The truth, Starks realized back in his cell, was that he’d given little thought to Bo during his time in isolation, a true case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Seeing Bo brought something home to him: if the gang leader didn’t get him, one of his gang members would.
He’d caught Bo by surprise in that attack, and he knew that wouldn’t be allowed to happen again. The inmate and his followers would be on alert from now on.
He could feel retaliation following him, waiting for him like something in the shadows. He was in prison for a long time. They all were. All Bo or anyone needed was an opportunity—or an arrangement with the right guards.
Sure, he’d demonstrated that he, too, was capable of violence but he’d never initiated it. He’d always been provoked.
Maybe he needed to make a concession in this case: Kill Bo before the man killed him. But that solution was fraught with dead-ends. Literally. One or more gang members would surely go after him, if he succeeded. The idea of taking Bo out was nothing but wishful thinking, with no basis in reality.
Maybe there were other gangs at Sands that would include him as a member, protect him? Of course not, he chided himself. No one opposed Bo. Not if they wanted to live. And especially not if they wanted the contraband he could provide that no one else could.
Maybe if he attacked a guard, they might extend his time in solitary. But that didn’t guarantee safety either, including or especially with the guards who’d probably avenge their own, one way or another.
And he was fairly certain the chance that another inmate would kill Bo, for whatever reason, was zero. Even if someone else did the job, that wouldn’t mean Bo’s gang would let him get away with what he’d done to their leader. Eventually, he’d have to be made an example of.
Every idea that came to Starks’s mind was followed by a reason it wouldn’t work. The only idea he couldn’t argue with was that he should use some of his isolation time to build his strength. Letting himself get weak in any capacity wasn’t a wise way to go. They couldn’t keep him in isolation forever.
And, he decided, he should do something to strengthen his faltering nerve, as well. But that seemed harder to wrap his thoughts around.
He almost felt foolish for being so edgy. The rest of the week, after all, had been routine: Meal trays of crappy food were slid into and retrieved through the slot; all the guards but Ted Landers insulted him; lights dimmed at night and brightened in the morning; one hour a day to exercise and shower.
It was during that one hour that he went on full alert. He felt somewhat safer when Ted was on duty, but knew not to trust that completely. Not that he believed Ted would betray him but that the out of shape CO could be overpowered, injured, or killed by another inmate.
That thought not only made fear return but intensified it.
He needed more people on his side.
Frederick Starks has it all—a gorgeous wife who was his high school sweetheart, three beautiful children, a mansion and cars others envy, millions in the bank, respected in his community, admired by his employees, loved and respected by loyal friends. He revels in the hard-earned power and control he’s acquired. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” which Starks discovers when gut-wrenching betrayal by his wife sends him over the edge and into a maximum security prison. There, Starks is a new “fish,” stripped of nearly everything he’s always relied on. In that place, where inmates and guards have their own rules and codes of conduct, Starks is forced to face the darker side of life, and his own darker side, especially when the betrayals, both inside and outside the prison, don’t stop. He must choose which path to follow when the line between right and wrong becomes blurred: one that leads to getting out of the physical and emotional hellhole he finds himself in or one that keeps him alive.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Nesly Clerge received his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, and later pursued a doctoral degree in the field of chiropractic medicine. Although his background is primarily science-based, he has finally embraced his lifelong passion for writing. Clerge’s debut novel, When the Serpent Bites, will be available in 2015, with the sequel to follow in 2016.
His debut novel explores choices, consequences, and the complexities of human emotions, especially when we are placed in a less-than-desirable setting. When he is not writing, Clerge manages several multidisciplinary clinics. He enjoys reading, chess, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his significant other and his sons.
Official site: www.clergebooks.com
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