Goosebumps cracked through his skin as the wardens’ laugh sent a shiver of fear through the prisoners beaten
body. The warden bellowed his devilish howl aiming mostly to intimidate his own ego rather than to scare the
life from the bleeding form begging at his feet.
The warden pointed the revolver at the prisoners head while moving slowly towards the shaking prisoner. The
bloody form curled into a protective ball waving his hands back and forth in front of his face. The warden
pressed the muzzle of the gun between the prisoner’s eyes and gently, and evenly, pulled the trigger. Before
the final click, the warden sneered out a powerful and devilish question.
“Do you trust me? You know you do.” The old mans echoing laughter filled the chasm. His wrist shook with
Before the prisoners jaw opened, his brain exploded. His brain splattered against the mold encrusted rock that
surrounded them. Steam from the void in the prisoners head could be seen rising upward, disappearing along
with the vibrations of the devilish laugh. The echo from the blast filled the chasm below.
The old man laughed again, this time holding onto his stomach in a sick sense of hearty joy. Everyone feared
him for what he was and what he could do.
The warden gazed at the treasures that surrounded him. They were his real friends. He rubbed his hands
together as he bellowed his demonic spell again. A wide grin spread wider across his bearded face.
It was dark and cold deep down in the bottom of the Hole. No one other than he knew that the chamber
existed. Having this secret all to himself was a sense of authority and power that no one could ever equal.
Rumors had it that he had killed several inmates. Their bodies were never found after disappearing one day.
The highest of corrupt politicians and lowest of the criminal minds kept their secrets and treasures in the room
of this evil man. Secrets, that told the locations of gold, jewelry, money and paintings. All were given to the
warden; the keeper of the keys. Who would ever think that the treasures of thieves would be buried at the
very feet of the criminals themselves? In a way serving time together forever. He would be rich for none of
them knew where their treasures were. They trusted him to the end, the stupid fools he thought.
"Mine! All mine!" The laughter echoed throughout the underground chamber. He lost count of the number of
inmates he had killed. Did they really think they were going to get time off?
He had tricked the inmates into believing they would get time off for helping him unload and hide the treasures
in the Hole of Maximum Security Prison.
Maximum Security was a stone fortress. Built in the early 1800's by pre-civil war criminals, the prison was
designed for only one thing, to keep prisoners in. The stone wall was ruggedly built, constructed of solid granite
rocks, rocks that were so tightly arranged that not a single piece of paper could slide between any two. The
walls were eighteen feet high and ten feet below the surface of the ground, designed to prevent possible
escapes. At each corner of the wall was a guard’s station. The guards were ordered to kill at the first sign of
trouble. No questions asked.
What the people of the community and law enforcement failed to recognize openly was that the Warden, Daniel
O'Halleron, was the most politically corrupt individual that the state has ever experienced.
The prison here was not a new concept. On these very grounds during the Civil War was a prison that held
captured Confederate Soldiers who were negotiated for freedom for information about the southern military
leaders. Of course they, or most of them, were ignorant of such things since most of them were only local
southern farm boys whose only ambition in life was to stay and work on the family farm or hunt in the southern
mountains. The prison then was only a small insignificant village of tents and fences guarded by northern
soldiers who had grown up the same way and had the same ideals, only they were from the north. As time
progressed, the idea of a more permanent quarters was developed and the construction of a solid prison begun.
It was a simple idea, one large building surrounded by a solid granite wall with guard towers. And on the outside
of the prison connected by a passage was the warden’s house.
Construction began. The prisoners sweating and dying for a cause laying the very foundation for a system that
was to flourish for the next century. Below the ground was housing for the incorrigibles that no one could ever
change. This mixture of misfits were not only locked up among their fellow peers, but since the state had
nowhere to send the profoundly retarded and the deformed souls who would otherwise rot in the wilds of the
woods, those incorrigibles were mixed together never to see sunlight. They were hidden deep under the ground
and fed by the guards who scraped together leftover meals of the prisoners above. Their existence thrown into
the dungeons of madness. And this place became known as The Hole. The chamber rested deep beneath a
Maximum Security prison.
On the surface construction continued as did the political state of the country. It took four years for the prison
to be built. Within those years, many prisoners died by the hands of the wardens. The incorrigibles and the
deformities were forgotten about. They were to remain in the Hole to live out the remainder of their lives in the
system of corrections.
