This is a leap into the unknown for me. I'll see what the future brings, but hopefully, it will bring some readers to 'my neck of the woods'.
What can you expect?
Just about anything.
I'll be posting some of my 18+ Dutch stories, as well as more "general public" English stories, 24 fanfiction and other.
If you like, please leave me a comment and feel free to invite your friends.
The more, the merrier.
Welcome to Moody's World of Fiction!
Here's another one of my 24 fanfic stories. No time frame, really. I had fun writing it, so I hope you'll enjoy the read.
Three days had passed since he got there.
Three days of taking in the sun – not that he wasn’t used to the sun
‘back home’, he usually didn’t have the time to take it in.
Three days of tranquility.
Peace and quiet.
Now that was a change!
Usually his days were filled with phone calls, files to read, briefings
to attend and gunfire … or worse.
No, not now.
Now, he was shooting too, but he was shooting pictures, not
terrorists. The sights were even more beautiful in reality, the brochures
hardly did them any justice. His digital camera was doing wonders, his
super-sized memory card and big stack of spare batteries helped him get through
the day without frustration and his keen eye did the rest.
Every night, he transferred the day’s ‘bounty’ to his laptop and charged
the batteries, preparing for the next day.
He had four of them left.
Four more days without annoying phone calls, buzzing computers and –
most importantly – without hard-headed terrorists.
Four more days of peace.
Four more days of letting others take care of things for a
Today was local-market-day.
He knew better than to take his camera there, he was sure to ‘lose’ it
in a heartbeat.
His wallet was empty but for his driver’s license, his cash spread out
across different pockets of his pants and light, sleeveless jacket. Even if
they emptied one, he’d still have more money on him. His ‘plastic’ was
in his hotel safe and he didn’t carry anything on him that could identify
either his hotel or his room number.
After a while on the main market place, having seen most of what was
offered there, he wandered off into the side streets, discovering hidden
treasures as he went. Not everything could be found on the market and if
you wanted a sample of the real life, of the real culture, these
were the places to go to. Here, things were well worth buying.
And with an extra tip, he had the goods sent to his hotel. They would be
waiting for him at reception and he kept his hands free, unlike most of
the tourists who spent their hard-earned money at the market.
He came to a small square and stopped for a quick meal, hoping to stay
ahead of lunch-hour rush.
Even they encountered the problem.
Leaving the place after a more than decent meal, he wondered if he
should circle back to the market place, but decided against it. There was
nothing more to see. Instead, he headed further away, more to the outskirts and
the so-called ‘rough’ areas.
They weren’t rough to him.
If you kept your eyes open and gave a no-nonsense impression, nothing
When something did happen, he wasn’t even directly involved.
It happened up ahead.
The sound of roaring engines suddenly cut through the day, followed by screams
and – what made him react at once – gunfire!
He shot forward, closing in on the corner of the street with rapid
strides, realizing too late he wasn’t carrying a weapon and would stumble head
over heels into a gunfight. By then, his momentum had carried him out into the
open and into the situation already. With bullets flying in his direction, he
did the only thing he could do and dove for cover, finding only meager
behind a fallen dirt bike on his left. He stayed down, hoping to fool whoever
was shooting at him and bullets stopped nipping at things around him.
Luckily, none of them had hit home.
What the hell was hedoingthere?
He couldn’t fire back.
Hell, he didn’t even know who was shooting at who.
It could be rivaling gangs.
It could be the police.
He had no idea and yet, he had thrown himself in the middle of it.
Peeking up, he saw three men in brown overalls, sporting automatic
He saw no badges or name tags or anything that might help identify these
Or the group they belonged to.
One of them was coming his way, but he wasn’t looking at him.
The man didn’t notice him peeking up from behind the bike. It gave him one
shot at getting the hell out of there.
He jumped up, heaving the bike up in the same action, swung his leg and
kick-started the engine, bringing it to life with a roar. He gunned it at once
and twisted the handlebars, making the bike spin and kick up dirt. It did the
trick of surprising the machinegun-toting goon who took a shower of dirt over
him, which caused him to jerk back and turn away.
It gave him a clean getaway.
Or so he hoped.
One – or both – of the others opened fire on him, trying to prevent his
escape and he threw himself as flat as he possibly could, twisting the handle
as far as it would go, speeding away at full throttle. Seconds later, he
cleared the intersection, dashing between houses. He kept his speed high
though. He had no intention of getting sucked back into whatever had happened
Checking his rear, he saw two dirt bikes coming after him and he cursed.
They weren’t going to let him get away.
Even though he had obviously just ‘stumbled’ into things and had no part
to play in whatever was going on.
He quickly discovered they had a serious advantage on him.
They knew where they were, he didn’t.
It forced him to slow down.
It allowed them to gain.
Gaining on him also allowed them to take a few more shots at him.
With bullets whizzing around his head, he couldn’t keep all of
his attention on where he was going. He had to split it between the road ahead
and the danger behind.
Splitting his attention was what made him miss the wire.
When he saw it, it was too late to limit the impact.
The brakes would serve him no good.
He didn’t even get a chance to try them.
His front tire hit the wire and he felt the machine coming to a sudden
stop beneath him, bucking its rear up. His momentum and the bike’s bucking
motion carried him over the handlebars, ejecting him savagely from the saddle.
Bracing for impact, he thanked his lucky stars for the packed dirt instead of
concrete and hit the ground hard, rolling to limit the damage.
Rolling to limit the damage was usually a good idea.
It wasn’t all too terrific when your speed was as high as his.
It was even worse when it set you on a collision course with a brick
He hit the corner of the house legs first. Arms wrapped around his head
for protection, he could do nothing to slow his roll and he felt – and heard –
the bone snap under the impact.
