser goes.”
Ted stepped over and tried to intimidate Kent, but Ted was less than five foot five and not in very good shape. A twenty year smoker, he didn’t have the stamina to take on a man half his age and a foot taller. Kent shoved Ted back against the wall and grabbed Paula by the neck. “Don’t fuck with me bitch, we will vote and one of you will be removed.”
Steve said, “Hey hey now, let’s not get all medieval here. Maybe there’s a way to get some air in here. Don’t let these guys get to you.”
“Ok mechanic, make the wind blow and I won’t toss one of these ladies out,” Kent said.
Steve knew there was no way to get the air back on from the pod. He’d need to be back at his workstation in maintenance in order to do that. He lied to buy some time and now needed to make it look like he was trying.
Then they heard Isaac speak up, “I want the tall skinny one.”
“Which one is that?” Rancid asked.
Isaac pointed to Cara, “The one in the nurse’s uniform. I’d like to fuck her before I kill her. And then maybe fuck her again,” he said with a smile.
Cara heard Isaac and backed up closer to Bohdan. “You won’t let them take me will you?” Cara asked Bohdan.
“I have no issue with it,” Bohdan replied.
“What? I saved you?”
“Saved me? I’m locked up in a smaller room than I was in before,” Bohdan replied.
“But you don’t have tourists gawking at you any longer.”
“No, but this isn’t any better.”
“But I tried, I had no idea this would end up like this. How was I to know?” Cara asked.
“You failed to plan accordingly, and now you are responsible for the deaths of the tourists and the prison staff. Not that it matters to me, but now my future is uncertain. Many times I wished for death, but now that I have tasted freedom, if that’s what you call it, I wish to continue to be free.”
“Do you think the state will set you free? When the National Guard shows up, the first thing they will do will be to put you back in a cell,” Cara said.
“Yes, but it won’t be here, I’m sure of that. The days of putting the vampires on display are coming to a close. I see a day where I have more freedom than I have now. I will never see the outside of the prison, but I won’t be locked up like a gorilla in a zoo for the public to see. There will no longer be shirts with my image printed on the back for sale in a gift shop.