Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Snippets with Ginger Simpson #sundaysnips

This week, I'm sharing a little of my best-seller, First Degree Innocence.  This story was inspired by working as a Correctional Officer for a year, and I really took personal issue when a reviewer remarked that the story didn't seem real.  I lived among inmates for 12 hour days, so I know what I wrote is real and believable.

  The following scene is Carrie's experience when she's shown to her own personal cell for the first time.  Oh, and by the way...everyone in jail will tell you that they are innocent.  *lol*  In this case, Carrie really is, the problem:  no one believes her.


Cover by Michelle Lee at BWL
“Welcome to Hell.” A voice came from behind her.
Carrie’s heart jumped into her throat. She jerked around to see a prone form on the bottom bunk and struggled to find her voice. “I… I thought I was alone.”
“No such luck. They prefer to keep the cells full. Sharing space makes serving meals and head counts a lot easier for the coven of witches who work here. My name’s Susanna Crane.” A tall blonde with bright brown eyes and full lips stood and offered her hand, then chuckled. “Oh, sorry, I see you have your arms full. The good news is, it’s nice to have company, and the bad news is you get the top bunk. The bottom one is the only perk around here, and it’s first-come-first-served.” Her pleasant giggle was a welcome sound.
Carrie stood on tiptoes and dumped her issued items on the bare mattress. Marks of age crinkled the cold plastic. In a few ripped places, the cotton filling poked through—like her, it sought escape from a hellish confinement. A quiet chuckle bubbled to her lips until she tried picturing what type of people had slept on the bedding before her. She cringed.
At home, her downy mattress was practically new, still bearing the tags that threatened penalties if they were removed. How ironic. You couldn’t be more law-abiding than that.
She turned back to her cellmate. “Don’t we even get pillows?”
Susanna shook her head. “Not anymore. I hear they used to issue them, but some idiot tried flushing one and backed up the whole sewer system, so now…”
“I don’t think I can sleep without one.”
“You’ll learn.”
“So… we all get punished for what one person did?” Carrie hoped she misunderstood.
“That’s the way it works. It’s an incentive program.”
“Incentive for what?”
“I haven’t figured that out yet. I think they expect us to police one another, yet fighting isn’t tolerated. That seems pretty stupid, considering the best way to stop someone from doing something that’s gonna screw us all, is to beat the livin’ shit out of ’em. Go figure.” Susanna’s lips practically disappeared into a thin line.
Carrie was taken aback by Susanna’s language. At first sight, with her shoulder-length hair and big eyes, she looked like the all-American girl. The one you’d find in church or at the Red Cross. Carrie figured her for twenty-five at the most. She glanced around the cell, pondering Susanna’s last statement.
“I’m not sure I understand. How can they expect us to prevent things from happening if we’re all separately caged… like animals?”
“Oh, we get recreation time… a whopping two hours a day. You’ll love it. You get to socialize with the cream of the crop.” Susanna’s voice held a teasing tone, as she sat back on her bunk, pulled out a netted laundry bag and held it in the air.
“Here’s the answer to your pillow.” She plumped the contents. “Just add your clean clothes and, voila!” She ducked her head, plopping onto her back, and rested against her makeshift cushion. “If you’ll excuse me, I have to get some sleep. I work in the kitchen and have to get up at three a.m.” She pulled her scratchy woolen blanket up and rolled to face the wall, leaving Carrie with questions still begging for answers.
Susanna glanced over her shoulder. “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
Carrie massaged the headache looming above one eye. “Carrie…Carrie Lang. Good night.”
An eerie silence filled the cell. She glanced at the top bunk, knowing sleep would be elusive. The sleeping accommodations offered no appeal, and her mind raced far too fast to rest. She glanced around, taking in the harsh reality of her new home. Tears clouded her vision and frustration gnawed at her gut. This had to be a nightmare, the worst in all her twenty-four years. She prayed someone would wake her soon.

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