In Exile : Part 5
That night, I curled myself to sleep and could not help but inhale every particle that was dust. I knew those men were staring or glaring at me. I could also smell the cigarette they burnt, or other thing. I could hear they stalked me from outside the bars. Yes, they had me behind bars. The room only sufficed an extra room of my heights and the torn-single mattress I slept on. I wonder what the rusty smell was. Could it be blood from previous occupant before me? Where were they? I did not bare the strength to look at the brownish splotch that covered half of the walls. I was trying to sleep. Pretended, whilst the men were whispering and whistling my name. Boasting how prime they could be in bed. But I did not see myself be interested I carried myself to sleep.
Then I woke up.
I was grabbed by the elbow and pulled straight to stood. My legs were quavering. I almost fell. But I was dragged further away from my room. I did not bother to fight because I did not have that much power. The light from the ceiling lamp overshadowed the face of my perpetrator. Short dark hair, sharp nose and eyebrows. It was him.
The day was still dark. I believe I might have been sleeping for an hour or two. But I really couldn't complain anything. He let go of me when we reached the chamber where he tortured me last night.
The room seemed to be empty like it always be. There was only a steel table on the middle. It was used when he spread all of my belonging and evidence of identification. Now all kinds of hand weaponries were laying. Long and short snouts. Those kinds I have never seen before. I have seen many handguns, notably were my late father's collection or those that Alexis from Crime department kept.
"Pick one." he said. I took me seconds to realise that he had asked me to pick up a gun. I was trying to stay awake, it was hard for me to comprehend. I browsed through the array of handfires. It was my lacking of confidence, so I picked a pistol. The shortest and the tiniest of them all. Made of black metal and dark wooden grip. He chuckled.
"Bonnie & Clyde, huh?" he commented. "Seemed I have a partner now." he took out another short snout pistol in grey with lighter wooden grip from his jeans pocket
"Despite of being small, this is extremely deadly. You gotta handle it carefully, or else, it will handle you." He drew himself closer to me as he weighed the pistol on my palm.
"What do you want me to do with this?"
"Smart question. Follow me." He pushed my back with the pistol snout so that I walked forward before him. I feel the cold round metal pressed against me until I entered a door and a view of green field emerged.
The day was now close to dawn as the sunshine peeked from the hills behind. The men were forming line. The bullet strike blasted my ear. It triggered me the recent memory from last night. When the bullets speeding next to my eardrum. The night I thought I might not be able to see what's left after the darkness over the blindfold that wrapped my eyes shut. The night when I was consumed with nothing but fear and frustration. I stepped at the shooting range, between Rush and another man. His skin was pale. His eyes were just large as mine, so as his eyebags. His built was tall and skinny but muscular.
"What is the lady doing here?" he said as I noticed his little wink at me. I noticed a latin accent, from the way he pronounce a full "R".
"She needs to survive." answered Rush who raised his arms and started to aim at the target, which was the bird that flew across the trees. In one rapid motion, all I was watching is a flock of feather and blood flung from over the sky. It was horrifying. The tiny creature was dead in a second.
Then Rush walked towards me with his gun pointing to the ground. I worried if the safe was not locked. He was talking to me only, despite some of the men were peeking from their shoulders.
"You are supposed to be eliminated but I am giving you another chance to live. I am training you and letting you know that every earth we stand is our death chamber. I am letting the nature decides whether you are worthy of living or not." he did not leave my eyes, and neither did I.
"Now, shoot!" he ordered.
I complied anyway despite I had not had any experience of shooting in range, but I have seen my father shot. I knew that if I did not position myself properly I would hurt myself... and I did. The force as I pulled the trigger hurt my back and I hardly stepped on my foot. The bullet missed.
"Not good enough." Rush said.
He demonstrated the way it should be. Body a bit lurched, level his arm as high as his shoulder and open his legs and move on leg forward. I tried. My strength had been regained everytime the shot failed. But the bullet always missed.
It was getting brighter and the sunrise burning warm against my skin. Rush noticed me getting impatient, but he made me keep doing shots. Until the tall man next to me comment.
"Give it up Rush, this girl is good for kitchen duty..." and he moved closer and whisper to my ear. "Or some discipline on my bed."
Out of fury, I smacked his temple with the hand grip. I was fast to think that I'd better not be hitting him with the snout while my pistol unlocked. Or else, Rush would hit me harder. He slapped the side of my face and jagged my hair.
"I don't tolerate that... here."
From the corner of my sore eyes I saw the men stopped practising and the man I hit was struggling to get back on his feet. Maybe I was stronger than I thought after all. But I did not have any idea where Rush would take me afterwards. I could only see a fiery longing stare that drove the chill down to my bones.