: Heavily implied assault and pretty blatant torture. Please don't read the chapter if it offends you. I've warned you.
*hides in a bomb shelter*
Chapter Six: Redemption
Ai had a tally etched into her stone cell wall, counting the days since her conviction at Project Morning. She had been a resident at this penitentiary for approximately four months now and thankfully things have finally settled down since the juvenile incident; that was no longer a topic of conversation amongst the inmates.
Properly assimilating into jail house life was another seemingly daunting task that had finally been overcome with the grace of time. The cafeteria food hadn't gotten any better, and no one honestly expected it would. But the companionship she had received from her contraband girls, the bombers, and the hackers had helped her survive a little longer than she had initially planned. As curious a character as Reina was, Ai had given up on the chance of striking any conversation with the lone wolf. Her prison occupation situation had not improved in the slightest. It was still a boring, medial job that did little to pass the time, but she had no right to complain.
As she was folding some freshly cleaned sheets, Aika had called out for her. "Yo, new girl, ya mind heading to the storage room and grabbing me some detergent? We're out over here."
Ai nodded and made her way to the storage room through the maze of stacked boxes and empty corridors that lined the basement floor of the vicinity, following the trail of dim lights that led the way through the only functional rooms of the underground path. Once she had reached the door towards the far end of the basement hallway, she entered in search of the detergent that was stored in this musky closet space. She cursed her short height as she struggled to reach for the storage box on one of the highest shelves in the room. Even after pushing her entire weight on one hand and nearly dislocating her other shoulder to attain the highest height, the box was still far from her grasp.
But then she heard the door close from behind her, and found an arm reaching around her to effortlessly grab the prized detergent from the shelf. Ai was about to turn around to thank whomever had assisted her, but the hand wielding the detergent dropped it to the floor and covered her mouth instead. Another arm came from behind and wrapped itself tightly against her waist. Her screams were muffled with the grizzly, calloused hand that covered and squeezed her mouth, and dilated pupils failed to see who was trapping her in their grasp.
She continued to struggle in the arms of the intruder, but found that whoever it was, they were in uniform. "Shhh, shhh missy, calm down."
The intruder loosened his grip against the inmate's midsection, only to return with a hand wielding a gun in its grasp. With his index locking the gun into his palm, the attacker used his remaining fingers to pry open his victim's orange jumpsuit, popping a few buttons in his haste. "Now, be a good little lady and keep it down. We don't want to get caught now, do we? Because if we do," he paused to press the cold metal gun against her throbbing jugular and loosened the belt at his waist. "...somebody's going to get hurt."
"Hey, took ya long enough, Takahashi," Aika snorted as she grabbed the detergent from noticeably pale and shaky hands. "...What's wrong? Why are you shaking like that?"
Aika gave her friend a thorough look: she took note of the woman's disheveled attire, with slight tears and portions frayed at the seams, tousled locks matted down in a half-hearted attempt to look presentable, and a frightened expression on a colorless face. A prominent stain on the lower half of her orange uniform was the last bit of information needed to come to the appropriate conclusion. The hacker reached out and held the broken woman in her arms, letting her shed tears freely onto her uniform.
Koharu emerged with a fresh batch of sheets to be cleaned, shooting Aika a questioning look regarding her position at the moment. The other hacker mouthed a single word and Koharu felt the blood rush away from her face. Releasing the cart from her hands, the tall hacker built up the courage to confront officer Michishige. With some caution on the guard's side, she listened to what the convict had to say, only stopping to ask if she had any idea who the perpetrator was.
Without an answer, the dark-haired officer scanned the cleaning area. Her eyes had found Ai in the arms of one of the other inmates and she immediately made her way to the woman. Kneeling beside the curled up inmate, the guard had found all the signs that Aika had seen earlier.
"Takahashi, I need you to tell me who did it."
The crying woman looked up and found the junior officer staring, waiting for a reply. "I...I don't know..."
Sayumi mentally cursed herself for not being more attentive, and lacking the experience to know who had done such an evil thing. She glanced around the room for any suspicious activity from the other male officers, but to no avail. She knew she had no choice but to report this to her senpai, though she feared the worst when it came to that woman's course of disciplinary actions. However, this situation was anything but forgivable and if anyone deserved a Niigaki-punishment, it was this man.
