If all life is sacred, then Mr. Gant is a blasphemer of the highest order. He is everything humanity strives not to be.
~ Detective Samantha Rose at the trial of Nialls Gant I3–2071
Monday September 26, 2072
Brevard County, Florida
Federated States of Mexico
Gracie, a bearded Latino man with a shiny bald head, punched Nialls Gant’s arm. “Wanna a tat, brah? I got more ink.”
Nialls kept his focus on the guards in the prison tower as they rotated.
“You hear me, brah?” The fetid odor of onions and poor hygiene entrapped him.
Blinking once, Nialls turned to the other inmate. “No.”
“Come on, Gant. We could do a couple of teardrops on you. Maybe a gun on your back,” Gracie went on, oblivious to Nialls’s focus.
“Prison tattoos make it easier for people to identify you when you’re out of prison,” Nialls said. “It’s hard to run a con when you have your criminal record embedded in your dermis.”
“Brah?” Gracie sat next to him, ignoring the burning metal of the prison-yard table. “You’re serving consecutive life sentences. At this point, you ain’t got to worry about what marks think. You need to be thinking what we think of a white boy in our yard.”
“Don’t trouble yourself with my integration,” Nialls said. “I won’t be imposing on your hospitality much longer.”
Seven. There, the guards turned in to talk to each other and took their eyes off their prisoners.Seven rotations around the turret, then they had a three-minute conference. Long enough to move something forbidden across the open space. Long enough for a person to vanish into the camera’s blind spot that the warden failed to fix after the last in-house murder. Inefficiency was the hallmark of the city’s prison system. The fact that anyone thought he was going to linger here for more than a few months was insulting. Surely, someone knew he had better taste than that.
A flash of red caught his eye beyond the acres of barbed-wire fences.
The car paused for a moment, only long enough for the window to roll down as the occupant scanned the yard. Then it pulled away, tires squealing. It was gratifying to know that Detective Rose hadn’t abandoned him entirely. The red-lipped harridan who’d terrorized him throughout his trial had wanted the death penalty. He hoped she stayed up at night worrying about what he was planning in his ten-by-ten cell.
He hoped it gave her nightmares.