Moving On (Rolling Thunder #7) - P.J. Fiala


LuAnn entered the room. As in, THE room. She was being processed out. Finally. Three years of her life in a 6’ by 9’ cell with a bunkmate. She deserved it, of course. And, in some odd way, doing time made her a changed woman. Hopefully, for the better. And, with any luck those whose lives she nearly destroyed would see it. Forgiveness? Was she asking too much? Well, that remained to be seen.

"Take a seat, LuAnn." Warden Kettleson said. LuAnn had mocked her a few times for having big ears, then felt bad about it and tried to befriend her. But Warden Kettleson didn't warm up to her. Hard to blame her.

Wearing the t-shirt and jeans that her sister had mailed to her last week so she’d have civilian clothes for today, she pulled the metal and plastic chair away from the desk and sat as quietly as she could while she waited for the Warden to look up from her paperwork.

"You have a place to stay?"

"Ye..." Her throat grated and she cleared it and started again. "Yes. My sister, Linda, is letting me stay with her until I get on my feet."

Kettleson flipped a page in her file but never looked up. It began to make her nervous, as if she were looking for something to cancel LuAnn’s release. Squeezing her hands together to stem the fidgeting that threatened to win, LuAnn sat as still as possible and focused on keeping her breathing even. Her heart beat ferociously in her chest and her skin began to sweat. Sending up a silent prayer that nothing was wrong with her paperwork, LuAnn swallowed and stared at her dreaded record Kettleson was analyzing.

"You have someone coming to pick you up?" Kettleson's voice almost sounded like a boom in the quiet room.

"Yes. A friend, Chase Matthews."

"How close of a friend is he?"

Warden Kettleson finally lifted her head and her brown eyes bore into LuAnn’s blue ones.

Taking a deep breath so she didn't squirm, LuAnn answered, "He's a friend. He's the only one from my former life, besides my sister, who stayed in touch with me and visited."



"Hmm." Kettleson harrumphed, flipped a couple more pages, closed the book and looked directly into LuAnn's eyes.

"It looks like everything is in order." She tapped her pen on LuAnn’s record, but never looked away. "I hate reoffenders, you understand? I hate releasing someone who sits here in front of me and tells me they've changed and blah blah, they're going to make it this time and on and on. So, I'm not going to ask you if you've changed. I'm not going to ask you if you've learned your lesson. But, I'm going to say this, if I ever see you back here again in this prison you will not like it. Not even a little bit. The treatment you received these past three years was only a taste of what you'll get if you come back. Plus, we'll all look upon you as if you're a two-time loser. And, don’t forget it. Got it?"

Swallowing twice before responding, LuAnn nodded. "Yes."

Reaching down and laying a clear plastic bag on the desk in front of her, Warden Kettleson placed a sheet of paper alongside it.

"These are the belongings you said you wanted to keep. They've been catalogued on this sheet. Look through the bag and make sure everything listed is in there. Then sign and date at the bottom of the sheet that you've received everything."

Reaching forward LuAnn pulled the plastic bag onto her lap. She didn't want much from here. She'd been allowed three pair of shorts, three pair of underwear, three bras, three pair of sweatpants and a pair of plastic flip-flops. A comb and brush, a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste and deodorant. The only items that she had in her bag were a gardening book she'd been given by the librarian with permission from the warden and a separate gardening book her sister had given her on her birthday last year. It was all she had here.

Looking the meager list over, she saw the two books listed, signed her name, and added today's date - June 12. Then she closed the bag with the zip closure and waited.

Taking the sheet and sliding it in LuAnn’s record, Warden Kettleson stood and held out her hand to shake, which surprised LuAnn. Nonetheless, she reached out and shook the warden’s hand gripping it firmly hoping to convey a strength she didn't actually feel and almost smiled Copyright 2016 - 2024