His cry of pain was cut off an instant later when the rest of his body
slammed into the wall. The impact knocked the wind right out of him and he
slumped to the ground, his body practically hugging the wall that had stopped
his roll with breathtaking determination.
Over the thumping of his blood in his veins, he heard the engines
throttle down and when he looked up, he saw both bikes clearing the wire now
that it had been lowered again. They advanced slowly, weapons aimed in his
direction over the handlebars. It became obvious they had no intention of
simply gunning him down. He wouldn’t be breathing anymore if they did.
One of them dismounted while the other kept his weapon trained on him.
The man yelled something at him, but he didn’t speak the language so he
He figured it would be something along the lines of ‘Keep your hands
where I can see them’ or ‘Put your hands on your head’, which were two things he
would probably be yelling in this type of situation.
He kept his head down and his hands on top of it, posing no threat
whatsoever and praying he wouldn’t take a bullet.
When it was his time to go, he wanted to see it coming.
If they shot him now, he wouldn’t see any of it coming.
The guy dropped his weight on him, making him grunt as the air was once
more forced out of his lungs. Very quickly, the man locked handcuffs on him,
securing his arms behind his back. The weight came off and the man pulled him
to his feet, making him yelp in pain and nearly fall flat on his face because
his right leg wasn’t supporting any of his weight. The guy held him though,
pulling him closer again while tightening his grip and he snapped something,
still in their own language.
He still didn’t understand and shook his head.
“English,” he said, “I broke my leg.”
The guy pushed him, but he resisted the impulse.
There was no way he could walk.
“My leg,” he repeated, looking at the other one still perched on his
bike, “I broke my leg.”
Even if they didn’t understand English, they had to understand he was
trying to tell them something and from the grimace on his face, they shouldn’t
have any trouble determining he was in pain. And he wasn’t resting any
weight on his right leg, leaning all of it on his left.
The second man said something and the first pulled him around, forcing
him to balance on the tip of his toes to keep from falling. It sent a searing
hot flash of pain through him and he felt himself break out in cold sweat.
If they kept this up, he would pass out.
“Sit!” the guy snapped, shoving him.
He had no other option but to bend his leg and try to keep his right leg
clear, which – of course – he couldn’t.
Wincing, he maneuvered himself in a less painful position once the guy
let go of him.
Breathing hard and trying to keep his wits about him, he focused on his
leg, isolating the pain. Once isolated, he could block it more effectively and
get back in control of himself.
By now, the second guy was on the radio, yapping away into it, then
listening, then yapping some more.
He had no idea what was being said and they didn’t tell him
He refrained from asking.
He was sure he’d find out soon enough.
He didn’t have to wait long.
Minutes later, a military jeep pulled up and three men jumped out, all
dressed in the same brown overalls. They were armed as well, gun belt and
automatic rifle on two of them, double gun belt for the driver.
“Up!” one of them snapped, stopping in front of him, hands on his hips.
“Get up!” the man snapped again, putting his hand on his gun.
“I have a broken leg, I can’t get up,” he repeated, “not on my
The driver shoved the other one away and took him by the arm, the right
“Get up.” he said, in a much more civilized manner than his friend.
He pulled his left leg up and with the man’s help, pushed up, keeping
his right leg out of the equation this time.
With a nod, the third man understood his help was needed and together
they helped him to the jeep, getting him into the front passenger seat and
securing him with the seatbelt.
Not a word was said and they pulled away from the scene of the
These guys didn’t show any visible signs of any type of organization
either and he wondered what the heck he had gotten himself into. If these guys
weren’t officials of some kind, he might be in more trouble than he had
bargained for. If they were officials, he’d be able to clear things out
At least he hoped so.
The place looked like a prison, but he could be seriously mistaking.
He should’ve taken more time to check into possible ‘hostile’ activity
in the area.
It might’ve given him an edge.
Or at least the advantage of knowing who he was dealing with.
They parked behind a large building and got him out of the jeep,
handling him as before, which was sternly but without unnecessary use of
violence. They weren’t roughing him up.
Once inside, they didn’t process him but took him straight to a cell.
He didn’t know if it was a holding cell or not, but he was alone in it,
which was good. He didn’t need any kind of company who might get upset at him
for having the wrong hair color. He couldn’t stand on his leg and a fight was
the last thing he needed right now. Besides, they didn’t remove the
cuffs. He would have no way of defending himself against anything.
Leg throbbing painfully, he stayed on the bunk where they had put him
and did the only thing he could, wait.
He had no idea how long he had been there when he heard the lock turn.
Looking up at whoever came in, he didn’t make a move. It probably saved
him from a free bashing. Two men came in, long wooden batons in hand. They
stood at attention on either side of the door, batons ready for use should he
decide to make a move they didn’t want him to.
An officer walked in, followed by the jeep driver.
This time, he could tell what organization they belonged to. They
were local law enforcement. At least he hadn’t gotten entangled with the local
wannabe terrorists or a bunch of runaway rebels. It allowed him to drop some of
“What is your name?” the officer asked, his English all but perfect.
It didn’t need to be for such a simple question.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m on vacation.”
It sounded so ridiculous.
“Vacation?” the officer repeated to which the driver quickly translated.
It got him a questioning look.
“Who are you, mister Bauer?”
“I’m a Federal agent.” Jack said truthfully.
“I work for the United States government.” Jack explained before the
driver could translate.
“Something like that, yes.”
“Something like?” the officer replied, curling his nose as if he
suddenly smelled something rotten.
“I work for the government but not for the FBI.” Jack tried to clarify.
“No.” Jack said, suppressing a sigh.
