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The Killings of Jacob Jackson

May 27, 2020
Cherry Pop
"All of man's problems stem from his inability to sit alone in a room for any length of time." - Blaise Pascal​
February, 2016
Denne State Penitentiary

You never forget your first. Your first kiss. Your first ride. Your first high. Your first love. Your first kill. These things stick with you, and they never let you forget.

Jacob Jackson's first steps across the bridge that connected the mainland to Denne State Penitentiary's island complex were never a question of if, simply of when. In a way Denne was his destiny. His father was the most prolific (unproven) mass murderer in Haven City's history, cleaning the Street of over a hundred lives in less than five years before offering his blood up to the Street as well. His mother's family were famously psychopathic, the names in the family Bible written in blood and stretching back to the 16th century. No matter how far from the Street life could've taken him, the violence in his blood would have brought him to Denne, or a place like it. At least that was how he considered it as the two CO's escorted him across the bridge between the two checkpoints.

It had been a simple crime that had brought him to Denne, he and his day one Tyrone Freeman had gone to a bar for a few drinks and to play some pool, maybe pick up a girl or three to take back somewhere that their girlfriends didn't need to know about. The night had been going good until some Nords had came in. Nords were white supremacists, skinheads, Neo-Nazis. In a word- trash. The Nords were based in Glenwood, which was just on the other side of a city park from 13th Street and Oak Hills where Jax and the Regulators called home, which meant that there was always a chance for a little bit of overlap in places they went for entertainment. Sometimes that caused problems, the Regulators and Nords had age old beef. A beef that included them leaving John Jackson's mutilated body in the middle of Glenwood Park, not too far from the swing set he used to push young Jacob on before the boy's friends started calling him Jax.

For obvious reasons Jax and Tyrone had decided to leave the bar after closing out their tabs, figuring they could find more fun and a better atmosphere somewhere else. As they were walking to their cars though destiny came calling.

The three Nords inside had left a fourth friend outside to have a smoke, and that fourth friend saw a black man in 13th Street Regulators colors and decided that he would make the biggest mistake of his life, spitting right in Tyrone's face.

Jax had seen red and started swinging without even having a second thought. The Nord was older than Jax and with more experience, but Jax was 19, fast, strong and had been training and fighting in the Pits for three years. Not to mention enraged. The first blow had set the Nord's world spinning, and the second had brought him to the ground. The third kept him there and the fourth kept him humble. After the fifth Jax lost count, but by the time two police officers appeared and pulled Jax off of his victim the man's face resembled the consistency of ground beef, but he was still breathing.

Any other young thug would've handed the prosecutor his ass acting like that, aggravated assault and attempted murder wrote themselves, plus a few other charges they could likely toss in just for fun. Nineteen, with a juvie record, gang ink and a family history of anti-social behavior should've put Jax behind bars until he was thirty. Fortunately for him Jax's godfather was tight with THE Godfather, Boss Al Di Capri, and the lawyer they got him was tight with the judge. Instead of a trial and going away for 10+ he pled down to assault and battery, with a sentence of twenty months. Which brought him to Denne, since the DA couldn't be convinced to allow him to serve out that time in the county jail or home bound.

On paper it looked like Jax had been extremely privileged in his sentencing. In reality surviving twenty months locked in close quarters with peckerwoods and white supremacists was as close to a death sentence as you could get. His last name had painted a target on his back at birth, but putting their friend in an ICU would have every thug sporting the Brand gunning for his scalp from the moment the bars slammed shut on his cell.

Taking a look at the CO's on either side of him Jax amended that last though, or before.

Some of those who work forces, were the same who burned crosses after all.

