The Mosquitos*

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

They have met unspectedly. Each is suspicious of the other. Who is telling the truth? What is really happening?

The Mosquitos

 

“Please, stop the car here,” the girl said rather loudly.

“Here!?” the man asked as he slowed down the car. “Why here? In the middle of nowhere!

"It's not in the middle of nowhere!” the girl said with a smile as she opened the car door.  “I’ll be back shortly,” she added. “I just want to see a friend of mine.  I won’t be long.” She quickly got out of the car. “That is the College of Economics Building…you see over there,” she went on as she closed the door, waved to him and gently walked away.

“Mosquitos!” he mumbled to himself as he turned his head away from the girl, looking all about him.

There weren’t many buildings around. It really looked like a deserted area. But everything was somewhat familiar to him. He was sure he had been there before “Bastards!” he mumbled to himself. “That brainwash operation is still scrambling my mind,” he said rather loudly. “I’m sure I’ve been here recently!”

“You should know this area, Hank,” the girl said when she opened the car door some minutes later. “It’s very close to…where you said…you spent your two years of imprisonment…or one year, whichever it was …, that you said. Right?”

“Huh,” mumbled the man called Hank. “You’re right, Nancy, dear,” he added. “I think…I’ve been here…many times. Once even…a very short time ago!”

The girl laughed loudly. “Yes! You’re absolutely right, dear Hank!” she exclaimed, “Because I brought you here a few days ago myself. Remember the last time you came to pick me up early in the morning to go to work? It was last week! We went right past the College of Economics that day, too.”

“Yeah,” muttered Hank, “I really have to do something about my forgetfulness.”

“It’s nothing to worry about,” murmured Nancy. “Your mind will recuperate in time. I have read some stuff about that sort of a condition.”

The car was now moving down a steep street. “Where shall we go now?” asked Hank.

"Wherevere you whish!” the girl mumbled shrugging her shoulders. “So long as you can tell your tale while driving! I’ll be listening.”

“All right!” said Hank as he shifted gear. “There isn’t much more to say, though, really!” he added. “What has kept my mind busy the last half an hour,” he went on as he turned the steering wheel to change the car direction, “has been … the word….mosquito…which that semi-human creature used to describe people like you…and…I. What exactly was the reason he called you that?”

“Isn’t that obvious?” the girl asked. “The bastard meant to say that we were like mosquitos in comparison with them, who were supposed to be humans. All they had to do, the guy said, was to move their hands fast enough to crush us, before we can get a chance to fly away and sting them later…when they are asleep!”

“It seems to me,” mumbled Hank, “that his comparison would make far more sense if he reversed the positions! It’s them who are like little mosquitos sucking the blood of our masses of people!”

“Yeah!” exclaimed the girl. “Those people have begun mistaking themselves for the opposition groups.” She looked out of the window for some minutes before she asked, “Whatever happened…to your group…abroad?”

“I don’t know?” answered Hank softly. “Since I was arrested, I haven’t heard from them. They are busy doing their usual work over there, I suppose.”

“You mean…nobody has tried to …contact you….ever since!?” asked the girl softly.

“Not that I know of,” said Hank shaking his head. “Maybe they tried…without success.”

“Oh, yeah? How long did you say…they kept you in jail?” Nancy asked.

“I’m not sure! Around…two years or so. I suppose,” mumbled Hank.

“So you don’t quite remember that…either, huh?” queried Nancy

“I guess not,” answered Hank halfheartedly.

“Just…what was that they did to you? In that clinic, I mean?” asked Nancy in a very sympathetic tone of voice.

“Well, I don’t quite know that, either,” answered Hank thoughtfully. “You see, what they did, every time, was…giving me an injection which made me unconscious,... and…when I came too, I was lying on a bed, with all my clothes properly on, as if nothing at all had happened! I even felt jolly good! As if I had nothing in the world to worry about!”

“So! How do you know that they did something nasty…to you while you were unconscious?” asked Nancy skeptically.

“Well, you see,” mumbled Hank, “What made me very suspicious at first was that…they actually forced me to go through all that! The first day they wanted to take me to their operation room, I asked them the reason and since they ignored hearing my question, I began resisting. So they gave me an injection which made me unconscious and…took me. And…”

“I’m sorry, dear Hank,” said Nancy staring at Hank’s sullen face as he drove the car. “I really didn’t want to make you remember those horrible days but for our purposes, that is a sort of…necessary.”

“It’s Okay,” mumbled Hank. “It actually gives me a relieving feeling to take those thoughts off my mind…by talking about them to somebody ….”

“Okay, then,” murmured the girl. “If that’s the case, please go on! I’m very interested in hearing about it.”

“Well, you see, what happened was that,” muttered Hank, “ One day, for some reason I went to that place sooner than the usual time and saw another guy, lying on that very bed I usually lay on, with all kinds of wires attached to his head and body. The guy kept moving up and down as if he were getting electric shocks or something. A couple of days after that, I saw the same guy outside the clinic talking to an elderly lady laughing very loudly…like a mad man. Then a woman…approached me from behind and quickly whispered something…in my ear…”

Hank stopped talking and began shaking his head helplessly.

