The historic Ohio Penitentiary is shutting down. It’ll soon be destroyed to make way for a hockey rink. Whole sections are closing or already locked off. A skeleton crew runs the facility. The last of the inmates are being prepped for transport over a series of coming weeks. Tensions are high for prisoner and guard, inmate and staff alike, and the extreme summer heat isn’t helping matters any.
Into this comes Jeff: young and likeable though inexperienced and straight from college. He’s responsible for cleaning up the furlough and parole process files; he’s getting them ready to follow the inmates they represent to their new prison destinations. Astute and self-reliant, but clearly over his head, he’s going to find out if he has correction fluid running through his veins…the hard way.
It’s through Jeff that we see how the prison works, and how it’s changing. He moves through six crash gates to get to his office. He is verbally tested by Warden Cartwright. He learns staff members are leaving, either to assume new roles at other institutions…or just quitting. He meets Katie, the young architect in charge of the eventual prison demolition, and gets a virtual tour of the facility. He faces death at the hands of a notorious inmate, Crime Wave. All this on the first day!
The living prison legend, Zeno, is instrumental in helping Jeff escape Crime Wave. Decades before, Zeno beat a man to death with his bare hands. Due to be executed in Ol’ Sparky, his sentence was commuted to life. Now he bunks in the Death House, sleeping next to Ohio’s retired electric chair. And with 30 years of quiet study, he’s become much more than his past would suggest.
As a quiet friendship grows between Jeff and Zeno, an explosion of violence erupts in the Ohio Penitentiary. With the prison transports now stopped and information sparse at best, the inmates have had enough. Much like the Halloween riot of ’52 and the riot of ’68, a myriad number of reasons exist behind the Walls for an uprising…all it needed was a spark.
Now Jeff, Zeno, Katie and a small but diverse group of prisoners, guards and staff must make their way out of a facility filled with rampaging convicts, a facility designed to trap people within for…well, forever. They’ve got limited help and contact with the outside thanks to the tireless work of Trooper Varney. But as time pressure builds, it becomes apparent that there’s a larger antagonist behind their dire predicament, someone who methodically prepared this eventuality…and who specifically targeted Zeno and Jeff. Will their wits, skill and friendships save them…or will they die behind the Walls?
Inspired by a published autobiography and real case studies, The Walls is a new breed of action script, built around solid characters and twists galore!