His escort led him into the guard house on the island-side of the bridge, where he began the dehumanizing and invasive process of being entered into DSP system. First they had him strip and searched him thoroughly, before hosing him down with a high pressure hose shooting ice water at him. Then, thoroughly cleaned and still dripping wet he was made to straddle a bench in a locker room with a leg on either side, a pile of papers and a pen placed in front of him for him to fill out. The forms were basic information that they likely already had on record, but the excercise in redundancy was meant to serve as the introduction to his incarceration. He did what they said, and they could fuck with him in whatever way they wanted. Once those forms were filled out he was finally allowed to towel the rest of him dry and put on a blue DSP prisoner uniform with his prison number on his right breast.


The CO's then took him from the guard house and led him across the yard to the cell blocks. Was it his ego imagining things? Or did all eyes turn to him as he was escorted to his cell with toiletries and laundry in hand.

"Open on 333!" The CO called and waited for the electronic cell door to slam open. It was a simple cell, bunk beds, writing table, toilet, sink and mirror. Nothing luxury, but better than some places. It did have one amenity that Jax could not live without.

"Lucky you Jackson," the fatter CO taunted as he pressed his baton against the small of the convict's back to prompt him into the cell. "No cell mate." The two guards laughed as if it was some private joke as the door slammed shut behind him. There was a smile on Jax's face though, despite his conditions. No cellmate meant just one thing. The first of Gayle's connections had come through. No cellie was going to be slitting Jax's throat in his sleep.

Gayle's connections proved more than solid for the first month in prison. An arrangement with the Deputy Warden kept Jax in his solo cell, and Jax was able to earn by fighting in the DW's underground fighting ring. Not too different from the Pits outside, and Jax made a cut of the bets that the prison staff and others put on his fights. Obviously the other Regs kept a tight circle around him on their own, but payments to the Rollin' 91'er's had the black prison gang watching their back as well. It didn't take much motivation to get them to piss in the Nords' mornng coffee. All of this was enough to head off the first few amateur attempts before they became serious. And it bought time for Jax to come to terms with his new surroundings and his new life.

It was February 22, a full month and a day from his stepping onto Denne when an attack came that Gayle's connections couldn't deflect.

He was standing in the line to enter the cafeteria, two cell blocks ate at one time which meant that there was always a line for chow, a line to get into the cafeteria and a line to shit out all of the fiber that they fed you in place of real food. A certain level of paranoia had set in at this point, with the knowledge that attacks could come at any time. Rico Ortiz, an OG doing five years for arson, was at Jax's back and Jai, a Rollin' 91 who was doing twenty for murder and was one of their best hitters stood in front. Both of these men were what Jax wasn't yet, experienced killers and veterans of the War. Any Nord that came for Jax would be fighting like hell to get past either of them.

Which was why it wasn't a Nord that came for him. Not at first.

The hack practically appeared out of nowhere, a hand firmly on his baton the only threat he needed to clear away any misconceptions that he came without violent intent.

"Jackson! Step out of line!" The hack commanded, speaking with the type of petty arrogance that confirmed every theory about his penis size that his overcompensation was meant to dispel. A chill ran down Jax's spine, and he needed to swallow down the knot that formed in his throat, burying the fight or flight response that had risen up. His eyes darted to his two protectors, seeing if there was anything they could do, but Jai only shook his head. They best they could do was take out the hack., whether with a fist or a shiv, and that would just lead to another attack later with one of both of them in AdSec. A glance at Rico told Jax the OG would do it, and the Latino gangster had even slipped his shiv into his hand, ready to slit throats for a brother. Which wasn't something Jax was going to allow to happen.

He was a man now, he'd been wearing the Regulators brand since he was thirteen, earning and dealing for six years. He'd gotten himself into this situation, and it was time that he stopped relying on others to get him out.

"Right here chief." Jax called, filling his voice with arrogance and confidence he didn't feel, keeping his head high as he stepped out of line. The hack almost looked disappointed, like he was hoping for the opportunity to use the baton, but he still took Jax roughly by the arm all the same, and started to move him towards the back of the line. Jax didn't fight his direction, didn't struggle or show fear. If this was how he was going to go out, he was going to go out with honor and make sure he took a pound of flesh with him at the right time. Not waste it on a pawn.

