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?”
“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.”
“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]