Nobody’s Talking

Dear Avid Reader…

Not my usual fare. Actually something quite different. It’s not nice but then again it’s not meant to be. No humour or erotica here. But, for a change I will give you a spoiler. Ain’t no happy ending.





I don’t know how long I’ve been here.

It might be days, weeks or even months. Time has no meaning, that’s the first thing they did, the first thing they took.

Sometimes it’s complete darkness and complete silence and then total light and total noise or any combination they see fit. I seem to remember that it’s standard operating procedure but then again my memory isn’t what it used to be.


Why is that word so important to me all of a sudden? I feel happy that I know it, glad that I know what it is and what it means. This seems to happen a lot, random thoughts floating into my mind and drifting away again on the whim of a breeze slipping beneath a door. A door? How long has it been since I’ve seen a door? I really don’t know, I couldn’t tell you how long it has been since I saw a person, another human being. Of course I’ve heard their voices, their questions.

At least I think I’ve heard them. I’m not always sure that they aren’t just in my head. If they are they don’t seem to come as often as they used to but then again maybe they’re just playing with that sense of time all the more.

I try to retreat inside myself, the darkness helps but the insistent white noise seems to make my mind shake. I concentrate on my body. The aches and pains in my body are always there. The empty stomach, seemingly always empty, a hollow sick feeling and yet although I feel weak I don’t feel like I’m dying. Dying? How long is it since I gave up all hope of dying?

“You’ll die before you answer our questions? You think we’ll let you? You’ll answer every single one of our questions and you’ll be happy too and then… well we’ll decide what to do with you. We might just keep you here for training purposes or we’ll send you back to whatever little shit hole you came from to spy for us and believe me when I tell you that you’ll either be more than happy to or you won’t even know you’re doing it! Then again we might just throw you out with the rubbish…”

Who said that to me? When did they say that? Yesterday? Last week? Last… year? I can feel a tear running down my cheek and a desperate fear fills me that I can’t afford to lose that much water from my body. How is it that I want to die and yet still want to live within the same breath?

It’s so dark I don’t even know if my eyelids are open. Tiny random sparks ignite in my vision. Nerve endings bored with inactivity? It’s been so long since I used my eyes for what they were intended for. So very long since I actually saw ‘something’. Total dark or total light, always wishing for the opposite, the same with sound, absolute random noise or total complete silence. The only respite coming when those voices ask me questions.

I can feel the crook of my elbows, burning and itching at the same time. An itch I crave to scratch but in those moments when I feel I can, bonds hold my wrists and somehow it seems when there are no bonds I don’t have the will. I know that is how they are feeding me, ‘intravenous’, the word springs into my mind and I wonder is that what I was before this life. Was I a doctor or a nurse? Do I actually remember anything of before?

A doctor fighting for my patients lives in a world full of pain? Is there a government wanting to stop my outspoken views against man’s inhumanity to man?

Or am I an assassin, a terrorist trained in the very torture that is being inflicted upon me?

Sometimes I believe there was ‘a before’ but more often I wonder will there be ‘an after’?

 “Is it safe?”

Was that voice memory or actual? “Yes” I whisper in response scared that my hallucinations are real and my reality is pure hallucination.


I’ve been sleeping. I don’t dream; whatever they do I know that when I sleep I don’t dream or at least I never remember my dreams. That’d be a respite; a place to hide and I know they’d never allow that.

My body feels better, not healthier or stronger but not so close to collapse. My flesh doesn’t feel as corrupted where it presses against the…

A tear runs down my cheek as I weep for the missing word. A word that doesn’t mean much of anything possibly means nothing at all but for all of that seems so important. Each time I wake from my dreamless sleep I know they have tended to my body and its physical needs. I’d say it is my only grasp on time but I don’t know how many times they have treated the… ‘Pressure sores’ (how do I know those words and not the name of what I’m sitting upon?) and how much time passes between their care for my physical form.

“Fuck!” I cry out as the darkness becomes light. So much light, no mask upon my head and my open eyes exposed to the glare of the bright white light. I shut my eyelids and grin with my cracked lips momentarily as I find that they haven’t been taped open. Still the intense light blazes through the thin pink capillaries of my eyelids becoming only just bare-able. I can feel my dry and pock-marked skin cook beneath the ferocity of illumination.