"We see you Polansky." Rico warned, his eyes marking down every feature of the guard from his face, to his name, to his badge number.

"You don't see shit Ortiz!" The guard called back, knowing the reality of the threat. For a moment Jax pitied the Corrections Officer, the guy was in an impossible position. On one hand the Nords would likely do horrible things to him and his family if he broke whatever deal they had. On the other, Jax's people wouldn't let him fulfill that deal without guaranteed pay back. For a moment Polansky seemed to be deciding who he feared more, the Nords or the 13th Street Regulators.

He chose wrong.

The room Polansky led Jax to looked like it used to be some kind of laundry or dish washing place, though now it was pretty much an empty storage room. The tiled floor sloped downward into one corner, where there was a drain and some sinks pressed against the wall. Shelves lined the wall opposite the sink as well as the one next to the door, filled with cardboard boxes and plastic bins that contained who knows what. The room wasn't a perfect square, there was a slightly curved hallway at the corner across from the door (which was on the left hand wall if one was looking at the room from the sinks) that held another door that sounded as if it led towards the kitchens. It was from the second door that four Nords appeared, all wearing their wife beaters and sporting shaved heads. Jax hated how similar they looked considering how much he favored a short hair cut.

"Have a nice chat." Polansky taunted, pushing Jax towards the four Nords before shutting the door the door they had entered through. No way out that way.

Lifting his fists Jax kept his eyes on his four opponents. He had spent more than half his like in Wolfsham's and Takahashi's gym on 14th Street, learning Krav Maga from his Moshe Wolfsham and aikido from Ken Takahashi. These guys were likely just thugs, armed thugs, but still thugs. Four on one might be tough odds, but his training and experience might be enough to give him the edge.

Might be.

One thing was for certain though, he couldn't wait for them to come for him. With a loud yell he leapt forward, planting his show in the gut of the center-most Nord. His attack took them by surprise, and the kick knocked one of them off balance and onto his ass. Keeping the initiative for as long as he could, seeing how it was the only thing keeping him alive, he laid about with his arms just to get some space and breathing room. He danced on the balls of his feet, introducing the heel of his left hand to the back of the head of one Nord while staggering another with a jab to the kidney from his right. With three Nords tumbling, he snapped his attention to the forth and backpedalled slightly, hoping to keep the sprawling bodies between him so that they had to move through each other in order to get a swing at him. That plan worked a few seconds, eternity in the hyper-condensed space of a fight, but not long enough for him to land a blow that would slim the numbers against him.

There were no glass jaws or men who couldn't take a punch in that room, and a crowded fight in a backroom wasn't like a scene in a movie. You didn't hit a grown man once and they stayed down, and there were no instant knock out punches. The Nords didn't wait patiently and let Jax take them one on one. If they were going to do that they wouldn't need to send four men. At first their counter-attacks were fumbling attempts to knock Jax off balance and get him into a pin. Attacks that were decently easy for the nimble teen to dance around and avoid, but there was only so much space to advance, and in the cramped spaces of the washroom Jax couldn't get the room he needed to land a solid blow. Instead he could only deflect and jab. No matter what he did the Nords kept pushing him back and keepng him away from the door they had come through- his only means of escape.

It was a bit of water that settled the fight, Jax's left foot slipping out from under him just enough to throw him off balance, and in that short span or two or three heartbeats the Nords had their opportunity to strike. The biggest of the four buried his fist in Jax's solar plexus, knocking the wind out of his lungs and doubling him over. Then two of his buddies grabbed Jax's arms and kept them spread, forcing his back against the metal sink and his feet right over the drain.

The drain his blood was going to flow down.

The fourth Nord, the one that Jax had kicked to start the fight and had managed to hit a few more times in the chaotic melee, seemed to have decided he'd had enough as was backing up towards the door to make sure no one heard the commotion and was looking to interrupt.

