My legs slowly crept against a water ridden floor with shackles at my ankles. My eyes, dimmed, slowly opened as my body moved on auto pilot. My hands tugged slightly from the men in front of me as I moved in unison with the other prisoners. I felt a sharp pain and discorse amongst my right hand. My hand was gone.
“My hand is gone. What the hell is happening here” I said as I coughed uncontrollably. “Where the hell am I??”
Everyone else in the chain gang turned their heads away with discomfort as everyone else didn’t care if you lived or died. They knew their life was over at this point. I’m not even sure how I got to this point. I didn’t have a right hand, my body was bruised like my internal rib cage was broken, my feet felt like dead skin hitting a razor, and my body shivered due to low body temperature forest grounds. It was difficult to even see where we were headed but I heard machinery churning in the middle of this forest area. I just knew I was a long way from commodoro.
My mind drifted elsewhere as we were presented to a bunch of militant leaders of this jungle armada as their new slaves. I thought of a memory of my past where it was me, my sister, and my baba. My sister was new into her Aeos training and I was just watching her and my baba meditate and decided to join them. I sat there quiet but didn’t know what I was doing. Whilst one of my eyes were open, I tried to mimic their breathing techniques to feel apart of something. My baba, once she noticed I was there, had laughed. “What are you doing here, Adeo?” She said as she pointed for my sister to look at me. My sister started smiling as she was on the verge of laughing. “I was just watching you both train. I’m suprised you didn’t attack me on sight!”, I said as I explained why I was there. My sister finally gave in and laughed and said she was taking 5 minutes to grab some water. “Training to become an Aeos Spirit takes a lot more than just physical training. We train our mind, body, and soul in preparation for anything.” She said. “Why? If you are the strongest and the fastest, you can beat anyone” I said. “That is not true. Sometimes a situation calls for you to sit back, endure, and asses the situation to make the best possible choice.” She replied. “So that’s what this is?” I said. “Meditation and controlling your breathing despite all the pain you are facing helps you forge a path despite your willingness to give up”. She said as she stretched her legs. “Your sister has been doing non stop training for 2 days and her body is in pain. Meditation allows her to forget all pain and harness all her energy to one point before releasing it to flow back through her body in full. This is something to remember. Now let me show you how its..”
“GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD YOU PISSLING AND GET ON” one of the militant guards said as we were escorted into a gated cavern behind the forest factory facility.
I scuffled along and walked into what looked like a jail cell holding about 100 men with barren clothing and withered skin. I did not know what to do in that situation except feel crowded and barren myself. I sat down near the fire to warm myself up despite no one being near the fire. Everyone looked at my with fear. I didn’t care that I was the oddball near this lonely fire, I needed a way to get warm. Then….I felt it. The withering roaches near my feet. This place was disgusting and the fact that people were more fearful of bugs than dying in this condition baffled me. After I got warm, I moved to a quiet spot to rest.
It’s now daybreak and everyone is waking up. The gates have been opened and people are lining up to head out. I follow suit but slightly poke my head to the side to see in front of me. There is a big rock slab full of bread and empty cups. Everyone grabs a piece of bread and doesn’t even get selfish and grab two. I reach for one and then look back at the bread but before I could grab one, a hand touches my shoulder and say, “The last guy to do that got his tongue ripped out for being too greedy”. I immediately went for the cup as the militant guard poured water with electrolytes in my cup. I really needed this meal.
“See, one piece and the drink wasn’t so bad.” Said the man who had helped me early. He was a thin white male with long black hair and a beard. He wore tattered clothing and had a source of optimism in his tone. “You already lost a hand. There’s no need to be further crippled.”
“Where are we? Who are you?” I said in a hurry.
“That’s a lot of questions man. I’m Yuric. I came to this country from Germany on vacation from my job and after a night of partying, I ended up here.”
“How long has that been?” I asked
“Two months” He replied. “I’ve never seen anyone escape in that time and those who have have been shot down”
The militant guard in charge of breakfast started walking in his walkie talkie but we couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“Alright! Line up you maricons! 50 men on one side and 50 on the other! The remaining old ones come with me.”
We all split up into two different teams. Yuric went with the other 50 whilst I went with the second batch of 50. I didn’t know what I’d be doing until I approached a large field of crops within the jungle slightly underneath water level. We were supposed to pick all of the crops in our respective lines and walk them back to a giant cart which we all were responsible to get back to the camp by before the next day. This was the tricky part….I only had one hand….not everyone was fit and strong…..water scalded our feet all day……and we couldn’t eat, rest, or finish until everyone was done.
This was the first day of hell.