Authors: Buck Sanders
The lower half of the board gave way without much effort, although Slayton had to pound with his shoulder for a while before
it fell apart.
The arsenal room spilled into another, larger compart
ment, which in turn led to a locked entrance to the dungeon.
Attracting the arsenal room guard was simple. Slayton whistled a few bars of “Happy birthday to me,” drawing the man’s immediate
inspection. He was a young, cherubic soldier, who inquired “Who’s there?” Slayton answered with a karate blow to his neck.
The guard staggered forward and collapsed. Slayton took his knife and pistol, shutting off the light as he crept out the door.
The jail was illuminated by two yellow bulbs, a third suspended lamp socket empty and throwing shadows on one side of the
cells. No one stirred, but Slayton glimpsed its occupants, curled on muddy, insect-infested mats and sleeping in extreme discomfort.
Each cubicle measured an arm’s length across and roughly three feet wide. Enough room was available for prisoners to stand
upright, take two steps in either direction, and do pushups from the overhead cage bars for exercise.
Eight of the ten cells were filled: Slayton walked slowly, taking it all in. A hungry rat feasted on one sleeping man’s leg—he
swatted the thing away, but it returned, unafraid, biting and drawing blood. The man shouted in surprise; the creature had
torn a little toe from his diseased foot. There were two bearded prisoners trapped in one cubicle—they shifted around in piles
of their own filth.
Further into this hell-hole, Slayton discovered a corpse which looked as if it had been dead for weeks. Its torn, naked carcass,
draped in rags, was a feast for rodents. Some of them lived inside the body, curled up and napping in the hollowed chest cavity,
long tails wrapped around putrefied, blood-caked bones.
“Who’s there?” cried a muffled woman’s voice.
Slayton stared into the darkness of one cell. A small figure stirred, one of her hands reaching through the bars, into the
Another voice in the cell further away. “It’s not the guard.”
one. “Wilma?” he said, hunching down near the ground to get a clearer view inside both cells.
“Ben,” she replied, standing against the bars and thrashing her grimy arms in the air. “My God, are you a prisoner too?”
Slayton was unable to see them. “Where are the keys? I need the keys.”
The woman in the other cell pointed a finger away from them, past the arsenal room door and down the hallway. “Get the Arab.
He has them.”
“I’ll be back.” Slayton hobbled back into the hallway, along the jail cells and through an entrance just beyond the arsenal
room door. The jailer sat, propped up on his chair’s rear legs, sleeping. He was a heavy-set, overfed Arab with a stubbly
beard. His gun and the keys rested in a cardboard box near his feet.
The Arab snored and opened his eyes. Slayton darted behind a slim partition ten feet away, withdrawing the knife he’d taken
from the other sentry.
Coughing up snot and expectorating a thin line of phlegm onto the opposite wall, the Arab rose to his feet and stretched.
Turning toward the partition, he called to the cell area, “Hey, cunts! I’m ready for my blow-job. Which one of you is first?”
He laughed, disgustingly hawking another trail of green discharge from his mouth. Either too drunk, too sleepy, or just plain
stupid, the guard ambled past Slayton. Moments later, Slayton grabbed him by the hair, knocking him slightly off-balance,
but still able to wield the knife.
The Arab felt the sting of the blade penetrating the flesh; blood bubbled from the opening in his neck. Slayton passed the
knife over his jugular, and the floor in front of them was flooded by a spray of fluid. The Arab gave it up without a struggle;
his sphincter relaxed, and a thick horrid aroma filled the room.
Slayton retrieved the gun and keys, hurried back to Wilma’s cell, and released her.
“It was awful!” she said, hugging Ben madly.
“We have to get out of here. Who’s this?” he asked, nodding at the second woman’s cell.
“She was brought in a day before me. This is Orial. Her father is the one who tipped me off to the military base.”
“Where’s her dad?”
“They killed him. She’s in bad shape; the guard beat her twice since we’ve been here, and she won’t say a word.”
Orial continued to hold her arms out from the bars. Slayton opened the cell, and she dashed out. Wilma caught her arm and
held firm, forcing Orial to stop running.
“We can’t make any noise,” said Wilma. Orial registered a response by grunting, then whining softly as they walked past the
dead guard and through the dungeon tunnel.
As the corridor ran on, cutting in diagonals past more cells filled with persons left to rot, Wilma whispered quickly, “Ben,
how did you get away?”