“I’m sorry I made you think about those horrible things,” mumbled the girl looking worried. “You don’t need to go on…if you really feel that bad about…what happened.”

“No, it’s okay,” murmured Hank. He then lowered the car speed, turned into a narrow street, stopped beside a curb, took a long breath and continued, “She said, ‘That guy you see over there….has no memory, and he’s going to stay like that…for a long time! That’s what they are doing to you, too! Stop them if you can!’” She then walked away quickly and disappeared.”

“Huh,” mumbled the girl. “Just like that, Yah?”

Hank stared at her face for some seconds before he nodded his head. “It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?” he murmured.

Nancy shrugged her shoulders. “It sounds a bit like…a science fiction movie story, something you may have seen on television when you were in the States,” she mumble, “But I guess it might be true. I’m sorry I made you think about it.”

She then shook her head and smiled. “Let’s talk about something a bit more…refreshing now. Okay?”

“All right,” answered Hank as he turned on the engine and began to move.

“Whatever happened to that girl…who you said….wanted to marry you, or something,” asked Nancy giggling.

“Nothing,” answered Hank as he smiled. “A while after I ended my military service and got out of the army…someone asked her to marry him and…she accepted. I guess she had lost all hopes of hooking me, or, maybe, she had fallen in love with that other guy…or something.”

“Who was this ‘other guy’? Did you know him?” asked Nancy casually. 

“Yeah, a sort of,” answered Hank shaking his head. “He was a cousin of hers. I think I told you the story of it. I mean my military service and my commanding officer who wanted to make me his own orderly to get revenge and all. Remember?”

“Yes, I do,” answered Nancy. “You said because of your political background they did not want to make you an officer after you had received military training, and because you had reported your commander’s mistreatment of others to the higher echelons, he was trying to retaliate by making you his orderly and…whatnot! Right?”

“Yeah!” answered Hank chuckling as he drove. “You’re a good listener,” he added. “But now, it’s your turn! Your turn to…answer questions, not ask!”

“All right,” said Nancy wearing a smile. “Shoot as many times as you wish! Ask any question your heart desires. Who’s going to answer them!?”

“You naughty girl!” said Hank frowning. “After interrogating me for so long, you don’t even want to answer one tiny little bit of a question?”

“Okay, go on!” said Nancy frowning and smiling at the same time. “You can ask your tiny question. I’m listening! I might even answer it!”

“Okay,” said Hank firmly. “Here it is! Have you ever…loved anyone, and…what became of it?”

“That’s not a question!” answered Nancy firmly before she began to laugh. “That’s a whole life story you want me to tell you! You weren’t supposed to ask…such huge personal…questions!”

“Personal or not personal, gigantic or tiny,” said Hank firmly. “We had made a deal to answer all of each other’s questions, and that is my question now! Answer it!”

“All right! All right!” exclaimed Nancy. “Don’t slaughter me for it! I admit my guilt. I’ve been in love…four or five times since I was 13! Actually, I should say that…I’ve always been in love…with somebody!”

“Okay!” said Hank turning his face to look at Nancy, “Who was the latest culprit?”

Nancy giggled for some seconds before she said, “Nope! You can’t ask me that! You were supposed to ask…only one question! It’s my turn now!”

They had stopped at an intersection with a red traffic light on.

“Okay, you double-crossing woman!” said Hank as he laughed. “Ask your question quickly before I ask you the next one.”

“Okay! Here it is!” said Nancy hastily, “Are you in love with somebody, now!”

“Well, I was afraid of that,” mumbled Hank as he shook his head. “Maybe,” he added after a pause. “It all…depends!”

The girl laughed loudly for a minute. Then they both remained quiet for a while until Nancy finally turned towards him, “I think you once told me that…you had some girl friends when you were…in the United States. Right?”

“Yes, I guess so,” answered Hank wearing a smile. “But you know that…I don’t remember many things…about those days because of the…”

“The brainwashing operation. Huh?” asked Nancy gently nodding her head. “Maybe…it’s all for the best, though!” she added. “For all I know, you must’ve been quite a naughty boy…there too. Right?”

Hank laughed. “Maybe! Who knows!” he said. “But you’ve been quite a naughty girl yourself…with all the boy friends and the far and wide activities you’ve been involved in and finally….your jail term!”

Nancy began to laugh loudly. “Come on!” she said as she chuckled. “My long jail term of …forty eight hours, you mean, huh?! Why don’t you go one step further and call me a revolutionary martyr, then?”

They were both laughing now.

“How come?” asked Hank after a couple of minutes. “How come they let you go after such a short period of time? Hadn’t you tried to overthrow the government or something?”

They both chuckled again for a minute before Nancy said, “Poor guys! I think they executed one of our fellows, and a few others are still in jail. I just happened to be an innocent relative who was accidently around when the secret agents poured in to arrest those guys. As soon as the torturers reached that conclusion, they let me go. In less than fifty hours!”

“Lucky girl!” mumbled Hank. “Just think what would have happened if they had taken you to that …military mental hospital and had had your brain washed! Then you would probably not even remember my name …not to speak of….”