“Who are you?”

“I… I’m… I” I stutter in response to the female voice. Who am I? “Frank” I reply unsure if that is my name or perhaps one that they have given to me. Frank? Does that sound right? They know who I am, they must or why else would I be here?

“Torture doesn’t work!” I yell out but no response comes from my unseen interrogators.

Still I hear a voice…

“Torture doesn’t work? How do you know? How do all those do-gooders in the UN and in those countries where people are allowed to say what they like know whether it works or not? Have they heard sad fucks like you spill their guts, betray their comrades, their friends, just to make it stop?”

I’m not sure but I think that was a memory. I think I might have heard a ‘click’ after I was asked who I was. A ‘click’ that suggested to me that they didn’t care to hear my response; they weren’t even interested to wait for a reply. More tears roll down my cheeks and I think I can feel them evaporate before they reach the knife thin cracks in my dried lips. I wonder where I am, I seem to remember a long plane ride but I don’t know if I was travelling bound and gagged beneath a hood of sipping champagne in first class.

 ‘Loved ones’, I think I used to have my own ‘loved ones’ once upon a time. Somewhere…


It might be days, weeks or even months.

How long have I been here? Surely by now they know all they want to know! What was it I did or was suspected of doing or about to do? “Please…” I beg.

“Please, what?”

“End it…”

“But we’re not finished with you. And anyway we haven’t got anyone else to fill your chair.”

Chair? It seems to be such an important word.

Is that what will end it? Dead Man’s Shoes? A vacant cubicle in a secret location somewhere far from home or right next door that has to be filled just so the budget balances. I pray to a God, not even sure if I’m a believer, that some stupid ‘Friday-job’ accounting error might end my torment.

“Hush little baby…”

Her voice, I grasp hard onto it not caring whether it was whispered into my ear by some dispassionate questioner or a ‘willow-the-wisp’ memory fragment. I don’t even care if it is my memory or some foreign implant the three little words give me comfort, I can almost imagine the sweet pink lips that they once issued from and feel, hope that they are from my very distant past.

My head kicks upwards and my eyes fly open as the electric shock creeps across my skin. I can smell bacon and I know it’s my flesh, whether from the intense light burrowing through my optic nerve into my skull or from the electrodes jerking me awake it doesn’t matter. Those tiny electrons holding my muscles in paralysis cease and I’m allowed to drop my head and close my eyelids once again. A bitter ferrous taste floods my mouth and I know I’ve bitten through my tongue once again, I’m almost welcome the pain in my mouth, a familiar pain from when time was normal and a momentary lapse of concentration would have me swearing and sucking my tongue simultaneously. Was it possible that the comic response to the accidental injury raised smiles in others? In children?

Do I have children? A son, a daughter or a wife?

My hand drops of the side of my…

The word has gone again and I realise that bonds no longer hold my wrist. I try to part my eyes a fraction to see through the sun bright glare at my hand hanging down. I wonder if my other wrist and my ankles are still tied. I don’t check for fear of disappointment.


It’s dark again. Or has it always been dark and I’ve only ever dreamt of light. I feel a tiny draught upon my persecuted flesh and wonder if someone has entered the room or if someone has just left. Maybe they’ve come to put a bullet in my head? A tiny smile forms upon my cracked lips as I imagine that a bullet would be considered too untidy. And there’d be mopping to do! I’d imagine they’d just turn up the voltage on ‘my’ electrodes till my heart could take no more. Can you build up immunity to electricity? I hope I’m costing them dear. I laugh. Or cough as that is all I’m truly capable off these days/nights (whatever?). I think I’m saved from correction from the simple fact they don’t recognise my laughter any more.


“Where… where am I?”

