The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version
It was Viella's fifth day in the Jamarl Plains prison pit.
She bent over the emaciated prisoner lying in the hospital bed and wrapped the cuff around his extremely
thin arm—it was so thin there was almost too much of an overlap, but she managed to position the cuff and
pump it up while positioning the bell-end of the stethoscope. She finished taking his blood pressure, wrote
down the findings on a chart, and set it on a table at the end of his bed.
JoJo's hanging in there, she thought. He just might make it.
Her first day in this hell hole she had learned the "program”—everything she needed to know to conform to
the rules in order to stay alive. They got her up at six thirty, a half hour before sunrise. At that time she
performed all her morning necessities, and then she was marched out of the women's cellblock and on to the
pavement in the prisoner's courtyard. Circles, about two and a half feet in diameter, were painted on the hard
black surface—all in neat little rows of thirty and extending ten deep. In each circle was a number starting with
1 in the first circle and ending with 300 in the last.
Earlier, in the women's cellblock, the matron had informed Viella that her number was "102." The warden
liked to keep things neat and orderly, so each new prisoner was given the largest remaining number at the end
of the already established number of prisoners. "Your number will most likely change every week," said the
Matron. "Whenever a prisoner dies, you move down a number."
As she stepped into the circle with the "102" painted in the center of it she noticed that Em, the man or
android who had saved her life, was standing next to her on "103."
The guard began taking roll. He shouted out the names in order, sometimes giving special instructions to the
man or woman whose name he called. He finally got to Ben Hillar who was on Viella's left in circle "101."
Ben raised his hand and said, "Here."
The guard told him he would be a loader, whatever that meant, until further notice. "Viella Tybo," he called.
"Here," she said and raised her hand.
"You will be assigned to the prison hospital until otherwise notified." He paused then yelled out, "Em . . . ."
He looked at the sheet again as if puzzled and then again he called out, "Em."
Em looked straight ahead and remained silent, lost in a world beyond.
"Em," called the guard again.
But there was no answer, as Em remained silent.
And suddenly the man who had been cracking the whip, the largest man Viella had ever seen, even larger
than Everette the mountain man, with anger sweeping over his face, started through the ranks of prisoners. A
sea of human flesh parted before him hurrying to get out of his way as he raised his whip into the air.
Viella quickly grabbed Em's left arm with both of her hands and pushed Em's hand into the air while at the
same time yelling, "here."
The guard looked down the ranks and then said, "It's okay, Og." He had been informed of Em's silence.
And Og turned around and walked back as the prisoners filed back into their circles.
o o o o o
Later that morning Dr. Struem, the prison hospital's medical doctor (who was also a prisoner), instructed
Viella on the duties, which included taking the vital signs of the patients every hour on the hour, and keeping
the rooms and the equipment spotlessly clean. "When these chores are completed you can hang out in the
waiting room and read magazines or watch the viewer or whatever as long as you don't leave the building until
the shift is finished. At that time you will return to the women's cell block."
He introduced her to Maley, another female nurse, and told her that Maley would be her supervisor. He then
left the room, and Maley proceeded to show her how to perform the duties.
Later, during the afternoon of her first day, the warden, with Maley right behind him, walked through the
The roll of his stomach hung over his belt and jiggled as he stepped through the doorway. "Well, what have
we here?" he asked in a rhetorical tone. "A new nurse to attend to our unhealthy patients."
Maley stepped beside him as if protecting her territory.
Viella noticed immediately, but didn't say anything because she was smart enough to keep her mouth shut.