“Speak of …what?” asked Nancy wearing a grin.

 “I think we are near your house,” said Hank pointing to a building not far away. “Do you really want to go…home, or can we continue with our…voyage?”

Nancy laughed loudly. “No!” she said. “I have to go home now. My Mom is waiting for me. We can continue our…voyage…some other time…maybe tomorrow, Okay?’

“When are going? Who are you going…with?”

Nancy laughed. “Well…! You decide when we are going!” she said. “You’ll be the driver. “I’ll tell you who will be…with us… tomorrow!” She waved to him as she began to leave.

“What about…seven in the morning?” shouted Hank. “Do you think you can make it?”

“That’s just fine!” Nancy yelled back as she walked away. “I’ll be waiting!”

**

 

“The way you said it, yesterday,” muttered Hank as he opened the car door, “I got to think that you were going to bring a gang of people along with you!”

“This is Gin,” said Nancy as she got into the front part of the car. “She’s my best and oldest friend. She is a gang all by herself. But she is not the only soul going with us. We will pick up another person…not very far away from here.”

“All right! Fair enough!” the man said.

“I’m glad to meet you, sir,” said Gin. “Nancy has told me a whole lot about you.”

“Oh, really?” mumbled Hank as he took a quick glance at the new girl’s tanned long face in the front mirror. She seemed to have very large eyes and a pleasant smile. “Can you whisper to me some of the things she has said about me?” he added. “She promises not to listen!”

“I promise no such a thing!” said Nancy loudly frowning and smiling at the same time. “On the contrary! I’ll be all ears!”

“Naughty girl!” said Hank as he increased the car speed. “I was at least hoping that…”

“You’d better not go too fast now!” Nancy interrupted him staring out the car window. “We’re near…our destination. You don’t want to miss your other passenger, do you?”

“No, not at all!” almost shouted Hank. “We’re at your service, Mam!”

A minute later, Nancy exclaimed, “There!” pointing to someone who stood near a bus stop. “There he is!” she added emphatically.

Hank drove the car to the curb and stopped.

“Come on Daniel! Get in!” yelled Nancy waving to a medium height young man wearing thin mustaches standing not far from the car.

“Hi!” said the young man loudly as he opened the back door of the car and moved in. “I’m Daniel,” he almost shouted as he stretched out his arm to shake hands.

“The whole world knows who you are now!” said Gin giggling. “The way she yelled your name!”

“Glad to meet you,” said Hank wearing a smile. “For some reason, I expected you to be…a girl!” he added chuckling.

“Maybe I am!” said Daniel also laughing. “But I was a boy…the last time I checked!”

They were all laughing now.

Half an hour later, they were out of the city and on a narrow, steep asphalt road going uphill surrounded by trees.

“This is really a beautiful place!” said Hank glancing around as he drove.

“I thought you said you had come to ‘The North’…before,” said Nancy staring at Hank’s face with distrust. 

“Yes, I have,” mumbled the driver. “But that was quite some time ago…when I was almost a child.”

“What about…before you went to jail?” asked Nancy still staring at Hank’s face, this time with more suspicion.

“Oh, yes!” Hank said wearing a smile. “I almost forgot all about that episode. It was for a very short time, though! Just before…I was detained.”

“I thought so!” said Nancy sarcastically, now looking out of the window.

“Where did you go…last time?” asked Gin bending her torso forward to look at Hank’s face.

“Well,” mumbled Hank, “We went to the seaside. I can’t quite remember…the name of the area. You know that they had just given me a few days to…think and decide whether I was going to confess to the crimes I had committed abroad…or not!”

“Yes, we’ve heard about that,” said Daniel. “What you did sounds quite heroic!” he added. “Just how long… did they keep you in jail for it?” he asked after a pause.

“Well, about…two years, I suppose,” mumbled Hank as he drove.

“He doesn’t…quite remember!” said Nancy sarcastically.

“Poor man!” said Gin. “You must’ve had a very…hard time,” she added. “I’ve heard that…they tortured you a lot. Is that right?”

“U-hum!” mumbled Hank.

There was a few minute’s silence before Daniel said, “I know how it is! I was imprisoned and tortured myself for a period of time. One feels that…death is a delightful thing…sometimes. That’s why…” He stopped, shook his head and began looking out the window. 

“That’s why…what?” queried Nancy after a minute. “Why didn’t you…finish what you started to say?”

“Well, sometimes one feels that,” retorted Daniel in a soft and gentle tone of voice,  “That it is better to confess to…whatever the torturers want…so that…they will have him executed and get it all over with. Life becomes so agonizing and unbearable that death presents itself as a wonderful way out…!”  

Silence fell over the car. No one said much of anything for some time until they stopped at a restaurant to eat lunch.

 

“Where are we going to go…from here,” asked Hank looking at Nancy as they started eating.

“Well,” she said, now looking into Daniel’s eyes, “It all depends! We can go to…the forest or…to the seaside…depending on …”

“I suggest we go to the seaside,” Daniel exclaimed abruptly interrupting her. “Going to the forest may not be a good idea for…this time of the year.”

“That’s great!” exclaimed Gin. “Let’s go to the seaside then! It’ll be wonderful! I haven’t been there for…ages!”

