CAPTURED - Held as a Slave by Iraqi Militants , a short story by EveRabi . Date added: 2012-08-04. Times viewed: 1564.
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- Intro: CAPTURED - Held as a Slave by Iraqi Militants
THE OUTSKIRTS OF BAGHDAD
June 2004, 15 months after the US and Coalition forces invaded Iraq
They prance around us, Iraqi militants, dressed in tunics and baggy pants, scarves coiled into turbans around their heads, victorious and triumphant, automatic weapons dangling from their shoulders.
A man with missing bottom teeth and the face of a rodent claps his hands. ‘American soldiers, we get you good.’
Another man with a red-and-white checked scarf and really bad body odor, puts his face in mine and says, ‘Georgie Bushie, him very big dog.’
I say nothing. I dare not. My eyes, when they’re opened, are fixed to the dirty cement floor.
More militants barge into the room, inspects their trophies lying on the ground, by means of a boot in the ribs mainly, then high-five each other.
Some of them look too young to drive or to vote, yet they are armed with AK-47’s, Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. Holding their weapons over their heads, they dance a jig.
A boy, probably no older than fifteen counts their trophies: ‘Wahed, ithaian, Ithatha, arba, kamsa, sita …sita!’ He runs to the door, sticks his head out of the room and yells, ‘Sita!’
‘Sita?’ More dancing, more jigging, more back-slapping around me.
I know these fuckers. I’ve seen them in my nightmares - fled from them. And now, here I am, in their clutches.
Specialist Jude Stall and I are conscious, so we’re made to sit on plastic patio chairs. They don’t give a shit that Stall’s army jacket, in varying shades of dirt-brown and dark-red, have bullet holes around the abdominal area. They don’t give a shit that I can barely sit because my neck, back and fuck knows what other parts of me are hurt. I mean, I suspect a broken clavicle and an injured neck. Anytime now, I expect to pass out.
I don’t want to pass out.
I want to die.
Please let me die. Before they torture me and before I’m subjected to all kinds of shit that’s coming my way.
As I sit with my head bowed, knees apart, blood seeps from a gash on my forehead and splatters on the floor between my army-issued boots, creating hallucinogenic patterns on the dirty cement floor.
Fuck! I seriously need a doctor.
Stall is slumped in his chair and moaning. When his moans get too loud the bastards jab him with their rifles.
I glance at the other members of my convoy lying on the floor in the corner of the room. None of them are moving or moaning. The last I saw any of them move was during our shoot-out with these militants earlier on today. I quickly look away.
A sudden hush fills the room when a man with the disposition of an executioner, creeps into the room with a camera and a tripod. He places the tripod in front of Stall and slides the video camera onto it. A murmur ripples through the militants and they back against the wall to give the cameraman space. Carefully, the cameraman sets up, then scans the room. His eyes finally rest on a militant with a gigantic handle-bar mustache.
Handle-bar beams and steps forward. After a slight bow to his comrades and a thank-you-for-choosing-me smile; he removes a balaclava from his pocket and slips it over his face. Two other militants unroll a banner with Arabic writing on it and also don balaclavas. They stand tall and erect behind Stall and hold up the banner for the camera.
Handle-bar takes his position behind Stall and nods. The cameraman hits a button. Handle-bar unsheathes a sword from around his waist, the kind of sword you see in movies like The Mummy -ornate, beautiful and deadly.
In spite of my semi-conscious state, my hearts slams around in my chest as I silently and feverishly chant the code of conduct: I’m an American soldier fighting in the forces which guards my country and our way of life…
Unfortunately, or fortunately, Stall is oblivious to what’s happening around him.
The cameraman lifts up his finger. Handle-bar reaches over and flashes Stall’s dog tag to the camera.
He steps back, rips off Stalls helmet, jerks back his head and exposes Stall’s jugular.
Even though I expected this, even though every POW expects this; terror engulfs me. I squeeze my eyes tight and gulp at the stale air in the room and taste my breakfast again.
