Chapter 7: Captured
More soldiers are now surrounding me, more guns pointing at my head.
One of the original two grabs me without a word around my neck to pull me to the ground. I sense his position and with a swift movement I swing my body and plant the defensive wrist knife into the artery in his neck. I pull the knife back and see blood squirting against the rock before I sink into a pit of darkness.
“One more,” John interrupts referring to my drink.
“Let’s do it,” I reply.
He indicates to a now younger bar lady to send some beers.
“What happen to granny,” I ask.
“Left, with…” he starts.
“Left with who?”
“Her handbag and a bunch of keys.”
My eyes meet faces I have not seen before as I scan the now full drinking hole. Dancing figures decorate, the normal abundant dance floor, moving with no specific rhythm at all. The live band rang tune after tune over the microphone. Glasses litter the tables, standing next to their bottle partners. Alcohol dulls the senses and inhibitions in the dim lights.
“So with what did they knock you over the head,” John screams over the music.
“No fuckin idea; must have been the bud of an AK47,” I speculate.
“I don’t even know how long I was out for. I woke up on the back of one of that green Unimogs, do you remember them? I start telling.
“Yes, the ones FAPLA and UNITA used.”
The bar lady delivers the drinks and starts walking back.
“Nice ass,” John says while staring at her tight jeans.
“All tits with legs are a nice ass for you,” I reply.
“Well beer are full, let’s continue,” John asks.
With my eyes still close I hear the sound of the diesel engine that drill through my ears. I become aware of the movement of the truck under me, of the green steel that I can now see next to my face. I struggle to breath with the continuous bumping into my ribs that feels battered and bruised. I feel how the pain in my head press against the sides of my skull, how my left knee shoot sharp warning pains into my shins.
My eyes open;
I see a body lying next to me his lifeless eyes stare at me. Watery blood still pouring from the wound in his neck, and I know that this is the newest victim now living in the dark room in my mind. He is the soldier that died between the rocks, who sprayed a blood pattern over me.
My hands fiddle with the rope constraining me. It is leaving my body defenseless against the assault from the merciless bouncing over the rough terrain.
My body is naked with both arms constraint behind my back.
“I have been captured.”
“I did not fight to the death,” I think.
This fact cuts deep into my soul.
My body bounce again and for a moment I can see the drop sides of the Unimog. Trees are passing slowly, far too slow for the revolutions of the engine, but at the right speed to fall off and survive.
A thought of hope forms in my mind.
“Possible escape,” I think
Life is now back, fight to death becomes a target again.
Before the thought can mature a boot hit me in the face. Lighting flash in my eyes and I feel how the darkness creep back into me. How, fighting to death become an enchanted thought.
“I have to, I have to,” I repeat as my body bounce like a bag of bones in the metal bin.
Light in my eyes now come at a price. The pain in my head is sharp and enhanced by the sharp light filtering between the thorn trees.
Thoughts of escape, fighting on keep my instinctive mind alive. It keeps the depression of being captured within the cavity of the dark room.
“I have to think.”
Before I can complete the thought I see how a boot flies to my face again. I see lightning flashing in my mind that sting with a sharp pain up from my jaw. Black shadows slip for a moment over my eyes. I see the deep pit of unconsciousness that want to shallow the light from my eyes again. My head goes to the point of bursting, a point where I think that my head will explode if it has to endure any further impact. The boot explodes again against my head. I can now see the blood streaming out of my mouth. It splatters against the steel floor as I bounce up and down.
The boot hit me again but this time between my bruised ribs. They are abused by my own arms, which constantly pierce into them as the truck toss my body around between the stiff eyed soldier and the kicking gunner.
The afternoon sun slices like a knife into the soft naked skin of my buttock. I can feel how blister form and pop, how the brutal rays burn down on me as if it want to torture me to talk. The truck bounces forth with a horse like action.
The vehicle stop and I feel how one of the passengers pulls on the rope around my feet. Soldiers pick me up and throw my naked body behind the vehicle in the dusty sand. One of the soldiers is now tying a rope to my ankles. He drags the other end of the rope to the vehicle and ties it to the tow bar.
“They are going to drag me,” I think.
“My arms,” I think.
“With my arms tight behind my back one stone…”
The pain of the thought makes me pause.
