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The Running Man Introduction and Chapter 1

by MasterAvi

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.


My name is Dennis Wayne Hope. I like country music, fast cars, and beautiful women. But most of all, I like excitement. Guess that’s the way it all started.


I sat on the cracked leather seat of a chain bus heading towards the Darrington Unit. The maximum security prison that is my new home.

“Hey young fella, you ever been to prison?”, an older man sitting across from me said.

“No. It’s my first time.”

“Well kid, let me give ya some advice. There’s been many a’ stabbin, many a’ beatin here”, the old man said, “Never turn your back on an inmate or guard”

“Thanks for the pointers”, I told him. The bus ran over a pothole, shaking the restraints we each had on.

“Don’t you go try anything here. I can see it in your eyes,”, the man said, “this ain’t no county jail. This is the real deal”. I looked out the wire meshed windows at the terrain. Around me was a large sprawling forest, and some fields of corn. If I were to make a run for it, this is where I would go. The prison was situated in Brazoria County, Texas. It was a sticky hot mess to spend the rest of your days in. The majority of the inmates are serving long sentences for crimes varying from murderers to armed robbers. It was a dangerous place, people got stabbed and beat up, there was corruption among the guards and higher ups. You’d be surprised what a pack of smokes could get you in prison.

The bus finally arrived at the entrance to the prison. Two large metal fences with rows of barbed wire encased the lot. Multiple watchtowers loomed over, armed guards stood inside with the orders to shoot to kill if any inmates were seen attempting to escape.

“Get up”, ordered one of the officers on the bus. He was standing at the very end near the exit door, and held a shotgun to his chest. We all got up slowly and marched in a single file line towards the door. As I was almost to the door, I noticed a large man in front of me crack his neck. I could sense something was about to happen.

“I’m watching you Rainer”, I heard the guard say to the man in front of me. He cocked his shotgun, ready to defend himself.

“Dirty pig.”, the man in front of me spat back.

The guard kept a stern gave, “Keep walking prisoner.”

I picked up the pace and stepped out into the cold air. We were led inside an area of the prison commonly referred to as a dog kennel.

“Welcome to prison.”, smirked one of the guards, “Take off your clothes.” I began to strip off my street clothes as instructed. Guys around me did the same, weary that they were being watched. Being naked in broad daylight with many people around you was very uncomfortable. The warden of the prison stood a few feet away, watching over everyone who exited the bus. He was very large and mean looking. I did not want to slip up in front of him. A group of guards approached us in the prison courtyard. We were each redressed in the prison’s attire. For new inmates like us, we had to wear a bright orange jumpsuit. It was as if I had a giant target on my back. The jumpsuit had no pockets, and the only decals on it were a string of numbers on the back. In here, our names were just a serial code.

“Very well, follow me”, said one of the guards. All of us newly arrived inmates were led into the prison complex for the first time. The place we went into was called the Classification Building, this was where new inmates like us learned about prison and what we can and cannot do.

“Y’all ready for this”, chuckled a guy by my side.

“Shut your trap Mr. Dennett. You will only speak when spoken to. Is that understood?” Shouted the warden as he followed us into the Classification Building.

“Yessir! Won’t happen again!” The guy said back.

The first thing they asked us when we got into the building, was what we wanted to do with our street clothes we came in. We had three options: we could throw them away, donate them to the Salvation Army, or mail them home. The clothes I had weren’t great, a heavily worn pair of jeans and a brown T-shirt with multiple holes. I decided to donate them to the Salvation Army, they weren’t going to do me any good here. Maybe they would better suit someone out there in the free world. From there we were all led into a different room in the building. This room only had a mirror, a chair, and a pair of hair clippers sitting on the chair. The mirror had a large crack running through it, probably from a past struggle.

“Make a line everyone”, announced a guard. We formed a single file line, waiting for our turn in the chair. I brushed my hand through my hair, it had grown considerably since I last had it cut a year back. I now had a full on moustache and a beard to go along with it. I looked like a homeless guy picked off the street. I was second in line. The guy from earlier, Mr. Dennett, was in front of me. They made it no mistake to tell us, that if we did not comply with the shaving process, we would immediately be thrown into solitary confinement. Otherwise known as The Hole.

“Mr. Hope, please come forward.”, called out the barber. Multiple armed guards stood closely around, monitoring every movement. I got up into the chair.

“Quite a hairy man we have today eh?”, the barber said.

“Get it over with already.” I grumbled back.