Nord number 1, the one who had winded Jax, wiped a little blood from his lips and reached into the waistline of his prison pants, withdrawing a curbed piece of glass that glistened in the dim light. A bit of cloth wrapped round the end served as a hilt, and the jagged edges where it had been broken off of a window were the blade. Jax's eyes fixated on that blade as the man who was going to kill him smiled cruelly and drew his arm back for a deadly swing.

"I'm going to slit your fucking throat, you little prick." The killer growled, frustrated that a teenager would've been so hard to kill. He took his time though to savor the kill, holding the blade in a reverse grip and watching Jax's every emotion before beginning the swing.

Time slowed to a crawl, Jax's heart drummed in his chest like a clock ticking off the seconds he had left to live. His life flashed before his eyes in the light glinting off the glass.

He saw his father, wearing a heavy coat with the collar up and a ball cap shading his face to hide his identity, hold Jax's hand through the chainlink fence on the school Promising his son that he loved him and that everything would be alright, that no one would ever hurt him. Hearing the last words his father had ever told him, 'I love you Jacob, look after your mother for me. I'll be back home in a few days."

He saw the funeral, his mother's face a stone mask of grief, cloud by the tears in Jax's eyes. He felt Jaide's small hand wrap itself around his. Not saying a word, no eight year old had the words to comfort someone in that grief, but just her presence alone made Jax feel stronger.

He watched Jaide grow with him into a young woman, his lover, his girlfriend, his ride or die and mother of his son. He saw the last moment he'd shared with her and JJ, looking at them across the table in visitation, JJ sitting in his mom's lap and playing with an action figure. Jaide's eyes dilated from the pain meds she had been taking for three years. But still filled with love.

His mother smoking a cigarette next to a no smoking sign in visitation, a strong, hard woman who didn't have the words to share her emotions. Who had grown old young with vodka and pain. She didn't say that she loved him, that she was proud of him. But she didn't need to say the words. He could read it written plain as day across her face.

Jon Gayle meeting with Jax through the glass at the county jail, promising his godson that he would be safe. That everything would be taken care of. That the Nords wouldn't even lay a finger on him. "I'll take care of everything." He had promised, before a guard escorted him out of the room.

Lastly, he saw the future. His brothers singing 'Danny Boy' as they laid him in the ground. Jaide a sobbing wrecked beside his grave. JJ too young to understand, too young to remember anything but the pain, sobbing beside the other children too young to know what was going on. Growing up like Jax had, abandoned by his father too young, left with a mother who could carry her grief, or care for her child, but who couldn't do both. White heat filled Jax's chest, the drum of his heart in his ears stopped, and Jaide's face filled his eyes.

No. No this isn't how it ends.

"NOOOOOOO!" Jax screamed defiance as his body moved on instinct, left foot kicking out to shatter a knee, bending it at a ninety degree angle from the direction it was supposed to bend. Freed, his left fist found his second captor's windpipe a gust of air escaping his lips as Jax's right arm escaped his grip.With both hands free Jax moved like lightning, the rest of the world moving through molasses. He couldn't block the shiv coming for his throat, halfway to his jugular, but he could redirect it. One hand came to the Nord's wrist, the other to his elbow, a flick and a twist and a guiding push and the shiv was in Jax's control for a moment.

A moment was all he needed to channel his attacker's energy, to turn it and reverse it and open a red line on the Nord's throat from his windpipe up to under his left ear. Pink, aerated blood gushed into the air, splattering across Jax's face and chest the taste of gore on his tongue. The Nord's fingers opened lifelessly and Jax slipped the shiv into his grip proper, eyes wide as he watched the man who meant to kill him flail to try to stop the blood flowing down his front. His back hit the tile floor as the strength slipped from his body, a weezing-gurgling sound filling the room as breath struggled to pass through the impromptu tracheotomy and the lifeblood that was drowing him.

Frozen by shock, Jax stood there and watched as the blood began to pool under the body, flowing down the slight slope in the room and disappearing down the drain. Bubbles of air popped and cracked in the lightish-red stream.

Just like cherry pop.
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