Friday, March 18, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: The Article, The Note

The Recorder has obtained a letter sent from a traitor who confessed to the Kroisan rebels secrets of state.  It has been reproduced in its entirety below, with security measures enforced by the Intelligence & Security Department removing sensitive information.  Due to the graphic details of this letter, discretion is advised.  Parents are urged to use this letter as a "teachable lesson" for children, editing where they see fit.
My Dearest XXXXXXX,
I hope this letter finds you before you see the news or read a report elsewhere.  I am writing so you will know the truth of the matter of my actions, not the XXXXXX you will hear from XXXXXXXXXX when the time comes.  I do not hope to maintain your respect, though I like to believe otherwise.
When you’re hungry, you don’t care that the world around you has turned black and gray, brown and red.  You don’t care that the decapitated head of your best friend is still laying out on the table, turned towards you with its tongue hanging out and covered in white slime, eyes white and staring through you.  You don’t care that you watch the rats crawl around and nibble on his ear and you wish to God that you were one of them.  You don’t care that he died loyal to the King, keeping his secrets to the very end, a good citizen of the Country.
As you know, I was trained, just like XXXXX, to endure torture.  Tiny blades that can slide beneath your fingernails or through your navel or maybe between your eyes were things used in practice.  Losing your manhood and being raped until you blackout.  Electrocution.  Even amputation.  All of those I could--and did--endure, and only once did I ever break, though not from anything mentioned above.
I suppose they knew that XXXXX would never confess no matter what they did to him, but they somehow saw my inner workings.  They cut his head off not an hour after our capture.  Made me watch.  It took four swings from the sword before the head and body were separated.  They left the body where it was but positioned the head like I mentioned before.  Then, quite simply, they asked me if I had any information for them.
“No,” I said, and they nodded in their understanding.
“You will,” one of them responded, and then they left.
I was locked in a basement somewhere, left alone with XXXXX’s corpse, blood flowing from his neck like a leaking barrel.  Sometime later they returned with their instruments.  I was ready, or I thought I was.  The first cut burned, but it wasn’t too bad.  The second was agitating, but endurable.  I stopped counting after two hundred.  I was in and out of consciousness for the next several days, victimized and abused, but never once did a secret spill from my lips.
“I know what will break him,” one of them said.
They packed their instruments and left without another word.  XXXXX’s body disappeared, leaving only a decaying skull behind.  Both of my legs were broken and I did not expect to last long.  Unfortunately, my captors knew what they were doing.
For days I was left alone, visited sporadically by someone with a pail of water thrown in my face.  I was given no food.  My existence was barely acknowledged.  The thousands of tiny lacerations that covered my skin burned and bled, from the soles of my feet to my scalp.  But this pain was nothing compared to the pain of an empty stomach.
I was too weak to chase a rat, too broken to move.  I began hallucinating at some point, imagining I was ill in bed and you and your mother [were] taking care of me.  [You were] both proud of my perseverance, and when I mentioned spilling my secrets you both discouraged me from acting rashly, loyal to the Country til the end.
I don’t know how long this lasted.  I was fed a nibble of something from time to time, always when I thought I was near to death.  I received milk once.  By the end I was begging them to confess, willing to part with anything they desired.  I told them all the secrets I knew and invented lies for the things I didn't.  XXXXX’s rotted head scowled unapprovingly as I made my confession, but I was beyond care.  XXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXX XXX XXX XXXXXXX.  I only wanted the hunger to leave me.  My captors smiled knowingly, and when I was finished they brought me a sackful of apples and pears and a gallon of water.
My clothes  [were] returned to me, though they pained me to wear.  “Go,” one of them said, and I obliged.  I exited the basement to a posh business suite, empty of life.  It was dark outside as I stumbled out the front door onto the sidewalks of downtown XXXX, hobbling on a crutch and wounded knees.  I caught a reflection in the glass, a man horribly scarred and disfigured.  It took a moment to realize it was my own self.  Even my eyes were different.
I lived, if you call it that, as a pariah, slowly recovering from the ordeal. I scrounged newspapers, dreading the words I knew were coming because of my treason.  King Oram dead.  Stalivia falls to terrorists!  XXXXXXXX betrays God and King!  But never once did I see any indiction [sic] that the world was any different than before.  I did not know who my captors were, but they had knowledge, and knowledge topples empires.
I hope, my son, that you work out what to do with this letter.  I pray that it finds its way to you unadultered.  Keep your mother safe.  Give XXX my love.  I shall not contact you again.
Fondly Good-bye,
It is unclear to The Recorder the identity of the traitor or what secrets were spilled.  While his torture was unimaginable, his treachery is unforgivable, and let us all hope the Country does not suffer because of his actions.  King Oram lives on, fighting for the great freedoms we have here in our great Country.  Long live Stalivia, and long live the King!


Paula Titus said...

Loved this - simply riveting. :)

Marie said...

wow! fantastic!

logankstewart said...

Thank you both very much! It was painful to write...