DISCLAIMER: Quite simple: I do not own them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The timeline for this story is mid season 3.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Angels In Chains Again
By Tashe Dangerous Eyes
Thomas Sheridan studied the wall in front of him. Half of it was covered in photographs of beautiful women, headshots depicting forced smiles and false promises. At some point they would be there in person, but not to give freely what strangers had paid for, but to slave under the merciless thumb of oppression. The wall was where all started and ended for them; the auction wall. It didn't take long for him to find the woman he was going to go for and he made a note of her name and number for the auction. Her number was 05213 and her name was Jessica.
"Mr. Sheridan, I'm glad you could make it. Do you like what you see?" Carl Gallagher greeted the older man, satisfied that he had fallen in his trap.
"I do, I do. I guess you were right about the exclusivity of this club, and the need for its secrecy. With enterprises like this one, one can never be too careful."
"You've been told how things work and since you're still here, can I assume then that you are going to participate in the auction?" Sheridan looked at Gallagher, hesitating only for a moment, but at the end he dismissed his doubts.
"I think I will. There's a lady here that definitely has my attention." He said with a hushed voice in unnecessary conspiracy.
"I bet she does, and I promise you'll be very satisfied. Please, come with me to the main room. The auction will start in a few minutes." Gallagher led the other man away, savoring his victory.
Prison guard Cain opened the door to the Warden's office to allow Sabrina to enter with the cleaning cart. "The Warden will return soon, so do your work quickly." Sabrina grabbed a cloth and a can of spray and started to clean the desk without saying a word. Cain took a minute to stare at her back, paying particular attention to the shape of her hips and ass that was so perfectly accentuated by the blue jeans. I have to admit that Becker does have good taste. "Hey Meyer," Sabrina responded by turning around. " this door stays open. I'll be around and if I see it closed for just a second you and I will have a problem." Cain left without waiting for a reaction since she didn't need the other woman's agreement. Sabrina shook her head wondering why everything had to be so complicated.
Being a detective sometimes called for the ability to multitask, and that was exactly what Sabrina was doing; combining the odious cleaning with her power of observation. It was precisely that power what had allowed her to discover something interesting. The bookcase in the Warden's office was covered in a semi thick layer of dust which Sabrina went to clean, but she stopped herself when she saw a clean spot in front of one of the books. The shape of the spot was clearly made by the constant use of said book and Sabrina was intrigued with its importance.
The sound of footsteps coming from the hallway sent the tall Angel back to her cleaning, but the sound just came and went uneventfully. Sabrina reacted quickly and threw the book to the floor. She kneeled, pretending to clean the bookcase's lower shelves and with the desk obstructing the view from the door she perused the book's content. The first thing she saw was that the book wasn't a book at all; its hard cover was concealing a journal. The second was that the information therein would finally bring their investigation to a close.
Sabrina read names, dates, money transactions; who did what, where and when. Her mind was trying to register the information even though she was reading it too fast. Suddenly she sent the book flying under the narrow space between the bookcase's bottom and the floor when she felt Cain's silent steps approaching her. She coolly continued her cleaning of the bottom shelf pretending not to notice that the guard was there. "Meyer, what are you doing?"
"The same thing I was doing when you left; cleaning." Sabrina gave the snide reply without stopping what she was doing.
"Oh, a smart ass. I can see now why else Becker took a liking to you." Sabrina glared at the woman when she saw that Cain was openly roaming her body with her eyes. Is this entire prison high on aphrodisiacs? Cain ignored the gesture and continued talking. "Are you about done?"
"Almost. Ten more minutes." The guard checked her watch as if she was going to time her and then left.
Sabrina fished the 'book' out of its temporary hiding place and opened it again. She flipped through the pages and found an entry written in red. In it, she found the explanation for the disappearance of the two inmates in the form of two words written next to each of their names; Permanently Sold. Her search became frantic and she read the last pages of the journal, looking to see if there was something there she could be in time to prevent. She guided herself using the dates and found they were going to be auctioning prisoners that very afternoon. It was at that moment she understood the meaning of the headshots she had seen. She read the names on the list and was shocked when she found the name Jessica Lewis.
The clock on the wall marked the lateness of her discovery; the auction was already taking place. Sabrina panicked, not knowing where Kris was or even if she was safe. She stood up and replaced the book to its place, she needed to get out of there and find Dan Tanna to give him the new information and to send Charlie a message; it was time to get them out.
"Good, you finished." Cain came out of the blue intercepting Sabrina and blocking her way.
"Yeah, I did." After stating the obvious Sabrina tried to leave again.
"Not so fast, birdie. There was an accident in the laundry room. One of the machines' hose broke and they need every available mop to clean the mess. So we're going over there now." Cain made way for Sabrina and the cart not giving her the option to protest.
Sabrina felt like hitting someone. Not only was she unable to do what she wanted and needed to do, she couldn't even take a detour on her way to the laundry room thanks to her personal escort. Then a thought occurred to her, Kris was supposed to work in the laundry room and maybe she would be there. That hope calmed her anger and she quickened her step, wanting to get there to see Kris, in total contrast to her unwillingness from just seconds before.