“Will flip my arms over my head,” I continue while visualizing the drag.
“They are dragging me by my feet on my back.”
Adrenaline starts rushing through my body. Soldiers around me start walking in slow-motion, they walk frame for frame. Sounds around me become dull as is slows down.
Brutal training has now kicked in to replace my humanity. I have become a machine of war.
A big black soldier is now walking towards me. It seems that he is in charge of the team who captured me. He bends toward my ear and shout loudly in perfect English,
“Thought you could kill us, you white dog”, his voice bounce off my ear drums. Words register in my mind, but I do not answer. I hear my mind form the words. I can hear my reply, but no voice pass my lips.
“Nice to talk to someone,” I hear the quiet voice in my mind
I feel how his flat hand explode on my ear, how the palm of his hand capture air and force it over my eardrum, leaving only the slow singing voice of a whistle in my mind.
He repeats the procedure to scream in my ear.
“I cannot hear you, did you think you were going to kill us?” he shouts again into my ear.
My mind listens to the words. I turn my head to look into his eyes. I want to see the new figure that I will have to force through the wool strings into my darkroom. This figure gives me new targets. Not only to escape but to steal his soul while doing so.
He lifts his one foot and drives his boot into my chest. I feel how the air escapes through my mouth how the ribs bend under the pressure. For a moment the thought of his death escapes my mind. But my training reminds me to keep the small smile around the corners of my lips.
With a gesture to the driver, he turns around and starts walking away. I can hear the roar of the diesel motor; I feel the tug on my legs before my body starts following the truck.
Stones slice into the skin of my arms. I feel how the higher part of the road bounce against my aching head, how the grass strip the skin of my arms and buttocks. My broken leg bounces onto the soil but I remember that the worst of all will be if my muscles cannot keep my arms from flipping over, from breaking my shoulders.
With the truck now speeding up, the friction of the rocky soil on my arms starts to turn my body. First onto my left shoulder before it flips me over to my stomach. Sliding now on my naked stomach, I feel how the rocks rip into my genitals. The grass and soil rip the skin of my stomach and chest. I feel lightning flashes through my brain as a stones slam into my jaw. Lightning that drives me to the edge of darkness to the edge of the bottomless dark pit. The darkness will be merciful but I cannot afford to leave my body unsupervised behind this truck.
I try to lift my shoulders from the ground in an effort to lift my head, to protect it from the brutal assault. But the constant impact of stones hitting my abdomen does not allow me to do so. It does not allow me to breathe freely or to think of anything, but to keep my body intact.
I feel how the soil pass slower under my stomach as the vehicle slow down and stops. My body slide a little bit on and land against a large rock in the two-track dirt road. I feel how the rock slit into my broken knee, how it stop against my naked testicles. I feel how the pain shoots into the side of my stomach.
One of the soldiers jump off the Unimog and run up to me. He grabs me by my raw shoulder and turns me over. He turns my raw stomach to the sun as if he needs to show the sun what they have done.
Air flows over the raw meat sting through the exposed nerves. I feel how warm liquid flow from my belly button towards my side. It runs down and I imagine how it trickles into the dry sand.
Once again I see the big man walking towards me, towards the red jelly mess left of me. Once again he lifts his one foot, but this time he places it gently on the ripped skin. He presses down before he twists his track into the nerves, into my blood soaked skinless chest.
“I have twenty questions for you white man.” He mumbles through his teeth.
“Twenty and we are still stuck at number one,” he completes the statement
“Now tell me, did you think you could kill us all?”
He asks again.
For a moment my mind rolls the question over and investigates it. My mind wonders if the right answer will make him move on, and then if there is a right answer.
With this fresh thought thrown into the mix, my mouth remains sealed.
The thought now flashing through my mind
“How long will they play before my conscious will crash into the subconscious?”
“How long will they play before they get bored before the game will chance to a game that will lead me to join the stiff eyed man in the bin of the Unimog?”
These questions hammer through my mind.
But answers I do not have
With a signal to the driver, the large man walks away. I am waiting for the Unimog to start growling, for my body to start grinding in the rough tracks of the vehicle.
The Mercedes engine fills the air with smoke before it once again starts to drag his naked load over the rough terrain.
“They will drag me until there is no more skin left, and then they will grind my bones until there are no more bones left.”
