After they settled into the paddy wagon, Brenda and her companions were securely shackled hand and foot. An expanded metal divider separated low, hard benches which were arranged length wise along the van’s walls. A small window in the rear door was the only connection to the outside world. In contrast to the celebratory mood of a few minutes earlier, the girl’s outlooks had deteriorated considerably. Gloom pushed anticipation aside. Brenda looked at Liza through the mesh. Neither felt like talking.
Officer Malvey secured his seat belt, checked his mirrors, and then gave a nod. The sally port’s garage door began its laborious assent. Once open, it revealed an ominous sky replete with thunderheads and flashes of lightning. Brenda assumed they would head south, as the two DOC women’s facilities were located in Indianapolis and Rockville respectively-each about three hours away. It was going to be a long ride. Nothing was set in stone, but since Rockville was a designated intake facility, Brenda guessed that was their destination. Soon, the wagon was lashed with sheets of pounding rain.
Logistics of transporting eight anxious women were simple: keep driving until you get to the destination. No stopping to stretch. No bathroom breaks. Any variation posed a security risk. After a couple of hours of riding there was little frame of reference when unfamiliar structures appeared out of the mist in the rear portal. Brenda had no idea what they were, or even where they were.
What the hell are those things? They’re so huge. They’re kind of freaking me out. They look like . . . aliens. I’m scared. Man I hope we don’t hang around here very long.
The windmills of Fowler Ridge performed escort duty for many miles. Once they were gone, an even more disquieting sight seized Brenda’s attention. Malvey had driven off the main highway and stopped at what Brenda assumed to be some sort of a gate due to the muffled voices that filtered into the prisoner compartment.Then, he drove a short distance, ground the transmission into reverse which gave a high-pitched wail as the van lurched backwards. His dazed passengers got the first glimpse of their new home. Through the portal Brenda saw the sun breaking across the clouds as it glinted off of the razor wire of Rockville Women’s Prison. Even in this place of sadness, the rays of light gave her hope.