“Of course of course!” The barber draped a transparent blanket over me and around my neck, to make sure no hairs fell onto me. I heard the whirl of the buzzer as he raced it across my scalp. Locks of hair fell to the ground, I was stripped of all my facial hair, except my eyebrows. It felt a lot lighter up there, I quite liked the bald look actually. The entire process took less than 2 minutes, he acted fast. Then again so would I if I had dozens of inmates hair to cut off in a short amount of time.

“All done!”, the barber announced. He was way to cheerful for a job like this, probably got fired and the next best thing was working here.

“Thank you.”, I got off the chair and walked over next to Dennett who was running his hands over his bald head. Dennett had a cartoonish Joker look to him. His eyes were wide open, observing everything he could see with his scrawny little head.

“Hey mister!”, the little guy was trying to get my attention, tugging on my jumpsuit. “Wanna hear a joke?”

“Go for it.”, I told him.

“What do you call a group of rabbits hopping backwards?”, he asked.

“Can’t say I know.”, I replied.

“A receding hairline!”, the little man said. He was screaming with laughter before I could even respond. His head was tilted back as he laughed like a maniac. I noticed the guard next to us chuckle a little.

“Good one kid.”, the guard told him. Dennett was still laughing, he looked like he could barely breath.

“Hey you alright?”, the guard began to become concerned. Dennett grabbed his throat with his body fingers, the nails bitten off as far as they go. I could see terror in his eyes.

“Can I get some help over here!”, the guard looked around, trying to find someone to calm Dennett down. The laughing didn’t stop. It wasn’t a normal little chuckle, it was a full on circus. A medical team rushed over. They quickly subdued him and placed a mask over his large mouth, probably to provide oxygen for him. The medics strapped him to a stretcher, restraining his hands and legs to it. He was injected with some sort of calming agent. I could still see his eyes wide open, never blinking, staring right into mine as he was rolled away. What have I gotten myself into I thought to myself. These people were insane. From there the remaining bunch of us were led into a big auditorium. We sat on what was like a giant set of bleachers, except our ankles were tied to it. We sat down and faced the center of the room. The warden spoke loud and clear of what we could and could not do. Mostly the latter option. We were only allowed as much that could fit into two cardboard boxes. Equating to about six cubic feet of personal property. Items such as toothpaste, musical instruments, religious texts, and any money they earn in prison or receive from loved ones. We were allowed to smoke inside prison as well, but a pack of cigarettes would cost you $6. You were only able to spend $15 a week in prison. There were some heavy smokers here, two packs a week wasn’t going to cut it, that’s why cigarettes could buy you a lot here. Smoking was a way for most people to relieve their stress from being in prison everyday. After they told us all of that, we had to watch The Movie. One of the most disturbing videos I have ever watched. The Movie was a video we were required to watch upon arrival. It was about sexual assault in prison, there were prisoners telling their stories about how they were raped every single day. It was horrifying. After the scariest movie of my life was over, we were told where we would be housed at. That was the block our cell was located in. We were practically kicked out of the Classification Building to go find our cell. Everyone was intimidated after all of that. There was some small chatter amongst us, people were nervous about the kind of environment we had found ourselves in.

“Is it really as bad as they make it out to be officer?”, asked one of guys walking with me.

“You bet sunny boy, let me give you some advice. Don’t get into no gangs or gambling, and don’t talk to no homosexuals. That’ll keep you outta trouble for the most part.”, the guard said back. I was trying to hide my anxiety as we walked to our cell block. I couldn’t let any of it show or I would be considered weak. I couldn’t let that happen, so I kept a straight face and kept on chugging along.

“What if I’m already a homosexual?”, asked another guy.

The guard laughed, “then you better grab onto something tight during shower time.”

I could hear him gulp from a mile away. We were now inside the main cell block, where most of the inmates, including us, were to live.

I finally reached my cell, the guard unlatched the giant steel framed door and led me inside. From there he removed my restraints, gave me a nod of good luck, and got out as fast as he could. I sat my box down on the floor and looked around. There was a tall skinny man sitting on one of the beds. This was my cellmate.

“Hey buddy”, he said. His tongue was sliced down the middle, like a snake. He was covered in tattoos, from head to toe. His hair was long and braided, falling down to his feet.

“Welcome to prison.”, he hissed. He watched as I taped some of the photos I brought along with me to the wall. He almost seemed to blink sideways, it was probably just my mind playing tricks on me.

“Hey listen, I don’t wanna cause you any trouble. We cool?”, I told him. I just wanted to make it through the night.

The snake man laughed, “Of course. My names Deegan. But people around here Orochi.”

“Isn’t that Japanese for Big Snake?”

Orochi laughed, “Oh yes, 大蛇—The eight-forked serpent who demands virgin sacrifices!”

“Great. First I gotta worry about being beat up outside, now I gotta worry that my cell mates gonna drain my blood as I sleep!”, I told him as I put up another picture, this time of my mom and I, dad cropped out.