… If I …oh God! If I become a prisoner of … please don’t let them kill him! I will …I will keep … faith with my fellow prisoners …oh God!
A rustle of fabric, a blood-curdling gurgle, then silence.
When I open my eyes, handle-bar is wiping his sword on a muslin cloth.
Stall is lying on the floor, bright red blood pooling around his lop-sided head.
I puke all over myself.
Cameraman shifts the tripod and brings it in line with me.
Still masked, the men with the banner shuffle till they’re behind me.
Sweat drips down my bruised back. The urge to scream is there but I’m too weak. Instead, I shut my eyes and will myself to blank out, to pass out, whatever the fuck will prevent me from feeling anything.
Don’t think. Empty your mind.
Doesn’t work - my mind betrays me. I open my eyes and find myself seeking out handle-bar. He’s disappeared from my sight. Even though my neck is hurt, it jerks in all directions looking for him and his sword.
I hear a sound behind me and freeze. It’s him. ‘Oh God!’ I murmur. ‘Oh God!’
… I will never forget that I am an American fighting for …for freedom … responsible for my …
Oh God! Please! Please!
From behind, Handle-bar grabs my dog tag and flashes it at the camera.
I’m only 27 – way too young to die.
Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death …
The cameraman gives a final nod and my army-issued pants suddenly feel warm and wet.
My Kevlar helmet is savagely ripped off. I scream in agony as handle-bar jerks my neck back, exposing my jugular. I wait for the sword, my breathing now in spurts, my body shaking.
The sword flashes briefly in front of me before it lodges against my throat.
‘Ogot! ‘Ogot!’ the cameraman shouts and frantically waves for Handle-bar to stop.
My neck is suddenly released and the sword is removed.
I’m too stunned to question this move.
Cameraman rushes towards me. ‘It is a wiiimon!’
The rest of the men dash over and crowd around me. They peer at me like they would a circus freak. One of them touches my long, blonde ponytail and whispers crude nothings in Arabic.
Also in front of me is Handle-bar. His repulsive mug cracks into a big smile. ‘American wiiimon,’ he says as he shakes his ass and circles his nipples. ‘Very good, very good. Wiiimon is good. Wiiimon is very good!’
Some of the men notice my wet pants and jeer at me.
I don’t give a fuck - I’m too stunned at my stay to worry about my shredded dignity. If I weren’t numb with shock, I’d probably be bawling my eyes out with relief.
As they chat among themselves, their voices rise in pitch and the cameraman rubs his hands together. He turns to me, raises his index finger and says, ‘Very nice.’
When he leaves with his tripod, the rest of the men herd out of the room. Handle-bar remains. He’s lovingly examining his blade for … God knows what. After his careful inspection, he presses the sword to his lips and slips it back into the sheath.
Revolted, I squeeze my eyes shut.
When he leaves the room, he locks the door behind him.
For a few minutes I do nothing but stare at the back of the door, expecting them to return. When they don’t, I lean forward and pant loudly - almost hyperventilating. I came so close to death. Being a woman has saved me from having my throat cut. What now? I look at Stall. Maybe he’s still alive. Maybe I can help. I look at my hands. I’m untied. They don’t need to tie me up - my injuries are shackles enough. If Stall is dying, then he shouldn’t die alone. Summoning every ounce of energy from … fuck knows where, I force myself to stand up and stumble towards Stall. After just three steps, I keel over and black out.
* * *
I try to open my eyes but congealed blood from my head wound has glued my eyelids shut. My entire face is scaly, my body tender and I stink like meat rotting in the midday sun.
I pry my eyelids open and peer around. In my haze, I see that I’m lying next to Stall where I fell. The other members of my unit are still on the floor in a heap. My throat is burning. I desperately need water. Through the curtain of dried blood, I notice someone walking around the room wearing white moccasins.
‘Water … please,’ I beg.
The person ignores me.
