Tag Archives: death

“Why worry about what can kill you tomorrow when so many things can kill you tonight?” 

 

(title is a remembered quote from the movie, “Lord of War”)

[thoughts from  ~burning woman~  ]

I’m sure that title and quote is also a paraphrase of something else I’ve read somewhere in my travels.  It is a line however that I have often thought about.  What does that mean to me?  Does it mean, in the hedonistic sense, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!”?  Throw caution to the wind, live for the moment, and the Devil take the hindmost?

While I completely disagree with the common politically correct phrase, “we’re all in this together” (which is obvious bullshit in spades when you think about it seriously for a second) there is definitely one thing we all have in common: death.  Whatever we do to avoid it, and believe me that the amount of money people spend to try to avoid it is beyond staggering (well, OK, I don’t know how much, I just know it’s a whole lot more than “that”) we simply can’t.  Death is our constant companion through life.  We’re born to die, with a little lunch break in-between we call life. (We don’t get paid for that either, the opposite actually.)

I’m not trying to cheer you up, but I’m not trying to depress you either as both would defeat my purpose.  I haven’t (yet) said anything you don’t already know so if this feels uncomfortable, think of it as a reality check.

Why do we worry?  Why so many stressed to the max and depressed?  What happened to the pursuit of happiness, the verve, the “joie de vivre”?  What is this terrible darkness that is descending upon the planet which seems to increase every time some major man-made event is propagandized?  Why can’t we be infected by a beneficial virus for a change? Why can’t we have at least one major truly joyful man-made event of gargantuan proportions to celebrate ourselves within?  Since we can’t outgrow the need for leaders, why can’t we have smart ones? Why must everything of major import be sad, dreadful, horrible, hopeless, destructive, death-dealing, polluting and/or costly with no end in sight when we are sick and tired of hearing about it or experiencing it? Why must what we hope for be forever out of reach, more likely to recede from our grasp than approach it?  Why does the carrot always turn into a stick?

I think it all goes back to death.  Consciously we may choose to ignore the monster and try to live relatively normal, happy lives among those we love or the society we fit in, but subconsciously “it” is always there, just like *Joe Black, not always recognized for what it is but suspected, distrusted and feared; the entity with its own agenda over which no one has any control.  Death, the great equalizer it’s been called.  Well, I don’t know: I see a lot of death, I don’t see much equality arising from its presence, quite the contrary.  Death is like that bouncing ball that after it’s set a bouncing, every time it’s touched it bounces even more wildly and unpredictably.

In a moment of wild ecstasy I suppose, John Donne wrote “death thou shalt die.”  Literally or figuratively?  It really doesn’t matter “how” it matters more “when.”  Until now man has been the slave of death and the certainty of having to face that executioner has caused man to behave in quite irrational and contradictory ways.  For the average Earthian, the way to avoid death is to be the first to deal death to some whose existence is perceived as a threat.  This knee-jerk reaction is called survival of the fittest but is better defined as war, man’s most precious invention; the one he spends the most resources upon by far; his joy, his baby, his heritage, his great love.  Makes me want to write an ode to war, or a love poem:

O dear war,
How I missed thee in the dark days of peace!
How I praise thee now that thee art returned
To fill the aching void in my human heart,
To stop the aimless wander of my soul!

O dear war
Promise me from thine bloody throne
Thou shalt abandon me never again!
I could no longer bear the emptiness
Caused by your troubling absence!”

Well it’s a start.  Dark humour, but how far from the truth of the matter?  We kill remorselessly in vain attempts to save our own life, a life that was forfeit from the moment it was conceived.

OK, so I’m not looking for rationality among the species, I know such a thing is anathema to man’s thinking.  I’m just wondering if there is a cure to worry.  Let’s spread the reasoning net.  All animal life dies, sooner than later.  Do animals worry about dying?  I don’t think they do, although many animals experience powerful emotions when one of them dies, some more than others.  They know about death; about the end of the body, but they don’t seem to be worried about their own coming death.  It’s only when the predator appears that they resort to their fight or flight mode.  If they get sick they do not linger.  Either they heal themselves or give themselves over to death with hardly a struggle.

