by Rob Queen
Ascend” target=”_blank”>Daily Post
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. Pop.
I wonder at that popping sound. I mean, the sizzle, sure. I know that. I’ve felt that. Felt it on my legs. Boy, talk about pain. I’ve been shot. I’ve been stabbed. I’ve even been hit upside the head with a frying pan. That brought the stars, let me tell you.
Physical scorching, on the other hand – now that’s a kind of torture that’s just unkind. It’s nice that you don’t bleed out from it – the heat cauterizes the wound right away – but it’s agony that is all about nerve endings.
Only thing I can think that might be worse is flaying outright. Wonder if they’ll think to do that to us.
I hope not.
The sizzling continues. They’ve got us muzzled, muffled, and gagged. And blindfolded. We’re chained to the wall. They take turns on us. Dakota, Vegas, Burlington, Missouri, and me. I’ve no idea who is getting it. Never.
I only know when it’s my turn. They unlock my chains from the wall and walk me over to what I’ve come to think of as the Examination Chair. Like I’m at a dentist’s. What a joke. The walk is slow because of the manacles on our ankles. If we fall, we get kicked. If we stumble, we get punched. Sometimes, just for fun, we get the butt of a rifle. I got to miss an entire session because of one butt that hit a little too hard in just the wrong place.
Waking from that was a bitch. Hello, nail-less fingers. It was like they were telling one another that it would be a gas for me to wake up in pain. Maybe they were hoping the pain of getting my fingernails pulled would wake me. Nope.
And I once thought that gods of torture had no sense of humor.
In the days – months? Years? Man does time have no relevance when you’re rotated the way we’ve been – that we’ve been here, I’ve found that these guys really do have a sense of humor. They like their job. The pair of them.
The guards who move us change. Each one smells different from one another, but the gods of torture are easily recognizable. Vodka smells like vodka. Got a grip like a vise. Knows how to hold me down when he’s doing his work. Waterboards like a bastard, too. First day here, and it was gag, gag, drown, reek of vodka, drown some more, sputter, gasp, gag. Went on for a while. I’m not sure why he stopped. Maybe he got bored.
Smokes is the other. Smokes like a goddamn chimney in an Auschwitz kiln. Being under his knife is like being waterboarded all over again. Only with smoke rather than water. I wonder that this guy’s black tar-soaked coals of lungs haven’t killed him yet. Must go through about a pack during one session. He talks like a chainsaw, grinding out indecipherable noise that cut away at my ear drums even as he slowly cuts away at my body.
But these guys have a sense of humor. How else would you explain the shapes they’ve carved into my shoulders. I’ve got a kitty on my right shoulder, a camel on the left. Funny guys.
Just wish I understood a single thing they were saying. It might be easier to give them what they ask for if I could. Of course, it might all be academic, too.
Smokes and Vodka are professionals. They’re just doing their jobs. Just like we were. You know how it is, Black Ops team goes in to overthrow a despot so that our government could install a new despot. Your standard Tom Clancy novel. Only we got caught. Handed over to Vodka and Smokes. Now we’re taking turns in the Examination Chair. What do they want? These guys who are slowly grinding us into carcasses? Who knows.
Could be they don’t even know.
Could just me trying to predict the world beyond by blindness and gags. Wait. Did I say I was blindfolded? My mistake. I have no eyes. They took those a few days – months? – ago. It was wet. And painful. But not as bad as I thought it would be.
The burning was worse. The burning is worse. For all their sensitivity, eyes are pretty separated from the nerve endings of pain. It hurts, but then, once the pain fades, it’s mostly just the memory of vision that triggers the emotions.
Listen to me. I’m getting all analytical. All while someone is getting roasted. Smells like burning sausage.
Something else pops. There is a muffled groan.
I wonder who it is. Dakota was always so quiet. Missouri was the talker. The rest of us just were. We joked once in a while. Liked our drinks. Did our work. Went home. Wonder if any of us will go home after this.
Wonder if it’s worth it. You reach a point, and you wonder what you look like. With these sadistic comedians at work on us like tattoo artists in an experimental body shop, you have to wonder.
There’s another groan. Man, this kid is getting it. My teeth clench on their behalf. Sucks to be scorched so badly. We’ve kept as quiet as we can – even Missouri. This sounds like hell. Smokes is doing the operating. Figures. Fire is his weapon. Vodka is more about blood.
There’s another grunt. This is deeper. I turn away. I’d shut my eyes, but… well… The sizzling stops.
“Whoops,” Smokes says. I hear the featherweight rasp of his fingers on the victim’s throat. He’s rocking the head back and forth. Now he’s got his ear to the victim’s chest. A dash of ash drops from the cigarette in his mouth to a puckered wound on the victim. “So much for that one.”
Smokes nods at the guards to get the body off the table. As they move forward, I realize something. I’m seeing this all unfold below me.
The body they’re collecting. Stab my eyes. It’s me.
So that’s what I look like.