“How did you get here?” screamed the He-man as he jabbed live electric wires to my chest. I grit my teeth to hold back the scream. I didn’t want to give them the pleasure of knowing the pain I felt, but this was not my first time being tortured. Tehran, Beirut, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Damascus, and Karachi were all familiar reminders of the initiations that I had suffered to protect the cause and the brothers that I fought with.
“Just tell us what we want to know and we will stop, Afzal,” coaxed another man standing in the corner smoking a cigarette. “My friend here just doesn’t know any other way to get through to you. Talking is not going to get us anywhere, so just tell us what we want to know and it can all stop.”
I felt the hard fist to my jaw before I could answer and as I swallowed back the blood, “I don’t know what you want. I was just tending my crops in the field when your soldiers came and grabbed me.” I felt something cold and hard glance across my head, my ears began to ring as sense and feeling left me.
I think I passed out then because all I can remember is a rush of pain and then nothing. My body went limp. I don’t know when I came to, but I was still shackled to the ceiling naked and could hear others being tortured in the cells around me.
No matter what I did to block out the screams and stop imagining what these bastards were doing to the others, I could not. As I hung there, I could taste the blood that ran down my head from where they had hit me, as well as the vomit that came from inside me.
“How did I get here? How the fuck did they find me?” I thought to myself. “After decades of living free and clear and fighting governments, armies and proxies, how did these bastards finally catch me?”
My thoughts calmed my imagination as I tried to understand how I had gone from being a warrior to hanging from this wall, soaked in blood and half my body convulsing from aftershocks. As my body collapsed and my eyes closed.
“You need to learn how to follow orders without thinking if you are going to be in the military,” he growled at me while driving his fist into the side of my head. “If you don’t get into one of the academies, you will have a long hard road to becoming someone respectable. No one respects the jawans. It’s the officers that people salute.”
“Yet, I am the idiot that continues to pay for you to attend good schools in Peshawar, while you screw around and reward my efforts with these grades!” he followed with another shot to my face with his open hand.
“I don’t understand why I don’t just kill you and save myself the disgrace of having a failure for a son!” He would scream at me, “you will never amount to anything!
I don’t know how long I was out, but awoken with a stream of very, very cold water slamming against my body. As my eyes opened, I saw the hose that was being used to wash the blood off me as I swung around from the chains that held my hands to the ceiling.
“Hey Paki! Wake the fuck up, you son of a bitch!” screamed the guard with the hose. “I bet they don’t let you camel jockeys bathe, you smelly piece of shit!” he taunted.
“Fuck you,” I muttered under my breath as the water suddenly shut off. I could see the guard moving towards me, when he suddenly grabbed my balls and squeezed. For a moment, I could swear that it was my father’s face coming at me.
“What did you say to me, you dog? Did you tell me to fuck off?” he growled inches from my face. He was so close that I could tell he spat when he spoke and his breath smelled like a someone had shat in his mouth. “Is that what you said to me?”
Part II will be available on Saturday.