Prisoner of War
They keep us locked up in a pen that is too tall to escape, and without any plausible scraping or clawing implements to dig our way out. There are four of us here….during the days, anyway. They run us ragged, and then for some inexplicable reason after they torture us with giant furry animals with gnashing teeth and a big pink tongue. They inexplicably put some shrill noise on the television, undoubtedly uniformed propaganda…to warn us against the concept of thievery…I don't know why they chose a latin spokeswoman…I'll never understand my captors.
At least they have the decency to not let us live in total filth. I've heard tell that over a period of time you loose all control of your bowel and bladder, and they cloth you in some kind o cloth which they remarkably change when it gets dirty. I'd heard of their famed treatment of POW's, but I've never experienced it first hand.
As we sit down to eat, we watch the Airplanes land at the airport. After this, we are commanded to lay down, whether we are tired or not.
I look out of my giant metal cage…yearning to feel the green grass on my toes and the wind on my face again.
Kowalsky is losing it. Sometimes, All he does is curl into a ball, completely irrationally calling out for his "Mama." I tell him to hold it together, and he chokes up.
"We'll get through this, kid…" I tell him. He sniffles, nods and dries his tears.
In the night I dreamt that our senior officers performed a daring rescue, swept us up into the helo and took us home . I awoke sometime later and amid the bitter realization that no help was coming, I cried myself to sleep again. In the morning, I was the first to wake. I looked around at the others, realizing I was responsible for them. My only thought was "May God have mercy on their souls.
Prisoner of War Day 2
We thought we were going home. We were wrong. The Helo missed its target…I watched as it drove away, gracefully flying through the skys, with none of our number aboard. Why didn't they come? I wondered numerous different things as I looked over at our foursome. On my left, there was Kowalsky…he wouldn't be of much use, he'd already snapped. On my right was the Irishman Seamus McDonald. He was our platoon's bareknuckle boxing champion, and he carried the big gun. The third member of our team, was Maggie "Dictionary" Watson. If it had words, she could read it, didn't matter the language. She was clearly the most intelligent of us, except maybe for me. My name is Steven Salerno. These three look to me as the leader…I come up with the plans, and keep their butts safe out in the field. Once HQ has given the go order, its my responsibility to make sure my troops come home.
We were in a pickle…pickles…why do I smell pickles? Those callous bastards feed us cereal and milk while they munch on good old fashioned Hamburgers.
They took Kowalsky into the interrogation chamber…those animals… he came back with blood streaked on his cheek and at least two loose teeth. Then again, with the way he hit the bottle, I'm surprised more of his teeth weren't loose… And lets not talk about Seamus, he's lost more teeth than most GET!
We were stuck here tonight for certain. We had to find a way to communicate with HQ. Then I remembered, our captors never bothered to take away any of our gear, except or weapons! Eureka! We still had our commo gear! I silently pointed to Maggie and to the commo gear and pantomimed making a call to headquarters. She nodded, and I breathed gently.
She put the phone to her ear, hit the appropriate buttons, but nothing happened. CURSES! The batteries were dead.
Oh Hell…. Its over now… We didn't have this problem yesterday because we got captured late.
Morning PT. These sick bastards made us chase each other as they laughed, taunting us with food, and pointing and laughing. When I get out of here, I swear upon all that is holy, I will have my revenge.
Time went by today, and much of the same. I'm doing as best I can to keep the team's spirits up…but I feel like I am failing my team. I feel useless, unable to save the soldiers who put their trust in me. If we're here more than another day, we will need to begin the escape plan. It is clear, HQ has forgotten us. But we must hold still. Never give up, Never surrender.
We are all alone. Just the four of us. We have to stick together, or we may never make it out alive.
Prisoner of War Day III
It continues. It has become clear that HQ isn't coming. Kowalsky is finally coming clean on this fact, and has decided to tough it out. That's always useful, we need as many of us as we can in case we decide to escape.
Escape, now theres a concept. They didn't tell us that in a world of normal sized people we'd be held captive by the largest, tallest members of the enemy they could find.
It's not their fault. We signed up for this. We were soldiers, we knew the risks. I can't help feeling like an infant though, completely unable to do anything, reliant on adults for all my needs. It's been a long time since I felt that way. A long, long time.