It will sand the walls of my darkroom until the ghost escape. Sanity will be replaced with the insanity of stiff eyed corpses.
The grinding rocks and sand have become a routine which has no purpose any longer, it will grant my wish, to die fighting, and so I will.
“I will die fighting,” I repeat now loud, while dust and sand fill my mouth.
“Stop this,” my mind screams in agony.
“I will die fighting,” I scream.
“It is fuckin sore, stop,” I think.
“Fuck them all, I will fucking die fighting,” I now scream in reply over the sound of the Diesel engines.
The scream of agony becomes a verbal assault on my enemies. One part of part of me is giving up while the stubborn part refuses defeat. Internally this becomes a conflict as my humanity meets the soldier in me. Slow-motion action and normal action mix, emotion pushes his sorry ass through the pain to convince me to give up.
“I swear in front of God….,” the thought stops for a moment as a rock smash into my testicles.
“I will die fighting these fuckers,” I complete the thought.
In the agony, I start laughing out loud, louder than the engine noise. The sound comes from the sand raw back of my throat like it come out of a scary movie.
Between the laughing, I force words out.
“Faster, faster fuckers.”
I spit some sand out before I start again.
“You are going to fuckin die fucker,” I now scream at the black face watching me from the Unimog.
The Unimog comes to a screeching stop.
I see how the large man walks furiously towards me.
“You want to ask questions fuck-head,” I laugh.
His boot explodes against my face.
“You kick like a baby girl,” I scream through the blood pouring from my mouth.
He loses his temper and attacks me now with his fists, two three shots hammer into my face.
“Is that all you have lovey,” I scream before spitting the blood from my mouth into his face.
“Your dead granny hit harder than you,” I continue my verbal assault.
There are now an AK47 in my face.
“Shut the fuck up, white trash,” he screams.
He pushes the barrel into my face.
“Shoot, lovey, shoot,” I whisper through my teeth.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asks.
“The nightmare you did not have yet,” I answer, laughing in his face.
He pushes the gun barrel into my face and laugh.
“Tough hey,” he laughs into my face.
“Can you drag me behind the truck again, please daddy,” I ask with the voice of a child.
“You want to be dragged again,” the surprise in his mind is clear.
“Please, your fucked up face bore me,” I reply.
His boot thumps into my face again.
“Who the fuck are you,” he now screams, while digging the barrel of the gun into the raw flesh on my chest.
“Nice, a little bit to the left,” I refer to the barrel scratching through my raw nerves on my chest.
I see the AK47 but just before it smash into my forehead.
My eyes dim and darkness starts filling them.
“Was nice meeting you, my girl,” I press over my lips before I sink into the hole of darkness.
Into the fever room, I sink, now covered with newly spun spider webs, spun by spiders with human faces, spiders with personality, with owl claws on the end of each leg. I feel how the walls cannot keep me. The spiders do not scare me. The sticky floor does not hold my bare feet. I feel the freedom around my battered body, the fight that returned to my soldier mind.
Without effort I walk through the reality door, turning my back on the spiders of death.
“I need to lose the feeling in my human mind, the hopeless feeling”, I think with my eyes still close.
I become aware of them tying me again behind the vehicle.
“I will die fighting, to ensure that my soul will be victorious, over the bodily pain and hardship of the moment.”
I feel how the desperate pain and drive to survival engrave the event into the deep banks of my memory.
For a few more minutes I feel how the dirt and sand scrape the nerve ends of my body.
Once again the green vehicle comes to a hold. My ripped naked body slides a few millimeters before it obeys the lack of energy. I feel how the heat generated between my flesh and the dirty soil escape from my neck. The sting of the sun on my back prickle the open wounds, I am aware of the dust and rock particles that stick to the bare flesh.
With expectation, I look for the dead eyes of the big black commander. I want him to see the smile that I force to my lips, not the tears in my eyes. But he does not come; he does not pursue his twenty questions.
“I want to scream at him again.” I think.
“I will never forget his face and eyes.”
“Eyes that will haunt me until I remove him from this earth,” I think.
Darkness crawls into the sides of my eyes, my pupils fight to see, but the trauma pulls the door of reality close on me.
“We need to escape,” I tell myself.
