15 Jul Chapter 40: Penance
I’m walking my messages the next day when the door opens. Two guards enter and motion for me to come with them. It’s too soon for another checkup, so what’s going on?
Radiohead – Exit Music (For A Film)
They take me down multiple corridors and through a locked gate. We reach an industrial garage—there are no cars or trucks here, but there are large rolling doors on one wall, and stains on the floor that match up with where vehicles would normally be parked. Five guards are posted in a row along the back wall. I’m surprised to see that Domik is here as well, positioned in front of them.
I am told to stand next to Domik. He doesn’t acknowledge my presence. We wait now for ten, maybe twenty minutes. I look around but everyone else seems content to just wait.
An officer enters with a clipboard. I hear the soldiers behind me stand at attention. The officer stops in front of the garage doors and announces, “Bring in the prisoner.”
Two guards enter with a naked man. I get a good look at him and it’s Binauld! My head starts to spin and I feel queasy. Binauld is holding his cuffed hands in front of his privates. The guards lead him by the arms to a spot in front of one of the garage doors. Binauld shuffles awkwardly into position. He looks absolutely terrified.
“By order of Supreme Commander Trenauk, leader of the Imperial Army, you have been declared guilty of the crimes of sexual perversion and unlawfully aiding a prisoner.” The officer is reading off his clipboard. As he speaks, one of the guards throws a long chain over a metal pole attached to the ceiling and clips the end to Binauld’s handcuffs.
“Your punishment shall now commence.” The guard yanks the chain, pulling Binauld’s arms over his head. As I watch I realize this must be a truly devastating punishment for an Oliot, to have your genitals exposed to the world and not be able to do anything about it. Tears are streaming down Binauld’s face.
“Your act was unclean and so you are unclean. You will be washed as penance.”
On the other side of the garage a guard detaches a fire hose from the wall. He pulls the nozzle and hose towards Binauld. Another stands next to the water valve.
I can’t let this happen, not to him. I run over in front of Binauld and shout, “I am to blame. I seduced this man and forced him to commit these acts. He is innocent.”
The guards look shocked and don’t know what to do. My heart is racing. The officer’s blank expression doesn’t change. He says, “Then you will be punished in his place.”
I take a step back and brace for what’s coming. The valve is turned and water starts filling the hose. The soldier holding the nozzle tightens his grip, but then something catches his eye. He turns to see Domik running straight for him. Airborne now, Domik slams into the soldier and they both skid across the concrete floor. The nozzle bounces after them as water starts shooting out. It whips around uncontrollably from the power of the spray, but somehow Domik is able to grab it tight.
The officer is shouting orders and soldiers are running towards Domik. In control of the nozzle now, Domik blasts the oncoming soldiers with the spray, causing them to lose their footing and fall. He then moves the stream in an arc, first knocking down the soldier manning the water valve, then the officer who is pushed hard up against the garage door.
I turn around and see that the chain attached to Binauld’s wrists is in a pile on the floor. I grab Binauld’s cuffs and detach the clip. He’s just standing there with a glazed look in his eyes, but when I take hold of his arm and tug he seems to get the message that he should run.
I dash towards the exit, then look back to see if Binauld is following me. He is, and behind him I catch a glimpse of Domik, a wide grin on his face, still blasting the soldiers.
Crack crack crack.
The piercing sound of gunfire reverberates through the garage. Domik steps backwards and falls limp to the concrete floor. The nozzle flies out of his hands and violently whips about. The officer slumped against the garage door is holding a smoking pistol.
Time stops for me. I see the spray from the nozzle rotating above Domik’s lifeless body, but it’s not moving. I see soldiers struggle to stand up, but they’re not moving. I see the officer turn so the pistol is pointing at me, but he’s not moving.
I feel a pain in my arm, and I realize Binauld is gripping it tightly and pulling. Wind blows past my ear as two more cracks echo off the walls. I turn and run past Binauld into the hall. All I want to do right now is curl up into a ball on the floor and cry, but I force myself to keep going.
I follow the hallway and come to a fork—I think I arrived here from the right, so I go left. We pass through a large room where two women are cleaning food trays. One of them drops the stack she’s holding when she sees naked Binauld run by. I take a right, then dart through an open door and down a stairway.
Something’s wrong. I look back and Binauld isn’t there. Shit. Should I go back and find him, or keep going? I hear shouts from that direction, so I decide to go it alone. I hope Binauld will be okay—he knows this building better than I do.
At the bottom of the stairwell I turn and run down a wide hallway to a set of double doors. I reach for one of the handles but it suddenly moves backwards and I stumble—both doors are being opened from the other side. I realize this is an exit that leads to the outside when the daylight coming in hits me. I regain my balance to find Trenauk standing in front of me, with a dozen soldiers behind him.
He locks eyes with me and says, “Just the person I was looking for.”