Posted: Thursday, November 11, 2004
Word Count: 372
Summary: This is the opening paragraph of a short story.
The ropes are beginning to chafe. They carry things in their hands. The shapes are obscured by their meaty fingers and, though I try to push the geometry out of my mind, I know what theyíve been honed to do. Itís only a matter of time before the violence of those things is released, and then it will all be over in seconds. Not knowing what to expect is usually the worst thing. But I know exactly what to expect. I downloaded it from the internet and saved the horror in a pdf. It was research. Iím here to do a job like any other. Despatches from the front line of hell. Iím beyond the front line now. Iím not just reporting the news. I am the news. Everything keeps replaying inside my head. The abductionís on a fifty seven second loop. The sound drops out. The image blurs and skitters out of the frame. Itís all hand-held, of course. Cinema verite. Broad daylight. Whoíd have thought it? Coming out of the air-conditioned hotel lobby into the arabic heat. A beaten-up Toyota van pulls up alongside and the panel door slides open. Masked figures emerge. A rifle butt lunges at my flesh, brings me to my knees. Iím thrown into the hot metal interior of the van, which is already pulling away, the door sliding shut on my last view of freedom: an American tourist coming through the revolving doors, a copy of the International Herald Tribune folded under his arm. I remember him from the newstand where I had almost stopped to buy a pack of gum. He was taking the paper from the rack and asking the vendor if he had a copy of Time magazine. So I thought what the hell and walked on by, across the lobby and through the doors out into the heat and into the arms of that fifty seven second moment of destiny. Maybe they were really after the American. The way he folded that newspaper so symetrically and placed it squarely in his armpit, that could only mean one thing: military. The cropped and the thousand yard stare. Except you couldnít see his eyes behind the mirror shades that reflected my own abduction.