Those batons looked dangerously efficient.
“What is that?” the officer snapped even before Jack had a chance to
“Terrorist?” the officer snapped again, interrupting him.
“No terrorist here!”
“I know.” Jack said, “I’m on vacation. I’m not working.”
“Not working? You spy!” the man spat.
“No, I’m not a spy. I’m visiting.”
“You spy on us.” the officer repeated, “You are taking pictures everywhere.”
It didn’t come as a surprise.
He knew he had been watched.
He didn’t know who was doing the watching though.
Now he did.
“Of course I’m taking pictures, I’m visiting your country.” he said,
trying to keep the conversation under control, “The pictures are souvenirs, to
remember what I saw here.”
“Yes, to sell information to our enemy.”
The guy snapped something in his own language and the batons moved.
Bracing for impact, Jack watched the two goons approach, but the batons
didn’t come into action.
Not just yet.
He had a feeling they would soon enough.
They grabbed him and hauled him to his feet, disregarding the broken
He was yet to receive as little as a painkiller.
They didn’t take him very far.
Just a few doors down the hall.
This was without any doubt an interrogation room.
The blood stains on the floor said enough.
No cameras or microphones, no two-way mirrors or high-tech toys to
convince a detainee to talk, only the prisoner, the interrogator and a whole
hell of a lot of pain.
For starters, they left the cuffs on and tied a rope around his elbows,
pulling them together behind his back. He had a choice between putting his
weight on his legs or on his arms. He wasn’t quite certain which would be more
painful at this point. He was bound to find out.
The officer came in again and took a seat.
The driver stood next to him, the two baton-wielding goons stood on
either side of Jack.
For now, they were in front of him. He could see them.
He would see their blows coming.
“What is your name?” the officer repeated.
“My name is Jack Bauer,” Jack repeated as well, “I work for the United
He took a first punch.
“I asked your name.” the officer said.
Jack kept himself in check.
There was no blood as of yet.
It had been a warning.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m on vacation,” Jack replied quietly, “visiting your country.”
“Where are you staying?”
“The Rhiad Hotel.”
“What is your room number?”
“Four three seven.”
“Are you alone?”
“What are you doing here?”
“What every tourist visits.”
It earned him another punch.
Still no blood though.
“Tourist take pictures.”
“You know I’ve been taking pictures.” Jack replied, “That’s why you
think I’m a spy. Because I’m taking pictures to sell to your enemy.”
At a nod, he took a hard blow to the gut.
He’d braced for it, but what he couldn’t brace for, was the effect it
had on his balance.
His right leg couldn’t carry him and he understood hanging his weight
from his arms was the least interesting option he had.
Thankfully, the goon who had landed the punch also pulled him back onto
The cold sweat was back.
“You are not taking picture today.” the officer stated, “What are you
“I went to the market.”
“You go to market?”
“But you buy nothing.”
“I bought some things at a shop near the market. They’re taking it to my
hotel so I don’t have to carry it with me all day.”
“You buy what?” the officer asked, “Where?”
“I don’t know where,” Jack replied, “it’s a small shop near the
marketplace. I bought some local craft. Souvenirs.”
Again, the officer curled his nose up and shook his head.
“No. You are a spy.”
He got up from the chair.
“You will tell me later.”
He turned and left the room, followed by the driver.
The goons on the other hand, stayed in the cell with him and from the
looks of them, this was going to hurt.
One of them circled behind and while Jack expected the worst, he got
possibly the best. The goon grabbed him by the arms as if he were
holding him up for his buddy. It took all of the strain off his arms and most
off his leg as well since it allowed him to lean his weight into the guy.
What little benefit he could find, he used.
From the turn of events, he gathered there wouldn’t be much to find at
The guy pounded the crap out of him, mainly aiming for his chest and
gut, taking a few shots at his face, be it without conviction.
This was a first serious warning but still they drew no blood on him.
When the guy stood up straight again, signaling either a break or the
end of the beating, Jack was having trouble breathing. His chest was on fire
and his gut throbbed in sync with his leg. The guy lifted his face – probably
to see the pain in his eyes. In doing so, he revealed just how much
effort he had put into it. His face was flushed and sweat ran down from his
He was breathing harder than Jack.
He spat something in his tongue, a menace of some kind probably,
sounding like a vicious hiss to Jack. It went to waste since Jack still
didn’t understand their language. The other chuckled at his buddy’s words and
let go of Jack’s arms. He didn’t do it too suddenly though, giving Jack a small
advantage on gravity. It helped to keep the pressure on his leg down to a
It didn’t look like they were going to trade places for another round of
this, but he wasn’t going to pin his hopes on that.
They did in fact leave, locking up behind them and leaving him
Not much later, they came back in the officer’s wake, the goon now
Jack bit his tongue to keep from saying anything that would only get him
a free beating and kept his attention on the officer instead.
“Your name?” the officer snapped, coming to a halt in front of Jack.
‘Maybe the guy was hard of hearing.
Or maybe he had a problem with his short-term memory.’
“Are you a spy, Jack Bauer?”
“I do not believe.”
“Yeah, I think I got that part.” Jack replied coldly, eyes locked
on the guy.
He wasn’t afraid of him.
Or his ‘henchmen’.
If their roughing-up left the guy on the receiving end of the
beating in better shape than the one dealing it out, they weren’t bad enough to
“Look,” he continued, despite the fact he had taken a punch previously
for giving more information than they asked for, “I am a Federal agent
but if I were a spy, do you really think I would’ve told you that?”
A quick translation later, the officer nodded his understanding.
“Why you take picture?”
“Because I am in your country as a tourist.”
“No, not tourist.”