For whatever reason, Earth people approach the matter of death much differently than animals.  Animals don’t form armies to attack and decimate their enemies.  They may be territorial for naturally mandated purposes but they don’t try to expand their “empires” outside limits set by the Alpha male of the tribe or queen of the hive.  Those outside the limits are safe from attack and free of harassment.  Animals kill to survive, not to enhance their own personal power or “wealth” as the expense of others.  {Oh please God, make me into an animal this minute!  Amen!}  Animals gracefully surrender their bodies to the earth and shortly no evidence remains of their passage.

It is foolish to worry, even more so to allow oneself to get depressed.  Depression isn’t a disease, it’s the dirty diaper of the spoiled and entitled modern bratty Earthian who wants more than it’s willing to earn for itself; who is not willing to share.  Depression comes from a “I want it, and I want it now” civilization whose technology provided a lot of stupid, unnecessary polluting toys and continues to promise more toys while the natural resources that fueled that technology are wasted by misuse and war or vanishing from the planet in waves of entropic energy like climate change.  Depression from not getting what one feels entitled to leads to worry about more serious things, like losing one’s home or having no money to buy basic necessities such as food or losing one’s children through violence… Ah yes, the list of things that cause worry grows long.

I choose to live by my first quote.  I don’t worry about what could kill me tomorrow.  I think about the things lurking in the night of my mind, the things tonight, that can kill me.  I think about the dangers of reverting back to being a common Earthian; of waking up tomorrow morning worrying about food, clothing, shelter, money, sex, what’s been stolen in the night, etc.  I think about spiritual regression and mental devaluation from nightly visitations of “demons” from the darkness of the capitalist, consumerist Matrix.  I think of the horror of discovering I’m no longer immune to the foibles of man but rather fully back in establishment clutches.  I think about what it would be like to lose my sense of self empowerment, of knowing what I am; of losing sight of my purpose… in the night.  And I shudder.  That would be worse than any conceivable depression.

Ah, but I’m a witch!  I have spells to protect myself from demons who would steal my self-made personhood:  “I think my own thoughts, therefore I am my own person.” And spells also to protect me from well-meaning people who would destroy the essential me with their verbal weapons of fear-based mass distraction.  My simple response to all of it is “I choose me.”  Then I remember that death approached at through self-determination has become my greatest gift, my doorway out of a dying place to another I know of and look forward to – no: not heaven!

When does death die?  It dies when transcended every waking and awakened moment.

PS: this isn’t in response to the current Covid 19 pandemic. I wrote these thoughts some years ago but they do fit the moment.

*Joe Black: reference is to the movie, “Meet Joe Black” with Brad Pitt as Death.

 

 

 

 

Come Find Me, Come!

[a poem by   ~burning woman~ ]

The wind howled in the night,
The long shadowed night.
It was the Chinook wind,
I had smelled it earlier
As clouds greyed and darkened,
Disappearing sun and moon.

An owl barked, hooted, laughed
Down in the gully’s copses
And I thought, I hear the owl
And it’s calling my name –
Only it wasn’t me he was calling,
It was a mate and I had no wings.

These two things I mention,
They happened a long time ago.
I wasn’t thinking of death then,
Not by a long shot. I was young,
Barely old enough to feel
That troubling sense in my heart
Which I learned was the call to love.

It is said around here (or was said)
That when the owl calls your name
Your number’s up-death is riding.
Well, I heard the owl again
Last night in the woods
Bordering the little Hope river.

My guess is, as it was long ago
That this short eared owl,
For that was the nature of his call
Was once again calling a mate,
Then I heard her laugh
Deeper in the foggy woods:
“Come and find me, Come!”