“Escape from the reality, the pain,” I conclude before the darkness swallows me into my unconscious state.
The pit has gray and dark black walls. It reminds me of the gravel road where sand and stone assaulted my naked body. The last light disappears behind the curtain of consciousness. Darkness is now my only companion. It feels like a blessing, a pain reliever. A well-deserved break from the big black man
Water pours into my face, opening a small hole of light in the dark tunnel of my pit.
Through the opening, I see the green water bottle and a hand holding it. I feel how the water stops the air from flowing through my nose. It drowns my feeling of freedom within the darkness. Arms extend from the hands to large shoulders, to a head, a mouth with lips.
I see the lips form words that I cannot hear, words that fill my head with more silence, more nothing. Nothing is now streaming through my ears.
The focus in my eyes return.
I see the big man screaming into my face, saliva travel from his yellow teeth and explode in spatter against my face. Against my eyelids and lips, the sound becomes familiar as it now touches my eardrums.
“White pig”, make a part out of the saliva driven sentence.
The question my brain is pasting together as one of repetition.
I have the urge to close my eyes, to pull the curtain between reality and my dream-world. More water washes the curtain from the hole. Water mixes with dirty soil on my face it finds a path around my cheekbones to escape to the rocky surface below my head.
A boot against my head assists me to slip away. But more water slam into my face, water that once again dissolves the curtain hanging over the hole.
This brings the face close again, water that generates the fear back into my chest. A fear far worse than I had when the human faced hyena creatures chewed on my feet.
The fear is not a fear of death; it has become more a fear of survival. Fear that death has forgotten me and will leave me here in this hell hole forever.
My body is now been dragged again, but I cannot hear the groan of the diesel engines. I do not smell the diesel smoke on the air flowing over my raw body.
There are now hands all over my body. Fingers that touch the nerves exposed to crawling sweaty fingers. These fingers belong in the darkroom of my mind. The laughing teeth of hollow eyes sunk into bloody heads on broken necks.
I see the grey-blue skies for a moment before it gets replaced with the smile of a woman with a dragon-like bird sitting on her shoulder. The red eyes of the bird, the fire spirit that blows smoke through the nostrils on his beak calm my soul between the corpses of my mind.
My mind scatters back to reality with my body now air born for a moment before it hit the green metal of the Unimog bin.
Orange color on the horizon is now the closest idea that I have of time. I am glad that the torture behind the truck, the drag of flesh in the dirt has stopped.
“Sleep,” I think.
“The only cure for this pain.”
For the last two hours of light, my body bounce up and down on the metal bin. My head bounces against steel and the stiff eyed body, every bump in the road become my problem, my ache.
Over the green bin of my torture van, I can see a few tents a TB (Temporary base) between the trees. They move me; it rips my mind out of my pit of comfort. The dark hiding place where pain does not exist, where emotional stress become nightmares.
Once again my body is lifted, and thrown onto the ground. Sand replaces the flies that have made my bleeding skin their den. My one arm is now in someone’s hands that do not care for the words fragile on this package, word that is only engraved into the linings of my heart.
I open my eyes and see how they drag me to a tree. Fifty meters from the closest tent, they tie the rope to my hands behind my back.
“They will hang me in this tree, by my arms that are tight behind my back,” I tell myself in horror.
“This makes sense so far from the tents.”
“It will make it nearly impossible to escape.”
“Hyenas, and you raw ass they will find you at night,” my mind torment the situation
During the day I had no internal conversation, no arguments with myself; the feeling of life within is therefore welcomed.
They are now undoing the rope around my arms. I feel how new blood circulates to my bruised fingers. My arms are now lifted before they tie it again, but this time around the tree. They lift my body to a sit position and pull the strings tight. A new rope is now attached to the rope around my ankles and tight around the tree. With my naked sand burn body tight in a sitting position to the rough tree bark, I see the big black man walking toward me. In the twilight, his figure is even bigger and his shadow is like that of one of the monsters in my dreams.
“We will talk tonight”, he laughs before he removes the pin from a phosphor anti-personnel grenade, a grenade that has no delay, and places it between my thighs.
“Wait quietly here for me,” he completes the sentence before he walks off towards the fire.
