Chapter 1: Project Wilder
“It’s your last year and you’re all graduating soon. So I want to set you all up with a challenge” Mr Sage mentions, nearing the end of the lesson. “I’m giving you all different, difficult projects that you have 3 months to complete. I want you all to be challenged, this will be 50% of your grades, if you fail, You can’t graduate. There’s only 14 of you in this class so I assigned you all projects to do on your own, everyone’s is something different...” he smirks, I on the other hand am nervous. 50% of our grade? Fuck, although I am interested in what he chose for me.
“So, You can write about it, make a movie, a poster...however you want to present it. Be creative. I’ll give you all your topics, then you’ll come and get a piece of paper from the front here and see exactly what you have to do/what I expect. Starting off with Evan, you’ll be researching and finding out as much you can about criminal justice”
Interesting. I zoned out on most people’s although they did get more interesting as they went on. Some people got topics involving conspiracy theories, people, places etc. Then I hear my best friends name... “Rosie, your topic is relationships. The psychological part, physical. This sheet of paper will tell you what I want” Mr Sage says. That could be interesting.
“Lastly I have Atlas, I got ahold of a prison, I want you to interview inmates... I know it’s risky but you’ll be safe. And don’t you want to know what goes through a criminals mind?” He questions. I was beyond shocked at my topic. I nod going up to get my sheet of paper. On it, there’s news websites written down, sources. And sessions times for me to go to the prison, 4 days a week, for three months, Monday’s, Wednesday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s. Mon, Wed and Fri from 2:30-3:30pm. Sat, 11:00am-12:00pm. Holy shit.
“Atlas, I know it’s going to be difficult and scary but you’re a really good writer and you’ll go far. If done right this will boost your career, also your first day at the prison is today. Now, like I said you can present this anyway you’d like, just make sure it has plenty of information. Class dismissed” he finished and I sigh. Fuck me right? You know what, maybe this will be fun. Plus the criminals are probably old and there’s no way they can hurt me. Just ask them questions for an hour, the longer you do it the less scary it’ll be. Maybe hearing their stories and getting a look inside their minds will be interesting. I could get a good story out of this. What’s the worse that could happen?
“Hey, your topics kinda scary” Rosie catches up to me as we walk to our next option classes, soon going to have to split up. “yeah, I wasn’t prepared for it. But nothing will happen right?” I ask.
“Of course not...I heard the criminals you’ll be interviewing are hot” she winked and I chuckle. “I’m pretty sure I won’t fall for their bad boy charms” I joke.
“Looks can kill” she states before going into her class.
“They better watch out then” I wink and walk away.
I was escorted by a guard through the prison, it was cold dark and terrifying. Is this legal? When I got here there was a lot of information required and I had to get a pat down, they said it won’t take that long again, it’s just because it was my first time coming here and they needed to take precautions. Which I get. I’m glad I was wearing jeans and a shirt today, I was about to wear a skirt and it’s freezing. After walking through a long hall there were 2 giant metal double doors and the guard stopped to look at me.
“Miss, you’re a pretty woman. We’re about to go past cells of men who haven’t seen a woman since they got here. We’ll walk fast, these inmates aren’t any you’ll be interviewing but we have to walk through here to get to the more secure cells where the ones you’ll be interviewing are held. Do you understand?” He asked, I was nervous but I’ve got to grow up. I’m 22 now, I’m not a baby. “Yes I understand”
“Good, I personally apologise for the profanities you’re going to hear” he sighed and opened the doors. Great. You know what, it might be a confidence booster. I laugh to myself and the doors open fully. It was quiet at first but whispers and chatters were heard. When we started walking that’s when the cat calls, whistles and names started. There were 2 stories of cells, I didn’t pay much attention to them, the guard looked at me and gave me a small smile. He was nice. I nod back and kept my head up high, blocking out the words. Finally we made it to the end where another set of big doors were.
“You ready?” He asks and I nod. The doors open and it was darker. The catcalls were silenced after the doors shut. Lights turned on and there were guards at every cell. There was 10 in total. They were a metre apart and the doors looked soundproof, no glass except for this small thing you can slide back to put in a tray of food or talk to them if needed. Other than that you couldn’t see in or out. At the end of the hall there was a door, I’m assuming an interrogation room.
“Currently, there’s 9 men being held in these cells. The least dangerous ones are towards our end, the most dangerous....towards the other, near the interviewing room, where you’ll go” he said starting to walk and I follow. “Okay” I say cautiously looking around.
“They can’t hear us currently. No guard will be in the room with you, I’ll be outside the door, there’s a button under the desk. When you press it, it’ll give all the guards in this area, including me a buzz to say you need us, or you want to leave etc. only press it when needed. The men will be in chains and you will sit on the other side of the table, opposite them. I promise you are safe. There’s no cameras unless you want to bring your own to interview them with, other than that..it’s you and the inmate. I see you have a book and a pen to write stuff down with, you can write whatever you want. Just no guards names or details on the proper layout of this place” he says as we near the door. “Yep” I respond, there’s a lot to take in.
“Okay, Good. I’m going to let you in the room, then we’re going to bring in the inmate you’ll talk to for an hour. I think you’ve seen there’s 4 sessions a week..” he says while opening the door and we step in.