The junior officer left the hackers and Ai to rush toward her senpai's office. She didn't even bother knocking on the door and barged into the woman's office without any formal greetings. "Niigaki-san, there's been an incidence of sexual assault in the cleaning area in the basement level."
The head of the guards raised an eyebrow and gestured her junior to stand at ease. "And...?"
"...And neither I, nor the victim, knows who attacked her? What exactly do you want me to say?"
Risa rubbed the temples of her head with her fingers as she leaned her elbows atop her desk. "It could be only one person..."
"Should I report this to the warden?"
The head guard stood from her seat and escorted the both of them from her office. "I will report the incident after I handle the situation myself."
The atmosphere over dinner had been bleak. Aika and Koharu had managed to inform their inner circle of the incident and each of the girls were on edge, taking great care as to not say anything that would strike the wrong nerve on their latest addition. None had imagined that she of all people would have been the one to suffer this. She was so quiet, so unassuming...
It was almost deja vu.
To add salt to a freshly open wound, Reina had walked over to sit at the far end of their table as she always had, finding the silence at the other end rather incongruous from the usual. The yankii concluded the silence was offensive and asked, "Why the hell aren't you guys being obnoxious like always?"
She wasn't even acknowledged from the motley crew, and of course, this irritated her. "What the hell? Cat got your tongue? You get raped, or punished, or something?" the rebel woman asked, laughing at her own twisted sense of humor.
Oh she struck a chord, alright. Ai frozen upon hearing the word and began to panic in her seat. As the hackers and the contraband girls worked together to ease her, Airi walked over to where Reina sat, glaring at the yankii square in the eye. "Look, Reina, I don't know what you're problem is, but you need to learn to shut the fuck up when you're not wanted, because yes, as a matter of fact, Ai did get raped. So just shut up while you're still ahead."
Reina bit her lip to try and stifle a laugh but it was too late; the yankii had attracted the attention of everyone within an earshot of their table. Cruel as it was, Reina didn't sugarcoat anything for anyone, and if someone had to teach the newbie a lesson, it would be her.
"Look, new girl, you need to get over yourself. We all have to deal with it around here, and just because you're new doesn't make you damn special. Take it from someone that has to deal with it every damn day
. You can cry all you want, but no one really cares."
It was late in the evening, and though everyone else seemed to have fallen fast asleep, Ai huddled against the wall as she lay wide awake in bed. Every time she closed her eyes, all she could hear was that harsh breathing and her own muted sobs against his sweating palms; all she could feel as that disgusting, painful feeling of something being forced inside her and the cold metal of a gun that could have very well ended her life. In the showers today, she had scrubbed herself raw, nails tearing through skin in attempts to wash away the grime of the deed. Her arms, her legs, her body were decorated with swelling red welts and self-induced scratches, evidence of her desperate attempts to forget. No, she couldn't sleep because it would only force her to remember.
The sudden illumination in the hallway of their wing had caught her attention, and she quickly jumped from her bed to determine what was going on through her metal bars. As Ai looked around, she found the other inmates of her wing doing the same, but all eyes immediately fell upon the two figures at the bottom floor of their hallway. Under further scrutiny, the inmate identified that they were officer Niigaki and the man that had molested her on her first night, and just a few hours ago. She could feel a cold shiver run down her spine.
"Ito Ryousuke: patrolman, divorcee, and with his own criminal history of rape and battery. Tell me, Ryousuke-san, how do you like working in an all-female penitentiary? Have you been making friends with our inmates?" Risa's voice echoed throughout the corridor, grasping the undivided attention of all the inmates in the wing.
The convicts watched as the head of the guards slowly circled around the pathetic excuse of a patrolman, basking in quiet pleasure as they watched him sweat under the unforgiving fluorescent lights of the hallway. "I-I-I don't know what you want to hear from me N-Niigaki-san," he stuttered, loosening the buttons of his collar with a quivering finger.
Without warning, Risa unleashed her baton and held it perpendicular to the man's throat, and forced it against him, blocking his airways as she pushed her entire weight to crush the patrolman against the wall between two of the lower level cells. His gagging and choking noises resonated through the desolate halls, and the inmates continued to be enthralled by the impressive display of strength by the younger woman, for once in admiration as opposed to fear. The patrolman tried to pull the baton away from the woman's grasp, but the lack of air intake was making him considerably weaker.