The strain on my thighs is almost unbearable keeping my body in this sitting position and keeping the grenade tight enough to avoid the phosphor explosion. It will release thousands of bright little fires onto my body, fire that will burn slowly through my flesh.
“It will be a slow death, a painful battle that will satisfy my quest to die fighting.” I think.
“This battle will be better if the grenade can explode while some of my prison wardens are close enough,”
“Close enough to enter the burning hell with me,” I conclude the thought.
With a shaking right knee, keeping the weight of my body in this sitting position, I concentrate on the grenade between my knees. Keep the handle in place, play the pin for the night.
“The only way for me to rest this knee will be to sit down and split my legs.”
“It will, however, drop the grenade,” I think.
Darkness is now claiming his ground turning the blue gray skies into a black mass with only the small flashing stars carrying the message of light. The trees stand like ghosts in the flickering light of the aroma filled fire burning between the tents. With shaking knees I am waiting for the big man with the twenty questions. The man that will join me in the fire show of the phosphor anti-personnel mine.
“Our screaming eyes will join the stars or just the darkroom in my mind”
But his own aroma fire keeps him occupied.
I know that he want me to deteriorate, he wants me to become a pleading figure without a fight. Without a will, a figure that will accept defeat, but this will sacrifice my mind.
I am now concentrating on my two knees, tying an invisible rope around them.
“This rope will keep them together while my mind drifts off to sleep.”
But it seems impossible, every time I drift off; I have the sensation of the grenade, falling, the feeling of my legs grabbing the cylindrical grenade. It steals the peace from my soul.
For a moment my thoughts become realistic, and my instinct drives me to think. To enter the mind of my enemy commander think how he thinks. Predict his next move.
I look at the grenade between my legs, the threat that keeps my mind occupied.
The question, “who in his right mind will give the enemy a weapon, enabling him to draw the last line into the sand.”
“Who will risk the life’s of his soldiers, the tents that are only fifty meters away, the dry grass,” flash like living flashes through my mind.
The process of thought opens new risks new avenues to take.
I feel how the process drives my mind to sanity, to survival and remove the desire to take them with me.
The craving to kill them is now replaced with the longing to go home.
“If I were the commander I would have broken my prisoner, broke his will, deprive him of sleep, ensure that his mind chatters in million pieces through the night.”
“I would have given him this grenade, promise him that I will be back with my twenty questions, but I would have left him.”
“Left him with an unarmed grenade for the night, with the mind games of death.” I think.
With this thought I close my eyes and drop the grenade from between my legs, waiting for the bang, flames, and pain.
But nothing happens.
With a smile on my dry lips, I congratulate myself with the assessment before I remove the pressure of my legs.
Relieve of muscle pressure feel like I have gone to heaven, obviously to the heaven that will allow a soul with dark graveyard allies. I feel how the rope around my wrists pull tight as my body weight hangs onto it.
My eyes close and I welcome the nightmares that follow.
“At least I will be able to wake up from them.” I think.
The darkness of my sub-conscious mind welcomes me.
Ice cold water in my face end the escape, it brings me back to the reality. It steals the peaceful death that I dreamt of, the green pastures with hyenas and elephants.
My eyes meet the morning light.
The face now before my eyes have no light on it, there is no shadows. His breath smells like rotten meat. Saliva flies from the thick lips and hit my face with contamination. The words that he speaks fall on sleeping ears that is still finding their way back to this nightmare caught in the reality.
This nightmare has no restrictions, no walls, fences, and roofs.
Before I can command my thoughts to predict his next move a heavy hand explodes against the side of my face. Over my sleeping ear with a sound that bounces like a superball from my eardrum to my mind. The stinking breath is now back in my face. Spit flies like fighter jets from between his teeth to slap my face, to carry the death smell to my lips and eyes.
Words form from his exploding lips. Breath from the grave drives it into my face.
For a moment my eyes focus before it drifts away.
It places the ugly face behind frosted glass that soon changes to a thick darkness.
My body is now airborne and once again I feel hands all over the wounds. Hands of people I do not know. My body hit metal. My eyes open slowly and see the green bin of the Unimog in the first morning light. I turn my eyes to see if the stiff eyed soldier will accompany me on the trip. I want to know if his body will share the flies that will follow me during the heat of the day. But he is not there anymore.