“Don’t worry! I won’t bite. Need help with those pictures?”, Orochi said.

“Yeah. Fine. Just don’t make anymore hissing noises I’m already scared straight as it is.”

Orochi slithered my way, picking out a couple of photos from my box. The cell was a 6 by 8 foot room, meant for two. If I got in any major trouble they’d move me to an even smaller cell, just for me. In the corner of the room was two concrete beds with thin cotton mattresses on top. Beside it stood a concrete desk and stool, and a toilet that was combined with a sink and water fountain. That was going to get disgusting, drinking water from the same place I went to the bathroom. I was going to have to get used to it one way or another. This was my life now. Prison was my home.

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359 Reviews

Points: 29565
Reviews: 359

Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:25 pm
EditorAndPerks wrote a review...

Hey there! Thanks for requesting a review, and I hope this helps!

So, right away, there’s something I’d like to point out. That introduction isn’t needed, really at all. If you want the reader to know the main character’s name from the very beginning, you can insert that into the first conversation he has.

”Hey young fella, you ever been to prison?”, an older man sitting across from me said.

“No. It’s my first time.”

Here, you could put, “Hey, what’s yer name, kid?” or a variation on that alongside the “You ever been to prison” line.

That would be a smoother transition in my opinion over having an introduction. I’m in favor of dropping names in conversation if a story is in first person, but that’s up to you.

I like some of the changes you made to this since yesterday or the day before. The warden is a lot more realistic, and I’m fine with how Orochi was introduced, but I’d love a little more insight on how Dennis knows Japanese.

Especially for prison stories, usually the main character is to be someone pitied or at least to become a better person due to jail and such. I’m not saying this story needs to have some sympathetic moments for Dennis, but it’d be cool to see a developed character, at least in the future.

One part I liked the least was that “Don’t talk to no homosexuals” line one of the prison guards said. I get you’re trying to make this prison to be a horrible place and all that, but that just doesn’t settle well with me.

If you took that two line conversation out, or maybe just had the inmates talk it over with each other instead of the guard, I really don’t think that you lose anything as far as Rome goes and such. This prison is still a miserable place without that comment, but that’s up to you.

Overall, this seems like a more stereotypical prison story, but I am looking forward to how that eventual prison break will happen - whether or not it ends up successful. You have a lot of potential to make this setting unique, so I hope that you can add your own twists on things.

I hope this helped and thanks for the request!

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36 Reviews

Points: 506
Reviews: 36

Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:06 pm
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fishsashimi wrote a review...

Hey Onii-Chan here!
I liked this story, because in my opinion, prison escape is an underrated topic for a story.
I really liked how you kept it simple and straightforward, but I think you could’ve used a bit more to describe the setting. There were a few grammatical mistakes, but that’s OK. One thing that kinda pulled my ear was
Isn’t that Japanese for Big Snake?
It would’ve been nice if Orochi said something like “How’d ya know?” Or something like that, but that’s just me!

Keep on writing!

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48 Reviews

Points: 7
Reviews: 48

Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:51 pm
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Jyva wrote a review...

>My name is Dennis Wayne Hope, I an not proud of what I have done, my past actions affected the lives on many innocent people.

would be a lot punchier if you split this up into two sentences - or three, considering how there's three statements being made here.

>People just like you and me.

belongs in the first paragaraph

>But most of all; I like excitement.

replace semicolon with comma, wrong place to use one

>I sat on the cracked leather seat of a chain bus heading towards the Darrington Unit. The maximum security prison that is my new home.

so this made me google what a chain bus was... i dunno about you, but they don't look like the transporting-maximum-security-prisoners kinda transport to me

>“Hey young fella, you ever been to the places you’re going”, an older man sitting across from me blurted out.

dialogue here is punctuated incorrectly.
first of all, he's asking a question, so you need a question mark, not a comma. secondly, the speech mark goes after the question mark/comma/full stop/exclamation mark to close off the dialogue, like this:
“Hey young fella, you ever been to the places you’re going?"

"you're going" implies it's just the main character going to prison. he's not - from what you give, the reader assumes the bus is loaded with other prisoners going the same way. if the bus is empty, that needs to be specified.

"blurted out" implies that the words came out of the blue with no warning or thought. this is the beginning of a relaxed conversation, just use "said"

>“No, I’m a first timer”

missing full stop

>“Well kid, let me give ya some advice. There’s been many a’ stabbin, many a’ beatin here”, the old man said sorrowly, “Never turn your back on an inmate or guard”

sorrowly isn't a word - did you mean sorrowfully?
same grammar mistakes here. you're smart enough to find them, i'll stop pointing them out

>“Don’t you go try anything here, I can see it in your eyes”, the man said, “This ain’t no county jail. This is the real deal”.

different grammar mistake - the first sentence ends at "the man said", since the next dialogue begins with a capital, meaning that's the start of a new sentence.

first bit of dialogue would do better split into two sentences:
"Don't you go try anything here. I can see it in your eyes," the man said.