Like that they were gone.
The wind died down then
And the ever rain came again
And that is as it should be
Or so the Shaman told me:

When none of it matters to you,
Life or death or some in-between,
Then will choice wisdom find you
For all of it will then be yours,
Even the parts you do not want,
That is the life of the Avatar,
It is the gift of your owl soul.

You must understand now
It is you, it always was you,
The mate he was calling, seeking
And you always had the wings
Though you dared not believe.

He will call you again soon
Together you will depart
And neither will be heard again
For a long, long time.

Spread your wings, invite the wind
To fill those feathers, get ready,
Your long night of the soul
Is coming to its end. Soon
You will look down upon the trees
And you will see the forest.

Come find me! Come find me…
Come!

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #83

[Onward with the story, huh?]

“Well Antierra, we meet again my dear.  You certainly made a mess of yourself in that last fight.”

“It wasn’t exactly my idea, Bal.  I encountered something I had never successfully confronted before; something I knew well.  An ancient and deadly nemesis that had anticipated my coming here and had prepared itself to destroy me. It almost succeeded – twice.  The first time you saved me.  The second time, I took responsibility for myself and fought it out, as must we all sooner or later.  I wish I hadn’t let it get so strong and really challenged it sooner.  All those lives it persecuted me and I submitted to it thinking there was no better way.  And likely there wasn’t, not then, not yet: I wasn’t strong enough or focused.  I suppose this is the logical place where the outcome from such long-term hatred had to be determined and one of us consumed by it.”

End blog post #82
_________________
Begin Blog post #83

Balomo holds my hand and looks at my scarred, beaten and old body.  There is no sexual desire in him now, hah!  I don’t mind.  I think I’ve known for some time that ‘sex’ was no longer on my agenda.  “You avatars see the world in strange ways.  I knew there was something utterly wrong and odd about Warmo but I would not have thought he was on par with your abilities.  Are there many like him or you who can travel through dimensions and through time to seek each other out to destroy each other’s spirit or mind?  With so much enmity?”

“As below, so above, Bal. Relative to the number of ISSA’s in the universe (or parallel worlds) we are very few.  But we do tend to make waves where we battle.  What happened with the motion for my execution?”

“Temporary reprieve.  Nothing settled.  The king, as you would expect, vetoed the motion but he cannot defeat it.  It will be re-introduced each week until accepted or defeated by a two-third majority vote of the Court.  If for, they will kill you, the method not described in the motion.  We suspect they may be planning to have you put in their next killing orgy.”

“Ah, such pleasant thoughts for me to entertain while I recuperate.  How much better than a State-sponsored parade in my honour for destroying the evil Wizard.  Seriously, how long have I been out of circulation this time?”

“Only five days so far.  You will have to return to the training and exercise yard within two days or the motion for your execution will automatically stand.  Seven days is the maximum any fighter can have as you know.  It’s their law.”

“Yes I know the law.  Seven days to return to active duty.  If the fighter is not fit by that time she is executed.  I’ll make it.  Any news from the compound?  How’s Tiki?  The Concubine twins?  The crazy young sex-slave addict, if you know whom I mean?”

“The kitchen Cydroids keep me informed.  I’m supposed to tell you that the slave you call Tiki has begun training and I hear good things.  She is fast and certainly determined, so say the handlers.  One of the twins as you call them has been killed.  Her ‘sister’ is borderline ‘dikfol’ from grief and has already fought two rounds single-handed against two-man teams, killing all four.  We need you to talk to her and maybe find her a match.  We think she wants to die but cannot end it as long as she can kill men.  The young addict, I regret to say, is dead.  She was strangled in the kitchens.  Two kitchen staffers were flogged to death for that worthless ‘pess.’  She was stealing chakr-laced fighter foods to use for favours and for herself.  Someone caught her.  We’ll never know who killed her.”