“Contact the Embassy,” Jack said, annoyed at the man’s insistence,
“they’ll confirm I’m not here on official business.”
Another quick translation left the officer smelling that rotten thing
“Of course they say you are not a spy.” he said disdainfully.
Did it mean he already checked?
Or did it mean he thought the Embassy would deny official business
“I know you are a spy, mister Jack Bauer.”
He motioned for the goons and took a step back.
They were done warning him now.
The first punch stung.
The second hurt.
The third split his lip.
Any given day, he could split a lip with a single punch.
These idiots still didn’t scare him.
He eyed them angrily which made them mad, but it didn’t result in any
more power behind their punches.
It took five more and almost as many backhands to give him a bloody
If he hadn’t broken his leg, he would’ve returned the favor.
Maybe when they were done fooling around, he could teach them a thing or
This round of beating gained them no more than the first.
The only thing they managed, was to piss him off.
Pissed off and in pain, they had better watch out.
When the officer called them off, Jack’s glare found a new target and he
saw the man hesitate.
Not for long though.
It was a blink, no more, but Jack’s trained eye saw it and recognized it
for what it was.
The man didn’t come any closer to him and probably wouldn’t, unless Jack
was barely conscious.
“Why are you taking picture?” he asked from a safe distance.
“I’m visiting your country and I like beautiful things,” Jack replied
coolly, “I take pictures of those to keep as memories of what was supposed
to be a relaxing vacation.”
A short nod preceded the sound of a baton slicing through the air.
It hit him in the thigh.
Luckily, the left.
It hurt like hell, but what notice he had gotten, had sufficed
and the only reaction they got was a twitch in his face.
“Did you check with the Embassy?” he asked, “They’ll confirm I’m
not here on official business.”
He took another hit in just about the same spot.
“I guess you haven’t.” he concluded coldly.
“You are lying.”
“Look, what else do you want me to say? I’m on vacation. Yes,
I’ve been taking pictures and visiting tourist areas. That’s what tourists do.
I’m not carrying my weapon or my badge and I’ve given you all the
information you’ve asked for. What more do you want?”
“Why did you run?” the driver asked.
He would translate later.
“Because I found myself in the middle of a gunfight.”
“We are the police.”
“Well, if your men hadn’t started shooting at me without warning, I
wouldn’t have felt the need to run. Besides, they don’t have any kind of badge
or logo on their overalls. How was I supposed to know they’re the good guys?”
“Who else could they be?”
“How the hell am I supposed to know?” Jack asked, feeling his
impatience rise to a boiling point.
“I deal with terrorists for a living. What do you expect me to do
when I stumble into a gunfight and I don’t even have my own weapon?”
The officer interrupted them, demanding to know what was being said and
Jack bit his tongue.
There were a few more things he’d like to say to these people.
And if it weren’t for his leg, he’d be kicking the moron’s ass.
Well … if it weren’t for his leg, the ropes, the handcuffs and
the armed guards.
“We are not terrorists.” the officer snarled once the translation was
“Yeah, I figured that out by now.”
“Look, I didn’t know who was shooting at me,” he added quickly before he
took another hit, “I made a mistake. I’m sure you’ve made some as well.”
The officer snapped something, waving his hand across as if chasing a
bug and both goons moved as one.
The rope around his arms was released and he breathed a shallow sigh of
relief when it came off.
Next thing, the handcuffs came off as well, but when he looked up at the
officer, meaning to thank him for – finally – making the right decision, he
knew instantly not to say the words.
They weren’t setting him free.
They weren’t done yet.
Tying his hands in front by means of the rope, they were merely securing
him differently for the next chapter in this charade.
This time, the ‘real’’ interrogation began.
For every cocky or ‘wrong’ answer he gave, one of the goons smacked his
baton down on him, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt this was what
they excelled in. It was probably the reason why their earlier beating hadn’t
meant much. They were so much more efficient with a baton.
But Jack hadn’t spent fifteen years in Special Forces to give them easy
He made them work for it.
His upper body was on fire before they elicited the first cry from him.
It gave them a reason to put their hearts and backs into it, making sure
he would cry out on each of them from that point on.
It wasn’t enough though.
Not to make him cry out.
Not to make him talk.
Not to make him give up.
He could take a little more.
And if it was important enough, he could take a lot more.
The abuse stopped as suddenly as it had started, leaving him panting and
mad as hell. They didn’t accept a thing he said, no matter what it was.
They were convinced he was a spy and they would force a confession
out of him. No matter how hard they had to squeeze.
But they understood they weren’t squeezing him right and gave up on that
He didn’t think he’d appreciate the alternative though.
At least they hadn’t gone after his leg yet.
A direct hit with one of those batons to his broken shin would impose a
thousand times more pain than they had inflicted so far.
For now, that idea hadn’t sprouted yet.
Or it was something they weren’t willing to do.
When the door locked behind them, he hung his head, letting out a heavy
sigh of relief.
Even if it only lasted a few minutes, it was a welcome break.
Closing his eyes, he controlled his breathing, bringing it back to
There was no isolating the pain this time, it was everywhere, assaulting
his nerve center on all sides.
After a while, the most intense pain dulled down and he wondered what
was taking them so long.
When would they be back for the rest of it?
There was bound to be a rest of it. They would’ve untied him if
there wasn’t anything else.
Or they would’ve shot him.
Would they let him unwind and relax, then only to come back for more?
Sometime later, he realized it was getting dark in the cell.
Nightfall wasn’t far away.
Would they leave him here all night?
Or would they come back for more after dark?
Did they think that would have a bigger effect on him?
Or were they hoping the sleep and food deprivation would loosen his
Maybe they were hoping the pain would make him delirious and talkative.