"Twelve thousand going once going twice sold to number 38. Good choice, sir. We'll see you tonight. Joseph? " The auction moderator prompted a young man to escort the latest auction winner to the exit. Another young man walked up to the improvised stage and retrieved the photograph of the woman that was just auctioned and replaced it with a new one.
Thomas Sheridan sat in an aisle chair observing the action carefully. The new photo was of the woman he was interested in and he readied the little sign with his identifying number. The men in the room were quite competitive and he didn't want to be beat.
"Our next lady is also new to the auction. She is young and as you can see very beautiful. She is a natural blonde, gentlemen, a classy beauty and I'm told somewhat sophisticated. Be the first one to enjoy the company of this heavenly creature. The bid starts at five thousand dollars." The initial bid was set higher than usual. The people behind the scenes were seeking to take advantage of Kris' fresh looks. An offer was immediately made and then another and another before Sheridan had the chance to even raise his sign, but finally he did making his the next offer.
"And we have eight thousand from number 65. Nine thousand, thank you Do I hear ten ten thousand eleven thousand."
"I offer twenty thousand." The auctioneer lost his voice momentarily at the surprising bid. No one ever paid more than fifteen thousand dollars for any inmate and he recognized that he had a unique circumstance on his hands. Sheridan turned to see the man that had uttered the generous offer as did the rest of the men in the room, and saw that he almost doubled his age. He wondered what the man thought he could do at such age with the woman he was hoping to win or any other woman, really.
"Twenty thousand, thank you, sir." The auction moderator finally said. Some of the bidders lost interest after such a high offer reducing the number of contenders, but there were at least four more still very much in the race. The offers kept coming, raising the total to thirty two thousand dollars, making two more men give up on the auction.
Sheridan and the very old man were the only two left and neither seemed to want to lose to the other. "Do I hear an offer for thirty six thousand And we have thirty six thousand Come on, gentlemen, she is worth every penny." The offers halted completely and the moderator went for the closing. "All right, thirty six thousand going once going twice "
"Fifty thousand dollars." This time it was Sheridan making the offer and he turned to look at his competition. The old man was visibly angry but he also appeared to be done with the bidding, unwilling to pay such outrageous fortune.
"Fifty thousand Does anyone offer fifty one thousand?" A low murmur ran through the room and the moderator took that as his response. "Fifty thousand going once going twice sold to number 65. Thank you very much, sir. We'll be seeing you tonight. Joseph?" Once again the young man came to escort the winning bidder out of the mansion. Before he left the main room Sheridan looked back and saw as the picture of the beautiful blonde was retrieved from the stage.
Sabrina's back was screaming at her to stop and she wanted nothing more than to obey, but she couldn't. The laundry room was still quite flooded and Cain was there, shouting the occasional encouragement by threatening them and mocking their 'pathetic' efforts. Regardless of her discomfort she was relieved to have found Kris in the middle of the watery chaos, but they were yet to talk to each other. Sabrina knew that if they wanted to have a chance to talk they were going to have to make their own break.
Her eyes searched the room for Kris and she found her not too far from her. At that very moment Kris looked at her and Sabrina gestured with her head toward the dirty laundry cart and then to the farthest corner of the room. Kris followed her gaze trying to understand what she was trying to tell her. Sabrina repeated the gesture and then moved to mop the corner she was indicating. The younger Angel finally understood and moved to follow her partner's lead.
Kris went to the cart with the dirty laundry which was mostly full of towels and pushed it toward the corner Sabrina was at. She took a bunch of the towels and threw them on the floor to absorb the water, squatting to place them properly. "Do you mind helping me?"
Sabrina looked at her with disgust, playing her 'dangerous woman' role, but proceeded to help Kris. She too took some of the towels from the cart and crouched next to the blonde detective. The strategically placed cart gave them some privacy, but they both knew their window of opportunity wasn't going to last long. "Kris, the women who disappeared whose photos I found, they were permanently sold in some kind of auction." Sabrina talked as low as she could to not alert anyone that they were talking at all.
"Bree, they took my picture this morning."
"I figured as much. You were included in today's auction." Kris barely had time to muffle her gasp with her hand. "Since you're here I'm assuming the photos are used for the auction, but who knows when they will come for you." Sabrina stood up under the pretense of needing more towels and saw that they still had a few more seconds to talk. She crouched again and talked fast. "Dan Tanna is here posing as a guard, he is our contact. Do you remember him?"
"Most definitely, but I haven't seen him."
"By the looks of it I'll be here a while. You have to find him and tell him to call Charlie and that we are ready to leave here. I have found all the evidence we need." Kris was astounded by the news but didn't have a chance to say anything as other inmates, taking their cue, were also using the dirty laundry to suck up the water. Kris and Sabrina shared a look and Sabrina nodded to her. Kris stood up and pulled the now empty cart to the big table with the clean sheets and towels and filled it, then, she headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" Cain stopped her before she could leave.