Since the prison was built, the state thought it wise to keep it existing as a county jail for the community. The
building was redesigned to house additional prisoners, utilizing construction of more cells. As the Hole diminished
in use so did the thought of keeping it all together. Eventually it was emptied and the dungeon sealed for
eternity. The prison developed as the Industrial Revolution flourished and another war fought, this time World
War I, then the Great Depression.
As the Great Depression grew, so did the wealth of some people. People that were involved with the politically
corrupt and the people who were criminally responsive, gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger.
Their wealth made by living off the sweat of the people who worked for a living in order to survive in an already
starving America. The question came to mind in the criminals as to where to store these treasures, money and
jewels. In order to beat the new developing Federal Bureau of Investigations payoffs became popular. The
treasures of the thieves would have to be hidden.
Daniel O’Hallerons’ roots were no concern to him although it was to others. The only concern to him was money
and how to get it fast. He did favors for people that most wouldn't do. He collected money from the wretched
souls of those who couldn’t pay back. If money wasn't collected he would take whatever he could that would
be of value. His diligence paid off. The politicians, most of who were of good financial success, even in these
times, owed a great deal to O'Halleron. Who, they wondered, would be good at overseeing the poor and under
privileged? Who would be good at having the criminals "pay back" there debt to society? Daniel O'Halleron of
course. He wasn't very well educated, leaving people the impression of a man who retained the position for
who he knew rather than what he knew.
Newly appointed Warden O'Halleron seemed to fair well with all the leading politicians in the area helping them in
their bootlegging and illegal trading. The very wealthy and affluent knew him and were indebted to his abilities
to acquire what was due to them. O'Halleron was a mean person not only cruel in his thoughts but also cruel in
his sense of justice. Some often thought who belonged in prison, the inmates or O’Halleron.
O'Halleron was trusted in keeping the prison secure and quiet. His plan would work with even the worst of
criminals. O'Halleron was not only popular with the politicians but also became a consortium for the underworld.
He would supply them with information regarding the politician’s activities and their whereabouts. He would be a
supply and demand person, a sort of double agent. No one complained because he got the job done no matter
what the circumstance.
O'Halleron made deals with everyone. Part of those deals was to hide riches that were acquired by the
criminals. The treasures were amassed and accumulated by the numbers. O'Halleron needed a place secure from
all that would serve as a repository for his rewards. They would never get them back. He would never return
that amount of worth.
He had heard from someone years ago of a tale of the prison that held a chamber deep below the cells. If this
was true who would ever think of looking for the treasures of criminals than in a prison that is so securely
enclosed as the cellar of a Maximum Security prison. The lion's lair would be safe haven for the future. He
would get all that he could, then leave. He would leave for the Bahamas. Live like a king maybe even Mexico,
he thought. There he would be richer than all the kings.
He found it! Hidden in the archives of the prison, evidence of what was once the place referred to as the Hole,
directly beneath the main portion of the prison. It was used as a segregation area for the deranged. Perfect he
Deep into the darkest of nights O'Halleron went into the cellar of the prison. He told the old guards, who were
normally sleeping the wee hours away, that he had a tip of someone digging out of the prison and that only he
would search for the truth.
He wondered where to begin. He calculated to the spot which would have been the middle of the prison and
simply began digging away one hole at a time. Frustrated, he thought of giving up when he hit something.
Rock! He had found a mother load of rocks clumped together, a marker of some type. He spread the circle out
further and further. The hole now measured some six feet around, six feet deep. He would have to come back
again and examine this more carefully.
The following night he did the same thing.
Down into the Hole he went. This time pulling out of his sack, a pick and crow bar to break the rock beneath
him. Through the rock he smashed his pick and the ground beneath him gave way. O'Halleron fell into an empty
He lit his lantern and became sick from what lay before him, human bones. The remains were of those who died
while in captivity never to be buried. But what a spot he thought! Who would ever imagine looking here? He
began to search the chasm and found it to be large enough to hold what he could store and get away with.