>I looked out the wire meshed windows; looking at the terrain.

unnecessary semicolon again

>It was a sticky hot mess to spend the rest of your days in. The majority of the inmates are serving long sentences for crimes varying from murderers to armed robbers. It was a dangerous place, people got stabbed and beat up, there was corruption among the guards and higher ups. You’d be surprised what a pack of smokes could get you in prison.

all the dang movie and book prisons are nasty and evil and full of dudes eager to kill you, man... while this is often the case irl, there's also nice prisons too. wish some people would use those instead - but then i guess the setting would be a lot less fun to watch/read. just a comment, carry on

>As I was almost to the door, I noticed a large man in front of me crack his knuckles.

even light handcuffs make it fairly difficult to do this. in a maximum security prison, as you put it, they shouldnt be able to move their wrists at all

>“Dirty pig”, the man in front of me spit back.

spat. past tense

“Keep walking”

full stop missing

>I picked up the pace and stepped out into the cold air. The warden of the prison stood a few feet away, looking over everyone who exited the bus. He was very small and bony looking, almost like a real life Gollum.

no maximum security prison would have a warden as physically weak as this guy cmon bruh

>The rest of the few thousand inmates stood inside the exercise courts, yelling and hollering at us. It was a mixed chant of, “Fresh meat”, and a list of unimaginable sleurs.


few thousand inmates? the largest prison in the world was built for 5000-6000 people, and houses 10,000. the only supermax prison in the US is ADX Florence, and they have 927 prisoners, 408 of those in supermax. i got all that from one google search - do your homework, man.
also, a maximum security prison means some inmates aren't gonna be let out in exercise courts, meaning that this prison has more prisoners than the "few thousand" seen outside.

>“I’m gonna break your skull”, someone yelled at us.
“Me too”
“I got first bids on that one”

this is some half-assed prison bad guy dialogue lol. "I'm gonna break your skull!" is alright, but then "yeah" and "me too" make me think of the guy that sits at the back of the classroom in high school.

>The fences were being shook and the noise was unbearable, it was almost like a thousand jet planes were taking off inside my head.

bit of a hyperbole, but alright

>One guy had the smart idea to try and climb the fence, he was making it quite high up. A shot echoed out and I saw blood fly out of the guys head. He fell 20 feet.

well 1. in a max security prison they shouldnt even be able to reach the fence.
2. electric fences?
3. how about physically restraining him if he somehow gets to the other side?

seriously, killing is a last resort. while the ideal prison should aim to run itself out of business, many prisons in the US are privately owned - meaning every prisoner they have in there is profit to the owner. they don't want to kill their prisoners.

>These guys weren’t messing around here.

oh man oh wow how scary ahh the main character is doomed oh no :(

>On my body was a bright orange jumpsuit, for the first month of prison we had those on, signaling that we were new.

split into two sentences

>I was going to do whatever I had to do to survive in this place. I wasn’t going to be anyone’s bitch.

yeah! you can do it dennis! i believe in you!
the point is that a hardened criminal like dennis is supposed to be wouldnt be thinking this.

>“Spread em”, ordered a prison guard by me. I was patted down from head to toe, making sure I didn’t have any concealed weapons or contraband. My mugshot and fingerprints were taken shortly after.

the introduction to the prison is a perfect opportunity to bring in your prison guard characters and throw in some snarky dialogue or exposition, and you just zipped by it in three sentences.

>My cell was in the low risk section of the prison.

from all this i get the feeling that all you know of prisons and jails is from movies and books. same here, but i know that the reality of the situation is a lot different to what's presented in the media. if this is to be a serious project you're taking on, i'll say it once more - do your research, try to think seriously about what a person would think and feel when incarcerated, because prison's a serious place. a lot of psychological change happens to a brain when a person is thrown in jail. if i were you i'd be looking up how the prison works, all the little details and minutiae of life in jail, how the guards operate, what systems a maximum security prison would have in effect to ensure a prisoner's obedience, etc. look at documentaries to see what a prison looks like so you can describe yours better, and look at prisoners how behave - from what i remember, they're usually very subdued.

MasterAvi says...

Thank you so much it%u2019s very helpful! I%u2019ll get to work now thanks so much :)

No, Jack, don't. Jeez.
— David Letterman