© Copyright 2010 - Lobo De la Sombra - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF+/f; justice; depilatory; bond; catheter; box; encase; storage; nc; X
In the year 2110, the American penal system collapsed. Swelling inmate populations, lack of facilities, inadequate funding, all contributed to what soon became a rapidly escalating crisis. In a desperate effort to hold off disaster, new and sometimes controversial methods were attempted.
“Jessica Stuart, you have been found guilty of the crimes of which you have been accused. It is the decision of this court that you be remanded to State Facility One, there to be incarcerated for a period of no less than ten years.”
Jessica Stuart, newest of the ever growing inmate population, glanced at her new home with unease. From the outside, there was little to distinguish it from the warehouses that populated this part of the outer city. Only its size set it apart. The building was huge. Even so, it didn’t seem large enough to house the thousands of inmates claimed by its designers.
Inside, Jessica was stripped of her clothing, then placed in a shower. As the warm water cascaded around her, chemicals in the water removed every strand of hair from her body. When she stepped from the shower, she was as bald as a newborn, without even eyebrows or eyelashes.
The next room she was led into had two doors. One, the one by which she had entered, was simply an ordinary door. The other door looked like something you might see on a factory dock. The room was empty except for a table loaded with equipment, and a strange box that was clear on one side, black on the others..
As Jessica stood next to the box, attendants wrapped things that looked like cuffs around her upper and lower legs. More of the strange cuffs went around her upper and lower arms. Each cuff had wires dangling from it.
“Modified muscle stimulators,” she was told, “to keep your muscles from atrophying.”
Next, catheters were inserted, front and rear, followed by plugs in both nostrils. An attendant painted her lips with a strange fluid. Once it dried, Jessica was unable to open her mouth, her lips having been glued shut.
“We had to do that part now,” an attendant explained. “The next part may hurt just a bit, and we don’t want you making too much noise, do we?”
The next step involved inserting long needles into both arms. From the needles, clear tubes dangled. As a final step, clear cups were placed over her eyes, allowing sight, but preventing anything from reaching her eyes.
Finally, the attendants lifted her and placed her in the box, forcing her into a seated position. Holding her down, they began plugging the various wires and hoses into receptacles on the sides of the box. Once everything was secure, the lid was placed on the box and carefully sealed.
Glancing around her strange new prison, Jessica saw the large door opening. In came a small fork lift. Working carefully, the attendants maneuvered the box, with Jessica inside, onto the forks. The truck then reversed and backed out of the room.
The ride seemed a long one, but Jessica couldn’t be sure. She sat facing the one clear side of the box, but it was pressed up against the plates at the back of the forks, blocking all vision. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she felt the truck swerve into a turn. A second turn followed, and then she felt herself beginning to rise, halting with a bump as some unknown height above the floor.
Jessica felt her box being moved backwards, attendants moving in front of her and shoving her into place. They then gathered more wires and tubes that dangled from above, attaching them to the outside of the box’s receptacles. When they stepped back, Jessica gasped through her sealed lips.
Directly in front of her, across a narrow gap, she saw a row of boxes identical to hers. In each box rested a nude, hairless female. Occasional slow, languid movements were visible, almost like someone swimming in their sleep. Below stretched a second row of boxes.
Suddenly, Jessica felt something wet. Glancing down, she watched as a clear fluid began filling the box. Desperately, she beat against the sides of the box, but they refused to budge, and soon the liquid filled the space completely. It was, she discovered, slightly thicker than water, slowing and cushioning every movement. Air continued to reach her via the tubes in each nostril, and she gradually realized that she was in no danger of drowning.
Finally, she noticed a slightly sweet aroma in the air being fed to her. Even as she wondered what it was, her eyes, drooped closed, and the world was lost to her.
Watching, one of the attendants shook her head. Seeing this, her companion asked, “What is it?”
“Oh, nothing. It just always surprises me how all this stuff works.”
Her companion shrugged. “Nothing surprising to it. A drug in her air keeps her unconscious. The IV tubes feed nutrients directly into her blood, while the catheters eliminate any waste she might produce. The muscle stimulators flex on a programmed sequence to keep her arms and legs from atrophying. And the solution she’s in keeps any hair from growing. When her sentence is done, she’ll walk out of here as if she’d never spent years in that box. Well, except for the hair, of course. And she’ll probably never even realize how much time has passed.”
After a final check, the attendants walked along the catwalk in front of the row of boxes. At its end, an elevator lowered them to the floor. At the bottom, they stepped onto the forks of the truck for the ride back.
Before leaving the huge room, the surprised attendant looked back. Through several rows of empty racks, she could see, small in the distance, the layers of clear-fronted boxes, their unconscious occupants floating serenely in place. Then, with a shrug, she turned away.
Behind her, in a thousand boxes, a thousand women slept. And in their sleep, dreamed?