I suddenly feel happy that I will be traveling under the morning star that my family is not here to witness this last assault on my weak body. I feel pleased to leave with the thought that I have predicted the actions of the commander. That I could still get in his head while my body was broken. I feel glad that my will is not broken and the fighting power within has not been silenced.
My body itches where mosquitos have bitten me.
“I cannot understand why they did not just lick me, why did they have to penetrate my body if all the fluid was exposed to them.”
The diesel engine fills the morning with diesel smoke, the aroma fills my nose before I start bouncing around in the metal bin of the vehicle.
The drive is brutal but with little contact with the enemy. It is only the soldier standing next to the gun that kicks me every now and then to remind me that he is now in charge. But most of all he reminds me that I am not alone on my journey to hell.
This abuse continues for the next five days. The only break is when we stop to refill the Unimog. My body becomes the new attraction in a small town. I see little faces with round eyes and running noses peeping over the bin sides to view my naked red body.
Day after day I feel how the sun cut through the skin. How blisters form on my lips how they burst later just to be replaced during the day.
My capturers wet my lips just enough to keep my system from total shut down. Once a day they force one or two spoons of tasteless food down my throat.
This action makes it clear to me that they have to keep me alive, that the twenty questions are worth a fortune in the minds of these people.
It makes it clear that they might even bargain a trade with me. But I know that my government will not negotiate, they will not recognize me.
Days drag pass, with the bounce when we drive over the gravel roads.
Sometimes we drive on smooth surfaces which I presume to be tar. Even the smooth rides have large potholes that bounce my aching body around.
Smooth surfaces allow the gunner to kick me more often in the face, to step his ugly boots into my chest. This action pops the sun blisters and allows fluid to run down my sides.
After the fifth day, they blindfold me. For an hour we drive on before they stop.
“I have no idea why they cover my eyes that can only see the sun, the stars, the moon and sometimes the curious population that peep over the sides of the bin,” I think.
“Do they blindfold me because they think I will escape, or do they do this because they have a plan to trade me for something, to trade me after they have asked the twenty questions?”
Questions that only time will answer.
For a moment my mind escape to the brutality of these people,
My mind sees how we enter a little town about 7 months ago.
I see the thatch-roof bungalows of a small town between the trees. We are now on foot leaving the vehicles with medics and supplies behind. The afternoon heat is reflecting like a soil oven from the sand between the trees as we approach. My troops are walking in a wide line to avoid being trapped and destroyed in an ambush between the trees. The town is now close; I raise my hand to stop the troops, while I use my binoculars to view the people, the houses, and the dirt roads to ensure that no foreign troops are hiding in the town. Through the binoculars, I cannot see children playing in the dirt. I only see a few women in the sun. The scenes that meet my eyes spell trouble. I lift my right hand and call the lieutenant on my left. I indicate with hand signals that he must take five troops with him and flank the town to the east. The same signals are used for the sergeant on my right showing him to flank the town around the western side. With two troops left we wait for a few minutes before we start our entrance into the town from the South. Before we enter I told the troops to cover me while I walk into the clean-swept dirt roads of the town. The horrid views that meet my eyes, of mutilated children crawling in the streets. These Children normally run to meet all visitors begging for candy.
In the streets there are women and old men; there is no sign of young males in the picture presented to me. I walk to one of the children crawling and with horror I see the dry blood on their ankles. I see the marks that soldiers have left on them when they cut their Achilles tendons off, this to prevent them from joining the civil war on the side of UNITA.
The MPLA, ANC, and SWAPO allies have taken all the boys older than twelve to join this brutal war. They took them to become soldiers for their course, to fight for freedom at the cost of children. Those that could not join were left in a cripple state of mutilation, mutilation that will never heal.
“Fuck-heads,” I think while my mind jumps back to behind the blindfold.
The vehicle comes to a stop.
For the first time in five days, they remove me from the truck. The thoughts of the little boys with their Achilles tendons, drive my mind with new hate. Hate that demand that this fight must go to death.
“It is my responsibility to eliminate these fuck-heads.”
“No society will or can be safe with them.”
The question that I have so often asked, and so often I could not find the answer to this question, the question of why am I fighting in somebody else’s war?
The answer is now clear again that it is my duty to fight to the death, to do my best to wipe this scum off the face of the earth. It is my duty to ensure that they will never govern the people of my land.
