Wednesday, 4 November 2015
For audio click here
A droplet of sweat inched its way down my spine like a raindrop on a windowpane. I wondered if glass has an overwhelming desire to scratch itself when the rain leaves a trail. Like the glass I was unable to sate my needs; even if my hands hadn’t been crudely tied behind my back, I still wouldn’t have been allowed to move to scratch the itch. The six of us were kneeling on the hard cobblestones - two rows, three columns, hands bound, heads bowed. My knees hurt; I could feel sand and grit digging into my skin, but I just had to bear the pain. We’d been told a single movement would mean certain death, and we didn’t want to find out if they were bluffing.
19 minutes ago I was sitting on a train minding my own business, reading my Kindle and trying to subtly watch the girl opposite me, who had the most delicious, stocking-clad legs I’d ever seen. But my enjoyment was ruined when the compartment door slid open and an armed man poked his head in.
“Passport,” he spat.
We all offered our passports, but the man only took mine. He looked at my picture and then put the passport in his pocket. The girl in the stockings looked out of the window, the other man in the compartment looked at his boots.
“Come with me,” the armed man said.
I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t have much choice. I stood up and followed the man. He opened the door and yelled something in a language I didn’t understand. Then he stood back and signalled that I should jump down onto the tarmac below. Again my choices were limited - jump off the train leaving behind
all my things or get shot. I jumped.
An armed clone was there to meet me; he grabbed me by the arm and marched me to the front of the station, where I was instructed to kneel.
Two men paced around us, their boots clicking on the cobbles, their guns hanging from their sides. I could smell cigarette smoke and alcohol and hear sobbing from next to me.
The train chugged out of the station taking my suitcase and laptop with it, and leaving us in a dark, deserted station surrounded by a ragtag group of militia.
The tension built; the two ringleaders continued to pace, shouting at each other and laughing, the other men joining in their mirth. This was it, this was surely the end.
One of the men crouched down and quite tenderly touched the chin of the sobber, lifting his face, looking into his eyes. “Don’t worry,” he said, “you are not going to die,” he stood up and spat on the ground. “yet.” The men laughed.
“Stand up,” he shouted. It’s hard to stand up when your hands are tied. “Get in the van,” he instructed. I hadn’t noticed the van there. Militiamen helped us in and slammed the door. Then the engine started and we moved off; scared, confusedm but still alive.