Back when Anna was a little girl, she would often close her eyes shut when her parents were driving her home at night from ballet practice (something she was never very good at) and rest her head against the window. As a child who was frequently prone to getting car sick, it served as a way to keep her from getting too nauscious, but she also did it for the surreal feeling it gave her. Shielded by the darkness of her eye lids, it almost felt to her as though the vehicle were tilting sideways as it drove along, giving her the sensation of riding on a dreamlike roller coaster. Sometimes she would become lost in her thoughts, other times she would drift off and begin snoring, only to wake up in her bed later on and wonder how on earth she got there.
Anna wouldn't ride in a car ever again, of course, but as she was marched into the prison yard, she felt the same slanted feeling she had experienced in the child's booster seat of her mother's van all those years ago. Her stomach felt like someone had dug a pit in it. Her head felt hollow. She could hardly even tell if she was asleep or awake, but she had a premonition that things were about to go very, very badly for her either way.
She was woken up a bit when the sun's rays suddenly unleashed an assault on her skin. Anna winced, astonished by how much they burned. After her arrest, she really hadn't been outside much, only getting to inhale some fresh air on days when she had a court appearance. Her transport from jail to prison, meanwhile, had intentionally taken place in the middle of the night (supposedly it was to prevent inmates from being able to cause problems or something), making this her first encounter with the big yellow ball in the sky since her arrival at Frozen Heart. She felt a sudden sense of contempt towards it, as though it was mocking her with the promise of freedom which she would never again have. She tilted her head upwards to shake her fist at it, cautious not look directly into it, but noticing that she couldn't even look at it without also seeing the mountains of barbed wire rested atop the prison's massive concrete walls. She sighed. Even the sun itself was imprisoned in her new world.
She squinted her eyes as she tried to look around the yard. Well, okay, calling it a "yard" was more than a bit of an exaggeration. There was no grass to be seen anywhere, only concrete, gravel and dirt, without so much as a flower in sight. Then, there were so many convicts around her that she easily could've missed a garden if the prison had one, but her eyes were able to catch some old exercise equipment gathering cobwebs and dust which looked as though it had been neglected for years (given how fat the majority of the prisoners seemed to be, this didn't exactly surprise her). There were several ugly benches and picnic tables (wait, were the inmates ever allowed to eat outside?), and from a distance she saw several wooden seats planted firmly into the ground with holes inside them. Anna felt herself throw up in her mouth a little when she took a closer look at them. These were toilets! Or, at least, they were outdoor toilets, similar to outhouses except without the privacy or the house. Anna wondered if any of the prisoners could ever be desperate enough to use the bathroom that they would choose to relieve themselves in one of these filthy atrocities to human respectability, but going by the flies that were eagerly buzzing around them, some of them apparently did.
Not wishing to dwell on these unpleasant thrones, she shifted her attention in another direction, trying to see if she could find Rapunzel anywhere in the crowd of inmates, but she was no where to be seen. As unbearably smug as her "owner" could be, she had been serving as something of a tour guide for Anna as she got used to her unfamiliar accommodations, and she found herself feeling lost without her. She did catch a glimpse of Giselle, who appeared to be torturing some poor old gray-haired prisoner with an explanation as to how she got her nickname.
She used her hat to glumly wipe sweat off her forehead before sitting down on one of the uninviting benches, recoiling as she did so. Sitting on a rock in the woods would probably be more comfortable! Alas, she had no other options, unless she wanted to locate her ass on the ground. From where she was sitting, she could see the large rock pile which Rapunzel had told her about, surrounded by convicts with their ankles chained to each other. They were yelling some sort of a chant as they toiled away at the rubble standing before them, chopping like clockwork as they sang, but they were too far away from Anna for her to be able to make out a single word they were singing. Their faces were turning red as they slaved away, perhaps from sunburn, perhaps from exhaustion, yet none of them appeared to be complaining. She watched them for a while, bewildered by how mesmerized she was becoming as she did so. Was this her future? Would she one day be over there with those poor girls performing hard labor under the close watch of armed guards? She certainly hoped not. Getting up early in the morning to get the paper was something which Anna considered too much work. Still, the thought of joining them was strangely fascinating to her. It was like watching a tightrope walker at a circus. You never actually wanted to do something like that yourself, but you couldn't help but be impressed when someone else did.