“Where are you? Where would you like to be? Maybe you’re faraway in a foreign land or maybe you’re just down the road from friends and family. All you need to know is you are far from prying eyes and nosy ears. Acoustic baffling or jet fuel, doesn’t matter which… though if we were being Green about it? Must dash, got to get back in time for my kids to get home from school…”

Where am I? The words echo uselessly around my head. Down in the ground…

I think it’s a line from a song, I’m almost sure I used to know it all. I remember singing songs silently in my head when I first got here… I think. I try to remember other songs from my youth, from my teenage years, from when I first kissed a girl.

When I first kissed a girl!

Surely I should remember that, it can’t be possible that they took that away from me. I feel a flutter of butterflies within my stomach, a reminder of that first time or just the incessant hunger pangs? My head drops forward and is once again brought up by the caress of electricity.


I sit there unshackled, the dim light showing the sterile white tiled walls of my cell. Although I’m sure that I haven’t ever actually seen them before they hold a familiarity, a strange warmth that at first I’m unable to put a name too but then appears to take up permanent residence within my head as if it had always been there.

“We’re terribly sorry… we can’t apologise enough. We know that words will never make up for what we have done to you…”

“…of course you will be handsomely compensated… all records will be expunged from your files… a case of mistaken identity… poor intelligence… a necessary evil in these dangerous times…”

“…we’ll just get you sorted…”

“You’ll be moved to a hospital where we can take care of your injuries…”

“…you’re family have been informed…”

“You’ll be home in no time…”


That’s what this cell feels like. The door is open and the anonymous orderlies (nurses?) have fussed around me, their faces indistinct in my vision as the tears continually flow. I can feel the strength in my muscles, just enough to rise from my… my chair (I remembered) and step out through the door into the world beyond. I can go home.

I look about my home for the last few days… weeks… months…

I look at the door, the darkness beyond. I sense rather than see the orderly to my right as I look down at the pale flesh of my left arm, the redness encircling my wrist, the innocent transparent tube disappearing beneath a dog-eared bandage into my arm. I reach across, muscles in my forearm aching as I buckle my left wrist back down to the heavy wooden arm of the chair. I smile, lips cracking as the helpful orderly secures my right wrist and turns away to step back out into the unreal world.

The door closes…

The lights dim further till there is nothing…

White noise fills my ears…

I’m still grinning as I no longer worry about the name of the object I am sitting in.




I don’t know how long I’ve been here.

It might be days, weeks or even months. Time has no meaning, that’s the first thing they did, the first thing they took…



Amnesty International has documented torture in more than 150 countries, including the United States. In more than 70 countries, it is widespread and systematic.

Amnesty International


The U.S. government estimates 400,000 – 500,000 survivors (of torture) live in the United States.


It is estimated that secret imprisonment is practiced in about 30 countries. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights  Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has registered about 46,000 cases of people who disappeared under unknown circumstances.


Regrettably, adequate measures to prevent disappearances and provide vital information have not been taken in recent conflicts. The Balkans conflict was marred by mass executions and unmarked graves – about 20,000 people disappeared. In Sri Lanka young men were simply rounded up and taken away. In Africa, tens of thousands of families fleeing conflict have been separated. In many cases it is the children who suffer. No continent has escaped the problem and globally hundreds of thousands of people are affected.

International Committee for the Red Cross


“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky- The House of the Dead (1862)


“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

Harry S Truman, August 8, 1950

So Dear Avid Reader…

Food for thought? I don’t know all the answers. But I do know one thing. Fanatics are never wrong! Whether they believe in opposing Gods or Democracy or whatever, they are never wrong and cannot abide those who would suggest they are to live! Many, many things have been done in the name of God and Justice but if they go against God and Justice I feel that the issue is within the perpetrators and those who would let them do so in their name.

The tortured and the missing and the dead may be a lot closer to home than we think.

Just an opinion…


~ by ftfagos on February 29, 2012.

5 Responses to “Nobody’s Talking”

  1. No matter what the subject… your writing, never fails to make me want more!!!


  2. Sorry to spoil your sleep… maybe next time I’ll spoil it with something a little more pleasant.



  3. Wow.

    Simply wow.

    I don’t know how I feel about this post of yours. There is something haunting about this one. Thank-you for writing it and even more, thank-you for sharing it.

    And yes! When do we get something more pleasant?


  4. I am just always in awe! This one was chilling to say the least…

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