Excerpt from Girl: Treasureseeker
Being a hostage never really factored into my set of everyday worries. True, I had worked in the realm of spies, but I was never one myself. I didn’t know how to use a gun or dance the tango at an international gala. I didn’t know how to write secret messages in code or deceive anyone with a foreign accent. I certainly didn’t know how to remain calm while two men strapped my arms behind my back and threw a burlap sack over my head. And I definitely didn’t expect to sit scrunched for days in a damp, miniscule enclosure anxiously waiting for my captors to decide what to do with me.
I guess everyone has a few life experiences they don’t expect, but I was certainly way over my quota.
Sitting with my legs pulled up against my chest, I cradled my head in both hands.
“How could they possibly think you’re a spy?” groaned my boyfriend Justin, who lay on his side in the dirt next to me.
“At least they haven’t separated us yet,” I responded, completely ignoring his question.
“Yeah, at least we’re still coherent too. I swear they drugged me last night during their interrogation session. You know, they don’t teach this stuff in college.
I laughed, even though my stomach still hurt from the kick our captors had delivered three days ago.
“So what do we do since we don’t know any state secrets?” I asked.
“Lie? I don’t know. Make stuff up?” Justin answered.
“This is so unfair. It’s exactly why I left Cutter & Jamison, that government agency….all that stuff.” I trailed off. I propped myself with one arm against the stone wall and shivered. “What do you think they’re going to do with us?”
Justin looked up at me from his horizontal position on the floor. He just stared at me for a few seconds, our eyes giving away all the fears we couldn't bear to verbalize.
After a minute, Justin sat up, cracking his back with the effort. “I have to…you know…go to the bathroom.”
We’d long ago given up on the human dignities of a toilet or privacy. He leaned an arm against the far wall, his head just slightly touching the low ceiling. I could hear him unzip his now filthy, three day old jeans.
He muttered, “I’d say don’t watch, but who the fuck cares anymore.”
I laughed uneasily—anything to stop myself from crying. We had done enough of that during our first two days in this shit-hole.
I whispered what I feared the most--the thing that would suck all the hope out of our situation, “Do you think anyone even knows where we are?”
Justin finished his business, and looked over his left shoulder at me. “I don’t even know where we are. I don’t even know what nationality our captors are.”
“Do you think the American government is looking for us?” I asked, picking at a ripped toenail.
“Probably.” Justin reached for the piece of white printer paper that lay on the floor. “Have you memorized your lines yet?”
He was referring to the script our masked captors had given us a few hours ago. We were to memorize our lines, and we surely knew that meant they’d be videotaping us.
“Yeah. Have you?”
“No, not yet. What worse could they do to us if I screw up a few words? Kill us?”
Justin’s words hung in the air between us. I looked down so that he couldn’t see my eyes as I responded. “Yeah.” I choked out the word, giving away the tell tale signs of fresh panic.
Justin immediately crouched down on the floor facing me. “I’m sorry, Rach. I’m sorry. They won’t do that. Don’t worry.” He reached out with one hand on my shoulder and the other resting in my palm. “It’ll be ok. We’re too valuable to them. You have, goodness knows what other, state secrets to tell them…and I…well…you know from the script. I have a biological weapon to build them.”
I looked up at Justin, eyes awash in unshed tears, head shaking back and forth. “What are we going to do, Justin? What are we going to do?”