“Yeah, let’s,” mumbled Nancy. “It may be the best idea…under the circumstances.”

 

Two hours later, the car entered one of the side roads which lead to the sea shore. There were a few vehicles parked here and there on the soft sand of the beach. Hank drove as far away as he could from the nearest car, and stopped.

“What a beautiful day!” exclaimed Gin as she jumped out of the car and ran towards the savage  green waves rushing forward. *********

“It really is gorgeous!” mumbled Daniel as he began walking slowly away from the car.

“How long…have you known him?” queried Hank pointing to Daniel as he turned towards Nancy.

“Oh, a long time!” answered Nancy beginning to take off her street clothes. “I met him at the university, a couple of years before we graduated. We were all classmates until…”

“Until…what?” inquired Hank.

“Would you please, turn around,” Nancy asked instead of answering.

“All right,” mumbled Hank as he turned his head the other way.

“Until we had that big student demonstration against the government and…some of us, including Danny got arrested!” she explained as she changed clothes.

“I see!” mumbled Hank. “How long…did they…keep Daniel? I mean the police or the security forces, whichever was involved.”

“Most of the students…who were arrested were released after a few hours,’ replied Nancy, trying to speak as loudly as she could while changing. “ But Danny and a number of others were kept…for a long time. He was accused of…being one of the leaders of the student demonstrations…against the American President…who had come to this country for a visit.”  She stopped talking to take a long breath before she added, “He was in jail…for about two years. He was lucky they let him continue his studies after he was released. He just graduated from the university…a few months back.” She stopped again before she mumbled, “Okay! You’re free to look.”

She was in her swimming suit now. It was an old-fashioned suit covering her whole torso. Only her arms and her legs from knee down could be seen.

“Do you have a swimming suit?” she asked smiling.

Hank laughed. “Yes!” he said rather loudly. “I guess I was inspired that we were coming here to the sea-side. That’s why I wore my swimming suit under my street clothes!”

They both began to laugh as Hank started taking off his clothes.

A few minutes later, they were strolling towards the sea shore. Danny and Gin could be now seen a distance away sauntering along the beach together.

“How come they let you out?” asked Nancy as they walked. “With all those charges of forming an armed group in order to…overthrow the regime and all? Why did they release you after such a …short period of time?”

Hank began to laugh. “It’s strange, isn’t it?” he said after a minute. “Actually,” he then added, “I’m not quite sure about that either! For one thing…I had a number of relatives…who had high positions in the administration. But, considering the fact that the government itself is…somehow a lackey of the United States, I suppose the organization which approved of my release was probably…the CIA! Of-course after they made sure that they had washed my brain sufficiently…not to be able to do much. They probably wanted to watch me from a distance hoping that I would contact some people here and there and they could find new leads to trap a lot of other members of an organized revolutionary group…through me!”

“Huh!” mumbled Nancy nodding her head. “That may be…a possibility,” she added, “If everything that…you’ve told me is…the whole truth…and nothing but …!”

“So help me God!” said Hank loudly before he burst out laughing.  “So you’re still…suspicious of…me!” he added after a minute’s chuckling.

“Well, maybe,” responded Nancy. “Why shouldn’t I be?” she asked still laughing. “Do you honestly believe that you have told me enough about your dubious past activities after six months of our friendly relationship …to help me… trust you fully?”

They were laughing together now.

“Why should I trust you, though, come to think of it?” said Hank after a couple of minutes. “After all, how can I be absolutely certain that…you don’t belong to the CIA, SAVAK, or the Intelligence Service? After all, we have only known each other for six months, and we have talked much about each other’s previous activities!”

A few minutes later, they were both floating in the sea near shore. Gin and Daniel were standing a distance away watching them as they talked.

“Who is this…Daniel of yours,” asked Hank pointing to the couple who were not so very far away from them. “I mean very truthfully? For all I know, he may be your chief or just a higher ranked person in….your security organization…whatever its name might be!”

“Wait until we get out of these horrific rolling waves,” almost screamed Nancy, “I’ll show you….who the real undercover agent is…! Just wait…and see!”

They lit a huge bonfire a while later when all the four had gathered somewhere not far from the car, trembling.

“I don’t think we can stay here much longer,” Gin said quivering. “It’s not the right time of the year…to come to the seaside…for swimming.”

“Everybody else is gone, too,” said Nancy. “It may actually be quite dangerous for us to remain here. Some armed robbers, or even secret agents pretending to be burglars may take advantage of the situation. A friend of mine actually got robbed and raped somewhere in a city park recently. This place is…far less secure than a public park!”

They quickly extinguished the fire and began walking towards the car.

“Should we stay here tonight, or…should we go back?” asked Hank as they approached the vehicle.

“I have to go home,” answered Gin. “We could’ve stayed…if you had told me earlier. My Mom is expecting me home by night time.”

“Okay,” mumbled Daniel. “If that’s the case, I guess we don’t have much of a choice.”

“It’s all right!” said Gin loudly. “You guys can stay! All you have to do is…to take me to the bus station. I’ll get a ticket and go back! I’ve had a wonderful time already.”