I take the weight of Bal’s news in my heart and hold it there.  I feel utterly dejected.  I cannot hold back my tears and turning away on the gurney, sob loudly and freely.  The lump in my throat could choke a horse.  So little change despite the sacrifices.  I know I shouldn’t have expectations but as anyone who goes through a war knows, it cannot be helped.  We always hope for change bringing in better things.  I need a better answer to it all but as this world is currently wired, it won’t allow me to find one.  Not directly anyway. 

I’ve defeated my personal nemesis.  Accomplished the impossible.  Remained alive through a series of miracles such as men not punishing me for flaunting their rules; surviving a fight to the death with an actual demon; manifesting events that got me access to an AI auto-med to put my body back into a semblance of a woman’s form and fighting fitness.  None of that brings me the comfort I long for.  Always thrown back to the beginning, it seems.

From now on, it must be small steps again.  I must train Tiki and continue the Teaching but before I can do that I must somehow cleanse myself of the accumulated grief and guilt for all the pain I have caused to other sentient beings while I’ve been here. 

A male Cydroid and Balomo stand beside my bed studiously avoiding looking in my direction.  They know I must work out my own sense of culpability; that any outside interference will only confuse me the more.  Finally I can look up again.

“I want you to sit up,” says Bal “and take XBA7’s hand.”

Without help I manage to sit, fight off a dizzy spell and take the Cydroid’s outstretched hand.  He helps me off the gurney and I stand shakily, feeling both cold and hot at the same time.  I turn and throw up, or try to.  There is nothing in my stomach and only bile drips from my lips.  I heave over and over until I begin to fall.  The Cydroid holds me by the waist from behind and I regain enough strength to finally stand unaided.  I’m handed a glass with a mouth rinse to clean myself.  Bal then hands me the flask with the pink nectar and I sip slowly.  Things come into focus. 

I look down at my body and by what I can see I am glad they have no mirrors here.  I must look like a one hundred year old skeleton!  Good!  Maybe I can just scare my challengers to death in my next encounters, hah!  I walk around the gurney, close enough to fall on it should my strength fail.  I manage, still feeling dangerously woozy.  I walk a little further, make a half-turn and stare at my prison. 

The sun is hitting the far north wall, painting a dull orange-yellow into the texture of the weathered stones above the shadows cast by spired turrets thrusting themselves into the afternoon sky from the red-brown tiled roofs of ponderous square structures whose purpose I’ve never bothered to enquire about. There’s another piece of crenellation missing up there.  Why aren’t they doing a better job of repairing their keep, their great city?  On occasion while walking from the training areas to the forge carrying the weapons needing attention I noticed large cracks in the masonry between the square stones.  Are they just letting the keep fall apart because modern weaponry makes the idea of a ‘fort’ redundant?  Or is their economy collapsing from the combination of rising costs from raising, training and maintaining of slaves and perhaps even more relevant, a growing debt due to gambling?  Or is the war with Estáan expanding and draining more from the battered economy of Elbre?

End blog post #83

I Am so Ready!

I Am so Ready

(thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara)

No matter the number of years I’ve thought about it and meditated on what it means to me, the idea that I am ‘so ready’ for that final breath is still, well, stunning. I’ve given myself the freedom to speak openly about my ‘impending’ death for some time now even if it causes a frozen lull in most conversations.

Why would someone speak about dying? Some are simply fed up and think, ‘enough is enough’ while some, if rarely, are eager to join up with their chosen loving deity or whatever. That’s not how it is for me.

Am I dissatisfied with the conditions of Earth as imposed upon it by a ruling species unwilling to control its power and take responsibility for its actions? Certainly but that does not drive me to despair, quite to contrary, since I have an impeccable solution to such problems.

Do I think that I’ve done enough and it’s time for a much deserved break from the merry-go-round and the pig pen? No, quite the opposite: I know I haven’t performed to the best of my abilities and there is so much more to be done. I know that my sudden “departure” would currently leave some people in the lurch.

