Kidnapping Anna: ADX Florence takes us to the next stage in Anna’s journey towards closure. Again, rather than talk about how great the story is here is Chapter 1. We know you will enjoy it!
SPOILER ALERT!!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!! THERE ARE THINGS HERE YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT YET!
1: House Call
Special Housing Unit (SHU)
The siren was still blaring when the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) arrived at the cream-colored hallway of the SHU, the Special Housing Unit. The isolated area, like the rest of the prison, had no windows, poorly circulated air, and flat fluorescent lighting. The residents were inmates who posed a peculiar risk to themselves, or the workers at the prison. Range 13, within the SHU, was even more isolated than that with only four cells. The siren, activated by the Corrections Officer in the Master Control area, was the one that announced a forced cell situation in Range 13, letting the four male and two female SORT volunteers know that their services were needed.
Until now, no one had been allowed anywhere near that particular cell.
The SORT team jogged the short distance. Their shoes occasionally squeaked on the plastic laminate floor; otherwise, just the dull thud of their soles echoed down the narrow corridors.
The officers had sounded off the various body parts they would be responsible for prior to arriving at the cell door. There would be no mistakes. The inmate would be subdued with a minimum of fuss, and if anyone got hurt, it would be the inmate.
If they resisted.
The SORT member closest to the door held a large canister of pepper spray. He stuck the canister hose into the slot at the bottom of the green metal door and began to fill the cell with the pungent fog that would cause the inmate’s eyes to become inflamed and teary, followed by pain, which would incapacitate them. One SORT member had a camera videotaping the event.
The padding and pepper spray were for the safety of the officers.
The video was for the lawyers.
The door slammed open in the 7×12 foot cell, the officers ran in, and jumped on the unmoving body in the orange jumpsuit. Through the fog, and their plastic protective helmets, they didn’t notice the copious amounts of blood all over the floor. No one touched the leather mask that encased the inmate’s head and part of the throat.
They carried the prisoner out of the cell and performed a by-the-book extraction: each officer held onto a body part, placed the inmate on the cold dusty floor, pulled the prisoner’s arms back, and clicked on handcuffs.
Their job was done. The blood on their suits went unnoticed.
The SORT lead pulled off his helmet and spoke into a radio.
“Prisoner X is extracted. Get medical ready.”
Federal Medical Center (FMC), Carswell
Fort Worth, Texas
Female-Only Federal Prison, All Security Levels
Special Agent Terrell Garrison sat in the office of Warden Belinda Rollins, after she kept him waiting over thirty minutes for their appointment. The room was standard prison fare even for a women-only facility. She had done her best to make the room habitable, but the institutional feel was overwhelming. The faux wood bookcases behind her held various books on criminal justice and prison management but were lined up to show off that they were here, not that she had read them. Was the smell from the books or the ancient heater?
The single window into the office let in dusty yellow sunlight. Particles floated sharply and marked the rays of light cutting into the room which revealed which table was used and which ignored. The walls were a dirty yellow.
I’m going to have my suit dry cleaned after this. The cleaning staff must avoid this room. Who paints their office the color of mustard?
When Terrell had disembarked from his flight, he’d been sure the worst was over. The weather didn’t bother him, the long flight in the middle seat didn’t bother him, and having to drive himself to Carswell didn’t bother him. How could it? Terrell thought the uphill battle was over when he managed to get the Bureau to approve the National Security Letter for his visit. After Anna Wodehouse’s trial, he had kept as close an eye as he could on her, but his patience wore thin. He knew what it was like in Federal penitentiaries even in the best of facilities. She had killed the man who might have told him more about the death of his friend, Del Kirby, but somehow nothing about her case felt right.
Warden Rollins had other plans.
She sat at her rather large desk with her meaty hands folded on her blotter and gave him a calm stare. The color of her red wool jacket seemed too bright for a woman of her advanced years.
“What do you mean I can’t see Anna Wodehouse? I have a federal letter that says otherwise.” Terrell wore his regulation gray FBI suit. He almost removed his jacket when he entered the room, but keeping it on turned out to be a better move. No point getting comfortable.
“Special Agent, I understand what you’re saying, but you obviously haven’t been listening to me.” She leaned forward.
“You cannot see Anna Wodehouse.”
“This letter says otherwise.”
“I told you on the phone. She is here under a National Security Directive. That letter doesn’t mean anything.”
“Warden, please. I called ahead. I sent my questions to you ahead of time. I will Mirandize her to make sure that she understands that anything she tells me could be used against her.” The chair felt awkward. He had heard of wardens purposely making their office uncomfortable to keep the annoying visits to a minimum, but this was business. He had done his research; he had crossed his T’s and dotted his I’s.
“I’m sorry you came such a long way. You were told many times that this was an unacceptable visit.”
If she was a grandmother, her grandchildren were going to have a rough time ahead of them.
“Not to mention outside of your jurisdiction.”
“What the hell are you guys thinking?” Hawking said. The wheels of the aluminum gurney made a loud clacking sound as the officers pushed it into the prison medical center. The unpainted concrete floor was smooth in some spots, not so smooth in others, and was a dark blotchy gray.
Doctor David Hawking, wearing a white lab coat, ran over to the gurney with its unconscious passenger and blood-soaked sheets. The SORT officers strolled in as if from a long walk.