‘Said bousak!’ A jab in the ribs with the butt of a rifle and I shut up.
I drift in an out of consciousness. Could be days – I’m not sure.
It doesn’t matter.
Then, someone is putting water to my lips and talking to me. ‘Have a sip. Come on.’ The voice of a man – soothing but firm.
I lift my head, drink greedily and choke.
‘Easy now. It’s going to be alright.’ He has a shaved-off Arabic accent. Gently, he coaxes me to drink more water.
Who is this man? This kind man with gentle hands? Maybe I’m dead and he’s an angel.
‘Pain … help me …’
‘Okay, lie still now.’ He injects me in the deltoid. After a few minutes he bandages my arm and dresses my wounds. At times I cry out in pain.
‘Almost done. You’re going to be alright.’
‘Thank you,’ I whisper, grateful for his help and kindness.
When he’s done, he brings in a mattress and a blanket.
‘Who …are …you?’
He doesn’t answer but covers me with the blanket.
Later, he returns and feeds me some kind of gruel. It’s awful but he forces me to drink it.
A few days pass and with Angel-man’s nursing, I’m conscious and can move a bit without agonizing pain.
Angel-man walks in, sees my eyes open and stops, a look of relief on his face.
My smile is weak. ‘Thank you for helping me.’
‘Where am I?’
Mmm. My team members! I crane my head to look around. All the bodies have disappeared. Startled, I look at him, eyebrows raised.
He shifts about then mutters, ‘Sorry.’
‘Oh God!’ I curl up into a ball and fight the urge to sob.
I look at Angel-man.
‘You’re going to be okay. That’s important right now. Understand?’
Slowly I nod, remembering with horror the sword against my throat. I try to think - how long ago was it? ‘What day is it?’
He glances briefly at a fancy wrist-watch and says, ‘Yom al-arba.’
‘Wha …?’ Somehow the Arabic they speak sounds very different to the Arabic the army linguist taught us.
He sighs, appearing irritated with all my questions. ‘Wednesday, 7th July, 2004. That okay for you or do you want the exact time as well?’
‘July? 7th… I’ve been here seven days.’
‘In that case: happy one-week anniversary!’
I ignore the sarcasm remembering all the good he’s done for me. Gingerly, I touch my bandaged shoulder. ‘Thank you for helping me.’
He nods his scowl softening. ‘You’ve lost a lot of blood.’
We are interrupted by the appearance of Handle-bar. Today, he looks even more vicious, pure evil and instinctively, I touch my throat. The fucker’s pointing an AK47 at me and mouthing-off in Arabic. Sounds really pissed. Don’t know what he’s saying. All I can think of is how he slit Stall’s throat.
I glance at Angel-man. Wish he’d say something.
Handle-bar steps forward and sticks the rifle in my face. Of course I’m disconcerted – an automatic weapon in your face – who wouldn’t be? But I know he’s not going to shoot me.
Angel-man snarls at him in Arabic and shoves him away from me.
Handle-bar argues with Angel-man. After a while, handle-bar slowly backs out of the room. At the doorway, he takes aim at me then lowers his weapon.
‘Nazim!’ Angel-man yells.
Handle-bar or Nazim, quickly leaves shutting the door behind him.
‘Sorry,’ Angel-man mutters.
‘Okay,’ I say really grateful for his protection.
Nazim’s behavior freaks me out. I know he wants to finish what he started the other day.
I have to escape.
In my bid to escape, even though I’m too weak to even consider it and even though he’s hot one minute and cold the next and frustrating the hell out of me, I try to befriend Angel-man. Maybe, just maybe, after we become friends, he’ll allow me to just stroll the fuck out of here. Unarmed.
‘I’m Megan. What’s your name?’
For a moment he appears startled by my question. Then he suddenly gives my wound his full attention.
Mmm. ‘Shall I guess?’
He focuses even harder on my wound.
‘Ali Baba?’ Oops! I thought out loud there.