She hardly even noticed when a prisoner took a seat next to her.
"Enjoying the show, are ya?"
Anna just nodded, still queerly distracted by them.
"I come over here and watch them a lot. It gives a girl something to do when she's out here."
"I take it, we don't get much TV?"
"There's one in the rec room, but it's normally tuned in to the Weather Channel, I think. I'd change the channel, but some lardass sat on the remote control about a month ago. Staff has yet to bother to replace it, but I doubt they're in a hurry to ensure us inmates get any entertainment."
"I doubt they're in a hurry to make sure we get anything nice." Anna nervously chuckled. What was happening? Why was she so calm when talking to someone she didn't know? At parties and such before her incarceration, Anna usually babbled until the person she was talking to asked if she was on any meds.
"I think it's some kind of a turn on for them," the prisoner said. She bit into something wet that was in her hand, and Anna saw that she was holding an apple. She was also fairly young, though her age was hard to place, but Anna imagined that they probably more or less had the same number of years behind them. To say that her hair was messy would be like saying that Michael Jackson was merely a good dancer. It was wild and all over the place, resembling vines that had grown out of control in a backyard which had a rather lazy gardener. "Do you want a bite? I nicked it from the kitchen."
"Um...no, thank you," said Anna, deciding it was wise not to get too friendly with this woman just yet. "Um...what do you mean by it being a 'turn on'?"
"It's a turn on for you, ain't it?" She took another loud crunch into the apple. Soggy pieces of it fell into Anna's lap. Anna winced, hoping that the prisoner wouldn't look down and ask about the...peculiar stains on her pants.
"I'm not sure I follow..."
"I've seen you watch those lasses on the chain for like the last ten minutes. Don't tell me you ain't enjoying the sight of them suffering so obediently. I know, given where you are, ye'd be in a bit of a, shall we say, contradictory position to say so. An inmate who gets off watching other inmates? Well, picture how this all must be for the guards, especially the men. Getting to order us chicks around, feeding us gruel, watching us use the pot 'because it's their job.' Of course they must enjoy it. They'd be crazy not to."
"Well, I suppose I can't fault anyone for getting pleasure out of their work." Anna was finally becoming a bit uncomfortable now, mainly because she was worried about where this conversation might be going. Would the "beloved" warden of the prison be brought up next?
"Don't get me wrong. I ain't judging 'em. Hell, if I was running this joint, I'd probably go even further. Why not give the inmates a good whipping to show them their place? It would certainly be great fun if you was an officer here, now wouldn't it?"
"I wouldn't know. I've never whipped anyone."
Yup. Definitely becoming uncomfortable now.
"So..." the prisoner continued, taking the core of her apple and throwing it to the ground (which Anna was certain must be a violation of some sort of rule). "What landed yer pretty little ass in here?"
God. This was almost worse than her bringing up the warden. Almost...
"I haven't been in the habit of telling people," she said, saying her words as though she were swallowing them whole. "What's it to the girls around here, anyway?"
"Ooooohhhh," the prisoner went, jiggling her shoulders around in a way which made Anna nervous for some reason. "Seems we've found someone who feels a bit guilty about what she did, is that it?"
"I think it would be best if we changed the subject." Anna's teeth were grinding together now. "What did you do to get here? I think I'm allowed to ask since it seems to be such an important conversation started to you."
"Oh, ain't you full of sass? What are ye, a lifer or something?"
"As a matter of fact, I am," Anna growled, her head now throbbing with the pain from earlier, feeling like someone was jamming a hand into the back of her head and making her mouth choose words for her. "And since I'm a lifer, you might be wise not to get on my bad side. Capiche?"
The other prisoner stared at Anna for a moment. A grin began to grow on her face. A terrible grin with yellow teeth which expressed terrible, unholy delight.
"Small world, ain't it? I'm a lifer myself."
"Yes. I am. I did nothing much to get here, I suppose. I simply killed me mum because she was a stupid bitch. Perhaps you read about me in the papers before you got here? I'm Merida...but you can call me 'Bloody Mary.'"