“Nope!” mumbled Nancy, shaking her head. “We came here together, we will go back together! We can’t be fair-weather friends!”

“Right!” said Hank nodding his head. “I had a great time, too, despite the fact that our trip was so short. We can come again soon for a longer journey when the weather is a little warmer. Maybe by that time we will be able to trust each other a bit more and, therefore, have a more enjoyable time.”

***

He was now sitting beside a huge blazing bonfire. The glass in his hand was almost empty and he was gazing at the big jar which was now more than half empty. “Hey guys!” he heard himself say all of a sudden, “Who is going to get…the next one if…this is finished?”

“Never mind…that!” Kazem mumbled mostly through his nose. “I’ve got a barrel of it…at home…which is not very far…as you know.” He coughed before he slurred, “What’chu …worried about?”

“He made it himself!” said Parvin smiling, as usual, staring at her husband. “I don’t think he can take much more of it…though!”

“I’m sure he can,” mumbled Hossein also staring at the flames. “I’ve seen him take…a lot more liquor…without showing the slightest signs of…getting drunk…”

“Who the hell says…I’m drunk, guys?” muttered Kazem with a smirk, protesting.

“Nobody,” said Parvin with a far and wide smile. “We know you are, though?”

“No, I’m not!” slurred Kazem turning towards Hank, “Whatever happened to…your…girlfriend? What was…her name?”

“Oh, you mean…Nancy, huh?” muttered Hank. “She’s not my…girlfriend,” he added more loudly. “Just a colleague…at the Air-Force!”

“Why…did she call you…a mosquito…then?” Kazem asked. “Were you…making a buzzing sound…or something?”

“Don’t be silly, Kazem!” protested Parvin wearing a frown and a smile at the same time. “She didn’t call him a mosquito. She said an interrogator called…all of us…mosquitos!”

“Bastard!” mumbled Kazem. “He shouldn’t have!”

“How in the world…did you get into…the Air Force?” asked Hossein looking at Hank, trying to change the subject. “I thought…you were a political prisoner…for some time!”

“They didn’t give him a job anywhere else,” explained Parvin. “They probably thought it wouldd be the safest if he worked somewhere they had more control over. So, they let him teach at one of their own military academies.”

“Huh!” said Kazem, “That may be a reason,” he mumbled. “But my question was…what happened to that…Nancy, or whatever her name was. I a sort of…expected her… to be at our bonfire party here, tonight…, on the top of this hill. It’s beautiful…up here, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it really is beautiful,” answered Hank, “But I didn’t ask Nancy to come along because…”

“Because…what?” Hossein asked. “Why not?”

“Because, I’m not quite sure of her,” mumbled Hank nodding his head. “You know,” he added after a pause, “She acts a sort of suspicious- - a little bit.”

“In what way?” asked Fatima, talking for the first time. “What exactly…does she do that…she has made you distrust her?”

Hank smiled and shook his head. “You know, Fatima, she always talks like she is suspecting me and…she is trying to find out something. She gives me a feeling that…she is either trying to discover something or…attempting to get me to confess to something…”

“Maybe she has a political group…of her own!” said Kazem trying to sound sober.

“Well it’s possible,” muttered Hank. “It’s also probable that…she is an undercover agent assigned to keep me under surveillance.”

“Why?” asked Parvin, “What has she done to make you…think like that?”

“Well! Not much, actually,” responded Hank. “The thing is…she suddenly appeared out of nowhere and became a friend of mine before I could realize that we were acquaintances!”

Kazem burst out laughing. “Yes!” he exclaimed, “I saw her a few times…coming to your place in the afternoon or…at night time! I was pretty sure that…there was something going on between you two… and…”

“I think,” Hossein cut in, “Whatever it is…that…she wants, we must find out for fact! She may be collecting information about us, too!’

“What in the world for?” asked Kazem. “We’re not doing a damn thing…to worry about….a darned thing!” He began to laugh loudly.

“I think Hossein is right, though,” said Parvin nodding her head. “Whether we do anything or not, we have to discover what she’s up to. Since we are all ex-political prisoners, in a way…”

The sound of Kazem’s laughter cut her off. “Yes!” he exclaimed as he chuckled, “Some of us were in prison for a few years, some for a few months, some for a few days and…some for a few hours!” He was now staring at Parvin as he gurgled.

Parvin laughed too. “I’m worried about…you guys!” she said as she giggled. “I managed to play them so smart…that they let me go after a few hours. Some people I know played it dumb, so they got stuck for a few years!”

Now everybody was laughing.

“Aside from joking,” said Fatima eventually, “It may not be a bad idea if…we try to find out what that girl is after! Hank may be in danger if …she really is a cop of some sort…like an informer or something!”

“All right!” said Kazem loudly. “I second the motion!” he almost yelled. “I hereby propose that…we make a plan…to catch that suspicious pretty lady…to find out whether she is an undercover police agent, a CIA agent, an Intelligence Service agent, or an in-love agent trying to get Hank to marry her!”

They all began to laugh again.

