I drifted between bouts of consciousness and unconsciousness. It is in the interim of both, that I felt peace and quiet. The respite from the pain that wracked my body was like heaven to me.
After quite sometime, I finally came to my full senses. “Where was I?” I was disoriented. It was pitch black and I could not see a thing. My memory slowly drifted back to the previous hours.
Anxious, I tried to stand up, but found out to my dismay, that I was strapped to a steel chair. My tormentors were gone, perhaps to get some sleep, thank God.
I squirmed to set myself free, but the tight knot became even tighter.
“Keep calm”, I reprimanded myself. ” Take a deep breath and relax.”
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After a few minutes of relaxation, I looked around me. There was a small window at the farthest end of the room – but there were steel bars on it! The room was almost bare except for the chair I was in, the rickety table in front of me and the piles of ropes and duct tapes around me.
I tried shifting my weight to move the chair but it wouldn’t budge an inch. Just then voices started to drift in. I froze.
“This is incredible!” the hoarse voice exclaimed,”I wouldn’t have believed it, If I haven’t seen him with my own two eyes.”
They were back! The devils were back! I can’t stand the inhumane torture any longer.
I closed my eyes and feigned unconsciousness as I heard the door opened and banged.
” I’ve got to see my lawyer.” the voice was insistent.
“This is martial law and you are not entitled to any legal rights”, the man barked his reprimand.
The scent of cigarette and booze wafted to me as the man came close. He got hold of my chin, tilted my face and spat:” This is the wrong man, that explains the poor stamina. This one will be out in hours.”
I felt my hands and feet freed of the tight ropes and the contraption, and carelessly dragged to some corner of the room.
“You are making a big mistake,” the new “suspect” warned them.
Instead of giving him a reply, I heard grunts of pain as they turned him into a punching bag.
I winced as they continued to beat the daylights out of him. Perhaps I could do something, but my muscles were still raw and numb. The bastards! I hope their day of reckoning would come soon.
They stopped when they finally had worn themselves out, “Now let’s start with the questions.”
They proceeded with the same line of questioning they conducted with me.
I can see that the new suspect was undaunted. He rarely cried in pain – all I could hear were controlled groans and muffled cries.
The interrogation went on for several minutes and I could hear, they weren’t making any progress. The circulation was slowly creeping back into my veins. Tentatively, I opened and closed my fists and tried to stretch my legs. I peered through the darkness and assessed the situation.
There were only two of them. One was standing close, with a dangling cigarette in his mouth, while the other, bigger man had his face close to the “suspect”. The “suspect” was blindfolded! The poor guy, had a mangled face due to the beating.
The smaller man glanced backward like he had some premonition, and I slumped back, feigning unconsciousness.
” Where are your accomplices?”, the bigger man repeated the question.
” I don’t have any, ” the suspect whispered.
“You’ve got to hurry,” the smaller man warned his companion, “soon the Governor will be back, and he would like results.”
” You planned to assassinate the governor, didn’t you ?, How much did they pay you?”
They were so engrossed with their activity that they did not hear my approach.
With the agility of a seasoned gunman, (that surprised even me) I grabbed the small hand gun from the waist of the smaller man and shouted: ” Stop now, or I’ll blow your brains off.”
Everything froze as they turned to me with incredulous looks on their faces, I squinted from my half closed eyes and returned their stare.
” Now, turn your back slowly.” I instructed the smaller man to untie the suspect
and tie his cohort instead.
“Make that tighter,” I shouted with all the strength I could muster, lest they will notice the quiver in my voice.
When the bigger man was bound, I “roped” the other man myself.
Now I have learned that survival is the father of audacity! ha ha! What a way to learn it! I could not imagine myself doing this, a few days ago…but now…
I gently shook the “suspect” to consciousness. “We’ve got to run now,” I said urgently.
He shifted his weight unto my shoulder and we trudged to the door. There was an unexpected blast of the early morning air as we stepped into an open field. Another day had started. I can see then, that the “room” we had been in, was actually a concrete, solitary den – away from civilization.
Arm in arm, We half-ran. half jogged away to freedom. He was fast recovering now and I could see that he was definitely more physically fit than I was.
We took 5- minute rests as we skirted our way, to follow the trail out of the forest.
We went on for about an hour before he motioned for me to stop.
He looked at me worriedly , so I assured him ” I have knocked them out cold. They will sleep for hours, don’t worry.” But he continued to stare at me, with a baffled look on his face.
“I am Arvin, ” he finally said, “what’s yours?”
“Angel,” I replied
” You can leave me now, Angel, and thank you.”
“You’re not curious why they took me in?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, apparently, they mistook you for me.”
“Really,” I said sarcastically.
“Go now, before they could organize a hunting party.”
“What about you?” I couldn’t help but ask.
Just then, there was a rustle of leaves and I heard him whistle.
I blinked as 15-20 men materialized out of nowhere. They were all dressed in
fatigue uniforms and had guns of different calibers. They found us ! I started to run for cover, when Arvin’s hands held me in a firm grip. “These are my comrades, Angel,” his hand indicated the group in one swift motion. “And this is Angel”,he stated this like he had known me for quite sometime now.
I blinked again in disbelief, as one by one, his comrades approached me and gave me a handshake.
“Now, go back to where you belong, and fight the peaceful war.”
They will hunt me down if I go back. I thought…what charges would they arrest me for? Rebellion? Resisting arrest? Physical injury to an officer? What else? But all I said was, “I can’t go back.”.
“You can. I will see to it that you will. Follow this trail and within 30 minutes, you will be in the next town.”
Before I could protest, he turned his back and motioned to his comrades to follow him…and they were gone in a flash, like the silent wind, here now – and gone the
It was as he had said, within 30 minutes, I found the town. I sneaked in and out of the streets, fearful I was being followed – but no one paid any attention to me.
My face was mending, except for a few bruises and my body aches were slowly receding.
I finally hitched a ride home.
The following day, the newspapers screamed the headlines:
“The New People’s Army Strikes Again”
Two policemen believed to be members of the
private army of Governor Samat have been
summarily executed by rebels in a hideout, northeast
This was written and taped to their bodies:
” A warning to scalawags in the police force.
Mend your evil ways, or you will be next.”
My vision blurred as memories of yesterday came back.
Was it only yesterday? It seemed eons ago!
I stared at the handsome face of Arvin. He looks exactly like me, except for the wavy hair. Mine are straight…talk about strange coincidences…could he be my…????
I shook my head at the absurd idea and continued packing for school. I had an exam on Criminal Law 1.
“Go back and fight your peaceful war.” Arvin’s voice was still resounding in my ears as I ascended the school grounds.