Or maybe the bastards had gone for the night.
Left him to freeze his ass off, strung up by his hands in the middle of
a stone cell.
He didn’t know.
What he did know, was that his words hadn’t meant a thing to
He hadn’t been able to convince them of the fact he was just an innocent
guy caught up in a situation he had no connection with.
He didn’t even know who the police had been shooting at before he ran
All he knew, was the officer still believed he was a spy.
It meant he had no reason to believe they would leave him in peace.
It meant he had to stay alert all night.
Alert and ready for them.
He couldn’t let them catch him off guard.
Couldn’t afford to be caught half asleep.
It meant he was in for a very long night.
By morning, he was stiff and sore, his arms and hands were numb and he
was freezing. Shivers rattled his body incessantly, causing the pain in his leg
to flare up continuously, keeping him from getting any kind of rest. He was
tired and mad as hell but he kept his anger under control. It was no use
anyways. He couldn’t move without causing himself more pain and he was alone.
Who would he move against?
Daylight slowly filled the cell, but he knew it would be a few more
hours before the cell would warm up.
When it did, it would only be a little.
It would get nowhere near warm enough to make him comfortable.
His eyes stung with fatigue and he kept them closed most of the time,
trying to give them a rest.
He knew he wasn’t at risk of falling asleep, so he could afford to close
them. He was too cold and in too much pain to sleep, but it didn’t mean he
couldn’t get any rest. Whenever he did open his eyes, he barely opened
them wide enough to see. He would cast a quick glance around that portion of
the room he could see and let them flutter shut again.
That changed when he heard the lock.
His first reaction was to open his eyes, but he closed them just as
quickly and hardened himself. Chewing down the pain and fatigue, he clenched
his jaws and filled his lungs. When he opened his eyes again no more than two
seconds later, he was at full alertness and he locked onto target instantly.
It wasn’t the same officer as before and some of Jack’s anger faded,
leaving his expression neutral rather than lethal.
The man was alone and unarmed. He wore the same uniform as the others,
but with more dignity. There were only a few badges and patches on it, but Jack
had a feeling this guy was top brass. Or a special unit maybe.
Whether that meant ‘better’, remained to be proven.
The man stopped in front of him, eyes on Jack without revealing any
emotion or thought.
“Who are you?” he asked, his English significantly better than the other
“My name is Jack Bauer.” Jack replied calmly.
Maybe no one had bothered to leave any record of his presence in the
“Why are you here?”
“I wish I knew.”
The man’s hand locked on his face at once, putting pressure on his
So much for the ‘no record’ thing.
“Why are you in this country?” the man repeated, a hint of anger in both
his voice and eyes now.
“I’m on vacation.” Jack said through involuntarily clenched teeth.
The man let go, took a step back and waited.
Waited for him to continue.
For him to keep talking.
“Yesterday, I went to the market,” Jack explained, hoping to make more
sense to this guy, “I wandered off into some side streets. I heard
gunfire and instinctively ran towards it. That’s when these guys started
shooting at me so I grabbed that bike and tried to get away from there.”
“To get myself to safety.”
“They are policemen.”
“I didn’t know that. They didn’t identify themselves and I didn’t see
any official logo on their uniform. They started shooting without warning.”
“You say you heard gunfire and went towards it?”
“I’m a Federal agent, I’m used to gunfire. I thought someone might need
“I wasn’t expecting to get shot at.”
“Yes, I work for the United States government.”
“Why were you there? It is not a known tourist area.”
“The bike you took. It belonged to the men we were trying to arrest.”
It made Jack look up and take notice.
“He is a double agent.”
That was why they thought he was a spy!
All the pieces of the puzzle fell together now.
“Look, I work for the government, a division called CTU, Counter
Terrorist Unit. We only operate on US soil.” Jack explained.
He was convinced words would suffice to clear this thing out.
If he could make them understand – and believe – his being there was
totally unrelated to the double agent, this would all end here and he would be
able to get medical attention for his leg. He needed a painkiller and the bones
had to be set. The longer it took before he got that medical attention,
the bigger the risk of the bones not mending correctly.
“I’m here on vacation,” he continued, “you can check with our Embassy,
they’ll confirm I’m here on a tourist visa.”
“I’m sure they will.”
Jack’s conviction in the power of words took a serious blow.
“What do you want me to say?” he asked, now realizing this could still
get seriously out of hand.
“Tell me why you were there.”
“I told you already,” Jack said, “I wandered away from the marketplace-”
“To see some of the shops in the side streets.”
“Did you buy anything?”
“Yes. I tipped them extra and asked them to take it to my hotel.”
“Rhiad. I’m in room four three seven.”
“Did you give them your room number?”
“No, just my name. It should be at reception.”
“This was far away from the marketplace. There are no shops
“I ate in a small restaurant a few streets from the marketplace. From
there, I just kept going instead of heading back.”
“We recommend tourists not to go to those areas of the city.”
“I’m a Federal agent, I don’t scare easily.”
“Yes …” the guy said pensively, “The captain thinks you’re a spy.”
“He made that abundantly clear.” Jack replied sarcastically.
It ticked the other one off.
“Look, I work for the United States government, I told you that.” he
continued quickly, “I also told you which specific division I work for. Do you
really believe I would give you any information if I were a spy?”
“Maybe you should check with the Embassy. I don’t know what more
I could tell you.”
He saw the flicker in the man’s eyes and knew exactly what he was
They didn’t believe him.
Didn’t believe a word he said.
To them, the fact he was a US official – whether he was there on
official business or not, the fact he ran towards gunfire and
the fact he took the double agent’s bike, all proved his guilt.