I didn't notice it before, but in the right light, Maggie is beautiful. Maybe when this is all over, if we both survive…
No. My allegiance is to the cause, I can't be thinking like that.
Seamus wants to try and fight our way out. I told him to relax. Things aren't SO bad yet. I can't help wondering what our captives motives are. They give us clean restrooms, a place to change, and semi decent food. Though it tastes like paste. They call it carrots…I wonder if they've been hitting the bong. It's paste. Paste, I remember the taste of paste. Not one of my finer moments as a child, but, I've been there. This…this definitely tasted like paste.
I digress. Kowalsky has begun to go native, trying to gain the sympathy of our captors, but I still fight the call. They want us to break, but I won't give them the satisfaction. I have too much to live for.
I spit my food back at them, make as much of a mess as possible. I can only hope that disrupting meal time will give us enough of an edge to escape. But there always seems to be too many of them at one time for it to work. They've got the numbers down, 2 of them for every one of us. They keep their watchful eyes on us. We distract them any way we can…but they're so attentive…I can't think of a way…not yet, that we can get out of this. My team has begun to grow weary. It's the same routine over and over again. Chow, indoctrination, recreation (their sick chasing game). One of them has even decided to begin screwing with our minds with a series of magic tricks. He's very skilled at making silver coins disappear and re appear behind our ears. I don't understand his motive, but maybe that will come in time.
Oh dear… It's midday chow time again. I likely won't get a chance to write anymore until tomorrow…I hope they don't find this…it could mean severe consequences.
Time is becoming relative. There are no devices on the premises for us to determine the passage of time. Some of us have started to count the meals. Typically we get at least three so you can keep a rough track of time from that. However it's still no certainty. I'm assuming it's a new day when they put us down for sleep, and not a nap formation. My apologies if the passage of time is wrong. I'm calculating by the seat of my britches here. Another mark chipped into the wall with my fingernail…that hurts…but it's the only way I can keep my sanity. Kowalsky has finally come back to normal. It's taken him this long to realize that we're on our own and we have to fend for ourselves
I'm working on a plan. It's a little rough, but it involves defcation, which would trigger a changing cycle and then, with that distraction, the other three could possibly slip out, if they were quiet. I don't like the plan because it means leaving a man behind. With four of us, our odds are greater…If one is left behind they may never escape, and are likely to suffer the punishment and rage from our captors for the others escape. I keep seeing things that look like Air vents, up on the middle of the wall. Maybe, just maybe if I could get out of this pen, I could climb to that part of the wall and sneak through the vent…but its unlikely. I will try to attempt this anyway, and hopefully I will succeed and be able to return to rescue my comrades.
My attempt to escape was unsuccessful. They placed me in isolation for the rest of the day and I was unable to chronicle my journey. It was cold, dark and damp, at least they changed my clothes….then it was just dark. This morning, they let me out and allowed me to return to my team. I don't know what they told them, or what happened while I was gone but things seemed different now.
Perhaps I will attempt to negotiate for at least part of the team's release….It's strange. They have not asked us for troop movements, or any other security measures. All of the standstills of what they train you for when you get stuck in the camps. I don't understand it.
Could it be that wer'e not where we think we are? The thought plagues me, through what they keep referring to as "naptime", that mid afternoon sleep requirement that they keep pushing us to do. I don't know whether they want to prove they are following the Geneva convention or they just want us rested so that when they hunt us for sport later, it's a fitting challenge.
My mind churns with the theoretical knowledge that I am now convinced we are stuck here, Forever.
I heard a rumor that the hostage takers allowed UN peacekeepers to verify the health and safety of the other three while I was in the hole. It makes me slightly relieved that things are gearing toward a chance of a resolution. I can't imagine we have any of their people to make a trade.
I wondered often if they had simply forgotten about us, and this peacekeeper news helps relieve some of the paranoia. Maggie said the peacekeepers were working on a solution through diplomatic channels. My hope is that they succeed. I don't know how much longer I can keep this team together without folding and giving away our positions.
By Daybreak the APC's rattled the windows and out stepped our company commanders. It was good to hear their voice. They negotiated, and secured our release with a monetary transaction. As I looked out of the dusty window of the APC, I saw a sign by the door: It read "Mother Gooses' 24 hour Daycare." I turned to explain my relveation to the others, but they were all sound asleep in their car seats. We truly were on our way home.