“But,” yelled Hossein when the laughter subsided somewhat, “It may be more serious than we think, Kazem! You saw her with another guy one night, didn’t you? Didn’t you tell me that the man looked suspicious to you?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” mumbled Kazim. “Actually….I think I saw that fellow when I was in jail. I don’t quite remember where! He was either a prisoner or…a darned interrogator. But I can’t tell…which.”

“There weren’t so many interrogators there,” said Hank. “It shouldn’t be hard to…figure out who he was if we give it some serious thought.”

“But there were a hundred or more…inmates! Remember?” said Kazem as he finished his drink. “Maybe…he was one of them!”

Hossein shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe!” he mumbled, “but we have to find out which…somehow! We haven’t got a choice!”

They were all silent for a minute before Hossein turned to Hank. “If you give me a call when you go to the North the next time, I will ask one of our guys to shadow your group. He will both guard you and maybe…gather some info about their gang!”

“All right,” mumbled Hank. “I can do that! I have your phone number.”

“Yeah! I guess that’s…a great idea,” mumbled Kazem. “By the way,” he continued after a pause, looking into Hank’s eyes, “Thinking about our jail days, whatever happened to that funny clergyman …who used to wear his white turbine on his head like a crown and tell jokes…making everybody laugh?”

“His cell was next to mine for some weeks,” said Hank. “I used to send him the food my mother brought me from home every time she came to visit me. He complained about the jail food…but loved my Mom’s cooking very much!”

They were are all laughing now.

“Another thing funny about him was that,” added Hank, “he bore all the beating and insults done by the jail personnel quite coolly but constantly complained about the mosquitoes which lived in and around our cells! He kept calling them dirty names and cursed them as loudly as he could!”

“He sure was a funny guy,” murmured Kazem as he chuckled. “I wonder whatever happened to him. I hope the regime…hasn’t cut him up like …what they did to …”

 He stopped, shook his head a few times before he asked, “Whatever happened to those guys…who belonged to an armed partisan group? Did you ever…get to see them?”

“Yes, I tried to,” mumbled Hank. “They weren’t very talkative types. They didn’t complain about the food or the mosquitos or anything. Of-course I later discovered that it was partly because they were all very badly hurt physically. The interrogators had tortured them too much! They weren’t kept there for very long, either. They were all shot by firing squad after a short while!”

“Bastards!” mumbled Kazem. “They were my…”

 “Oops!” interrupted Parvin. “I thought you always said that…you didn’t know them!”

“No, no!” said Kazem shaking his head wearing a smile. “I’m sure…you’re right!” He stopped, cleared his throat before he continued, “And I must declare further that, since I have just gobbled up the last drop of our wine, we should either go to our house down there to get some more of it, or hit the sack immediately before…before…I close my eyes and…go to sleep!” He gently lay down on his sleeping bag which was spread beside him and began snoring.

****

“Where shall we go this time?” Hank asked as they turned into the narrow highway.

“Not to the seaside, for sure,” said Nancy turning her head to look at Gin and David who were sitting in the back.

“Where then?” asked Hank as he sped the car up hill. “To the top of the mountain!?”

“Something like that,” mumbled Nancy wearing a smile.

“I think they’re going to take us to a mountain top or something…to finish us off!” said David loudly. “These two are very dangerous females!”

“Dangerous or not,” exclaimed Gin, “That’s where we’re going today! Enough with the beach and its horrendous waves and insects!”

“These are not really mountains though,” added Nancy. “There are so many trees up here that you can hardly see the sight of a rock! We’re actually going to a uninhabited jungle…where we can hide…if we have to!”

“Why should we…want to hide,” asked Hank softly. “Are we going to… play hide-and-seek or something!?”

“Something like that!” said Nancy firmly, wearing a grin. “Don’t you like…games…of that sort?” she then asked wearing a smile.

“Huh! I may!” murmured Hank. “It all depends on who you are hiding with… and what you’re going to…seek!”

“Don’t worry!” mumbled Nancy. “Whatever we do, it’ll be worth its while!”

 

They were now going up a very steep winding road with few trees around it. The top of the snow-covered mountains could be seen from both sides.

“What time do you think,” inquired Gin, “we’ll get to the North, Hank?”

“I don’t quite know,” answered the driver, “It all depends on…whether the road will be safe and sound all the way through! If there are avalanches in some areas, we may never get there! Ever!”

“That’ll be nice!” said Nancy sarcastically, “Then we’ll go either to heaven…or to hell. It’ll be much better than being hung in the middle of  a Limbo, like we are right now!”

“If you don’t mind going to hell,” said David loudly, “then you don’t need to do anything! All you have to do is…to make yourself comfortable where you are already! What we’re striving to do is to find a way out of this inferno!”

“Believe it or not,” said Hank nodding his head, “There are much worse places in this world than this country!” He paused for some seconds before he added, “Almost all Africa and most parts of Asia, South America, and Australia are in worse shape.”

“You mean to say, then, that we don’t need to…do anything…to change the situation…here?” asked Nancy with suspicion.

“No, I didn’t say that,” muttered Hank wearing a smile. “We should do to this country…all we want…to change it for the better! One can always improve things…if…he or she…tries hard enough!”

“So it is a question of ….trying! Right?” asked Gin.