“You said you were taking pictures.”
“Where is your camera?”
“At my hotel. I didn’t take it with me to the market.”
“It’s very expensive. I don’t want to risk having it stolen.”
The man nodded his understanding.
“How many pictures?”
“A few hundred.”
“And they are all on your camera?”
“No, I saved them on my computer.”
“Which is … ?”
“In my safe at the hotel.”
“What do you want?” Jack asked.
“Do you want me to give you permission to search my room and check my
He could tell from the man’s reactions that was one of the things
he had in mind.
“You have it.” Jack continued, “I’ve got nothing to hide.”
Once more, the man nodded his understanding.
“Do you know a man by the name of Suleyman Kapoor?”
Jack ran the name through his memory, but it didn’t ring any bells.
“No, I can’t say I do.”
“And Amar Patil?”
Again, Jack took a moment to think about it, but he came up as empty as
“How about Danti Talwar?”
“Abheri Saini perhaps?”
The man nodded again, turned and walked to the door.
“I will talk to the captain.” he said before leaving.
Jack had absolutely no guarantee as to the outcome of that.
He didn’t get his hopes up though.
Very slowly, the air around him warmed up, but – as expected – it wasn’t
enough to warm him up.
It made him barely less cold.
After the man had left – he didn’t know his name or rank – he
allowed himself a little more rest than before.
It proved to be the right decision.
Nobody came for a long time. When they did, he knew resting had been the
The captain was back.
As were the goons with the batons and the interpreter.
A fifth person entered, wheeling a cart in.
With that, he knew they weren’t about to let him go.
On the contrary, they were determined to get ‘the truth’ out of him.
Not a word was said while the new man prepared his gear.
Jack wasn’t looking at him though. He had seen the equipment and knew
what to expect.
His eyes were on the captain.
The man approached slowly and stopped within arm’s length of Jack who
didn’t react in any way.
Not to his presence, not to his nearness and not to the threat embedded
in the equipment on the cart.
He knew what was coming.
He wasn’t afraid of it.
He wasn’t afraid of them.
With deliberate lentor, the captain unbuttoned Jack’s shirt, pushing it
He revealed only a small portion of Jack’s chest.
A restricted part of the collection of scars.
Maybe if they had ripped it off, would they have known he didn’t fear
what they had in store for him.
Jack held the man’s eyes. His, cold and fearless, the captain’s full of
anticipation and confidence.
By the time he was done, one of the goons had pulled a fire hose into
the cell. The officer stepped out of the way and the goon proceeded to hose
Jack down. The water was freezing and the cold took his breath away, making him
gasp violently and clasp down to limit the shock. When the streaming water
stopped, he shook his head to clear as much as he could and locked on target
Soaking wet, freezing and mad as hell, he would take the first
opportunity he got to take a shot at the bastard.
Whichever he could take!
But the captain stayed at a safe distance now.
He stayed out of reach.
Firing the generator up, the new man put the final touch to the
They were all ready and set to fry his ass.
The man approached slowly, showing a pair of medium sized rods, touching
them together to make sparkles fly, a big smile on his face. He wore rubber
boots and gloves to protect himself and ‘fearlessly’ advanced, stepping into
the puddle of water around Jack’s feet. He made a point of waving the rods back
and forth for a moment, convinced it would cause even more fear in his helpless
victim. Jack ignored the rods, keeping track through peripheral vision only. He
kept his eyes on the man holding them.
The first rod went up, coming to a rest on top of the rope that tied his
hands. He didn’t react to the contact with his skin.
When the second rod went up as well, he braced for it, uncertain of what
the guy had in mind, but certain of imminent pain.
The rod merely brushed across the fingers of his left hand, sending a
short shock across his hand. It only made him grind his teeth.
It made the other chuckle though and he said something which made the
rest of them laugh. Then, he brought the rods back into view, talking some
more, oblivious or uninterested in the fact Jack didn’t understand a word.
He touched the rods to both sides of Jack’s chest without any warning,
but Jack didn’t need any, his eyes told him all he needed to know. The pain was
fierce – as it always was – but he gave them no satisfaction and wiped those
smiles right off of their faces.
This wouldn’t be as easy – or as much fun – as they would’ve hoped for.
The reaction from his torturer was the best he’d ever seen though. And
he’d seen a few.
The guy’s smile fell away and he looked from Jack’s face to the rods in
his hands, probably wondering whether they weren’t working correctly. To test
it, he pressed them down on Jack’s skin again, getting no more from him than
before, which made him stop and turn to check the generator.
It made Jack laugh inwardly.
This really was just a bunch of amateurs.
Wannabe tough guys.
When the guy couldn’t find anything wrong with the generator or the
connections, he turned back to Jack. It was obvious he had already lost the
cockiness with which he had approached him the first time.
For long minutes, there was only torture.
Then, the questioning began again.
As with the batons, every ‘wrong’ answer was immediately punished. The
punishment didn’t yield any ‘right’ answers from him though. Despite the
growing intensity of the pain, Jack held on by sheer willpower, fighting them
with every ounce of anger he felt. They put him on the brink of the abyss a few
times, but he willed himself to stay conscious.
They didn’t have what it takes to bring him to his knees, no matter how
often they made him cry out.
He could take their crap, even if they kept at it all day.
A standard issue stun gun was worse than this.
If this was all they had, they were in for a big surprise.
And he was probably in for a very long ride.
What he wasn’t prepared for, was when the sonofabitch went for
It didn’t matter if he got time to brace or not, that was
something he couldn’t be ready for.
