Tuesday, 30 December 2008
After what they told me was a passing of thirteen days of my life, they moved me to a room where I could see daylight.
And not just see the sky outside, but taste the air; breathe and smell it. Winter is a cruel time for colour and the sky was blanched grey: no remedy there for the cold stones of my cell. Still, it offered such respite for my soul that I put all thoughts of giving in and wasting away, there in captivity, firmly aside.
I thought this view might help me to better understand or even recall how I came to my current predicament. I was trapped in a stone hewn cell, perhaps like that of a castle or medieval keep. The thin, overcast, corridors were lit by torches.
The guards ordered me about in grunts and arm movements. My interrogators questioned me in broken, halting English. They were all white-skinned, of obvious European descent, but their accents were seemingly impossible to place.
Their questions, too, were a source of perplexity: "How many kings have reigned during your lifetime? Do you remember the last time you saw your mother? How many times have you attempted suicide? Have you ever been to South-East Asia?"
They would ask these in a barrage – one after the other – seemingly not recording the answers. I have no idea which questions they needed the answers too, nor if the answers to all of these questions were of interest to them.
It may have been a psychological exercise or an information extraction. All I know is that I had difficulty recalling much of the information they required. My mother, for example; I have no recollection of her whereabouts, nor where I last met with her. This seems to be a cause of real sadness to me.
I’m drifting now, between consciousness and sleep. I’m peering along the tiny passage, as wide as my fist and barred at both ends with barbed wire. I’m peering out in some vain hope of salvation. And then I hear something, a song from the outside world; a call of nature.
A dark bird sings and I am undone, for it is the caw of a crow. I don’t know whether to call myself blessed or cursed, but I find myself making the strangest of sounds. My throat feels like it is being strangled, torn by internal wires. Still, I struggle loose a caw of my own, a quite realistic call. Where did I ever learn to do that?
I cough a little and then wait. Sure enough, after a small time, I am answered. My body floods with warmth and a smile greets my face.
Somehow, I know now, there is hope.