No, my sense of being ready does not come from selfish motives. It comes from an innate knowing. It comes from a bursting of joy having something good and tangible to take with me after a wonderful day at the fair.

The fair is still going full bore; I could stay and play some more but speaking of bore, any fair will get boring if it goes on too long. I don’t want this to go on past the point where I can enjoy it. I don’t want to just sit in the car as the night falls and the lights come on only to fade.

There is a sense of fullness that is driving me, today particularly. I want to enjoy that quiet if passionate, fullness. I want to enjoy one accomplishment in particular: detachment. There is nothing, and no one that has the power to hold me here. I am the one with the power, all of it and that means I have also managed to get a handle on self empowerment.

I choose, I decide, no regrets. I gave myself a purpose for my life henceforth and that purpose is anchored within my own nature now. Like Leto Atreides II choosing to forfeit his humanity in order to become a sand worm, the Fremen deity called Shai’Hulud, I have forfeited my humanity (or perhaps gained it!) by turning myself over to becoming an avatar of compassion.

This is done now. What comes next, is next. I live in the joy of this accomplishment. I was taught even as a child that it is possible to change one’s nature. I had to prove it to myself and the answer is, yes.

The House at the Crossroads of the World

[a short story by    ~burning woman~    as told by Sha’Tara]

As I sat by the River one day and pondered the state of the world I had a thought: I will build myself a home at the crossroads of the world. So I did.

My home had a good roof but it had no walls, just posts holding it up. I planted ivy, honeysuckle, clematis and sweetpeas by each post and they grew swiftly and beautifully. I was very pleased.

First a family of refugees passed by and they came in to rest, drink of the cool, clean water and eat from the garden I had planted. Sated and after a good sleep their children ran out and played in the fields. Their laughter filled the air and more birds sang.

A couple of starving, ragged men came by and asked if they could stay for a while. I smiled and said, ‘Look, no walls, anyone is welcome here.’ They were gays who had been persecuted and escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs. Soon they were playing with the children and entertaining them with tales and magic tricks.

A group of migrant workers heading north came by and also partook of this unexpected hospitality. They were earth people and soon they had my garden cleaned and explained about plant symbiosis. I could grow much more food if I did it right. I learned much from them in that too short a time.

Some young girls came running, crying, and stopped at the house. I invited them in and they shyly came, sat down and explained they had escaped from a van filled with sex slaves bound for the black market. They got washed in the creek, ate and slept together in a corner of the house.

The honeysuckle was in full bloom and its sweet smell filled the house. In the dark we sat in the house and sang, each her or his own songs and everyone listened in awe. It was so good to find each other here and not worry about any difference.

It was too good, actually. They had watched the comings and goings to and from the house and in that country the government and its propaganda press declared that it was a terrorist training center. So they sent the drones.

We are all dead now. I am dead too but since I am mind and not matter I am made of memories. This story is a memory, and it is real.

There is no longer a house at the crossroads of the world though there are walls everywhere and for that reason the world is dying.

Earth is a Forced Labour and Death Camp

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

It may well be that prior to the advent of capitalism and prior to the establishment of the patriarchy that formed a global civilization, planet earth was as good a place as any on which to exist. Note that I am not saying “live on” or “survive on” but exist. To live means to have a purpose. To survive means to cling to life in the hope that it will give or provide purpose on the long run.

Only problem with that was, there was no long run and purpose seldom manifested in any meaningful sense. Those who gave themselves purpose without serving the Matrix, that is, the patriarchy and it’s exploitative, brutal methods soon found themselves hounded, hunted down, and when captured, “crucified” for attempting to bring about a change of methods to life on earth, that is, to man’s type of life, if it can be called that.

Based on my observation, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that man’s earth as defined by his capitalistic patriarchy is in essence nothing more nor less than a forced labour and death camp.