“Double right! You’re absolutely correct!” said Hank laughing.

“What do you think…we should do?” asked David softly after a minute.

“Well! There are lots of things we can do!” answered Hank turning his head somewhat to take a glance at David’s countenance. “For example, we can pick up arms and go up the mountains and start a guerrilla war, like Fidel Castro in Cuba, or make a political party and then…go up the hills and start a revolutionary war like Mao-Tso-Tung of China…or you can wait and see what most of the people of the country are up to and…go along with them…or you can sit on your ass and do absolutely nothing!”

“So,” said Gin harshly, “you believe that one way of making our country’s situation better is…to wait and see what the people will do in the future! Huh?”

“Not quite!” said Hank as he slowed down the car and pulled to the side of the road near a building. “My proposal is,” he then added as he turned his head towards Gin sitting in the back, “that before we do anything at all…we must go into this little restaurant and eat some hamburgers or something to fill up our tummies. Nobody can make a proper revolutionary plan on empty stomach!”

*****

  The car was now approaching a side road. “Please, turn left there,” mumbledNancy, “I think I know of a good place up there!”

“Do you think we can find a…public phone over here somewhere?” asked Hank looking at Nancy’s face.

“ I don’t really know,” answered Nancy. “Why?” she asked.

“Well, since we have come this far and we’re going further too,” replied Hank, “I gather we might want to stay up there overnight. In that case, I must tell my family so that they won’t worry about me!” “Huh!” said Nancy nodding her head. “I suppose you’re right,” she added. “In that case, we should go a little further…to find a telephone booth.”

“There is one, not very far away, on our left,” said David. “I used it the last time we came over here.”

“Good!” whispered Hank. “We have to turn around to come back here anyway. So it’ll be on our way.”

When they approached the phone booth, Hank purposely drove a short distance away before he stopped. He then got out of the car quickly and ran towards the booth. Five minutes later, he had talked to Hossein and given him the address of the place. He then ran back to the car and apologized for keeping them waiting.

“It’s okay,” mumbled Nancy. “We’re in no hurry. We have the whole night!”

He then drove to the intersection, moved to the side of the road and turned off the engine.

“What happened?” asked Nancy. “Why did you stop?”

“Nothing very important, really,” Hank answered as he got off the car. “I heard a little noise in the engine area. I’m just going to check it…to make sure it won’t give us any trouble in the forest.” He shook his head and added, “Sit tight! It shouldn’t take long. It’s just a regular checkup.”

He put up the hood, joggled around with the engine area for some minutes and returned. The car engine wouldn’t get started this time, however. He went back and fiddled around with it one more time. This time the engine went on but wasn’t working properly. Some fifteen minutes later, however, he managed to get the car engine working and smiled. “It’s fixed up!” he declared wearing a smile. “It wasn’t really anything of importance. But I did the right thing. It could’ve given us trouble if I hadn’t fixed it up in time.”

Soon they approached a narrower side road. “We should turn here,” said David commandingly bending his body forward. “That one! The side road over there!”

Hank took a glance at the mirror. The car which had been following them since they entered the side road was still tailing them. He turned on the signal light to show that he was going to turn and slowed the car down. He could now see the signal light of the car pursuing them too. “Thanks to Hossein, I’m not alone now!” he thought. Both cars were soon gently moving on the very narrow, winding, side road going through the forest.

“God! Look at that guy! He looks like he’s been dead for ages” almost screamed Gin.  He must need help!”

“Sir!” she then screamed. “Are you Okay? Do you need help?”

The man sitting by the road  with his head down holding a long package in his hands nodded his head repeatedly. “Oh God! Thank you!” he hollered as his face turned bright.  “I sure do! You’re my savior angel! I had almost lost all hope!”

“Whatever is the problem?” asked Gin as she helped the man get in the car on her side.

“I was taking this thing for a client,” the man said. “I guess my stupid scooter didn’t like the idea,” he explained before he said “Hi” to everybody else.

“I’m Phil, everybody,” he then said loudly introducing himself. “I’m sorry to have caused you so much trouble,” he added after everybody had said Hi to him. “I’ll go with you to the sidetrack. I can walk the rest of the way.”

“It’s okay,” said Gin. “We’ll take you to where you want to go!”

“Thank you! I appreciate it!” Phil mumbled.

Everyone was silent for a while until the man said, “Here it is, I think,” pointing to a narrow by road. 

Hank looked behind him in the mirror. There was no sign of the car which had been following him.

“Looking for somebody?” asked Nancy in a soft voice.

“Well, I don’t know,” replied Hank. “I thought there was a car following us.”

“Yes, I noticed that too,” mumbled Nancy. “I think he went past us where we stopped to help Phil.”

“Maybe,” grumbled Hank as he looked in the mirror a second time.

“We should turn left here,” Phil said loudly suddenly.

Hank slowed down the car before he gently turned the steering wheel. He took another quick pick at the narrow road he was leaving. There was no sign of Hossein’s aide.

They went through a bumpy dirt road for a few minutes before Phil suddenly said, “Here! Stop please!”

Hank took a look around before he slowed down and stopped. There was no sight of anyone or any structure anywhere around.