“Doc, we got him here as fast as we could. Not our fault that your offices are in the basement.” The man was still dressed in his bloody, padded outfit, like a linebacker for the football team from a horror movie. “We didn’t tell ’em to do this.”
Jesus Christ. How am I supposed to do my job? “Get him up here.” He pointed to the examination table. His patient was leaking life. He reached for the mask. The officer grabbed him by the wrist.
“Sorry, Doc. That you can’t do.” Four of the SORT team grabbed a corner of the sheet under Prisoner X, counted off, and moved the body onto the table.
“I need all of you out of here. And what the hell are you talking about? This is my patient.” He pointed to one of the female officers. “You stay.”
“Doc,” the bloody man said, “you haven’t been here long enough. The mask stays on.”
“Everyone except her needs to get out.” Hawking called out to a woman dressed in blue scrubs. “Nurse! Get me the charts,” Hawking said.
“I’m sorry, Doc. You can’t do that either,” the officer said.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“This isn’t the first time this guy’s been examined. Warden’s rules.”
“This is the first time I’m seeing this inmate. This is my patient.”
“You can save this guy, but you can’t know anything about him.”
“A little late for that,” the doctor said.
“It’s never too late.”
The doctor turned, slipped, and looked down at the bloodstained floor. “But we’re getting close.”
“I’m outside my jurisdiction when the U.S. government stops being my boss,” Terrell said.
A woman stuck her head into the room around the door.
“Something’s going on in medical. You’re being called.”
“What’s going on in medical?” Terrell asked. He could care less. His neck tensed as his frustration began to gain speed.
“Nothing you need to concern yourself with.” The Warden stood and walked toward the door. “I have a facility filled with concerns.”
Terrell stood as well. “Please. Warden.” His anger rose with his helplessness. “I just need to know that Anna’s okay.” He wasn’t sure if he should tell Rollins what he knew. “She saved my life.”
Warden Rollins shook her head. “She took a life. Let’s not forget that.” The man Anna shot, Garth Donnell, had been involved in programs the government wouldn’t normally acknowledge and died thinking he was finally going to see his family again. As one of the last people to have seen Del Kirby alive Terrell wanted to question him more than anything and now would never get the answers he was looking for. Anna’s involvement, though striking, seemed peripheral. “And based on some of the things she did, she is an obvious threat to the security of this country,” Rollins said.
“I’m not here to argue that. I chased her across the ocean, so I know. There are questions related to a case that I think she can address that will have minimal,” wrong word!, “no impact on her sentence or her status.”
This was insane. They were both officers of the court. What was the problem?
“Special Agent, you are not allowed to speak with her. I understand that this may seem arbitrary, but it is not. There are other branches of the government at work here and you will have to deal with them.”
“Is she in her cell?” Why did the Warden look away? “Is she in medical?”
Rollins tugged down her lapels. “This is a normal day for her. She will be in her cell.” She folded her hands. “Where she will normally be twenty-three hours every day.”
“I understand. In isolation.” Terrell had to find a way to let Anna know she wasn’t alone. “I need to see her.” He gave the Warden his best Bureau look. “There are lives at stake.”
“Take it up with your boss.”
Something clicked. Terrell decided to take a chance. “Where is she?”
The Warden paused for one second too long.
What’s going on? “Where is she?” He took a step not knowing where it would lead. He didn’t want to start the process all over again, but something was happening. Something wasn’t right.
“I have to go,” Warden Rollins said.
“Warden, where is she?”
The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum (aka: ADX Florence)
Located near Florence, Colorado
The heart rate monitor wailed a steady beep.
Hawking cursed. Prisoner X’s heart had stopped. The only way this was going to work was CPR. The defibrillator was for later, if at all. He had the arms already bandaged so now blood loss was the problem. He put his head against the prisoner’s chest. Nothing. He continued beating on the center of the chest. He listened. Nothing. No, something.
“Paddles!” Hawking grabbed a pair of scissors from a tray. The officer who was closest to him motioned to stop him. “Get out!” The doctor pointed to the door. None of the officers left.
He cut the orange suit and tore it open. He needed bare skin.
The doctor grabbed the defibrillator from the nurse after putting the conductive gel on the metal surface of each unit. He rubbed them together to get an even amount. “Clear!”
The high-pitched whine of the unit charging increased in pitch until it hit just the right tone. He placed the paddles on the inmate’s chest and pressed the switch. Prisoner X moved just enough that he knew the charge was having an effect.
The heart rate monitor registered a charge.
The inmate was alive.
Hawking picked up a hammer that was on the ground in a corner of the dark room. He walked over to a locked filing cabinet and broke off the lock. Everyone else stood in surprise at the prone figure on the examination table.
“Doc!” one of the officers called out.
“Go get the Warden,” Hawking said. He opened the cabinet. There were a handful of files in it. What a waste of space. He looked at one and then the other. Prisoner X’s file had to be there.
There it was.
He walked back over to the still unconscious form. He unzipped the mask from behind the prisoner’s head. He did it carefully and then pulled the leather accessory off Prisoner X’s face. One of the SORT officers put a hand on his shoulder and he shook it off. “Get the damn Warden, and I already told all of you to get out.” He pointed at the female officer again. “Except you.” All the officers except one filed out.
Hawking opened the file and looked for a name. Bingo. The information he needed.
He looked at the bald-headed inmate and read the name on the form.
Name: Carpenter Poole (aka: Anna Wodehouse)