The repetitive thumping of the helicopter blades above awoke me, penetrating my skull. My eyes opened slightly so that I could establish my unfamiliar surroundings without alerting my captors as I tested my bound arms and legs to determine how much room I had.
My senses returning now at a quicker pace, the thumping now only intruding my head to induce my headache clouding my thoughts.
“Prepare the patient for landing, ensure his IV hasn’t been disturbed.”
A voice penetrated the cabin, presumably from the cockpit of the helicopter. A man in camouflage fatigues got up from his seat opposite me. My mind kicked into over drive, in my fragile state I had not noticed him, Scolding myself I tried to absorb every detail that came across me. Watching him out of my squinted eye, forcing myself not to move as the guard re-injected the IV into my forearm.
I smiled to myself dreamily as I noted the thudding getting duller and less prevalent, only to realise my world getting darker.
I awoke, my eyes shooting open, only to immediately shut again; as the whitewashed walls and tiles reflected the flickering fluorescent lights above me. Sitting in a metal bare chair, bolted to the ground, the rest of the room in front of me, empty.
My mind spinning as I tried to recollect my focus, struggling as I realised my limbs were restrained once again. “There’s no point in trying to escape,” a raspy voice entered the room. Searching for the source of the voice, my eyes dart to the outline in front of me that was slowly taking shape as my eyes begun to focus.
I squint in an effort to see the voice’s origin, the outline becoming clearer, he sat in front of me, oddly looking similar to myself, his hair; shoulder length dirty blonde his face bloody, a large fresh cut across his right jaw. The finer features could not be discerned in the light.
"You’ve been drugged with a barbituate; Sodium Pentothal, also known as truth serum, you are now a traitor to you and your country."
My eyes widened, thoughts racing through my head in confusion. Guilt rushing through me to the pit of my stomach, glaring at the person before me, as anger began to course through my veins, fighting against my bonds my mind begin to flash, images of whips, chains and water dripping, flickering lights, blood pooling on the wet floor.
I look up, wishing every ounce of anger upon the person before me, wanting my hands around his neck, pushing every ounce of oxygen out of his pathetic body. I blinked, noticing his arms matching mine, his down fallen betrayed face reflecting my own.
Looking into the mirror, I realised, it was me. The voice emerged from behind me once more, “You can never stop hating yourself, when you realise it was all you.” As his face emerged from the shadows.
My heart stopped.
The automatic doors opened before me, introducing me to a whitewash walled building. There was nothing appealing about this place.
The woman in front of me; most likely in her late 20’s, didn’t look up from her clipboard.
The phones constantly going off, unanswered, they are oblivious to the staff who are rushed off their feet; unable to maintain anything lower than a quick jog as they move to and fro the many rooms contained within the looming building.
I walk through, my destination known, the cold air pumped through the ventilation system causing goose bumps on my arm. I pass the rooms, monitors beeping, at differing intervals, voices over intercoms spreading information throughout the building to staff.
As I pass the open doorways my peripheral vision introduces me to its inhabitant’s lives; many of them, lifeless. Some inhabitants unable to achieve the simplest of tasks yet holding on to the life they no longer own.
This place was a pet hate of mine, even the most foulest of descriptions would not fit my hatred for this place.
We come here to be born, in hope of gaining something, a push, something that could ultimately change our lives, but for the most part. It wouldn’t find us…Instead, we come to find our death, whilst losing all our dignity, what’s left.
I turn to the doorway most familiar, only to find it empty, the bed no longer made, devoid of the flowers I had placed by the window side only yesterday. Nothing but the now packed bags of my wife; she had been struggling with cancer for three months, only having been operated on two days ago in an attempt to improve her life.
A nurse passed my room, momentarily looking up and seeing my confusion.
She came in, her pace still abrupt and rushed.
"She died in her sleep last night. I’m sorry."
She smiled weakly in an attempt to make things lighter than they were,
and then she was gone.
Just like my wife.
Sleep deprived and shaking, her eyes droop lower and lower, unable to hold them open as the weight becomes insurmountable… She could hear only words now, words that brought light to the dark room; any use of her senses was welcome to her. However, the voices faded, again, she was all alone.
My dreams were plagued by the images of her, lucid, clear, unable to discern between reality and my dreams, time was unclear, disjointed, scenes changing without a moments notice.
I saw her, curled up into a ball, still shaking, yet, only out of instinct. Her arms nothing but mere skin and bone, bruises and cuts which were only starting to heal over, scarring from their repeated tearing by the blunt instruments on the shelf behind her. I wanted to scream out, to help her, but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t help myself.
A younger woman entered the room, her long dark hair falling loosely around her shoulders. Her arms, also scarred similarly. Wrapped around them: chains, large ones; somehow able to lift such a weight, she carried herself confidently around the room. Her green eyes however, told a different story. Filled with grief, hardship, and fear the revealed her true emotions, the deep regret in her actions, as well as her past.
She lifted the whip from her belt slowly, using both hands to spread the whip out of its coil running her fingers across the end, its tassels knotted, caked with old blood.
I saw her raise the whip, her eyes glinting in the soft sunlight filtering through the bars of the high cast windows of the bare room. As the whip cracked ripping flesh across the curved hollowed back that was lying on the floor the blood began to flow freely, the scabs which held it together no longer existent.
I winced, my own back felt sticky, a warm liquid oozing down the curve of my spine.
Was her blood.
My water filled eyes opened, my body aching, still curled up
into myself I let out a sob as the stabbing sensation webbed across my back.
This was my reality.
She wonders silently, unable to see his thoughts, yet can view his emotions, he wears them on his sleeve unknown of his inability to protect them.
It will be his downfall, it will surprise him.
Sobbing silently, gasping for air, he wonders what has happened. Hurting, tears falling in a endless stream, unable to see where they started, or when they will end. Forming a pool at his feet, spreading across the cold tiled floor.
She can guess, only guess, but never certain of his next moves. His emotions acting as strong clues, yet allowing for drastic action to occur shrouding his actions and plans, despite the lack of planning within them.
He got up, shakily. She was unable to do anything, she could not speak for fear of revealing herself. Uncertain of the rules and laws she was bound to.
Stumbling around, now it was her revealing her emotions, she could see the pain and torture in his eyes.
She tried, silently to grab his attention, without breaking the rules, without putting herself in danger but she was not heard. She saw him enter the kitchen, hands shaking, unable to hold anything, his whole body contorted with emotional pain.
He opened the drawer pulling out a steak knife, 22 centimetres in length, and moved across to the kitchen table where he sat down. opposite him, a portrait of him and his wife.
She looked at herself in the picture, and placed her hand on his shoulder wanting to be able to comfort him. But her hand merely went through, his body shivering.
She was nothing but a ghost.