The area, divided by several smaller areas, perhaps, he thought to hold the more vicious, were separated by
bars and the manacles of the animals still remained on the walls of the granite firmly attached. What he found
even more interesting was that it was rather dry. This was the secret would never be told. As he stole the only
existing records of what remained as the history of The Hole from the archives and stashed them with all his
other treasures. The object now was to seek an avenue to sneak the goods here without being questioned, by
He thought of what would be directly over his head in the main prison area. He searched for a landmark. He
found it! A drainage pipe not more than twenty feet from the Hole. One day not to long ago he gazed out over
the wall from a guards tower noticed that only one area seemed to be green compared to all the other areas.
At closer look he saw that the drain from the prison emptied into a nearby stream. No filters, no treatment, raw
sewerage. All refuse ran from the prison into the stream. The day that he entered the Hole he thought of this
He marked the spot, one straight line, and one straight tunnel. He felt like a prisoner himself. Digging a tunnel
from the very prison he was to guard. He thought of another idea. He would enlist the help of an inmate. Yes,
an inmate he thought. He would get someone who was a very short timer and reduce his sentence to nothing if
he should be able to dig the tunnel in one maybe two days. No breaks. Then O'Halleron would take ‘care’ of the
Take care of him he did. With the tunnel now complete the treasures were ready to be moved. After the
completion of the tunnel, O'Halleron thanked the inmate by inviting him into his house for a drink to celebrate.
As the unknowing prisoner sipped on a drink, a bullet passed through his brain ending a secret that might have
been told. The inmate chosen was one that had no family, no relatives, and no future. No one would miss him.
The body was buried deep into the woods behind the prison. Away from everything and into the mouths of
those animals and bugs that could feast to their hearts content. His "friends" would have been proud of him. He
had dug the tunnel and it couldn't have been any better.
O’Hallerons’ nightly escapades into the cellar of the prison were complete. He had announced to everyone that
his search was complete and that there was no escape route. Everyone was doing a good job. Keep it up he
told the sleepy eyed guards. If only they knew, he laughed to himself.
The cellar of Max appeared to be just as normal as ever. He ordered that nightly searches of the cellar be
conducted, in order to keep away any real escapees from stumbling onto his secret. And he ordered that
anyone who was found in the cellar be shot on the spot, no questions asked. Life in the prison went on as
O'Halleron needed help. The amount of materials that he had stored in his warden's house amounted to more
than he could handle by himself. He had to choose another inmate to help him move and store his wealth. He
reviewed the records and selected another "volunteer".
Anthony “TJ” Fontaine was single. No ties to the community and no family whatsoever. Mother and father both
killed in a hold up years ago. In order to survive the streets, Fontaine was forced to shine shoes and sell
vegetables until accused by an Irish cop of mugging an old lady. The cop accused Fontaine because he was the
only Italian in the Irish neighborhood and according to the cop "just didn't look right." He had only one set of
clothes and very little money, but he was neat and clean in attitude and never ever would he hurt a soul.
Ever. Fontaine was arrested and charged with a simple larceny with a two year sentence to serve. It would be
a long two years.
He was a young twenty two, his English still broken by an Italian accent. Picked out of a line up of people that
had similar features and looks the prosecution asked for a quick plea. If convicted then he would have faced
ten years. He reluctantly went with the two year plea and tucked his head and bowed out of the battle. He
would get over it and get on with his life he thought. And someday all of them would pay, every last one of
Fontaine had no thought of escaping, until now. O'Halleron had offered to release Fontaine if he would help him
in a special project.
Early, on a dreary Fall Sunday morning, the wind swept across the open fields surrounding the prison compound.
O’Halleron had awakened Fontaine and ordered him out of his cell to help. The sky was still dark and snow
began to fall. O'Halleron thought with the snow now on the ground someone would eventually ask questions
about the footprints in the snow leading to the drain. He figured he better finish now and be done with it.
Fontaine lugged article after article up the drain pipe leading to the Hole. The Warden, a burly individual was not
only intimidating but had a gun that would kill Fontaine should he not decide to work. He kept working. His
treasures nearly all stored. He told Fontaine that they would go for a ride for something to eat before he was to
be released. The time came. He was going to be released.
"So what do you figure Fontaine? What are you going to do with your time now?" O'Halleron asked wiping his
nose with the back of his sleeve. The gun protruded from the stomach that bulged from the jean jacket
covering his sweaty body.
Fontaine kept looking at the gun but didn't want O'Halleron to see that his eyes were filled with fear.
"I don't know Warden,” Fontaine answered with his heavy Italian accent. "Can't say I figured what I'd do.