Do I really need to elaborate on that observation and conclusion or is this enough of a reminder that all of the greatest manifestations of social evil extant in this civilization can be laid at the feet of its “camp kommandants” who give themselves the titles of CEO’s, presidents, kings, queens, judges, professors emeritus, generals, policemen,emirs, investment bankers, popes, priests and preachers… any one who by some sort of decree holds the power of life and death over a subservient multitude.

Any member of the untitled multitude who decides to treat the elites in the same manner as it treats the multitude is immediately declared enemy of the people and put on a most wanted list to be eliminated. The rulers of the forced labour and death camp can kill any number of ‘the masses’ with impunity but the same does not apply in reverse.

The masses, trapped in this web of deceit and death learned long ago that to challenge and perhaps even dethrone the elitist apparatus was a very painful and bloody process that in the end only replaced one set of “kommandants” with another and surprise, surprise, that new set arose from the very forces that set out to upset and destroy the status quo. In other words, there is no way out of the camp except by dying.

And even then, that is not the end of it…

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #45


This I must share here: my experiences on Old Earth taught me well as regards those we are forced to call ‘They’ in referring to ‘Powers’ we know exist but cannot identify because they are chameleonic in nature and use humans to camouflage their evil works.  We’ve always known ‘They’ exist and have power of life and death over us, never mind how many legal ‘rights’ or safeguards we are given under the law.  Whenever we choose right over wrong in their viewpoint and according to their arbitrary rules we are targeted as the enemy; terrorists, subversives, spies and in many cases we forfeit our lives to them.  So, let me emphasize that ‘They’ are very real to me. 

I must sleep now.

[end blog post #44]


[begin blog post #45]

Chapter 21 – The Inquisition: Warmo’s Dungeon

They come.  It is still dark when the alarms sound and we are ushered out of our cages to stand in the cold pre-dawn air shivering.  What device do they have to warn them of illegal exits without the alarms being set off? Recording heat sensors?  Satellites?  Albaral?  How did they already know Deirdre, or someone, was missing?  Well, I guess it really doesn’t matter now.

They make everybody line up in the training yard.  The kitchens and all other areas are shut tight.  No one moves or makes a sound.  In the back I hear harsh voices shouting commands.  Men in uniforms I’ve never seen come among us and begin to grab individuals.  There are muted gasps of fear.  One woman is hit viciously in the face and stumbles to the stones where she is stabbed to death, her body dragged to the middle of the compound and left.  I am one of those grabbed and chained with a dozen others.  Several guards are stripped naked and chained also.  There is cursing and a guard falls to the ground, also stabbed.  His body is dragged beside the woman’s. 

We are led away to the east of the large open area, down a dark tunnel, damp and reeking of mold and of something else rotting away somewhere among this stone labyrinth.  I walk through what I can only describe as slime, trying to keep my footing while helping the woman behind me by making her lean on me.  We emerge into a place of absolute terror. 

In the weak light from embrasures high in the wet stone walls we see dead and dying bodies hanging by wrists on poles or impaled on rusty steel pikes planted in holes in the floor.  We smell decomposing meat and retch helplessly, continually.  Fortunately our guards just shove us in there and leave, closing the steel grate behind us.  So no one is additionally punished for the time being.  We just stare at the dead and the barely moving dying, most being women and some young children.  Some still moan but most are past trying.  Is this what’s in store for all of us?  We must assume so.  What else are we supposed to think?  The woman behind me begs me to kill her. 

“Please, I die now.  I fight yes, but this not possible to take.  Please you hit me with steel shackle, please or you strangle with chain.  You very strong.  I beg, I beg!”  Her throaty cries bring tears to my eyes.  Yes I could do it.  But what little chance any of us have to escape this would then be forfeit.  So I try to console her using their common language.

“Just frighten, see?  You know nothing, so what they do?  Nothing can do.  Don’t be afraid.  Just bad dream.  Do nothing.  Say nothing.  Know nothing.  Repeat teaching against bad fear – now!