Now that’s no way to win friends and influence people. ‘Guess I’m gonna have to christen you myself, Angel-man. Won’t be pleasant, I’m warning you.’
‘“Angel-man?”’ His look can be interpreted as amused or just sneering.
‘Told ya so.’
A hint of a smile flitters across his lips.
‘My name’s not important. Keep calling me that though.’
I study him. Clean shaven, around 6’2, faded denim jeans, blue T-shirt, untidy hair, no turban, no beard, no visible weapon, no personality. He looks up and I quickly look away. He looks down and I continue. Reeboks, Rolex, a thin gold chain around his neck. Rolex? Insurgents must be getting good money these days.
A hint of a Canadian accent. Hard to tell when his answers are mainly monosyllabic. Somehow, he doesn’t seem to fit in here.
‘Can I take a bath?’
‘Please? I have dried blood all over me and it’s so … so uncomfortable.’
‘You want to be comfortable?’
‘Well, yeah. It’s hot.’ Hot is not the word. It’s about 120 degrees and there is no breeze.
‘You come to war, to fight, to kill … and … you want to be … comfortable?’
‘Post-war. I came to help.’
‘You came to help? Is that a fact?’ He finishes the wound dressing and stands up. ‘Save that for the interrogation that’s coming up. Should be interesting.’ He leaves the room.
Interrogation? Who’s going to interrogate me? Will they torture me? I cringe at the thought of that.
I need to get the hell out of here. In desperation, I scout around. No furniture except a mattress on the bare floor. A naked light bulb on the ceiling provides harsh lighting. The only window in the room is barricaded with steel bars. Although the door is wooden, a solid, metal, security gate keeps me in. No holes on the ground, none on the wall so I can forget tunneling out of here Shawshank-Redemption style.
I lie back on my mattress and stare grimly at the ceiling. I’m going to need more than a file in a cake to blow this joint.
* * *
‘Follow me,’ Angel-man says.
When his head jerks to look at me, I quickly stand up and shuffle behind him. As we walk down the long corridor I get a better view of my cage. It’s actually an old farm-house that’s appears to have been modified to hold infidels like me.
Steel bars on all doors and windows. Heavy, tattered drapes allow little light in. The place is musty and there is an absence of life outside. No moving cars or trains or even the faint sounds of gunshots, which is common in Iraq these days.
We’re probably on the outskirts of Baghdad. With escape in mind, I case the joint, making mental notes - the angles of the house, the exits, entrances, the bunch of keys hanging on a hook on the wall...
Three armed militants play cards on a make-shift table supported by three oil drums. Two are armed with Kalashnikovs while the third has an M-249, a SAW.
I look longingly at the SAW – a Squad Automatic Weapon. At 2000 rounds per minute, it would saw through anybody it hit. Lethal. Flash it around and you’ve got crowd control. One glimpse of it and you’ve got a swarm of hostile Iraqis on their knees.
Angel-man stops at a closed door and jerks his head towards it.
With one finger, I push the door open. It’s a bathroom. Not the little toilet I’ve been using but a proper, useable bathroom. I smile.
Angel-man flings a small bundle of clothes at me. I’m too slow catching it and it falls to the ground.
‘Sorry,’ he says and stoops to pick it up.
‘Thanks.’ I examine the bundle. An old, grey but clean towel, a long, black skirt and a red, long-sleeve tunic. Clean clothes after fourteen days in my filthy, army-issued gear. Awesome!
Excited, I reach over and turn the faucet. Warm water. My day is A-okay! I slowly rub my hands together under the flowing water. Beautiful, just beautiful! Something I took for granted. To lose this awful stench of congealed blood I’ve been carrying around is going to be great.
I push the bathroom door shut.
Angel-man pushes back.
I stare at him. ‘What?! You kidding me?’
‘Do I look like I’m kidding?’
‘Then … I mean, how do I shower with you looking on?’
He shrugs and jerks his head to towards the armed men. ‘Want to take it up with them?’