“These jungle laws will never become the laws for the people that I love.”
My thought is stopped abruptly when one of these animals rip the blindfold off my face.
I can now see the soldier that has ripped my blindfold off, a soldier not older than fourteen.
“A boy,” I think, “that might have been moved from his family, a boy that made the cut to become a soldier.”
“His smaller brothers might not be able to ever walk again, or their bodies might be rotting in mass graves, children mass graves that I have seen before.”
I feel how the blood vessels in my head pump.
One of the adult soldiers walks, in slow-motion, towards me. He punches me in the stomach before he asked me who I am.
I know that I have to tell him, but instinctively I spit in his face while I regain my composure from the punch.
I feel how my mind braces itself for the next fight, how my body tense to win at all cost.
The bud of an AK47 is now driven into my chest by a soldier with a Cuban accent. The impact stuns my will for a moment as it propels my body to the ground. My legs and rope tight arms push me back up; push me up against the will of sanity.
“I need to face the eyes of this coward,” I think.
“I will rather die here; die before they start their twenty question torture before they offer me as a trade like a stolen sheep.”
My will to die right now, right here become overwhelming it is as if a machine has started with an insane driver that follow the command of his master without question.
I am now up again and I look into his face with disrespect.
You sold your soul as mercenary,” I think.
“Who are you?” He ask again
The sane part of my mind knows that I have to recite my rank, my number, and name to him.
“That will start that dreadful twenty question torture,”
With this in mind, I hear how my voice answers for the first time. I hear how the sound escapes my lips, how the word in my voice fills the room.
“Fuck you lovey.”
“The words will invite more cowardly assault from the pathetic man in front of me,” I start, “words that will postpone the torture.
“Torture might just break the spirit that is now pumping through my veins.” I think
This mood is driven in my mind by the crushed future of small African boys.
The bud of the AK47 is now flying towards my face, I feel how it collide with my jaw, how the light flash through my brain.
My mind flies into confusion, hovering between the conscious and subconscious.
My body is now flying over the valleys, valleys filled with elephants, with animals. I see the beauty of a perfect creation; on the horizon, I see the smoke pollution of a city. The destructive creation of humanity. I feel how the greed swallows my wings. The grass fields below me wilt under the new smoke and polluted rivers. I see the carcass of elephant tusks hacked from his head. I see the birds without trees, the snakes without a place to hide.
I now fly over a war driven by freedom within the captivity of the people. Mutilated bodies litter the grass fields with the banner over their heads that spell the words freedom for all.
In the trees, I see the dragon lady the bird on her shoulder. The bird has webbed wings like a bat, with a lizard tail like a dragon. The dragon lady raises her hand, point with her finger towards the little hole, a hole where reality and fiction meets.
Before I can land between the last trees to thank her, my conscious mind break through the wall. It rips my senses back to the dark night now at hand. To hands that are now tying a rope to the rope that bind my hands behind my back. I see how the soldier throws the rope over a branch in the dim torch lights.
I feel how they hoist me into the tree, how my shoulder dislocate when my arms raise above my head.
I feel how my feet raise off the ground, how my broken knee become free of the burden of weight. My teeth crunch on each other to prevent the sound of the pain of crossing my bone dry lips.
Animal and insect noises become the song of this long night. Stars stare like eyes from the sky onto me. For a moment I feel the need to look at the stars, a place where those that care about me can also look tonight.
It is a place where our eyes can meet, where our souls can communicate, where broken bodies and pain does not have an effect on the conversation.
My heart longs for a conversation without the influence of pain. I have no need for physical touch as the nerves on my body will never allow it at this time.
The new pain in my shoulder is still vivid in my mind and I struggle to set it aside. I cannot sleep.
I know that the new Cuban commander knows that he knows he will deprive me off sleep by just leaving me hanging. I appreciate his knowledge but hate his course.
Minutes pass like hours, the night like months, the time drag her feet as if she is tired.
I try to look up at the stars above, the Southern Cross show me my way home but the rope around my ankles and arms prevent me from following.
“I will spend months and years in the ropes, answering the promised twenty questions,” I whisper to myself
Tonight my prayer is for the first light, for the time that they might release me from the tree.
