Hitting the Big Time – Extract from The Boss

Lucca Markov didn’t visit Bournton often. The cold, unforgiving land north of the city didn’t hold much appeal for him. The smelly farmlands and uncivilised people who drank beer and belched weren’t his particular cup of tea. The last time Lucca had been there had been on a visit to the Perry Wildlife reserve. His companion at the time had been quite the nature enthusiast. They trekked through mud, snapped photos of rarely spotted birds and discussed the various trees. For Lucca it was more of a lecture. He didn’t know trees at all and had very little opinion on the subject. Still, he did his best to enjoy the day but when the rain started he became downright miserable. One thing that he did note though was the people of Bournton loved to tell stories. When they stopped for some pub grub at the Bournton Arms the regulars were gathered around like a great big family swapping stories of the area and the hard work they put into the lands. They mostly spoke of The Boss that overlooked all of them. When The Boss was the subject of conversation the tones became hushed. A lot of them had never seen the inside of it despite having lived in the area their whole lives (they would proudly state). They didn’t care to see the inside either way.  

At the time Lucca had thought to himself, ‘why would you be stupid enough to go to prison?’ We ain’t all that lucky, are we Lucca? 

As the prison van trundled up the hill towards the great castle fort, Lucca was focused on his breathing.  

In through the nose and out through the mouth. Count, two, three. Count, two, three. At least this steadied his heartbeat. There was another man in the van with him so he wasn’t completely on his own in the darkness. They had the whole van to themselves but the guards had cuffed them side by side. The man was staring straight ahead. He was so close to him he could feel him shiver. He was only wearing a light jacket and the northern chill was setting in so he could have been cold. Lucca suspected it was more than that though.  

In through the nostrils. Out through the lips. Count, two, three. Count, two, three. 

“Will you stop breathing so fucking loudly!” the fellow prisoner barked impatiently.  

Who can blame him for being a little nervous? There were no windows on the van so there was no telling where they were on their journey. They couldn’t see how close the prison was. That was if in fact they were being taken to prison. There have been rumours of certain people of particularly foul character being sentenced at the High Court of Coldford, sent on their way but never actually arriving. For all intents and purposes, they just disappeared.  

I guess Lucca’s trembling van mate knew this and was putting a lot of stock in those rumours. Either that or he knew just what The Boss had in store for him. So what are you in for Mr Trembler? Murder? Rape?  

The van mate wasn’t in much of a talkative mood. He just wanted to sit in silence until the van shuddered to a stop. That was a bad idea. It’s a dangerous thing for a person to be left to their own thoughts, especially when they were about to be enslaved. Thoughts can be fraught with all kinds of problems. It can be treacherous to be reminded just how fucked you really are.  

Lucca managed the silence. It wasn’t easy but he managed. When the van did come to a halt he gave a great sigh. The trembling van mate began to bump his head against the wall behind him. They could hear the doors slam as the transporting officers climbed from the cabin. The trembler hit his head harder and faster. 

Lucca was just about to tell him he was going to hurt himself when … 


The van door was pulled open. They had missed the delightful journey up the hill towards the castle. They missed that breath taking view. Maybe they can appreciate it when The Boss decides to release them. If She does …  


The man slammed his head against the van wall again. This time he gave a wail. There was blood. He had cracked the parietal bone on the posterior of his skull. He was crying. I did warn it was messy to leave a condemned man to his own thoughts.  

“Get him out,” the senior officer ordered with little sympathy.  

The trembling van mate was positively convulsing by now. Guards ushered him from the van. They were already in the castle grounds from what Lucca could see. Through the open doors he caught glimpse of his home for the next five years – at least. No parole, no understanding, no hope. The blood stain where the man had smashed his head was left untouched. It would do good for other prisoners to see what happens when you think too much.  

Lucca watched the man stumble a little in the courtyard they had been brought to. He looked dizzy, possibly concussed. He was handed off to other guards and taken inside. Lucca was then removed from the van. The first thing to catch his attention was how quiet it was. For a place that housed thousands of lost souls there was not a peep, only the tapping of guard shoes across the cobbled ground. The guards on the gun towers were as still as statues. If it weren’t for one of them craning their neck to look out they could have been assumed to be mannequins.  

The eery tranquility of the court yard was completely contrasted by the chaos of the processing building. The vans had been coming all morning, delivering new slaves by the looks of it. They were lined up in a never ending queue. That queue moved along fast. Next! Step. Next! Step.  

When it came to Lucca’s turn that was when he met Remar for the first time.  

“I’m the warden here,” he said. “If you don’t give me any trouble I don’t give any to you. Really piss me off and you don’t see the light of day. Observe meal times, keep clean, don’t fight and no wise ass comments, cursing or disrespect to our librarian. Your number is 0902. For your crimes you are now in servitude to The Boss. Next!” 

Lucca was offered up to the jaws of a scowling guard named Trevor Gould.  

“Strip,” he ordered.  

Lucca started to peel his clothes off. If there was ever a body shy prisoner it wasn’t our lucky model boy but when he had gotten down to his Brad Shroeder undies he stopped.  

“I said strip,” Gould snapped.  

Lucca acquiesced.  

“Bend over.”  

Lucca frowned. “Is that really necessary?” he asked. 

“Cavity search,” said Gould. “It’s very necessary. Just pretend you’re at the doc getting the old prostate tickled.”  

Got to be thorough when you’re dealing with degenerates.  

“Shave him,” said Gould to one of the other guards who was assisting him.  

Lucca was sat in a chair.  

“I don’t want my head shaved,” he protested.  

Gould laughed heartily.  

“Would you listen to this one?” He said to his fellow guard. “I don’t give a fuck what you want, sunshine,” he said. “Shave him.” 

“No disrespect to the librarian …” he could hear Remar tell the next fresh new inmate.  

After Lucca was shaved, very thoroughly, delousing powder was thrown onto him. Then he was dressed in a standard issue kit. Across his back read the words ‘Property of The Boss.’  

Gould grabbed his arm and hissed, “you’re in The Boss now so step fucking lightly.” 

He looked into a greasy, filthy mirror that hung on the wall. The shaved head made his nose seem longer. It made his entire face look like that of a stranger as a matter of fact. Losing control of his appearance wasn’t suiting our model boy. Strike a pose there Lucca. Give us some prisoner chic. 

In through the nostrils. Out through the lips. Count, two, three. Count, two, three. 

We claim individuality in what we wear, how we style, make up, no make up, cosmetic procedures. None of this mattered. 0902 was now but a number.  

Lucca pulled the hood of his prison issue hoody over his freshly barbered head. His full lips tightened. 

“He’s in North Unit,” he overheard Gould being instructed by Dante. At that he was chained and led deeper into the belly of the great stone beast.  

“Hands on your head,” Gould ordered him.  

As he was led along the gangway to his cell he could hear other inmates call at him. They were screaming and wolf whistling. If promises were to be kept Lucca was going to be a lucky boy indeed. 

“You’re going to be popular around here,” Gould commented.  

You are a shoe in for winning the popularity contest behind these bars, Lucca. Got to be careful what you wish for though. This isn’t really the place you want to be that sought after.  


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