“The floor in my quatters was rather loosely constructed. I was out before the guards knew it. I am positive my escape hasn’t
been discovered yet, but we have to haul ass. I figure our best bet is to make it to a boat.”
“It’s only a couple of miles to an airfield.”
“Great. Is the girl able to move?”
“She’s only a teen-ager, Ben. They tortured her and assaulted her until she was unconscious. But I don’t think you have anything
to worry about. Orial is very strong, even though she may not look it.”
“Can you handle a gun?” Slayton asked the girl.
Orial had been following them. Dazed and limping, she brightened her expression to one of attentive concern. “They killed
my father,” she intoned solemnly, “I am certain that I am pregnant with some filthy pig’s child. Hand me the weapon, and I
will use it or die trying.”
Slayton raised his eyebrows, pulling Wilma aside. “The experience seems’ to have taken its toll on her mind.”
Wilma pushed him away, exclaiming, “After what I saw them do to her, it’s amazing she can walk.”
“Did they hurt you?” Slayton asked.
“I think the guard was going to visit me next. Earlier tonight he shot out the light over my cell and threatened me.”
“When did they kidnap you?”
“Right after you left. I spoke to Bathurst when I first got here. He wants me to write a news story about the President’s
assassination. Do you know anything about this, Ben?”
“It’s their plan, all -right, and I’d suspected as much.”
The corridor halted at a screen door facing the camp’s south dock. This was a stroke of luck, thought Slayton. Only one guard
could see them.
Willy, a twenty-five year-old recruit who had joined The Brigade a year ago, passed the grueling training in China, and now
held a night shift patrol duty, felt too tired that night. He and another guard, Comrade Amesbury, had been heavily skunked
last night while boating through the swamp inlets. It had been an all-night job, and another full shift after two previous
days’ labor had weakened his reflexes;
So when Willy noticed a woman staggering out of the jailhouse door, falling over on her knees and inexplicably tearing her
shirt off, he didn’t raise the machine gun to fire. He investigated.
She pulled herself up again and pivoted in a circle before removing the shirt entirely and falling down. Willy saw the enormous,
round breasts flop across her chest before she spun like a top and crashed to earth. It was one of the girls Lucius had brought
in, the reporter. She appeared drunk.
“What’re you doin’ out here?” he asked.
She licked her lips, slurring the words, “01’ Arab Dick had me only five minutes ago. I loved it. You wanna be next?”
He glanced back at the compound, looking for the other guard on duty. No one was at the post. “Shit,” Willy said, “I’d better
go get Donati.” He turned around, back toward the jailhouse entrance.
What happened next entered his mind only superficially. The woman on the ground rolled away from him while Willy kept his
eyes on Donati’s office at the other end of the compound. Then he was hit. It felt like a hot iron, ripping through flesh
and bone. Willy lowered his hand to grip his weapon, but a wave of agony shot into his head. He gazed at his chest. A silvery
steel knifepoint was poking through, the entire blade having sailed fifty feet and into his back.
He collapsed, spine slashed in two, life pouring from the wound, his eyes closing, and death lifting him from the pain.
Slayton bad not been sure as he let go of the knife that it would find its target. Orial had distracted him momentarily; she
had lifted the heavy pistol from his pocket, and taken aim at the guard as well. “Not yet,” he said, “Wait until someone sees
us.” His signal to throw had been when Wilma rolled out of the way, an indication that the guard’s attention had been drawn
off the jailhouse door.
Wilma put on her shirt and robbed the corpse of its knife and sidearms. Now all three had weapons, and the dock was but twenty
Slayton reached the dinghy first, untying its anchor rope, moving aside to let Orial board first. Then all hell broke loose.
The compound’s outdoor search lights blazed into life, soldiers poured into the dock area, some remaining at bay near the
buildings, others stopping to examine Willy’s body. All had guns aimed at the escaping prisoners.
“At ease, men,” yelled Donati, appearing at his office door. Dozens of armed killers filled the open courtyard. “They aren’t
going anywhere,” continued Donati; then, to a soldier, “Where’s Lt. Baal?”
“I am here,” said Baal, walking past Willy’s corpse and stopping next to Wilma. “What happened to my sentry?”
“An accident,” said Wilma bravely…
“Who threw the knife?” he retorted. His eyes flitted past Orial, resting on Slayton.
