- MISSING IN ACTION
I can only wait for the final amnesia, the one that can erase an entire life." Luis Buñuel
He woke up with a mother of all headaches. He moved his head only slightly and it felt as if a vice was tightening across his temples. So without moving his head, he moved his eyes to inspect the room.
A simply furnished cheap dirty hotel room – at first glance at least. Until you took in the vertical bars at the window and the flush fitted light above his head. He was wearing what seemed to be a hospital gown – too short and not very warm. The room was cool but bearable. There were two doors.
Carefully, trying to keep his head level, a moan of pain escaping his lips, he tried to stand. His legs were very wobbly, and when he let go of the bed, his legs gave way and he slid painfully to the floor. He dragged himself to one of the doors and tried it, but it was either locked or stuck. The second door opened into a dirty malodorous shower room. There was a mirror above a small shelf. He used the shelf to haul himself to his feet and look at himself.
Dark untidy hair, a little too long – touching his collar at the back, the fringe getting in his eyes - pale skin and well toned body, dark tired eyes and dark eye brows, strong jaw with a few days growth of stubble. He didn't recognise the man staring back at him. A stranger to himself.
And no name.
He slid back down onto the floor and put his aching head into his hands. He had a name, but it was gone. Where was he? And why? How did he get here? Too many questions... He needed to get some measure of control over what ever was going on here.
He stood up again and looked into the mirror a second time. Touching a face totally unfamiliar. The dark brows creased into a frown. Carefully he turned around – he found he was able to stand as long as he was careful – and shouted to anyone who was listening.
"Who are you? Why have you brought me here? Show yourself!"
There was no answer. Just silence.
"Let me out of here!" he shouted, hammering on the door. But he got the same response as all the other times. Nothing.
He gave up and turned with his back to the door and leaned on it.
What in the devil's name is going on here? I can't even remember my name? Or how I got here!
He walked back to his 'en suite'; a filthy alcove with a shower and toilet. The mirror reflected back a face that he couldn't remember seeing before. Straggly light brown hair to his shoulders, big hazel eyes with dark shadows around them, full wide mouth, stubbly chin. A bit on the skinny side. But he didn't recognise his own face. He touched his cheek to prove to himself that the person he was looking at was indeed a reflection and not a trick of some kind.
With a sigh he went to the barred window. The room where he was being kept prisoner was three or four floors up – he couldn't be sure exactly – and there was no way of opening the window. He thought of breaking the glass, but that would achieve nothing except maybe a cut hand and drafty room. The view he didn't recognise, so he had no idea where he was.
He had been awake for what seemed like several hours, and he had seen and heard no one. He was thirsty, but he didn't trust the water from the tap.
The sound of his door being unlocked got his attention.
The dark haired man needed a drink. He had no idea how long he'd been asleep, but his mouth was dry and uncomfortable, and the headache was probably caused by dehydration. He turned towards the basin in the tiny shower room. There was a plastic cup on the side. He inspected the cup and washed it in the cold water, then he half filled it and took a sip. There were no adverse effects, so he drunk the rest of the water, replaced the cup on the side, and lowered himself to the floor, ready to crawl back to the bed. That was when the pain struck. The awful cramps twisted his insides; he fell to his side, arms around his stomach, groaning in agony. His eyes watered and he was suddenly sick onto the bare wooden floor. He tried to get onto his hands and knees but as his stomach cramped again he fell back sideways.
He lay there in his own mess as the cramps slowly subsided. He held his abdomen tightly and dragged himself miserably back into the squalid shower room, and crawled into the shower. He reached up and turned the tap labelled 'cold' and screamed as scalding water shot down onto his back. He tried to turn it off but the scalding pain was too much and he fainted in the shower, the burning needles stabbing relentlessly at his skin.
A tray of food was deposited on the floor and the door closed again before the young man sitting under the window could say anything. All he saw of the food bringer was a hand. He walked over to check out the food.
A BLT sandwich in a triangular plastic box, a packet with two biscuits in, and a five hundred ml bottle of flavoured water. Under normal circumstances, a nice meal. But he didn't intend eating anything. It could be drugged.