Guess I'll start over. Begin a new life, maybe a family." His eyes roamed towards the gun.
O'Halleron started coughing as if in a fit. He bent over, tears in his eyes. The chance for Fontaine couldn't
have come sooner. He didn't shoot him but he did take the gun. Reaching in he grabbed it while striking the
warden in the head. With a slice of his homemade knife, Fontaine carved his mark across the face of his captor
so that all could see. Then ran away not looking back.
A train heading north appeared on the tracks not far from the prison. Just the luck Fontaine needed. He
hopped onto an empty railcar. A bum lying inside the box in a darkened corner looked at him as if the young
Fontaine was a mere pest to be dealt with, with a swat. Now his freedom was here at last. He would soon nod
off to sleep. It was the first good nights sleep in two years.
He had heard the trains late while he lay on his bunk on the third tier of the prison cell block. If he stood and
jammed his head into the far left corner of his cell and strained he could see the train at night chugging along
the tracks. And every once in awhile, not always, but sometimes, he heard the sound of the whistle cast its
long warning maybe at some animal crossing the track or maybe some daring kids jumping the tracks just feet
before the slow moving train. They never traveled fast through populated areas he knew that much. Those
damn kids never had any fear of anything. The prisoner alone at night when listening to the sounds of the train
realized soon enough that the train headed north and north was the way he would go.
He jumped aboard that train at the right time and in the right place never figuring that once escaping from
prison this chance would ever come his way again. The thought of a bullet whizzing past his head or slamming
into his back could only come to mind. The officials never stopped the train nor did they ever think that he
would have been on it. His escape from the state prison would soon be well published and his picture spread
over all the papers. Then again with the deranged O'Halleron maybe his escape would be a well guarded secret.
O'Halleron would probably chalk it up as another reduced sentence and let it go from there. Fontaine laughed to
himself and wondered even now how such an act could be pulled off.
His sentence was wrongly imposed. The cops knew it, the one that put him in here knew it and the courts knew
it, but the secrets he kept were worth their weight in gold. Someday his knowledge would be a fortune in and of
itself, but for now his survival was more important than anything else.
Morning came fast. Fontaine jumped off the train as it slowly moved through the deep snow that had gathered
on the tracks. He walked all day through the woods still heading north, away from everything.
As the night arrived, moonlight spread across the hillside sliding through snow covered branches of trees whose
shadows grabbed at the ground in an eerie attempt to swallow whatever crossed its path. The wind howled its
voice through the white covered meadows bringing to the empty landscape a life of its own, a life of cold
emotion filled with horror to those who were unprepared to cross the threshold of winters ground. The hungry
man pushed through the frozen surface fighting the wind and the cold. His sunken eyes closed allowing only the
scant remnants of the moonlight to pass through the slits of his lids.
The temperature had plummeted that night making the snow crusty and hard to the touch. The crunch of the
snow could be heard for quite a distance. The legs had never pumped harder, pushing one foot before another
in a strange rhythmic motion, in an attempt to escape the torment of prison.
His breathing labored and deep breaths pulled the cold air of winter into his overworked lungs. The mist of his
breath and drool of his nose now crusted on the stubble that had grown on his face. O'Halleron had anticipated
the possibility of escape but what he didn't consider was to be outwitted and maneuvered by an inmate who
didn't know to much about anything. Fontaines' legs were numb now, never feeling the sheets of ice that lay
across the snow. The ice had torn through his pants shredding his flesh into a fountain of spurting blood,
leaving an indelible trail to follow.
The eyes of a future killer pushed ahead to see his freedom. Desire, deep from within, pushed his two hundred
pound, thickly muscled frame through what seemed like the arctic tundra.
He could hear the sounds of the rushing water. It was here that he could follow the water towards freedom and
it was here that his future would begin leaving behind a life of crime and misfortune. He hoped a new life could
begin. His legs hit the water sending a blast of cold through his body. What remained of his frozen legs were
kept warm by shear determination to claim what was his and what was right. He pushed onward.
He wondered if the search for him had stopped where he had escaped or if it had continued through out the
New England states. The beard on his face and the hair on his head burned with cold as the icicles fell from
their frozen strands. It would be harder to identify his face with beard. He would keep it.