I look at the men and purse my lips.
He’s bluffing. Has to be. Pissed off, I call his bluff. ‘Forget it.’ I hand the towel and clothes back to him and wait for him to feel bad and have a change of mind and eventually say, ‘Oh, alright, you can close the darn door.’
To my disbelief, he shrugs and starts walking away. What a prick!
Sullenly, I trudge behind him, pissed off with him and myself. As I walk, I imagine warm water cascading down my parched skin, washing away layers of grime and caked blood, cleansing my matted hair, making me feel like a human being again and I buckle. ‘Okay fine!’
He stops and slowly turns around. ‘You’re wasting my time, American woman.’
In a huff, I turn and walk back to the bathroom. Leaving the door slightly ajar, I strip down to my bra and panties and get under the shower. When I look past the door, Angel-man is staring outside the tiny passage window, looking a trillion miles away. Relieved he’s not perving me, I relax. How good would it be if I had some almond and honey shampoo? Some citrus shower gel with those little blue beads that exfoliate and soften. A natural, scented loofah, some grapefruit and pomegranate body …
The shower floor rises and hits me in the face.
Angel-man is immediately besides me.
‘This was a bad idea. Let’s go.’
‘No, please!’ I say. ‘I need to …to wash my …’
‘You’ve washed enough.’
‘Please!’ I do my best to stand up but my legs have turned to Jell-O. ‘Help … me … wash my hair. I need your help. Please!’
‘What? I … me? You want me to ...?’ He sighs. ‘O … k fine!’ He washes my hair while I sit on the shower floor and will the ground to stop spinning.
His watch is getting wet and his clothes are getting soaked but he doesn’t seem to mind. When the water runs clean, he dries me with the towel and helps me up.
Feeling fresher in spite of my fall, I’m thrilled to have rid myself of the awful stench and I don’t even care that he saw me semi-naked. He’s a doctor anyway. To him a vagina is probably like an earlobe or an elbow.
‘Thanks,’ I say as he steers me back to my room.
* * *
My door is unlocked; however the iron gate outside my door is always locked. Every time someone leaves my room, I listen in case they’ve forgotten to lock the gate. A POW can hope, can’t she? When I’m really bored and I have the energy, I stand at my door and look around at … nothing. Most times, Angel-man sits nearby and reads the newspaper or a magazine. Since he’s never armed, I flirt with the idea of overpowering him and escaping. Soon.
I’m fast asleep when I hear beautiful singing. ‘Amazing Grace …’ I open my eyes and the singing has stopped.
Strange. Could have sworn it was real. Ah well, probably just a dream. Fuck! I’m going nuts here.
Then I hear it again. I spring to my feet and bolt to the gate, straining to listen. But to my disappointment, there is a torrent of abuse in Arabic, followed by complete silence. Someone had sung in English. It was no dream.
Excitement surges through me. Who could it be?
24 hours later, I hear it again and this time, it’s clear. No dream, no maybes. A man’s melancholy voice. ‘I once was lost …’
‘Who is this?’ I blurt, my voice shrill and high-pitched. ‘This is Sergeant Megan Saunders. Who are you? You American? Talk to me!’
‘Hello? Answer me! Please? Please! Please …’
‘Saunders?’ The voice is weary. ‘Trust Fund?’
‘Eh …yes!’ God, I hate that name but today it’s music to my battered ears. ‘Yes! Trust Fund Saunders! Who’s this?’
‘Captain Davis. Salem, Oregon.’ He says this with pride.
‘Yes!’ From where I’m standing, I see only his swarthy arms protruding though the bars of his cell. He waves them. ‘Can you see my …biceps?’
My chuckle emits like a sob. ‘Rory. Oh my God! I’m so happy to hear you’re alive, Captain!’’
‘Roger that, Trust. Happy to hear you’re alive too. Thought I was the only one.’
‘Anybody else with you, Captain?’
‘Nope. Just me.