“Where are we?” asked Nancy looking at Phil who had now gotten off the car.

“I have no idea!” answered Phil as he unwrapped the object he was holding in his hand. “Now!” he said commandingly pointing the muzzle of the rifle he was holding in his hands at Hank. “Get out of thre car!” he yelled.

Hank took a quick look back and around at Nancy, Gin and David. They were all holding their hands up obediently. A second later the car door clicked open on his side. He could now see the muzzle of the gun almost touching his forehead. He gently moved his body to the side and got off. All the rest of the passengers got off one by one.

“Let’s go!” the newcomer ordered. “March!”

They were all walking in a row now, one after another, with Hank at the head of the column. The man called ‘Phil’ strode beside them still pointing his rifle at Hank’s head.

Some fifteen minutes later, the rifleman ordered them to stop and make a straight line. He then cleared his throat and almost yelled, “I am a special government agent assigned to keep watch over this area of the forest. I have full authority to do whatever I want to safeguard this place.” He stopped to catch his breath and then added, just as loudly, “I’m going to ask you people some questions and…I expect you to answer me truthfully at once. I know a lot about all of you and can tell whether what you’re telling me is the truth or not. If you tell any lies, I’m going to assume that you are a saboteur and you are not cooperating, so…I’ll  put a bullet in your  head immediately! Understood?”

 Everybody nodded confusedly.

He then pointed the muzzle of his gun to Hank’ forehead. “Are you or are you not working for the government?”

“Yes, I am,” mumbled Hank nodding his head.

“What are you doing for the government?” he asked.

“I’m teaching English at the Air Force language school,” Hank answered.

“Have you ever done any kind of spying for or against the government?” he asked sternly.

Hank gently shook his head. “Not that I know of!”

“Weren’t you the one who…gave a report against one of the most respectful army officers while you were doing your military service?” he asked holding the muzzle of the gun an inch away from Hank’s head.

“Yes, I did,” mumbled Hank as he closed his eyes. “I wrote that he was behaving badly and that was bad for both the students and the …military!”

“Isn’t it true that you have contacts with the government security police and are occasionally giving them reports to help them do their anti-subversive activities?” he said now pressing the muzzle of the gun on Hank’s forehead.

“You are totally out of your mind!” almost shouted Hank feeling cold rage rising from deep within him taking control of his whole existence. He suddenly opened his eyes, pushed the gun barrel away, kicked the man in the belly as hard as he could and began to run towards the woods.

He expected a bullet to hit his body as he ran and tried to run in a zig-zag fashion to avoid that. Soon, however, he heard the sound of an explosion from somewhere behind, felt a burning feeling all over his head, forehead, face and neck before he lost his balance, slipped and fell into a rather wide pit. Then he heard a horrific buzzing noise and the sound of groups of people running around yelling and screaming.

Ages passed before he could move his painful body and slowly pull himself out of the pit. His head was burning with pain and his mind so muddled that he did not know who he was and where he was. Soon, however, he heard the sound of some people yelling and screaming in a distance. “I must be having a terrible nightmare,” he murmured to himself. As he started to stagger around, his memories began coming back to him little by little. “My car shouldn’t be very far away from here,” he murmured to himself. “I wonder what happened to…all the people who were with me?” he asked himself as he approached a narrow dirt road. He could now see a vehicle not very far away and hear the sound of people screaming and calling for help here and there but he was too exhausted and disarrayed to pay any attention to anything but his own swollen painful body.

Some minutes later he found himself near his car. He reached for the car keys. They were safely in his pants’ right-side pocket. The car’s back door seemed to be partly open too.

When he was safely placed on his seat, he heard a slight noise from somewhere behind him, and gently turned around. “God! What are you doing…here?” he asked, still totally muddled.

“I’m sorry!” he heard Nancy’s voice say as she sat up covering her swollen face with both hands. “It was all my fault! I was the one who arranged all this!” she screeched.  “I wanted to make sure…that you were not a cop. I made the plan to bring you here…to make certain.” She sobbed for some seconds before she added, “That stupid Phil could’ve killed you with his gun…which was not supposed to be loaded …but…it was!”

“What the hell is going on…here?” asked Hank in total confusion. “Where are the others?” 

“I don’t have a hunch!” muttered Nancy as she cried. “Everyone ran…in a different direction…when they attacked.”

“Who?” asked Hank still bewildered? “Who attacked…who?”

“The damned mosquitos!” almost yelled Nancy. “Didn’t you see or…hear them?”

“No…!” replied Hank confusedly, “I heard some buzzing sounds, though… Yes! But I thought…”   

“They were mosquitos!” Nancy practically screamed. “Millions and millions of them, rushing at us from all sides! They came as soon as you began running into the forest…in huge, horrific…gangs! I ran back towards the car…but the others ran in different directions. I don’t have a hunch where they are now. As far as I know, they may all be dead!”

“No, I don’t think so,” mumbled Hank as he turned back his head. “I think they are hiding here and there around the road,” he added. “We may still be able to save them if we move fast enough.”

“It serves them right, though!” he murmured as he turned on the car engine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: February 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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