“Before we continue, who am I interviewing? Will it be the same person?” I ask as I make my way over to the other side of the table.
“I was getting to that. You’ll be interviewing the same 4 men. On the same days, the same guy every Monday, the same guy every Wednesday etc. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of them, the Wilder brothers” he finishes. “Don’t worry you’re safe” he says before leaving.
The Wilder brothers? The most ‘dangerous’ people in America currently. Great. Their faces were never shown on the news, only their names, the government completely wiped anything to do with them off social media. Braxton, Maximus, Jaxson and Daxton, they’re quadruplets. They’re probably old and have been in here for a while, right? I know barley anything about them. I wonder which brother I’m interviewing today? He said not to worry, so don’t worry. I open my book and wrote today’s date.
13th of March
The halls were cold and dark. The doors big and metal with only one slot that is just big enough to fit a tray of food and can be slid open and closed. The atmosphere isn’t scary, but off. Like I’m being watched, yet they can’t see me. There’s about 10 cells, 9 prisoners. I’m sat in a room with a table 1 metre in width and 2 in length. No windows, and a light that shines directly on us. The Wilder brothers are who I’m interviewing. I’ll find out which one I’m questioning today, fear is something I have a connection with right now....I’m just praying that nothing will happen.
I finish writing a quick paragraph and soon the door opens. I see two guards forcing in a muscular, tall physique in chains. The inmates head facing down and he’s in dark blue pants that were dusty and a white tank top showing off tattooed arms and muscles for days. They pull out the chair and force him to sit on it. His chains hit the metal with a rattling sound. His face still looking down, showing a head of dirty blonde hair that hasn’t been upkept. “Have fun” the guard whispers and they both leave. I let out a shaky breath. The inmate suddenly lifts his head and I nearly gasp. That’s the most attractive man I’ve ever seen. Rosie was right.
He had a cut jaw line, strong features, icy blue eyes that were cold and almost looked dead. His skin was naturally tan, like caramel, maybe Hispanic? And he had a lip ring, Can you have that in jail? Looking at how bad it’s done, I think he did it while he was here. Ow. After looking at me, he smirks.
“What’s a gorgeous girl like you doing here?” He asks, accent thick. Italian?
“I’m here to interview you, for an assignment. That’s it.” I reply surprising myself at the confidence. While on the inside I was trembling in fear. His smirk still plastered on his face he asks,
“So dove, what would you like to know?” He places his tattoo covered hands on the table.
“Which brother are you?” I start off simple.
“I’m Braxton, the youngest. Don’t forget it” he winks, I right down his name and that he’s the youngest.
“How old are you?” I ask while looking at my paper waiting for a reply. “25” is what I get and I write that down, trying to hide the shock at how young he is even though he’s 3 years older than me.
“Where are you from? You have an accent”
“Italy” I was right, then I go to ask the next question.
“Listen little Dove, I highly doubt you came here to ask me little pathetic questions like that. So, ask me what you really want to ask, ask me what I’m doing here, ask me who I killed” he grinned. I gulp again, looking him dead in the eyes.
“What are you doing here? What did you do?” I asked.
“There’s a lot I did, Dove. But nothing I’ve been accused of” he admitted and I jot that down. He continues “I deserve to be in here, like everyone. You know what’s funny to me?” He asks and I look at him intently.
“People have conned themselves into thinking peace is what they want in the world. That hate isn’t what they need. But in reality, if people didn’t want hate, they wouldn’t be so hateful. We’ve tricked ourselves into believing that peace is the solution to our problems, but wouldn’t it be so boring, I mean, who doesn’t like a little drama in their life?” He commented as I take bullet notes.
“Stand up little Dove” he spoke and I look up confused. “No, and what’s with the nickname?” I ask.
“You’re pure and innocent, like a little dove. Stand up” he repeats.
“No” I state firmly and continue writing. He chuckles.
“Maybe you’re not as sweet as I thought. You’ve got guts. Stand up, I won’t ask again” he commands, I roll my eyes, “No, I won’t say it again” I mock him.
He grins. “You’d look good in a dress. Next time you see me, wear a dress” I look at him confused.
“What the fuck? I’m not hear for your pleasure! Plus it’s cold here, why would I wear a dress?” I snap.
“Oh, my little Dove has some bite. Wear a jacket with the dress” he replied. I clench my jaw.
“What is wrong with you? You’re a criminal, you don’t have a say in shit. Especially my life”
“Who said I was a criminal?” He asks, I’m shocked.
“No one needed to tell me you were a criminal. It’s quite obvious don’t you think? Our hours nearly up, I’ll see you next week” I smile and get up, just before I open the door he says.
“Don’t forget the dress” I roll my eyes and open the door, hearing a laugh as it closes. The guard looks at me “done?”
“Definitely” I state already walking and he runs to catch up. “So, how’d it go?” The guard asks.
“I got enough information for now, it’s weird. He doesn’t look like a criminal, besides the tattoos and intimidation but that’s a stereotype” I respond.
“Well, anyone’s capable of murder. Even you” he responds. I nod.
“That’s true, my friend might be right. Maybe looks can actually kill”