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Two Moons II: 

The Freeman's Captive



After a long, but smooth drive, the vehicle came to a halt, and another clang indicated the opening of the back door.

The space around me became chillier as it was emptied of its load. Someone unlocked the chains so I could be carried outside, then into a building where the air was warmer, up two flights of stairs into a room, and down on something soft. A mattress?

Moving was bringing blood and pain back inside my arms and legs, and I groaned.

A new voice―another man―rose angrily in the same unknown language. My abductors gave nervous explanations until the new guy interrupted them sharply. They all left the room, and I heard them fight until they were out of listening range.

They hadn’t secured me to anything, but my dead limbs were useless to attempt any maneuver. There was nothing I could do but lie on the bed and wait until one of the men returned.

I didn’t have to wait long. A man came in, and immediately worked on my restraints.

“Don’t try anything stupid,” he said with a voice that left no doubt to the implied threat. He was clearly a man used to giving orders and being obeyed without hesitation.

He cut the wires behind me, and helped me lie on my back with my arms at the sides. While the pain kicked in and grew worse with every cell of blood flowing past my elbows and knees, the man wrapped cuffs where the wires had been and connected them to the sides of the bed, effectively immobilizing limbs that had a hard time coming back to life. I tried to protest, but all he did was rub my arms, then my legs, until I calmed down.

“Now, if you want to eat and drink, stay silent. One word, and I’ll gag you.”

I nodded.

First, he pulled the bag off my head. I expected to see a face; all I got was a black mask covering his head, leaving only tiny holes for his eyes. It reminded me of the hood I’d worn at the Engcamp reunion, a memory that sent a sharp arrow through my heart, as if that happy past was forever out of reach now.

I made an effort to hold back tears, but when the masked man peeled the layers of tape off my chin, I let a few run down.

At least I was glad to spit the hanky out.

In silence my jailor fed me. When I had finished the plate and drunk a glass of water, he gagged me again, albeit with a more comfortable bit gag.

Then he walked out and locked the door, leaving me in darkness, silence and terror.

Weeks of practice helped me sleep despite the restraints, and I was reasonably rested when I woke up the next day. But then, the lack of action and permanent fear seriously undermined my mood.

I stayed in the empty bedroom for five days, tied to the bed and gagged. I never saw the masked man again. Instead, a younger boy, in his early twenties, brought me food every morning and evening. He was cute in a savage kind of way: long blond hair running down his neck, skin tanned and roughed from a life in the outdoors, eyes that reflected the innocence and hopes of childhood, yet had witnessed enough drama to broadcast sparkles of distrust and bitterness. His nose was abnormally flat, practically pushed into his face. In flagrant contradiction with Khyrian fashion as I knew it, his pants and shirt were twice too large, and had seen better days. His name was Leeham. He didn’t speak much, but would smile once in a while, as if to apologize for the treatment inflicted upon me.

Every morning and evening, Leeham unlocked one of my wrists so I could eat on my own while he watched me from a distance. Then he had me lie back down and relocked the cuff. Once a day, he brought a pot of cold water so I could wash and relieve myself, with one hand still cuffed to the bed.

Outsmarting him was impossible. The boy was tall and strong, and never took his eyes off me. Without the full use of my hands, I was as helpless as a caged snake.

One morning, I tested his dedication.

“Do you realize what you’re doing?” I asked him. “When you’re caught, you’ll end up in jail for the rest of your life. But if you help me now, I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen.”

Leeham looked at me as if I had risen from the dead. Then he caught himself and gave me a pitiful stare. “How can you possibly disobey the rule?” he seemed to think.

He left me without a word and didn’t come back until the next day. I was starving and ate in silence without meeting his eyes.

On the evening of the fifth day, things took a different turn, not for the better. After taking care of my various body needs, Leeham cuffed both hands in front of me, pushed the usual gag into my mouth, and blindfolded me with a large lilk band that he laced tightly at the back of my head. Then he led me out of the room and down the stairs until we got to a chillier place.

After locking my bound wrists to a chain above my head, he went to get his boss. I heard him call “Shoan,” then the stairs creaked under determined footsteps.

I immediately recognized the touch of his expert hand when the man verified the tightness of the blindfold and the gag. Without a word, Shoan, the masked man―who, I wagered, was probably unmasked now that I couldn’t see him―began to cut through my clothes.

When I tried to kick him, he pulled my arms further up, forcing me to stand on tiptoe. I stayed put until he stripped me naked.

I feared he would torture me, maybe rape me, but he pressed my legs together and proceeded to bind them with layer after layer of smooth, nonetheless resistant lilk that soon extended from my toes to my thighs. Once my legs were perfectly still and useless, he called to Leeham to help him.

Following directions I didn’t understand, the boy unlocked the cuffs around my wrists, brought me down to the floor and held my arms to my sides. Quickly, Shoan looped more layers of lilk around my hips and waist, imprisoning my hands, and continued more slowly over my chest until he reached my neck.

I was now confident he wouldn’t touch me, but this certainty didn’t ease my fears about what he was going to do next.

Like lift me up and place me inside a box, a coffin, that was filled with hard foam cut exactly to my shape, without any slack on either side. Then close the lid.

I panicked to the point of fainting. When I came back to my senses, I was on the move again, but not on the ground. Slight moves up and down indicated another means of transportation. An air shuttle. Where were they taking me?


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