I have so many questions I don’t know where to begin. ‘Where …?’
Rory and I obey and shut up.
* * *
Enter Shariff. From the size of his entourage, I gather he’s the Don around here. Seven of his men with M16’s and AK47s pour into my cell. After every sentence of Shariff’s, his men nod vigorously and nod. Akin to ‘Amen brother!’
He’s a bigger version of Bin Laden. More rounded and taller, cherubic cheeks, well upholstered - wears a long white caftan and flat leather sandals. A white turban is coiled around his head and his salt and pepper beard touches his chest. He could easily pass as a priest and I bet he does. Probably why he’s been missed by coalition forces.
He looks at me sitting on the floor and frowns. Angel-man quietly enters the room and fades into the wall. He looks worried so I get worried.
Shariff takes a deep breath. ‘You came to Iraaaaq to kiiiill?’
‘N … no sir.’
‘We have plans for you, American soldier. Big plans.’
This time I quietly look at the floor.
‘I’m talking to you!’
My head jerks to look at him. Make up your mind, will you?
From the corner of my eye, I notice a faint smile on Angel-man’s face.
‘Ummm … sir?’
To begin with, you will have to deliver a message or a speech.’
Okay, so it’s probably going to be one of those speeches you see on a grainy video. You know the one where you say, I’m okay, they’re treating me well. Send $100 million in $1 bills.
That means I’m going to be alive for a while longer and that is a relief.
* * *
After my meeting with Shariff, I walk to my door and look outside. Angel-man sits outside my room and pages through a car magazine. The one thing I notice about him – he’s always clean shaven. Confusing when all the other assholes around me have long beards.
‘Shhh!’ Angel-man says, looking up from his magazine and faking a scowl.
I ignore him. ‘You hurt, Rory?’
Angel-man glares at my insolence.
‘Yeah. Busted knee, sprained wrist, couple of gashes. But I’ll be okay. How ’bout you?’
‘Too bad. Well, I’ve got a broken clavicle, some head injuries, generalized bruising, a sprained ankle. Lost a lot of blood but I’m alive, thanks to a very nice gentleman sitting here reading the paper.’
Angel-man rolls his eyes and I see a faint redness creep into his face.
‘They’ll come for us,’ Rory says. ‘They’ll find us, Trust.’
‘You think?’ I cannot hide the hopelessness in my voice. I think Angel-man hears the despair because he looks up from his magazine again, this time a worried look in his eyes.
I look away.
‘Yep. I’m going to see my wife and baby again, Trust. And very soon, you’ll be back home, wearing your Jimmy Choos and prancing around in your polka dot bikini.
I swallow hard. Wish I had the same faith he has.
‘So Trust, why do they call you that? And what’s with the polka dot bikini story?’
‘Changing the subject to lift my spirits, eh? As if you don’t know, Rory.’
‘Awww, it’s a long story.’
‘I got time. You got time too.’
I smile. ‘Well, just cos my husband is a …’
‘… Poh … leeese Commissioner …’ Rory teases.
I chuckle. ‘Assistant “Poh …leeese Commissioner”.’
Angel-man glances at me again before returning to his magazine.
I toy with the idea of telling Rory that my parents are not wealthy at all and that my husband worked really hard to become successful, but I decide against it.
‘Uh huh. And the bikini? True about you being a former model and shit?’
I glance down at my tattered clothes, think about my scarred body, my matted hair, my pasty skin and I cringe. ‘Well ... I modeled once. Some fizzy drink. But then I got married ...’
‘And all that came to an end, right? Marriage does that, I know, I know. Must have wanted you all to himself.’
‘Well, not rea …’
‘Can’t say I blame the dude.’
‘Jeez, Rory, I’m surprised everyone knows so much about me.’
‘Well it’s a …’
Nazim walks out of a room with a wooden pole and slams it against Rory’s arms hanging through the bars. Rory yells in pain.
Horrified, I scoot back into my cell and back into a corner.
