The human species have five senses as we all know. Sight. Hearing. Taste. Smell. Touch.
When you lose one of them, you become insecure. However, it enhances the ones left. You gain extra sensitivity.
When you lose four of your senses and your capability to perceive sound is the only sense you are left to rely on, you become acute to every little noise inside your hearing range until you reach insanity.
They were coming closer. Faster.
I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself down and not think too much about what was about to come. I swallowed, but my throat was dry. The rope they used to gag me was the only thing I was allowed to taste. I would have thrown up if I had something in my stomach. How long has it been since I had a glass of water or food? How long have I been stuck in here? I shifted as much as I could on the chair I was tied on. I couldn't feel my legs nor my arms bounded behind me. My body was numb. I turned my head in the direction of the noise. At least, I think I was. I was no longer able to tell if my eyes were closed or not as I wasn't even able to tell if I was blindfolded. Wherever I was, it was pitch black. I felt dizzy from the pungently odor contaminating the room. It was a mixture of wet dust, urine and decay. It smelled like shit.
A door creaked open and footsteps came in. My breathing got heavier. I was sweating profusely. The footsteps became louder until they stopped in front of me. Who was it? What's going to happen to me?! I heard the sound of what would sound like a gun charging. My heart started accelerating. I felt a sudden pressure again the right side of my head. BOOM!
A thunderous sound exploded right next to my ear. I was gasping for air. I felt sweat drenching down my face or is it blood? No. It didn't hurt. Though it felt real, there were no wounds. I didn't die. It was fake. Yet for a second...
''If you don't cooperate, a bullet will go through your skull next time,'' a male voice whispered in my ear.
I mustn't show fear. Calm down. Calm down. I put my body and soul not to flinch, to betray no trace of horror or any of the various emotions jolting down my spine, threatening to take over me. I felt something tugging at the rope gagging my mouth before it was pulled out. I welcomed the little part of freedom, but made sure to remained quiet. Anything I say could be used against me.
''Either we do this the easy way or the hard way. It's your call. Which one do you choose?'' He mocked in a casual tone. Bastard. If my hands weren't tied, I would have jumped off the chair and punched his face. ''Silence. Well, I didn't really expect you to answer anyway.''
I heard movements on my left. He seemed to have distanced himself.
''Are you thirsty? I sure am,'' he added before the sound of running water reached my ears. My mind screamed at me to drink. My throat hurts from the dryness. My mouth watered with the little quantity of saliva left in me. '' Unfortunately for you, there's only enough for me.''
I gritted my teeth in anger. He was playing with my mind. He was trying to psychologically break me. I will not give him the satisfaction of letting him know I was frightened. I will not let him know he was winning.
''Let's cut the chitchat,'' he added, putting firmly his hand on my shoulder. I slightly jumped from the sudden contact. ''Where is it?''
''...'' My lips were set in a firm line. Now that I have calmed down, I noticed he held a little bit of southern accent.
''They are always silent in the beginning,'' he sighed. '' But in the end, they scream.'' He said the last part in my left ear. No, I told myself. I will not utter a sound of discomfort nor show pain.
''Do you think you're a tough guy?'' the tone in his voice raised before he switchedit to a more compassionate one. As if.''You know, a kid your age shouldn't be here. You should be in highschool. Studying. Going on dates. Having a girlfriend. Partying. Getting a part-time job. Whatever you teenagers do these days, but I'm certain we both agree, you don't belong in a place like this.''
Indeed. How many times have I asked myself: What am I doing here?
'' Once you tell me what I need to know, it will all ends here. You, only, can stop this, because you are the one who started it. Everything happened because you didn't mind your own business. You are responsible. You are guilty.''
My lips quivered from my suppressed emotions. Why does his words hurt so much? Is it because he speaks the truth? My mind wandered to my parents, my friends and her. The worst feeling in this world is not knowing where your cherished people are. Are they doing well? I could only hoped they were doing better than me, because where I am, it's hell.
My earscaught the sound of metal clashing together. The word 'torture' immediately came to mind. Various images of torture deviceshaunted me, turning my skin iced cold. My limbs shook with fear when a screeching and scraping sound of metal against metal cut right through my hearing.I felt like my right ear was splitting itself in half. The faint cold touch ofa blade glided on my throat, it's sharp edge teasing me. My breathing quickened.
''Maybe I should start by cutting offyour ear,'' he hushed. '' Maybe I should just gut you.''