A scar that some young punk cop carved into his forehead late one summers' night years ago started to pulsate
with a distant pain. The cop who would pay for putting him in prison. And that mobster friend of his too, he
thought. Both would get theirs someday if it was the last thing he ever did. That was not a promise but a
Fontaine looked around in desperation pushing onward into the mountains. His body now shaking with cold and
fear the escape had begun to take its toll. He was not as prepared for the cold as he imagined. Fontaine had
found some clothes in a rail car. The jumpsuit and boots along with a coat of some type were laying on the floor
covered with something frozen, but it didn’t matter now. It seemed up until this point everything was going
better than he hoped. Maybe his change in life would come sooner than he wanted and maybe better than he
ever imagined. Never had luck been with him for so long or for so strong. His hate had been hidden for ten
years. The hate that gave him strength to hunt those two bastards and to let them wallow in their own blood.
Snow fell hard and often in the mountains of Northern New England, smearing the landscape with ever changing
views. The reminder of winter’s cold crept into the souls of man and beast. Never did the escapee suspect that
plans could have been interrupted by something as unforeseeable as the moments that he would soon
encounter. Moments in history that would change the course of his dreams.
He knew that no one would find him now. If only he could hide out here and let time run its' course. Time has a
way of making amends and letting the memory of things that happened dissolve into a state of meshed
wonder. His priority was to find food and shelter and to rid his legs of the pain he was enduring. He vowed from
this moment on, no matter what the situation, that he would never run again. He would face the dragon and
slay it where it stood. Fontaine would again set forth his rights in the world and see himself rid of the forces
that led him to be here in the first place.
He looked around through the blowing wind closing his eyes to the blinding light that blazed across the snow. At
first he thought it was a trick that his mind played but as he moved closer he could see the shape of a small
cabin hidden deep in the woods ahead of him. It looked hidden by brush and branches much to long overgrown.
They slid along the roof and sides of the cabin. He shook his head in disbelief but soon came to realize that
once again luck had come his way. It was true! There it stood. No apparent damage, nor did it seem to be
occupied, a cabin!
Fontaine, dangerous escapee, from a prison far away, approached the cabin with caution. He slowed his
breathing, down the stabbing pain from the lacerations that bled on his legs. Blood had left a trail for miles now
but it didn't make any difference now. It was either die trying to escape or complete his freedom in dignity. The
air was still now. The cabin protected by the winds of winter. The bulk of the cabin seemed as though it was
buried beneath the ground as if whoever built it knew they were going to be here for a long time. But, the cabin
seemed deserted now. He swallowed hard; eyes opened wide, heart beating fast, and realized for the first time
in his life that he was completely and utterly alone. He vowed that this would never happen again. And
someone would pay dearly for the mistakes that were made.
O'Halleron recovered from his blow to the head. He never made mention to anyone about Fontaine except that
he had done his job quite well and he was now a free man. He had returned to his prison home and attended to
his wounds with bottles of drink that were made by some of the inmates in homemade distilleries. That was
illegal and he knew it but who cared, he was the ruler here, the supreme master and no one would dare say
anything to jeopardize whatever little benefit they received, except one, Fontaine.
That sonovabitch, O’Halleron thought. "I'll get that bastard if it's the last thing..." O'Halleron yelled aloud to
himself He threw a bottle and smashed it against a fireless fire place. He fell asleep in a drunken stupor never to
awaken at the same place he had fallen asleep. During the nights sleep he was visited by some of the boys and
taken away never to be seen again. Word had spread among members of the various families that O'Halleron
was planning on splitting with the blood money.
A plastic bag was discovered by one of the inmate porters cleaning the entrance to the prison one day. The
bag was found in a bathroom beside a toilet. The inmate opened the bag that looked to be oozing fluid from
the bottom and gasped at the sight inside. Investigators determined the remains to be that of Daniel
O'Halleron. The parts had been ground up as if it had been done with a wood chipper. No identifiable part had
survived. The only thing that could identify the body was a ring, beaten, scratched and twisted, that had been
on O'Hallerons finger with his initials engraved.
Thus the secret of his treasure vault was now a story of the past sealed under the ground under a Maximum
Security Prison. As far as Fontaine was concerned he was gone but his escape never recorded. A new Warden
would be appointed and a new hunt for a way in to the treasure would soon begin.
by: Scott McGovney