He closely inspected the water bottle – there didn't appear to be any way that poison could be put in the bottle. It was still sealed. He opened the top and pulled out the sports lid, and cautiously took a small mouthful. It was nice and cool, and tasted of peaches. He needed this, and quickly drank down half the bottle. As he stooped down to put the bottle on the tray, he felt suddenly very dizzy. He stood up and put his arm out to the wall, but it was further away than his eyes told him he was. The room was spinning and he went down on his knees, and then forward, hitting his face on the small table before he hit the floor.
The dark haired man woke up on his grubby bed. He was lying naked on his front, His back greasy with burn ointment. It stung, but not too bad. At least the camps had stopped. There was a tray of food – a sandwich in a triangular plastic box, a bottle of water, and a packet of biscuits. He turned away from the food. He was very hungry, but he had decided not to eat. They would have to let him go soon. Wouldn't he be missed? Surely there was someone who would miss him.
He turned and sat on the bed and pulled a sheet around him, and tried to remember...
There was a dark haired woman; he could see her face, but not her name. Was she special? He didn't know. There was a young man too – he could remember his face too. He closed his eyes tightly in an effort to remember his name but it was gone. These two – wouldn't they miss him? Wouldn't they come looking for him?
"Someone will miss me, and come and find me!" he shouted. "You can't keep me here. It is a federal offence!"
Federal Offence? What did that mean? Where did those words come from?
"Please, either let me go or tell me what you want!"
He picked up the tray and threw it angrily across the room. "And take this stinking food away. I will not eat this poison!"
As the tray hit the wall, a small piece of newspaper floated to the ground. He crawled over to reach it, and he read with increasing despair the words thereon. Anything that could be used to identify him had been cut out. But when he had read to the end, the fragile control he had over himself, and his hope of rescue, was dashed to pieces:
The missing ( ) who disappeared in the ( ) three months ago have been declared legally dead. No trace has been found of ( ) and ( ) since their ( ) crashed in ( ) and now the search for their bodies has been officially called off. Their colleagues of ( ) have said that the loss is a terrible one to bear, but as the work cannot stop, ( ) have been employed as replacements on a permanent basis now their ( ) deaths are certified.
He read the piece of newspaper several times. He was officially dead. No one would come and find him. If he wanted to get out, it was down to him. And there was someone else? Two people missing? Was this person here, or was that one really dead? And who was it?
Three months? He couldn't get his brain to understand. He had been missing for three months? And in three months, no one had found him! What had happened to him in three months?
And there was a crash.
Car? Plane? Train?
"Hey, whoever is listening! I need some answers! Please, please tell me what is going on!"
He angrily wiped at a tear of frustration and rage.
The skinny young man woke slowly on the uncovered wooden floor. It was getting dark, but he'd already seen that there were no light switches in the room. He touched the small gash on his forehead, just above his right eye brow and parallel with it. It was giving him a nice headache, but nothing he couldn't live with. As he tried to sit up, he noticed a small newspaper cutting on the table, with some names and places cut out. He picked it up and read it...
...So there had been two of them. Who was the other person? He had a vague memory of a tall good looking dark haired man, and when he tried to visualise him, he felt a twist of emotion inside. Was this other person a lover? He needed a name... why couldn't he remember?
Three months missing and now they had given up. What had been happening for three months?
What the hell is going on?
There was obviously a plan in this. To have worked at it for three months, it had to be something big.
Which motive was this one under? What did they want of him?
He went over to the bed and laid down on it. He guessed that starving him to death wasn't the plan. They could have done that already if that was what they wanted. No there was something less obvious going down, something sinister and, he was sure, something unpleasant.
The sound of the door opening again. This time someone walked into the room.
When the door to his room opened and banged back onto the wall, the dark haired man was instantly alert. He wanted to get up and fight to escape, but for a reason that he couldn't remember, his legs were not working. The man was wearing a ski mask, tight black shirt and black trousers. He crossed the room to the prisoner.
"Why are you keeping me here? You have no right to..."
The fist in the face cut off his words and left him senseless. He tried not to fall back onto the bed, but his head was swimming, and he crashed backwards, unable to prevent it. Duct tape was wound around his eyes and paper stuffed into his mouth, held in with more tape. He was turned onto his front and his wrists flexi cuffed to the bed posts. By the time his senses returned enough for him to offer some resistance, it was too late. He pulled at the bonds, and struggled to get off the bed, but it was useless. He lay still, frightened, breathing heavily, waiting for whatever was going to happen.
A/N Ok I'm trying something a little different here. Let me know if you want me to carry on"