Where is he going to stab first, if he is? Is he only trying to scare me? If not, when will he start? Any second now and I could feel a sharp amount of pain. Trying to prepare yourself for the blow was no use. What's the point when you can't even see from which angle he'll be coming? I waited and waited, but nothing came. Did he leave? The waiting...I loathed it. The sound of a door opening interrupted the eerie silence. Several footsteps came in.
'' Let's try a different method. I prefer keeping the best part as the end,'' the same voice said before the rope binding me was suddenly left loose. I was pulled on my feet instantly and forced to walk forward when I felt a rough nudge on my back. I did as I was told. After all, I still couldn't see anything and who knows how many men are in this room with me. I followed whoever was dragging me. The temperature changed. It felt slightly warmer. I must have left the room. Where are they leading me? Panic started spreadingthrough my veins. They are going to kill me. They are leading me into some sort of isolated place and they are going to murder me. I should run away. These people...you can't win against them.
Enough. A voice in my head said. I couldn't afford to lose control, especially in a place like this, where I was a foe. I remembered her voice, her words precisely, calling me a coward. For a minute, I actually wanted to laugh. She was certainly my toughest critic. Yet, she was right. I will not be a coward, no more.
I heard a door shut behind me and I realised I must have arrived in the new room. Just when I was thinking of multiple possibilities of my new whereabouts, my blindfold has been removed, my vision cleared.Curiosity got the best of me when I let my eyes roamed free my surroundings. The room was empty except for one couch and TV in the centre. I didn't understand.
'' Don't be shy, '' he said. '' Sit and make yourself comfortable.'' His voice contained malice.
I turned to the side and looked at my captor for the first time. He seemed to be in his thirties to forties. He was thinner than I thought and looked quite average, not the image of a dangerous man willing to inflict pain. Yet, his confident facial expression, his straight posture and the eerie glint in his eyes...No doubt, it would be an unmistakablemistake to turn your back to a man like this. I maintained eye contact, proving to him I was unintimidated, until he shifted his chin towards the couch. I reluctantly did what he wanted and sat on the furniture. He imitated me, keeping a good distance from my seat. I looked down at the remote placed on the couch between us.
''Take it,'' he said casualy. ''Turn the TV on, we're going to watch a little homemade movie.''The second his lips curled up into a smile, I knew this 'movie' would be anything, but entertainment. I grabbed the remote and directed it to the TV. I pressed the 'power' button.
I squint my eyes when light erupted from the screen. I have gotten used to darkness. It took me several seconds before I realized the contains of this movie. There was a girl bounded on a chair. Her hair seemed dark and was dripping wet, sticking to her skin like a magnet. Her eyes were half closed and she was gasping for air. A bucket of water has been placed in front of her. I didn't have to guess what its utility was for. Fury burned my throat and before I could rationalize my thoughts, my lips parted open.
''What have you done to her?! She has f*cking nothing to do with this!'' I snarled, lunging myself at my captor. He easily avoided my punch, caught my wrist and bended it behind me, earning a small cracking noise. He pushed me back on the couch.
''I would think twice before trying something like that again, kid!'' hespat. ''You're not exactly in the position to negotiate.'' He pointed to the screen. He was right. I have already put her life in danger. Damn it. What is she doing here?! I stared at her. She has always been strong willed, intimidating me on numerous occasions. Yet, here, she was vulnerable. I had to do something.
''Now this is how things are going to work,'' he cut in my thoughts. I brought myself back in a sitting position, my eyes never leaving the TV. '' You tell me what I need to know and I let your girlfriend here go. Isn't that a good deal?''
I wanted to scoff. Of course he didn't plan on setting me free. I had too much bagage.
''I will count to three and if you give me no answers by then, bad things will happen to her.'' He nodded to one of his colleagues by the door. Is he going to order him to hurt her? What is he going to do to her?!
I gritted my teeth. Maybe he was bluffing. People like them are always bluffing. How many times have he said he would kill me if I kept my mouth shut? Still, I can't take the same risk with her. On the other side, if I reveal the location of the USB flash drive, everything would have been for nothing. All the hard work would have been a total waste and worse, they would win and our society would crumble. Her or everyone else?
''One...'' he sang. I must make a decision. Damn it!
''Two...'' I gazed at her. I remembered our first awkward and quite uncomfortable meeting. What would she have done if our roles were reversed? I felt my heart pounding against my ribcage. Will she hate me?
My throat was dry.
My heart stopped.