The rods touched him inches above the ankle and knee, causing the
muscles in his legs to contract violently, sending a searing hot bolt of
lightning through him. It threw him in instant agony and the ensuing roar
bounced off the walls, making them all jump in surprise.
Despite the extreme pain shooting through him, Jack held on, his rage as
intense as his pain.
He was in as much agony as he would ever be and he took his shot.
This was as good a time as any and if it convinced the sonofabitch to
stay away from his leg, it would serve its purpose.
Pulling on his arms, he got his weight off his leg and kicked. Battered,
tired and mad as hell, he poured everything he had into the kick,
meaning to make it count. His boot connected solidly with the sonofabitch’s
knee, snapping it like a twig.
With one knee bending the wrong way, the torturer tumbled to the ground,
howling in pain. The rods dropped from his hands as he grabbed for his knee and
they hit the puddle of water seconds before he did, sending the voltage
through him now. Jack’s boots effectively isolated him and he watched
the man flop around at his feet until the generator blew out, instantly cutting
the current off. A split second later, he took a devastating blow to the
kidneys from one of the goons.
The interpreter ran out, yelling – most probably for help or a medic –
while the goons made a point of beating the life out of Jack, using their
batons to do so.
This time, he didn’t fight the darkness when it seeped in from the edges
of his vision.
He sagged in his bonds not much later.
He didn’t witness any of the commotion around him, but when he came to,
he was alone again.
The cart was gone and so was the fire hose. There was nothing else in
sight that could indicate what else was planned for him.
A while later – he had lost all notion of time – two men came into the
There were no officers, no interpreters and a lot of muscle.
There were no questions either.
Only a great deal of pain.
This was what these guys did best and they probably did it to
make him pay for that kick.
They punched his lights out more than once, reviving him with all but
When he passed out a few times in quick succession – mainly due to the
lack of oxygen – they called it quits and left him hanging in his bonds, blood
dripping from his chin as it ran from his split lips, cut brows and battered
He came around, a complaining moan rippling up from the pit of his
Every inch of his body ached now and he wondered how much longer they
were going to keep this up.
It had been a while since he’d been put into this big a
hurt locker. He wouldn’t be surprised to find out it held a few more -
undiscovered as of yet – dark and merciless levels.
He had no idea how long he had been unconscious, or how long Beavis and
Butthead had been pounding on him, which made him completely oblivious of the
time. What he did know, was that he’d been strung up like that for far
Something would have to give sometime soon.
He could only hope that ‘something’ would be on their side.
Even if it only meant getting him down. His shoulders were sore as hell
and he could barely move his fingers. Those were only minor worries if
he could get them down sometime within the next few hours. His bigger concern
was his leg. He was going to need medical attention soon. It would have to be
set so it could heal right.
He didn’t want this farce to screw up the rest of his life.
Sometime later, the sound of the lock brought him back to full alertness
The muscle was back and his hopes of resolving this thing sank a little
deeper into the mud.
One of them stayed near the door while the other walked into the room,
be it not towards Jack. He stayed near the wall and Jack tried to keep his eyes
on him without losing sight of the other. It became increasingly difficult to
divide his focus, he was getting extremely tired and his focus was wearing
thinner by the hour. It left only a little on each. He hoped it would suffice.
If not, he might hit the next level of their hurt locker faster than
The goon didn’t circle around him though, but stopped at the loop to
which the rope he was strung up with, was attached.
Getting a hold of it to keep Jack from ‘stealing’ more leeway, he
quickly untied the knot and reeled it out, letting gravity do its work in
bringing Jack’s arms down. It hurt like hell when his shoulders started to move
again and he clenched his jaws, biting it back. They stopped moving when the
goon tied the rope off again, leaving his arms at a slightly less than ninety
They weren’t untying him.
They were making sure he wouldn’t try to kick again.
There was no way he could pull up high enough.
Not from this position.
His elbows were a few inches below shoulder level and he could barely
use the rope to help steady himself. It forced him to keep all of his weight on
his good leg if he wanted to spare his injured one, which was exactly what they
had in mind.
With Jack now secured in a safer way, the top brass returned.
Again, he came unarmed and alone, only this time, the muscle was
already in the cell.
Fed up with the situation, Jack rested his forehead against his bound
hands and merely followed the sound of the footsteps as they moved deeper into
the cell and around him, circling behind him and coming to a stop on his right
He hissed when the man grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, but
gave no other reaction.
Nothing he could say or do would make a difference anyhow.
The ball was in their camp.
They had to decide how much longer they wanted to keep this up.
Until they got fed up with it, he would undergo whatever they chose to
throw at him.
“You are a spy, mister Bauer.” the man hissed, “You will confess before
this day is over.”
Before Jack could reply, his worst nightmare came to life.
The bastard didn’t even do much of anything. He simply bent his knee,
The impact sent the gauges of Jack’s nervous system straight into the
red and made him cry out in instant agony.
It left him breathless and dizzy.
“You are a spy.” the officer repeated, “Admit it!”
“I’m not a spy,” Jack spat, “I’m on vacation.”
“You’re a spy!” the officer snapped angrily, “You were going to
meet with an agent working within our government to collect information. Secret
“Yes. But you came too late. We intercepted the double agent
before he could give you the information-”
“CTU doesn’t operate outside of America.” Jack snapped, interrupting the
It earned him another kick to the leg, making him roar in pain again.
Still the man held him by the hair, head tilted back.
It didn’t help with his breathing and only made the dizziness worse.
“You are aspy!” the officer snapped.
“I’m not a spy.” Jack snarled, “I’m a tourist.”
The man let go of his hair and took a step back.
His kick caused an explosion of pain inside Jack’s skull and for a
moment, he thought his head would blow up, but then the stroboscope slowed down
and the pressure dropped somewhat. His entire being was on fire and he
struggled to hold on. Struggled to remain awake. This was the moment of truth.