Baal turned around, facing Donati. “I believe I have this problem under control, sir,” said the blond-haired lieutenant.
Donati saluted, returning inside the office. Bathurst stood watching from a distance.
“You must have thought we weren’t prepared for your short-lived adventure, eh, Slayton?” Baal approached Wilma first, resting
the edge of his gun barrel on her neck. She jerked away from him, and three guards shoved her roughly back into place. “Beautiful
young thing,” he said, eyeing her half-unbuttoned shirt. One of her breasts received a brief caress. “I’ll be seeing more
of you later.”
“Getting your jollies?” Slayton taunted.
Baal stepped to Orial’ and lamented, “You murdered a fine man, Slayton. Very young.” He touched his hand to Orial’s cheek—she
flinched. “If he were your son, Slayton, wouldn’t you think someone should pay for doing such a thing?”
Slayton didn’t answer. Baal pressed the gun against Orial’s chest and fired. She yelped in pain and surprise as blood and
tissue exploded out her backside. The water caught Orial’s body, enveloping her, pulling her into its muddy depths.
“Now we’re even, Slayton,” said Baal.
Wilma was crying as Baal took her by the arm, leading a group of soldiers behind him. “Ben, he’ll kill me!” She twisted and
fought until Baal slapped her three or four times about the head.
Slayton took a step forward and instantly dodged the closest line of soldiers. He called out, “Baal, you psychopath, I’ll
tear you apart!”
The German assassin merely laughed out loud, tugging Wilma’s reluctant form, and disappeared into one of the soldiers’ dormitories.
Once inside, her screams filled the compound.
“What are you doing to her?” Slayton demanded, as four soldiers pounced on him, driving him to the ground.
Baal reappeared at the doorway. “Hold him down, subdue him,” he ordered the guards. “Fish the dead girl out of the river and
put them both in the jail.” He went back inside. After a moment the screams subsided, replaced by the legions of singing,
croaking bayou wildlife.
Slayton was marched down the hallway into the underground dungeon. Four burly sentries accompanied him, one of them stopping
short of Arab Dick’s bloody corpse. The guard jumped around wildly at the sight of the dead friend, extracted a lethal switchblade,
and waved it at Slayton, yelling, “You will die, capitalist bastard!”
Another guard, Dax, said, “Quiet! You want to attract attention? We kill him now.” His Middle East accent was cruel, bloodthirsty.
Bonn charged into the defenseless Slayton headfirst, running with fists clenched, beating him in the groin, hammering his
testicles. Withdrawing his head from Slayton’s stomach, Bonn cut short his attack. “Biersto, Gregory, you hold him against
the wall. Dax, grab his legs.”
Slayton’s legs were held together, Dax gripping the ankles like a vise. The two other guards stretched his arms as far as
they would go. He felt as if his arm sockets would pop any second.
Bonn ran his thumb over a large knife’s edge, looking at Slayton. “Maybe you will like having your fucking balls cut off?”
Leaning to one side, Bonn prepared to slice into Slayton’s trousers.
“Halt!” It was Bathurst, flanked by two aides in uniform. Bonn dropped the knife, and the other guards let go of Slayton;
only as they walked by did Bonn turn to Bathurst.
He said, “I know I am speaking out of turn, Commander, but this capitalist bastard should die!”
Bathurst reassured him, “And so he shall.”
Slayton had been strung out before, but never quite like this. Muscles in his legs and arms were pulled and lengthened; the
pit of his stomach suffered with throbbing intensity. He lay in a heap on the floor.
“Bathurst,” mumbled the agonized Slayton, “you let an innocent girl—”
“Blow the moralizing out your ass, Slayton,” said Bathurst. “I doubt that you had much excuse for killing that guard.”
“It’s not the same thing.” Slayton lifted his head.
“War is war, man. I found that out when I was seventeen; it still holds true now. Anyone standing in our way —woman, child,
cripple—he or she will die. There is no other way.”
“You’re fucking wrong. There is another way, Bathurst! You think the petty barbarity of murdering the President will stand
this country on its head? The government is ready for you, asshole. You gave yourself away at the bombings in Washington,
with the special, highly sophisticated explosives. Now they know what they’re up against. Sure, you’re the best, most advanced
terrorist group in the world, and I don’t think you couldn’t give them one hell of a fight. But they would win because they
know your strategy.”