Jessie felt the water splash on his face, but did not open his eyes. The pain was intense, his arms were wrenched behind his back and there were sores where he had been sitting in the wooden chair for so long. He would deny the pain and the reality as long as possible.
“Open your eyes, boy,” a man’s voice said, “Open up them blues.”
“They’re brown,” Jessie heard his father say and a slap followed.
“Quiet, Jessup,” the man said, “Or you’ll end up with no lips like your brother.”
Jessie opened his eyes and raised his head. Darkness and damp found every corner of the room as he took it in. The three men, not counting himself and his father tied to the chairs, took up most of the available space. A small desk with a laptop computer sat giving off a soft green glow to the left while a wooden door was on the right. Shelves of books lined the walls, mostly the same book.
“Ah, there he is,” the man said. He was dirty, but not rolling in the dirt dirty. Jessie had spent three years in the desert of Afghanistan and a small tour in the jungles of Africa helping people get away from danger. He’d seen dirt dirty and he’d seen broken dirty. This man was broken.
He wore a light jacket and jeans, both stained with red and dark marks and torn in places that never saw stretching or fatigue in day to day labor. Sweat stood out on every part of his body, a thick sheen that caught the light like a morning haze. When he smiled, his face split like a wound.
One of the other men raised a canteen to Jessie’s lips. The warm liquid hit Jessie’s throat and burned. He could not tell how long it had been since he had had a drink.
“Like it,” the man said, grabbing his crotch, “filled it myself.”
Jessie’s body spasmed and he vomited a bit. He wretched and his body made a sound, an angry belch that was half against releasing the water and half for.
“Dammit, Mar,” Jessie’s father said, “Leave the boy alone. Ain’t no sport in that.”
Mar pulled the revolver that Jessie’s father had lead him out of the library with and pulled back the hammer, “I pulled you both from that wreck,” he said, “So you’re life’s mine. Maybe we’ll give you some more time to think on that.”
Jessum Cartright, Jessie’s father, screamed as the man named Mar lowered the weapon and walked to the door. The three men filed through and when the door closed, the light went out as well.