Do I believe my own words?  No, of course not.  On this world, anything and everything is possible.  If they are eager to draw fresh blood and hear fresh voices raised in pure agony, and it’s a safe bet to say they always are, we will all go through the torture and all die here, impaled on these pikes or hanging from the poles.  I ready myself for this inevitable conclusion.

And suddenly I want to laugh.  Such an incredible weight is lifted off my heart.  If they have gone to so much trouble to “investigate” Deirdre’s escape then obviously they don’t have her!  She’s truly gone and free from their grasp.  Yes!  I know this now.  So go ahead and do your worst.  I don’t care now.  I’ve done what I set out to do and it cannot be reversed.  She is safe from you, monsters.  Now you have to deal with me, just me.  I am truly alone again.  I conveniently forget the doctor and his “underground” at this moment.  I forget these others, these innocents chained with me.  I cannot handle any new responsibility.  There is only me here, now, in this horror.  And if I’m to beat the odds now I can only do it alone.

After what seems an eternity the steel grate is opened and we are dragged out, walked down a taller, drier corridor and into another room from which screams, howls and heart rending cries emerge.  Ah yes, this is where they do their real work.  We are unchained individually and each of about twelve of us is assigned a handler.  I’m walked to a vertical black metal pole and pulled tight against it.  Four arms extend from it with shackles on the ends.  My wrists and ankles are put inside the shackles and the arms are extended mechanically until my arms are stretched as on a cross and my legs gradually pulled open and stretched also until I’m ready to scream from the tension on my bones and muscles.  But they know just when to stop. 

So it begins.  Slowly the “pole” begins to tilt back taking me with it until I’m lying horizontally with my head hanging down without any support.  I feel hands over my skin, feeling me everywhere.  A man rapes me, then several take their turn.  I can’t see anything, just feel.  I scream when something sharp or hot cuts or enters my left thigh.  The pole arms begin to pull at me again.  I scream more.  Something is attached to my right nipple.  I am electrically shocked, then the same treatment is administered inside my vagina.  I pass out only to be revived with a needle.  I begin to hallucinate.

In my hallucination I hear the doctor.

“If  she knows something, I’ll find out.  Let me administer the rest and ask the questions.  The others are useless to us now.  Return them to their compound.  We can’t afford to lose all that money and compensate their owners.  This is a stupid move.  We want to know where the girl was taken to; who helped her escape.  I tell you, destroying all those fighters is a mistake.  It was a mistake to kill those two in the compound.  This is not how it’s done.  I have the inductor here.  So back away.  Do as I say.”

The pull on my legs and arms eases a bit and the pole returns to an almost upright position.  I am still unfocused and sick from the drug.  I can’t hold my head up and it keeps bobbing.  The image of the doctor floats before my eyes and I don’t know what to think at all.  The other ghosts fade out of my line of vision and the doctor leans closer.  Yes, it’s him alright.  ‘What are you doing here’ I want to ask but cannot.  My voice is frozen in my throat.  I have nothing to say.  I’m brain dead and they are going to realize this soon enough and finish me off.  That’s all.

“Can you hear me?”  It’s definitely the doctor’s voice.

“Yes, I think so.”  The croak I hear cannot be my own.

“I’m trying to save your life.  The inductor I hold is dysfunctional.  After I connect it, you are going to go through excruciating pain, even if you have to pretend doing so, and don’t let up until you make yourself sick and pass out, do you hear me?  Anyone can do that if they want to.  Piss and shit yourself, but do it.  It has to look real or you’re going to be worse off than dead because I won’t be able to help you if my trick is discovered.”

