Song lyrics are not mine. Story and characters are mine. This chapter is violent and hopefully has angst. Please review and tell me if I can make improvements. I hope you enjoy reading.




In dark, in light, remember me


Find in the name

The truth, the right, and take the lead

-Demon Hunter

The man walked in, grabbed his arms and moved his hands to behind his back. I'm scared. I don't want to go with you. Paul's traitorous thoughts made him struggle against the man futilely. The man quashed his momentary rebellion quickly. Grabbing his bound hands and forcing his forehead to the floor. There was a harsh whisper into his ear "You thought you could struggle and get out of it; didn't you."

The man hit him hard with a stick of some sort. It stung.

"Owww. That hurt." Paul whined.

"Shut the (insert impolite term) up." The man snapped. "I don't want to hear it. I don't care if you (insert appropriate synonym for excrement) your pants. I don't want to hear it." The stick slapped his unprotected ribs again and Paul winced.

The man yanked him to a standing position by his arms clipping them together behind his back. He roughly marched Paul down the grey corridor. Without the hood on Paul noticed that there were doors on either side of the hall. Sometimes there were faces pressed against the bars of the windows. He wondered if they were also being interrogated. After a short walk the man opened a door and shoved Paul inside. Despite the discomfort Paul was curious; vaguely he realized that he was desperate for some kind of mental stimulation other than irritating rock music, bright lights, and pain. The room was large by his current standards; about 20 by 10 feet. One wall was plywood, two were concrete, and one was drywall. There was a down slanted board on one side of the room with straps attached. There was a bucket standing beside the table. There were also cleats on the floor that looked like they were intended for securing equipment. The bright LED light strips lit up two more men sitting in folding chairs behind a table on the opposite side of the room. There were papers tidily stacked on the table and one of the men was writing. There was a shelf on that side of the room as well with baskets filled with stuff on it. They were white.

Paul couldn't figure out why they couldn't just have something a bit more colorful. He figured all the stuff in the room wasn't for his enjoyment but there wasn't much he could do about it so he was enjoying the sight of human faces and the small amount of mental stimulation. Not that his brain was working that well in its sleep fogged state; he thought.

The man behind him pushed him in front of the desk to where the men could stare at him.

"What is your name?" The man on the right asked.

"Paul Amadi Garcia- Mora, Sir." Paul answered. No way I'm going to intentionally provoke these guys, although I think they're going to cause me pain no matter what I say; he thought ruefully.

"How old are you?" The man questioned.

Paul groaned internally. "I am 15 years old."

"Describe what happened the evening your parents and you were arrested." The man demanded.

"I went to bed after dinner, did my homework in my bedroom, and slept until I was woken up by a soldier pointing a gun at my head." Paul explained.

"Too simplistic." The man said. He whacked Paul with the stick, it left a red welt.

"I don't carry a watch and I rarely look at the clock. If you want the color of my pillowcase or what my really boring algebra homework was about, I can tell you. We had stew for dinner." Paul was following his Mom's advice for resisting questioning. "When you are being questioned it is best to tell the truth with as few persnickety details as possible. The interrogators will try to catch a contradiction. If you are hiding something, omit to tell them. Don't tell useless lies. Your brain will be functioning at half speed and you won't be able to remember a lie." It was unfortunate that it had come in so useful. Last time he had used this technique to not explain where the missing cookies had gone.

Crack! The switch thwacked against his skin again. Paul squeaked with surprise.

"I don't want to hear your sass. If you have something about what your parents were doing that night, I want to hear it." The man explained impatiently.

"They discussed my homework and how school went with me over dinner. I heard them wash dishes together while I was doing my homework. The next time I saw them they were bound and being led to a truck by soldiers." Paul was being very sarcastic in his head. These men were awakening his counter-will in a way that had not happened since he was about 6 years old. On the outside he answered in a polite voice.

He was braced for the thwack of the stick this time. "Tell me what they normally do after you do your homework on other nights."

"Most nights my Mom plays on her guitar, reads a book; she likes fantasy novels, or knits. Da carves wood, does the work he had brought home, reads; he likes reading about science and technology, or plays the violin and accompanies Mom." Paul spoke rather hopelessly. They weren't going to accept his answer even if it was the truth.

The switch whapped on his stomach and thigh in rapid succession. Paul gritted his teeth as his body tried to curl to avoid the blows.

The interrogator spoke "I think he is not telling us something. Maybe he'll remember if we jog his memory…."

The other man cut him off "Let me try. Do you know anything about drug running and smuggling in your area? Weapons dealers?"

Paul didn't know. "I don't know of any. Drugs are bad for people." He said.

He flinched as the stick connected with skin again.

"That's your final story, boy?" The man sneered, drawing out the word boy.

Paul nodded.

"Since you have nothing more that you are willing to say we'll just gag you for the rest of this time." The second man stated.

The man behind Paul tightened his grip. The first man reached into one of the white tubs and brought out something that looked like a pair of socks and a roll of duct-tape.

Paul knew what that was for. He started trying to escape; but what was a scrawny 15-year-old supposed to do against two fully grown men. He didn't think that it would be possible to escape but he was scared and his brain wasn't working properly.

Three sharp whacks of the switch like stick and he was compliant once again. The pain stunned him into submission. The soldier grabbed his head and forced the gag into his mouth duct- taping it into place. The gag tasted like bleach.

The bag was yanked over his head again. In darkness, his body stinging and hurting Paul was no longer thinking about anything. Except difficult breathing, pain, and his random thoughts that kept running through his mind.

