You woke up some time later. You remember the slow return of consciousness, self-awareness gradually seeping into your head.
You were lying on your side on a hard bunk in a small cell with bars on one wall. Then every major body part reported in: intense aches and residual pain. Your back stung like bees were tearing it up. Your stomach and lower abs throbbed. Your crotch was signaling the most bizarre sex plumbing pain you had ever felt. Even your asshole stung. You remember looking down at your wrists, which were together because your elbows and forearms were tied. The flesh on your wrists was torn, caked with dried blood, and throbbing with pain. You moved your arms off your chest and saw your aching crotch. The significance didn’t fully register yet, but you saw your dick and ball sack hanging down across your hip. Despite the pain, they appeared OK.
You remember speech returning as a low groan when you tried to move more. Everything hurt, even your cheeks where the tight rope gag had cut into them.
Awareness expanded beyond the cell bars. There was a corridor, dimly lit. You remember two bare bulbs. Except for your moans, it was quiet. Then your sense of smell kicked in. The cell stunk of human waste, sweat, and the inescapable smell of fear.
The memories of the torture session flooded back, giving explanation for all the residual pain now racking your body. It was so bad you flinched. Then you remembered being bound to Paul, your buddy. Where was he now? Some other cell?
Fear congealed in your gut when you realized that what you remembered could be only round one. Could you really take more torture? Would round two be worse, was that even possible?
You heard footsteps coming down the corridor. Fear tightened its grip on your stomach. You felt like throwing up.
You saw the soldiers stop at your cell. They were cartel goons. Fear gave way to despair when they opened the door. Yes, another round of agony. Maybe you could pass out earlier this time.
They walked in and roughly pulled you off the cot. One of them bent down near your head.
“It’s me, buddy, Hank. We’re getting you out. But you have to struggle and pretend. Got it?”
You remember reality refocusing. The change in emotions could not have been bigger. Fear turned to elation, despair to hope. There was the promise: “We always come back for our own.”
You nodded assent. But then another thought crossed your mind.
“What about Paul? Are you getting him out, too?” you asked, although it hurt to move your lips.
“Yeah, yeah!” Hank answered quickly. “The other team’s springing him. Now yell and struggle. Make it look real!”
You remember thinking: yelling and struggling are easy. Had enough of that before I passed out. So you yelled and struggled.
The rescue team dragged you from your cell, still naked, arms and ankles still bound. They did make it realistic and your body hurt all over again as they half-carried, half-dragged you down the corridor.
There was a goon guard at the end of the corridor. Your team responded in perfect street Spanish: “Takin’ him back for more. The Colonel wants him back. Ha!”
The guard let you pass, grinning and rubbing his crotch at the prospects. He didn’t see the third guy come up behind him. He was “neutralized” quickly and relieved of his gun.
There were several more guard checks. The drill was all the same, all were neutralized.
Then it was out a door. You were blinded by the bright sunlight as the team thrust you into the back of a jeep. At the camp’s entrance two team members got out of the jeep with papers in their hands. The guards in the entrance sentry shack took the papers. It was the last thing they read in this life.
The gate was electronically opened. You saw another jeep pull up behind you, the one presumably with Paul, and both sped off into the jungle along a dirt road leading away from the camp.
The jeep bounced over the terrain when it veered off the road into a clearing. A helicopter was waiting, its blades whirling in the air. Into the ‘copter, Paul hauled in next to you, off the ground in a noisy blur, up into the air of freedom. You grinned when you caught Paul’s eye. He looked a mess but returned the smile.