“Argggggggggggh”  is all I manage to answer, still in shock from the torture pangs and woozy from the drug.  He attaches electrodes to my head with a metal band he tightens with a screw so it won’t come off.  Then he stretches my arms and legs again until the same excruciating pain returns, only worse even and I begin to scream.  He twists a dial on his inductor and indeed I feel nothing.  But I continue to scream and writhe in pain, following his advice.  Yes, my body relieves itself from the ordeal and finally I do pass out as he adds more tension to the arms of the device in a desperate attempt to fake the inductor torture.  I don’t think that the use of the neuro-inductor  would have made much difference at that point.  In my warring, twisted thoughts I wonder how much of this he too is enjoying…

When I come to I’m still attached to the pole.  I feel as if I’ve been broken in several separate pieces that will never be put together.  I’m just pieces of a human body, arms and legs disjointed.  Nothing is connected.  I hear something.  An argument going on.  The doctor and another person are discussing the effects of the torture.

“She knows nothing.  She was tricked by somebody to walk out of her cage, a trainer she says.  She never saw him before and it was dark.  What gora refuses an order from a man?  He made her walk to the wall, then back to her cage, leaving it unlocked.  That’s what we know.  It is enough that one gora and one guard are dead.  Let them be the guilty parties.  If you want more evidence, I suggest you send your hunters out into the south desert.  That’s where they always go.” 

“She was her lover.  She’d be the one to help her escape.”  The voice is deep, assured.  There is the sense of the predator in it, one who has a special victim in his claws and wants to gloat every moment his captive remains alive to be toyed with.

That sounds like the doctor’s voice again:  “You are so wrong!  If they had planned to escape, why did she not go with the other, you tell me that.  Is she so happy here that she couldn’t take an opportunity to run away when it would have appeared such a sure thing and her lover was going?  Lovers don’t leave each other that way.  Think.  We’re being made fools of right now and all you can think of is torturing another body.  I warn you Warmo, your inquisition methods are making some nervous.  There is talk in some quarters of doing an investigation of your facilities.  How do you feel about that?”

“Threats, Bal?”

“No, a bargain Warmo.  Just a bargain.  I have a good deal of money invested in this fighter and I’m damned if I’ll let you destroy such a good killing machine.  You’re a fool.  You know the King is her owner.  Unless you can prove beyond any doubt that she is involved in this escape, do you think the King is just going to forget you killed his personal fighter just for some sick satisfaction of yours?”

 I hear his sardonic laughter and can imagine the sneer of contempt in him.  “Help yourself, take her.  She can’t ever fight again so she’s as good as dead – that device has seen to that even if your neuro-inductor hasn’t.  Wrists and ankles crushed, that’s what it does Bal.  Neat machine, one of my favourites.  And I may yet get her back here for additional questioning.  Remember this, I don’t forget those who push me Bal.”

“Threats, Warmo?”

“Fuck you, doctor Echinoza.” 

So much venom that even in my confused state and the excruciating pain shooting through my body I can feel the hate in my guts.  This Warmo does not torture for results but purely for ultimate sadistic pleasure.  He would have been a perfect member of House Harkonnen. (Harkonnen is a reference to characters in the Dune series by Frank Herbert)

Perhaps more to the point, a death camp Kommandant under Hitler’s SS guard, C-20, Old Earth history. 

Funny what you remember when you want to connect the dots of your lives and truly know yourself, especially when your body is under maximum stress.  ‘Oh, the green, green grass of home…’ “aaaahhhhhh…”  Still not my voice.  Some poor girl in a torture dungeon, hurting, and I should feel sorry for her but I can’t: I must pretend to myself that I’m dead.  The dead don’t talk and they don’t feel pain.

My head falls back and I almost choke.  I scream an obscenity as I’m racked by another spasm.  Obscene pain beyond the meaning of the word. 

Another eternity and the doctor comes over and releases the mechanism that holds my wrists and ankles and keeps me from falling as I try to put my weight on my feet.  I cannot walk at all.  So he throws my limp form over his broad shoulders and carries me out through tunnels that seem to go on forever; that in my mind I want to go on forever. 

It feels so good to be dead; to be in a place where no one can ever hurt you; to be carried to your final rest by someone who cares for you.  Death by torture has a way of changing your perspective on life.  I think it has made me soft.

[end blog post # 45]