Russo adjusted her belt to alleviate the way that it always dug into her ample gut. She swore that she was going to start dieting again but she considered the trade off that came from a wife who was a trained chef worth it. Ashford came over to her, his fingers smoothing down his failing moustache and shaking his head.
‘Oh shit Rue, we’ve got a doozie today. ‘
Russo sighed, as much because she had asked Ashford not to call her that as to the implications of what a doozie implied in a woman’s prison.
‘Theresa’s out of solitary. ‘
Ashford clapped her on the shoulder and Russo sighed as she hid the involuntary flinch that came to her.
‘She still preaching?’
Ashford grimaced and cocked his thumb behind him.
‘Oh you’ll find her in her spot’
Russo strolled through, bowing her head in greeting to the inmates until she heard a sound that was seldom heard.
Theresa Devereaux should have been in a psych ward but a perfect storm of a rare lucid period and a judge who was tangentially related to one of the victims meant she was here.
Preaching her Word.
Russo had known that siren call of faith and how those seeds found fertile soil in the hearts of the women in here. Simple answers to complex questions were common in the world. Prison was no different.
Terry though spoke of a bit player in the opera of the Old Testament.
Lillith. Adam’s first wife. Resigned, Russo, recalled to apocrypha. Wandered into the dust because She would not lay beneath Adam. Terry spoke of Her as The True Mother. Russo even thought about Theresa’s faith in Upper Case. It sounded fruity at first.
Fruity, Russo thought, as she saw the cafeteria packed with inmates because Terry was 5 feet tall, long carrot hair and buttermilk skin, engagingly goofy overbite and harsh Arctic blue eyes. Annie as the sole survivor of a tragic flight on Daddy’s private jet.Even the fog of unwashed bodies, tears and despair, present in every breath was different here.
She was talking about The Day, an essential ingredient in any intense religion.
White Buffalo Calf Woman, Judgement Day, Ragnarok but Theresa kept it simple.
When Mother returned and Her Daughters would soak the earth with the blood of Adams Sons.
Russo swallowed her nerves, the rapt attention being afforded made her bowels shift like molten lava at the ordered rows of inmates.
‘And the skies have called the winged sisters of her rage to come.’ Theresa said.
Solitary had been reviving for her.
Made her specific.
Made her memorable.
‘And their screaming shall split the skies like thunder’
The crowd roared as one, Russo found her throat tight with panic even though her heart thumped like a thrash metal bass drum. She saw Paulson, seven years for mail fraud, shaking like a dog shitting a peach pit, eyes rolled back in her head and palms raised up.
Prison did strange things to people and Russo was less disturbed by that than she was at the sight of Esther doing the same thing.
What with her being a guard and all.
Russo backed away and reached for the radio at her hip.
The screaming made her mouth flood with rusty vomit as she staggered back, hand clamped over her mouth as she heard the rush of wings in the room.
For all the times she had mocked the idea of someone claiming to have access to a celestial spoiler alert, it came to her that no matter how much mockery was amassed against the idea, a simple maxim came to her.
They only had to be right once.
When she saw the women begin to writhe, anatomies twisting beneath their orange suits, she hoped that there was time to call home. Her feet slapping against the polished floor as the world began to end.