Man, I wish Nazim and his bony ass would just fuck off the planet!
* * *
When I see the tripod and camera again I freeze. But then I remember that I have that speech to give. That speech.
Nazim and a few men, including Angel-man, follow the cameraman in. An insurgent they call Bilal flings a scarf at me.
I tie it around my hair.
‘Not like that,’ Bilal yells.
I look at Angel-man. He walks over and towers over me as he unties the scarf and reties it, tucking all my stray hair into the scarf. ‘It’s okay,’ he murmurs reassuringly.
I gulp and nod my thanks.
Nazim stands in the middle of the room and draws circles in the air with his unsheathed sword. If it is a ploy to terrorize me; boy is it working! I’m suitably terrorized.
Without argument I sit in front of the video camera.
A man slaps pages of a typed speech into my hands. ‘Smile!’
I bare my teeth an inch.
My smile becomes large enough to stick a coat hanger in.
Ready to deliver the speech, I squint at the page and balk. ‘Sir!’ I look up at Bilal, a look of horror on my face. ‘I can’t say these words.’
He looks at me with hooded eyes.
‘Please, I’m…’ I fight to control my panic, ‘I’m a soldier in the United States Army. If I say these words, if I give this speech, I will be thrown in jail, sir, please!’
Nazim pauses with his air alphabets or whatever the fuck he’s doing. For a moment he stares at a spot on the ceiling. Suddenly he rushes at me, sword first. I scream and cower. He grabs me by the hair and yanks my head back and before he can even lodge his sword against my throat, my wind-pipe involuntarily constricts.
‘I’ll do it! I’ll do it!’ I gurgle. ‘I’ll do it! Please! Please!’
Slowly, he releases my hair, his lips twitching with unspoken threats.
Shaking and crying, I struggle to compose myself for the camera. Guess I have to give the speech. Fucked if I do and fucked if I don’t.
‘My fellow …’ I clear my throat. ‘My fellow Americans, I have chosen to join the holy Jihad against America. From now on, I choose to be called Zarina. America is committing a great transgression by killing innocent women and children and taking lives in the Islamic world.’
I glance at Angel-man standing in the background, looking at me, his hands stuck deep in the pocket of his jeans. When our eyes meet, he quickly averts his.
‘I urge you to bring America to its knees and force it to take responsibility for its follies. Therefore, I beseech you, commit to the goals of Islam and join the Jihad, and help bring the Islamic world closer to its goal, that is to defeat the wicked and depraved America and finally liberate Iraq and the people of Iraq from its…’
When I’m done, Nazim claps slowly then blows me a kiss. I look away, repulsed by the mere sight of him.
Bilal walks over and leers at me. His hanging jowls and protruding, jaundiced eyes remind me of a bullfrog and the name Jeremiah comes to mind. He stinks too – a base note of rancid yoghurt, a top note of stale tobacco and the rest – boiled eggs. When he strokes my cheek, I jerk my face away.
‘I marry you, we have boy baby,’ he says.
Eeeewww! I recoil further into my plastic chair.
Nazim smiles and casually drapes his bony arm around my shoulder and immediately one hundred desert scorpions crawl over me.
When they finally leave, I exhale loudly. I’ve crossed more than a boundary with that speech. Just before I left the US, a new security law was passed which allows the US Military to detain anyone suspected of American terrorism, including US citizens, indefinitely and without trial. They will then be shipped to Guantanamo Bay for processing. No longer will the FBI or civilian law enforcement agencies be detaining traitors like myself.
I sigh inwardly. Guantanamo Bay, here I come.
Last to leave is Angel-man. At the door, he hesitates then turns around. ‘Keep your boots on,’ he says in a low voice.
‘My boo …?’
‘Even at night.’ Then he’s gone.
I stare at the door. In my desperation, I read hope into those words. Perhaps he’s going to set me free. How good would that be?
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CAPTURED - Held as a slave by Iraqi Militants
a book by EVE RABI
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