He knew it and acted accordingly.
Fighting gravity to stay on his feet, he also fought oblivion.
If he blacked out, this would only last that much longer.
This thing had to end and it had to end right there.
The officer grabbed his hair again, doing him the favor of helping him
find his balance and keeping it.
It kept the weight off his leg even though it was throbbing furiously.
“CTU only operates on US soil.” Jack hissed, “I’m not here to spy.”
“Then why were you there?”
“I told you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“There’s nothing else I can tell you.”
“Yes, there is.” the officer snapped, letting go again.
His kick was even more vicious this time around.
“You can tell me the truth!” he yelled.
He didn’t give Jack the time or the opportunity to hold his balance but
lashed out again, kicking his legs out from under him.
The shock in his shoulders as they caught his weight only added to the
fathomless intensity of his agony and he couldn’t find the strength or
desire to pull himself back to his feet.
“Tell me the truth!” the officer snapped, lashing out again, kicking at
Jack’s thigh this time.
It inflicted as much pain as a kick directly to the fracture.
“I am telling you the truth.” Jack replied, gasping and struggling
“I’m on vacation.”
The officer grabbed his hair once more, yanking his head back.
“I don’t believe you.”
“CTU only works on US soil.” Jack repeated.
He had lost count of how often he had told them that.
“I’m here on vacation.”
With an angry snarl, the officer ‘threw’ his head forward and took
another step back.
No kick followed though but Jack didn’t attempt to look at him. He was
too busy with himself to worry about anything or anyone else. If the
sonofabitch kicked, it would most certainly knock him straight into oblivion.
There was nothing left for him to hold on to. His reserves were dry, his body
working on ‘petrol fumes’.
He needed a break.
If they put any more pressure on him now, nature would give
But there was no more pressure.
There was no more abuse.
Not at once anyway.
The officer stood, seething, observing the man hanging limply from his
He had to be in incredible pain.
He had to be desperate for this to end.
And yet, he refused to speak.
Or did he speak the truth?
Had he been caught in a situation he didn’t belong in?
Was he a victim of circumstance?
He couldn’t decide.
Couldn’t make up his mind about this American.
Signaling to the guards, he left the cell, leaving the prisoner without
touching him anymore.
When they left, Jack felt the last ounce of strength seep out of him and
his world turned black.
The sound of the lock pulled him out of it.
It brought him back to the waking world.
He didn’t know why or how, but it did.
He was in agony.
Absolute devastating agony.
It hurt to breathe.
It hurt to move.
It hurt to think.
It even hurt to open his eyes.
He did though.
He had to.
He had to see.
See it coming.
It allowed you to prepare for it.
Preparing allowed you to take it.
Take it and gut it out.
Gut it out.
All of it.
Two of them.
They looked different.
“Mister Bauer … can you hear me?”
Was that worry in that voice?
“Sir, can you hear me?”
A different one now.
He turned towards it, moaning softly.
“Don’t try to move, sir, we’ll get you out of here in a moment.”
“Get a stretcher.”
The third face ran off, boots slapping on the cold floor.
“Sir, can you tell me where you’re injured.”
The cuts and bruises on his face were obvious, the burns on his chest
would become that very quickly.
“Leg.” Jack whispered.
“Left or right?”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Okay, I’m gonna need you to hang in there a little while longer.”
Jack nodded faintly.
“As soon as the stretcher is here, we’ll get you out of these.”
It didn’t take long.
He heard the boots and the wheels.
Heard them approach.
More faces came in.
“This is going to hurt.” one of them warned.
They got him back to his feet before cutting the rope that held his
arms, but they didn’t let his arms drop. They slowly lowered them after what
they lifted him onto the stretcher, trying their best to get his right leg on
it with minimum impact. He still groaned in pain.
The rope that tied his hands was cut away and they lowered his arms to
the stretcher in a controlled manner. Then, they turned his attention to his
“Sir, we’re going to put your leg in an inflatable cast,” the man
informed him, “it’s going to hurt.”
“I know.” Jack whispered.
They weren’t waiting for their colleague to get the IV in and give him a
shot of morphine.
Seconds later, his leg was lifted, then lowered again.
It didn’t take long to get it in position.
It didn’t take long to inflate it either.
By the time they were done, the IV was in and so was the morphine.
Now, it was a matter of minutes.
They didn’t wait for the morphine to kick in, but wheeled him out as
soon as they were ready and had him strapped down securely. They would tend to
the rest of his injuries in the ambulance and at the hospital, what mattered
now, was to get him the hell out of there.
He rolled his head to look at the man.
“I wasn’t sure you were awake.”
“That’s okay.” Jack said quietly.
“We’ve arranged for a flight back. You’ll be flying home with a team of
“In three hours.”
“The ambassador is taking care of that, sir. We’ll have all your
belongings before you leave.”
“Including the package that was dropped off at reception for you.”
He closed his eyes again, a smile crawling across his face.
He would be home in a few hours.
“Tony.” Jack greeted his friend and colleague as he walked up to the
They shook hands, for a moment only friends.
Then, they became colleagues again.
“Did you get it?”
“Yeah, we got it alright. That was a smart move, having it sent to your
“Tony, when national security is concerned, there is no such thing as
“I hear ya.” Tony said, his eyes going to the IV in Jack’s arm.
“Don’t worry, I’ll live.”
“Yah, that’s what the doctors said too.”
They shook hands again.
“I’m glad you made it.”
“Yeah, so am I.”
With that, Tony left again, heading back to the office to work on the
information Jack had brought back with him.