He was tied to one of the tubes coming out of the wall, tied with a very thin but resistant rope. He had attempted to free himself from it the first few days but he realized soon it wasn’t going to break. His clothes had been taken from him long ago an the only thing that reminded him of the past was a scar he had on his left calf, one that he had gotten while playing with his parents in his family’s farm a long time ago. It felt like a whole life ago because every single day memories appeared to vanish, a handful at a time. This was aggravated by the fact that he didn’t know on what day he lived and how much time he had been “living” in that basement, with the vermin and the insects that came and went, probably waiting for his body to finally succumb to starvation and thirst.
But amazingly, he held on. Someone with a bag with holes in the head came in with dry fruit everyday, just a spoonful of it, and a bottle tap of water. That was all he got for the day and it made him feel each day more miserable. Even more when he remembered everything that he had eaten before, with his family or by himself: burgers, pizza, meat, pork, fish, vegetables, fruit, bread, candy, soup, pasta… It hurt his stomach to think about all of that but it helped him too because if he still remembered all of that it meant that his mind wasn’t all gone yet, it meant his essence was still in that frail and sick body that he didn’t recognize anymore, except for the scar.
It was that scar that made him go on too. Because it reminded him of things and the only way to take that away would be to chop off his leg but it didn’t seem as if they were going to go to that extreme. What did happen was that once every so often, he guessed that once a week, he was taken from his basement to another basement or some other room in the same basement, and was also tied there and tortured. They would cut him, kick him, punch him, beat him with a stick or grab his head and push it into a big pool of water they had in that room. It was awful because it lasted for a long time and because his torturers never spoke a word, not even to yell at him, so it was even scarier than one would think.
It was strange but, when he would come back to the basement where they kept him tied, he felt home. Maybe that was because he really didn’t remember what his actual home looked like. He didn’t remember if he had a family of his own or just his parents or even if his parents were still alive. It was like trying to solve a puzzle with half the pieces missing. He just couldn’t remember and that frustrated me. When they tortured him, he sometimes asked for the truth, he asked them to tell him who he was and what his life was like before this happened. But they never told him a word. Not even his name, which he had lost a long time ago.
Another thing he didn’t remember, unfortunately, was the reason he was being held there, if there was an actual reason and if he even knew what it was. He felt he did knew, he felt he even knew who was behind all of it but after trying for days and nights, he just couldn’t remember. Was it possible that the people that held him hostage were putting things in the water he drank for him to forget everything? Or was it just a natural effect of being deprived of freedom for so long? Another thing he missed was the sun and the wind and the colors. He remembered all of that still but there was no natural light here, no soft wind to caress one’s skin and the only colors were white, black and grey.
It went on like that for a long time, maybe even years, until one day they just stopped putting the dry food and the water in his cell. After a while, he just knew he was going to die. Maybe they had given up on him giving any information and were just waiting for him to drop dead and be done with it. When lucid, he imagined they had other prisoners and that maybe they thought at least one of those knew whatever it was they thought he knew. He wouldn’t be the last one to be tortured that was for sure. The thought made him feel uneasy but strangely not annoyed nor sad. Because if he died, he would finally be free. He never imagined to go out alive of this one and to know the end was near was actually almost a happy thing. He was trying to prepare himself for it and just concentrated a lot on keeping the remaining memories inside and not give them the satisfaction of taking them
One day, after no sessions of torture, they took him to the other room and id what they had done before. They even brought an electric device and electrocuted him with it. He finally felt his life leaving him behind but then they stopped and tied him to a chair that appeared from nowhere. He was dizzy and wanted to die soon, he just wanted them to leave him alone and go away. If he died, he wanted to die alone and not with a couple of men besides him with bags on their heads. But then the door opened and another person entered the room and this person didn’t have a bag on his head. It was a tall man, wearing a tailored suit and a hat. He stood in front of the tortured man and just stared, with no expression on his face.
The hostage was too tired to keep his head up, so he just let his head hang there, looking at the wet floor. This appeared to go on for ages until of the men sat him down straight again and slapped him hard. The hostage opened his eyes but he was to week to stay awake anymore. He felt it was time go but they wouldn’t let him. He was about to protest when the suited man said a word: “Tom”. The hostage felt as if they had sunk his body in ice. That name meant something, something very close to him. He mumbled but couldn’t form a proper sentence. The man in the suit, however, ended the moment by nodding to his men who took the hostage back to his cell.
Tom. Who was Tom? Was he Tom? That single piece of information was invaluable and yet he had no idea what it meant. But it wasn’t important because no name would give him the freedom that he wanted. To be honest, he didn’t even know if he wanted to free anymore. Death seemed so attractive, fast and good at that point. So he put Tom, however that was to a side, and just lie there to die, closing his eyes and trying to lay on the floor as comfortably as he could. His wrists were bloody because of the rope and his face was bloody from several punches on his eyes. He would close his eyes and just go away, leaving every piece of this shithole called world behind. That was home for him now.
But then, he heard something in the distance. It felt like a small tremor and he was certain screaming followed it. But maybe he had imagined it. He was in a basement and there was no way to hear what happened far above. He closed his eyes again but another tremor hit closer and then the door burst open. Two men, now with no bags on their heads, came for him. They took him from the armpits and dragged him through a long corridor that ended on a metal door. The door opened to a long staircase that was covered in snow. The men dragged him all the way up. There, other prisoners were being rounded and some men had rifles. They were going to execute them. They had had it with them and they were going to die now. He seemed to be the last one so the man put the prisoners in a circle and pointed at them He closed his eyes and breath slowly.
But then another tremor. It was an explosion, a bomb. It hit the nearby part of the building, scaring the executioners. They were distracted by the collapse of their bunker, now on fire and breathing black smoke. Bu they remembered they had prisoners and shot a couple of them before some other men came. There was a fire exchange, time during which he really tried to die because he didn’t want to become someone else’s prisoner but the fight ended fast. The new men helped the survivors up and took them to a truck nearby. The truck left the place and they all fainted from exhaustion.
Days later, the former hostage woke up in the bed of a hospital. It was night but he could recognize, from deep in his memories, the sound of that machine that poured a health serum into his bloodstream. His eyes were not working great but he noticed a window and he saw some lights outside, buildings. Voice could be heard from the other side of the door and then a bunch of people busted in, the lights went on and he suddenly had two nurses and a doctor all over him. They checked every single part of his body. He cried a bit, but they didn’t notice. He cried because he was free and that had been impossible.
After a while, everyone left except for the doctor. It was a woman. She spoke gently and explained to him what was right and what was wrong with him. But that didn’t matter anymore. He was finally dying, slowly and in peace. He saw the woman leave in a hurry before his eyes closed and he could only hear the sound of a voice. It was a nice, warm voice that he knew he loved and cherished. It was Tom. He remembered. And then, he left this world to see Tom again.