I feel that God has left me He has abandoned me the only remaining power around me is that of the Universe.
Words that batter through my soul, scream at my false religion, my belief systems that hang like rotten bodies around the trees.
I feel alone, left in the hands of the barbaric species without my people and my God. I remember the teachings, of Jesus on the cross, the words that he uttered before he died,
“My God, my God why have you abandoned me”, I feel how the words become my words, how my soul become the lost puppy under the stars.
With an active mind, I think of the plan of God, the plan that has been plotted for me.
“He must have had a dark sense of humor.” I think.
“Perhaps the hell that the street preacher so often screams from the corners of the street is here on earth.”
“Perhaps we have punished for our sins right here the promise of heaven, of the street of gold, is only his way to keep us alive so that we can suffer for years to come.”
“Promises that my sins will be forgiven if I confess, a promise that should release me from this tree,” I think, “from the broken shoulders my aching knee and the road burned body.”
“Pain that will leave me instantly if I can only die. Does that then mean that forgiveness is only in death?”
“The only escape from hell,” my mind says dwelling over religious wars, where this type of treatment was the result of religious differences. There is more questions than answers, more pain than relieving.” I Think.
The rest of the night is uneventful if we forget the pain.
With the first sign of light, I see how the soldiers walk towards me.
I feel how they relieve the pain in my shoulder. They are now carrying me back to the green Unimog, the Unimog that has been my home for the past five days.
My mind has to wonder.
“When this will end how far they will carry me,” before I can complete the thought one of the soldiers force a spoon of sour porridge into my mouth. The spoon abuses the cracks around my mouth before I swallow.
The rhythmic sound of the diesel engine fills my ears, my only music on this road trip.
I feel how the road carries its pain over to my newly wounded shoulders, to the muscles that had to endure my weight for the night.
Movement of the vehicle attacks my naked body, a body that has forgotten what clothes feel like. The texture of a uniform of shoes is like a memory from the past, a memory of the days.
I count another 5 days, five days on the green monster before we start entering the outskirts of a city. I can see higher buildings, broken telephone poles. I hear other vehicles; see people that walk close to the Unimog.
For another hour we drive between these buildings before the vehicle come to his final destination. I feel how the scars of dry blood crack as somebody grab my legs and drag me to the back of the vehicle.
My eyes can now see the city, the slumps where they have taken me. I smell the sewerage streaming in the streets, feels the cold water burning into my wounds as my shoulders hit the street.
I see high buildings from the pavement where my assailants are now dragging me by my feet. I hear people talking and laughing at my naked body. They are laughing at the trophy that the hunters brought home.
From the balconies above I see washing hanging over the broken urine stained walls. I see faces of people peeping over the walls, people who have now become the new nightmares in my mind.
Like a soccer ball, my head bounces on the stairs. I see the two men dragging me up, the boots and the uniforms.
I feel the scabs on my body tearing of against the dirty stairs. Walls around the narrow stairs are stained with dirt. The smell of urine fills the corners of the passage. Through the broken ceiling I can see open wires and pipes of a once proud building peeping with hope at me.
We are now leaving the staircase onto one of the floors. The tiles that are left feel rough against my naked back.
Doors and broken security gates pass me on our way. I see a rusted railing guarding us against falling. I see a medium size dog with hyena-like spots now leaking my face, trying to leak the wounds on my shoulders.
We now stop next to one of the doors.
The soldiers open it and we continue to enter. My head bounces over the small step that separates the outside passage from the apartment, the floor now feels like cold cement.
They drag me into a small room without windows and a ceiling. There is no furniture in the room accepts for an old steel garden chair in the middle of the floor.
Open pipes running from the floor through the roof. My eyes study the ceiling-less roof and I gather that we are on the top floor; in the dim light, I can see the corrugated roof plates above the ceiling line.
Fighters of war are now cuffing me to the pipe against the wall. The pipes are hot and I feel how it burns into my wrists.
On completion of their task both the men walk towards the door and lock the steel security door before they close the door and switch the single bulb in the room off.
Darkness fills the room. I cannot see my hands. I cannot see anything. I cannot hear any noises or people, no sounds of birds or night animals, of crickets and of mosquitos.
I am now totally alone; the dark has swallowed me whole like a snake would swallow his prey.