Before the man could pass out from insufficient oxygen intake, Risa pulled back her baton and began to walk away. The patrolman took a moment to gasp and replenish his air supply, before taking out his own gun and preparing to take fire. As he cocked the gun and prepared to pull the trigger, the head of the guards turned at her heels and took fire, placing a bullet square in the man's groin. "Why don't I do the talking for you, then?"
The man unleashed a ghastly scream that rang throughout the wing. He dropped his gun, fell to his knees and used his hands to shield the wounded area, but the female officer would not stop and her aim was unforgivably true. The head of the guards continued to shower the man's most sensitive area with one bullet after another, shouting the names of various female inmates that resided in this particular wing.
"Shimizu! Mitsui! Kusumi! Yajima! Suzuki! Tanaka!..."
The list of victims went on and on, and a bullet struck deep inside sensitive flesh with every tick off that list. Risa paused only to reload her gun, and continued to shoot the man repeatedly, never once taking notice of the looks of grotesque approval and alarm from the inmates contained within their cells, subjected to watch the torture of this wretched man.
Officer Michishige came running through the entrance of an opposite wing, rushing towards her trigger-happy senpai. "NIIGAKI-SAN, STOP THIS NOW!!" And she had tried to rip the gun from the woman's grasp, but the struggle she offered only earned her a well-placed punch in the gut and a kick that landed her flat on the floor.
Risa walked closer to the profusely bleeding patrolman, the nether regions of his uniform stained crimson from his own blood. The senior officer paused to aim once she was within arm's reach of the man, and shot her last bullet straight into his head.
The head guard breathed heavily, tossing her empty weapon to the side as she stared at the mutilated corpse before her. It could have easily been seen as another act of cruelty, one driven by a need to restore order to the facility once more. But there was only one person in this wing that would understand that it had everything to do with revenge, and sadly, as Risa looked up to the cell containing said person, they weren't there.
Risa walked over to where she had subdued her junior, and offered the woman a genuine helping hand. "Call the other guards and tell them to clean up this mess."
As Sayu ran toward the exit, Risa picked up her gun and placed it back in its holster. She looked around for the first time that evening, eyes moving from one paled face to another. These women feared her and everything she was capable of. The head officer smirked smugly as she walked up the stairwells to the second floor.
It had been quite some time since she had faced their latest addition, but much like their first encounter, Risa had met with wide eyes and a slackened jaw dropped open in shock and horror. But honestly, what else was new? The officer reached a hand through the metal bars of the woman's jail cell, and patted her head as gently as she could, despite the adrenaline coursing through her veins. It was an uncharacteristic gesture, further highlighted by a gentle smile on her lips, but it was more than welcome by the nervous inmate.
"Takahashi-san...you, and everyone else in this wing, will never have to worry about that man bothering you ever again."
"Are you a fan of Chopin's Nocturne
, Niigaki-san? Nocturne in E flat, of course. A lovely classic."
Risa stood at ease before the warden's giant oak desk, bracing herself for her own punishment to be delivered for how she had handled the previous evening's situation with a lack of finesse and subtlety. She watched as the warden lifted the stylus onto the rotating disk, easing into his velvet throne upon hearing the soft melodies of a classical piano fill the room.
"I murdered patrolman Ito Ryousuke, sir."
Tsunku's head swayed gently with the melody, eyes closed as he basked in the gentle trills of the piano tune. "And do you expect to be punished for that, Niigaki-san?" he asked, his voice drifting dreamily along with the music.
"Yes, sir. We had already lost a number of our members due to the juvenile delinquents, and I had no right to abuse my position to murder another."
The warden leaned his elbows against the oak table, eyes still closed as he drowned in the melody. "Honestly, Niigaki-san, you do need to loosen up a bit. I will not punish you because God wouldn't punish you for your actions. What you did was for the sake of justice, and it was done out of good-will for the sake of others, was it not? As far as anyone's concerned, your 'sins' are forgiven. Perhaps your past can be forgiven as well."
And there ya have it. I had managed to take out a lot of unnecessary detail in that one particular scene, and hopefully it's a lot more tastefully done than I had initially implied it'd be. And did anyone catch that HnK shout out? LOL That was for all the people that don't like Risa's fiancé haha
And now the tides have turned, ladies and gents. Everything will slowly unravel, so keep taking notes! haha And a lot more emphasis will be placed on sayu~ you'll get to see why I love her so much finally hahah Because there's more to her than just being a personal assistant/janitor/clean up crew for Gaki