The prison camera is poor quality, grainy and without color. The building itself is at least a hundred years old, and its technology isn't much newer.
It's good enough to pick up the features of the woman being marched down the hall by a guard, though.
She's wearing a baggy prison jumpsuit that drags on the floor beneath her thin-soled sneakers, and she's holding a small pile of threadbare sheets. A flat thing that's barely padded enough to qualify as a pillow is stacked on top, and that is all she will possess for the next six months.
Her crime? Pointing a gun into a crowd on the street outside her apartment. Even the drones were insufficient to de-escalate that situation, and when the armed Tier 1 Watchers show up, it's a guarantee that somebody's going to prison.
The inmates on this cell block are watching the new arrival with interest. It's not that she's interesting, but there's not much excitement in the women's wing of the Philadelphia Correctional Facility. Intake day is always a source of entertainment. They leer at her and the surveillance camera picks up a few cat calls along the way.
"Hey, baby," one of them can be heard saying off-camera. "There's room in my cell for that sugar."
"Shut up!" snaps the guard.
He's walking on the woman's right, his hand around her plump forearm. She'll lose plenty of that weight during her stay here - the cooks take great pleasure in making the food as awful as possible.
As the woman and her escort walk closer to the ceiling-mounted camera that's capturing all this, she keeps her jaw set and her eyes straight ahead. Her dark hair is greasy and unkempt, but she doesn't look like the type to wind up here.
She doesn't look like the kind of person who would snap and start waving a gun around, but then again, they never do.
She and the guard walk beneath the surveillance camera and there's a momentary pause as it continues to film an empty corridor. An inmate puts her hand out from between the bars of her cell, flicking off the guard behind his back. Then the view switches to another ceiling-mounted camera further down the hall.
The guard squeezes his new charge's arm, his fingers digging into her flesh, then brings her to a halt.
"Here it is - home sweet home," he says, then barks to another guard down the hall, "Open cell 145!"
A buzzer sounds and the woman flinches as the cell door slides open.
The guard releases her arm only to shove her head-long into the empty cell. The camera pivots, following the action as she careens into the edge of a steel bed frame and drops her pile of sheets on the floor.
The room is very small and the bed takes up the majority of the space. The cell is about six feet square, with a sink-toilet combo in the corner.
There are no windows and no natural light at all. Her only view for the next six months will be the woman in the cell across from her and - of course - the surveillance camera mounted right outside her cell.
The guard smirks.
That was a clever bit of strategizing, making sure she ended up in a cell directly beneath one of the half-dozen cameras dotting the hall.
When the woman regains her balance, he steps into the cell and slugs her. His meaty fist connects with her jaw and she stumbles backward.
She hits the concrete block wall with a sickly thud, the wind knocked out of her, and then slides down to the ground.
The guard takes another step toward her and she puts up her arms in defense, but someone hollers from the guard station at the end of the hall. "Evans! Everything okay in there?"
Evans' back is to the camera but his clenched fist shows just how irritated he is by this interruption. He shouts over his shoulder, "Yeah, just helping her make the bed!"
He turns back to the woman still cowering on the floor. He rolls his shoulders and makes a stomach-churning hawwwwk sound.
When he steps to the side, the camera catches the glimmer of a massive loogie sliding down her nose. She's doing her best not to react, not to give him the satisfaction of her disgust.
"Traitor," he growls. "I hope you get what you deserve in here."
Then he marches out of the cell and gives the order to close the door. It slides shut and the camera captures a sly grin spreading across his face. He pulls a billy club from his utility belt and rattles it against the bars, then shouts at the top of his lungs, "Lookie what we got here - this one's a Watcher!"
That'll get 'em riled up, and just in time for their mandatory exercise period in the yard. A lot of mumbling and discussion can be heard from the other inmates.
There's a Watcher in their midst.
Evans walks back to the guard station with his shoulders back and his head held high. He knows what that means. He knew it the moment he found out they were going to be housing the infamous Elvis Splat - and he's prepared to make a pretty penny showing the world what it's like for her in here.
People are hungry for stuff like this and he's in a unique position to feed them.
He hopes everyone will like the personal welcome he gave Elvis. When he saw her laying on the floor, looking so pathetic, he just couldn't resist.
YOU ARE READING
As individuals, we survive. Together, we fight. After narrowly escaping America's most deadly game show, Sasha and Daniel are on the run from the Watchers. When Daniel is captured and thrust back into The Elimination Game, Sasha is ready to volunte...