THE ANGRY DOVES
By Dorian Scott Cole
Copyright 1980, 1987, by Dorian Scott Cole
This book is copyright material, not public domain, and all rights are reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form, in any media. This book may not be sold or included in any collection. The reader may make a printed copy of this book for his personal use.
All characters in this book are a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental
For the one hundred seventy third morning, William woke in captivity. He had slept longer. The camp was quiet now, so most of the terrorists had left, probably for some mission of destruction of innocent people. William was undecided which was worse, waking to the sounds of gunfire, or waking to silence.
The gunfire filled the air with the smell of cordite from the spent gunpowder. By afternoon it mixed with the smell of garlic from cooking, and was potent enough to turn the walls and his appetite yellow green. But terrorists rarely stayed in one place for long, and in this old prison they were sure to be discovered if they stayed too long. So, silence probably meant a change was coming.
Prodded by this thought, William had checked the newly built structure daily to see what it was for. Still no clue.
The water came on hours later. It would pour freely for no more than thirty minutes, then would be off until late afternoon. It poured into the trough that served as a toilet, and flushed the trough outside. He filled his cup. He had soap, but there was no basin, no shaving, and bathing was a real challenge.
William cupped his hands and allowed the slow running water to fill them. He splashed the water onto his face and smoothed his unruly beard and hair. Then he removed his clothes and began splashing the water onto himself to bathe. With that done, he rinsed his underwear, wrung them out, and put them back on. "Refreshing," he muttered to himself.
He heard a door squeak. He took his bowl to his cell door and looked through the food slot to see who was coming. It was the usual man who brought him his morning rations: soup from a kettle and a quarter loaf of bread. After filling William's bowl, the man walked to the end of the corridor and dumped the remainder on the floor. Even in the dim light William could see the rats attack it, and he knew the cockroaches that shared his cell were there, too.
"Fattening the rats for tomorrow's soup?" He joked with the man in Arabic.
The man grunted. "For you there may be no soup tomorrow." He reached for the door.
William's smile vanished. "Why?"
The man laughed as he closed the door behind him.
"Why?" William shouted urgently after him.
Was this a bad joke? Every muscle in his body tightened with anxiety.
"Let me talk to Khaled!" He shouted in Arabic. "I want to talk to him today."
William got no response. He sank down on his pallet, his stomach reeling. "Cold blooded killers!" He said in contempt. The terrorists were very callous in their treatment of him. Not one had ever held a conversation with him. There was no chance of making friends and buying better treatment.
After an hour he ate his soup and began his exercise regimen, which included calisthenics and martial arts. He kicked the wall bitterly with karate kicks, one for the C.I.A. which had sucked the life out of him, then again for the terrorists who were going to put an end to what was left of his life, and again for himself for letting himself be at the mercy of the C.I.A. and the terrorists. Though the kicks nearly shattered his bones, the masonry wall, as usual, didn't budge. He finished with a half hour of running in place, one moment jogging, the next lifting his legs high, until the soup was burned off and his stomach ached again from hunger.
At mid afternoon, William again heard a door creak. No one ever came at mid afternoon. He hurried to his door and looked through the food slot. Though the corridor light was dim, the Arab man was easily recognized. The right side of his face was a mass of scar tissue and his right eye was missing. He had replaced the missing eye with an eerie black glass one. His right arm dangled limply and as he walked his right leg wobbled, but he used no cane. He seemed proud of his disfigurement and injuries, holding himself very erect and in full display. He was the terrorist leader, Khaled.
"You asked to see me, Mr. Duvall?"
William was surprised at the visit, and he knew this might be his last opportunity to plead for his own life. He was silent for a moment, considering where to begin.
"Why are you continuing to hold me, and when will I be released?"
Khaled laughed. "Surely you don't expect to leave us. Your government will not negotiate with us, so it leaves it up to us to determine what to do with you. They know we must either kill you or set you free. I am curious about something and perhaps you could help me understand. Why does your government have no interest in you? All we ask is a little help with our cause and we would set you free."
William felt very frustrated at Khaled's insane attitude, but it was typical of the kind of attitude he had been fighting for several months in the Middle East. He continued stoically. "All you are doing is making war. They could not assist you without harming thousands of people. You don't really expect my government to give in to your demands do you? Taking hostages is useless."
"Useless? Mr. Duvall, you are like a child in the ways of the world. We have been fighting the Israelis for thousands of years. We may be fighting them
for thousands more. How long do you think your government will allow its people to be taken hostage before it begins to help us?"
"Can't you see the war is useless. No one has won in these thousands of years. No one can ever win, neither you nor the Israelis. This is why I wanted to see you, to make you understand why I came to Lebanon. I'm not trying to help anyone win this war. I was sent here by my government to find ways to help bring about peace."
Khaled drew close to William's food slot and turned his scarred face so that it was close to William's eyes. He pointed to his scars. "Do you see this, Mr. Duvall? As long as I live, there will be no peace. It is them or me. It is foolish for your government to talk of peace. There can be none. And sooner or later, your government will help us."
William drew back. "What will you do with me?"
"The same as the others. We will leave you hanging as an example that the U.S. must either help us or lose more of its people." Khaled walked away and opened the outer corridor door.
"Is this what you want for your people?" William shouted after him. "Another thousand years of war? Why not give peace a try?"
Khaled turned back. "I want for my people that they not live under oppression. As long as the Israelis exist, they will find ways to oppress us."
William felt his last ounce of hope dissipating into the air. "Please, let me talk with you again. I'm sure we could find ways to work together to end this madness in the Mid East."
Next: Chapter 3