His hands were no longer held by the soldier but were chained to a post in front of him. They left him standing there unable to lay or sit. He was alone. At random intervals someone would give him several hits with the switch.

Paul felt scared. He knew why they were doing this to him. He didn't have anything they wanted to know, even if he told them he doubted that they would do anything different. "You need to distract yourself from what is going on. Think of anything. Except what might happen and the pain." His Da's voice echoed back to him.

/He had gotten into trouble at school when he was 10. The headmasters had decided that making him wait for the standard punishment of 20 thwaps with the ruler and sending him home with a note after school was a good idea.

"I know you stood up for your beliefs Paul. I'm proud of you; but that doesn't mean that you aren't going to have to face your punishment at school tomorrow. In this world not everyone thinks that everyone can have different beliefs."

"But the teacher said that all beliefs were true, is that right?" He had asked innocently.

His Da had looked somewhat irritated: "No, Paul. Not all beliefs are true. All people should have the right to speak their minds and have their own opinions and beliefs; but that doesn't mean that all beliefs are true. For example: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord and that all other religious views are false. I couldn't be both a Christian and a Muslim because the Koran says that Jesus wasn't the Son of God. That creates a contradiction which means that both beliefs cannot be true. People have a right to choose their own paths even if they are believing in something I disagree with; they should never force their beliefs on someone else."

"I got in trouble for saying that not all beliefs were true. I wasn't polite enough I suppose. They said that my words were wrong and traitor…ous." His voice stuttered on the last word as if he wasn't quite sure how to say it.

"You are not traitorous Paul. You did the right thing even if it wasn't the wisest course of action." Paul's Da reassured.

"Ray got in trouble too." Paul added hurriedly. "He said that he agreed with me." Rayim was Paul's best friend.

"Do you feel like it was your fault that he got into trouble?" His Da asked.

"I don't know. The teacher said that it was my fault that he got into trouble." Admitted Paul.

"It wasn't your fault kiddo. It was the fault of the people who were punishing him. You did fine. How do you feel about tomorrow?" His Da had reassured and asked.

"I'm scared. It will hurt. I don't want to go back to school but I also do want to go because Ray is there and if I don't go, he will get double punishment." Paul had replied.

"Paul, I can't fix this problem. You will have to go back to school and face this punishment that you do not deserve. I can tell you how to make it hurt less. I am really sorry that you will have to go back." His Da had looked really upset. He had given Paul a hug and had helped him with his homework.

His Da had written the note for the teacher telling her that Paul had been reprimanded harshly. In reality Paul's reprimand consisted of a cup of hot chocolate and some popcorn while watching an ancient movie called Nacho Libre. /

It was one of his favorite memories. He remembered laughing so hard at the movie cuddled up between his parents.

"They had all been safe and happy then. Where were they now?" Paul wondered.

The switch thwacked his legs and back in rapid succession leaving stinging lines and reawakening the deeper ache from the previous blows. His feet were so sore. How long would they leave him here this time?

"Shut up mind. Think of something else." His mind told itself. "Try repeating the psalms you have memorized or… try saying fuzzy wuzzy was a bear in your head until you get dizzy. That sounds like a good idea." Paul almost choked on the gag as he realized the absurdity of his situation. Here he was thinking about how fuzzy wuzzy was a bear in the middle of an interrogation. At least it was better than crying.

"Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear." Thwack went to the switch. Paul jerked against the cuffs that were holding his hands.

"Fuzzy wuzzy had no hair." Thwack. Thwack.

"Fuzzy wasn't very fuzzy wuz he?" Now he had the rhyme stuck in his head. It would probably be forever ruined as would the smell of bleach. He was sick of the dark, he was sick of the uncertainty and pain.

"Why couldn't they just leave him alone in his cell?" His arms were burning. His feet were so sore. He felt cold and burning at the same time. His mouth was dry and the gag was getting soaked with saliva. All he wanted was sleep.

Paul's knees buckled as he fell asleep. It only lasted until his arms prevented him from hitting his head on the floor. He stood up and braced for the blows he knew were coming...

3 hrs later. Paul curled up on the floor of his cell in his thin wool blanket. He was rocking back and forth and crying. He hurt all over. His wrists were bleeding from pulling on the cuffs. His captors had poured rubbing alcohol on the cuts so they wouldn't get infected. Sitting hurt, laying hurt, standing hurt even worse. The welts that covered his body were a reminder of what he had been through. His body was hurting, bleeding, painful. His mind was worse. Oblivion would have been a blessing but his thoughts tormented him.

"Mom and Dad could be going through this. They could be dead. I am alone." Paul's thoughts spun negatively down. In his dazed pain-fogged half dream sleep he could not tell what was real and what wasn't.

/They were executing them. His parents were walking to their deaths with a guard on either side. They were just as he remembered them, his Da, tall and strong; his Mom small and fiery. They were being marched towards a platform, the executioner stood there with a massive ax. The world was swirling, bright lights flashed; cameras, he realized. Someone was taking pictures of their execution. A politician that he recognized from somewhere was reading a speech about why they needed to be killed. " ...Eva and John Garcia- Mora are hereby condemned to die for their crimes against the public: selling drugs, sedition, consorting with rebels, treason, bribery, and resisting arrest. They have been found deserving of death."/

The axe hadn't fallen yet when Paul woke breathing hard. "It isn't real. They are fine. That isn't even how they do is just your subconscious messing with you." He spoke aloud trying to calm down so he could go back to sleep. He knew that his nightmares were normal and just a symptom of being terrified but that didn't mean he wasn't scared to go back to sleep.

It seemed like he had only been asleep two minutes when the speakers started blaring Death Metal and the lights started flashing.