"To redistribute these, there's no sense in letting them get dirty, especially with one less washing machine." Cain considered her words for a moment before stepping aside. Kris continued on her way, only accepting the small victory after crossing the threshold.
Sabrina witnessed the tense moment and inwardly applauded her colleague's clever response. It was now just a matter of time before the three of them were freed from the hellish place and she couldn't wait to go back to her home and to her life. But most importantly, she couldn't wait to be with Kelly.
Kelly placed the last of the food trays in their place after an arduous afternoon of doing dishes. Janet and she were finally the only ones left in the kitchen and she saw the opportunity to find out what she knew about the room Kris was taken to and the pictures that Miranda took. Kelly observed Janet for a moment before approaching her. The other woman was lost in thought while playing with the cap of a lighter; its constant clicking didn't seem to bother her, like she was very far away. "I didn't know you smoked."
"I don't." Kelly looked at the lighter pointedly and noticed that it was made of metal and that it had an eagle on one side. Janet followed Kelly's gaze and felt compelled to explain. "This seemingly ordinary and insignificant thing it's all I have left of her. Sandy was the smoker, not me. She was trying to quit but she didn't posses the will, so I took her lighter away. She had the cigarettes and I had the flame. The idea was to keep them apart so she could last longer. How ironic, don't you think?" Janet pensiveness turned even more acute. "I had it on me when she was murdered, and then these damn monsters erased every trace of her ever being here. So, like I said, this little thing is it; this lighter and my memories." Kelly didn't know how to act in the face of such misfortune but suspected Janet wouldn't welcome a physical demonstration of her sympathies. The only thing she could offer was distraction.
"Janet, this morning Miranda took my cousin to a room where she had to change into a fancy blouse and fix her hair and makeup She took her picture. Do you know what's that about?" Janet gave Kelly a sad look and she instantly knew she wasn't going to like the answer.
"I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but your cousin has just been chosen to go to the mansion." Janet came to stand near Kelly to keep their conversation between them, making her recall Janet's belief in the ability of the walls to see and hear.
"Every other month several inmates are taken to that room. Then, that same day, sometimes the day after, the guards come for them again and they are taken to the mansion. Once they've been to that room the trips to the mansion happen every couple of weeks or so. After the women come back they're confined to their cells for two days. They eat alone, bathe alone By the time they are let out if they had something to say they no longer feel the need to express it. Not that there's any need for words, you can tell just by looking at them that they hate their lives a little more and love themselves a lot less." Kelly's heart was constricting inside her chest as her fear for Kris grew.
"Janet, what happens in that place? Do you know?" Kelly could see that Janet was debating whether or not to answer her question.
"After you get there the guard shoves you into a room that has a very good lock and bars on the windows. They tell you to bathe and to change your clothes. Then, a man comes into the room and by how he looks you know he is rich and powerful a combination that allows him to own you. He does what he pleases with you, and no matter how much you hate it, no matter how much you want to fight against it, you can't, because if you do you're dead."
Kelly recognized that Janet's words were not a mere tale, but a personal testimony. This time she deposited a comforting hand on the other woman's forearm trying to express her support. "Janet, have you been to the mansion?" Janet conveyed her answer with her eyes and Kelly saw an indication of weakness in her self forged armor for the first time. Not even when she talked about Sandy had she seen Janet about to break. Kelly supposed it was because her pain was still wrapped in hate and ire.
"I'm surprised they didn't take you. Don't get me wrong, believe me, I don't want you to go there, but why choose your cousin and not you?" Her confusion didn't last long because she knew the harsh reality; it was just a matter of time. "I hate to say it but, your time will come."
"Thank you for the reassurance." Even though Kelly knew she wasn't going to be in prison long enough for that to happen she still felt a little frightened by the possibility.
"Sorry, Elizabeth, but we are in 'Hell on Earth', and once in here you are the devil's puppet." Janet said as if the word 'option' didn't exist.
"Elizabeth!" Kelly saw Kris beckoning her with urgency and she rushed to her, excusing herself with a simple glance.
"Kris, Janet just told me why Miranda took your picture and-" Before Kelly could say another word Kris interrupted her.
"I know too, Bree just told me and she says she's found enough evidence to close this case today. Kelly, Charlie sent Dan Tanna to help us. He is supposed to be a guard. Sabrina wants me to find him and tell him to tell Charlie to get us out of here, but I can't find him."
"All right, I'll help you look for him, although there are many places we are not permitted to go." Kris agreed with Kelly's assessment of their situation. "Where is Bree now?"
"Mopping her heart out, or should I say her back out." Her comment was not intended as a joke, in fact, she felt for her friend. Kelly didn't quite understand her but Kris didn't have time for the long version. "Let's split up and find Dan. The sooner we do that the sooner we get out of here." The two Angels went their separate ways with only one thing on their minds; freedom.
The ringing of a phone spread through out the tastefully decorated office thanks to the small speaker box resting on top of the desk. A man's voice finally answered and the rich tones of the caller's voice reverberated with each word he said. "Mr. Benson, Charles Townsend calling. I think it is time we get the Mayor involve in this case, because we are positively going to need his help. Allow me to explain "
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