The cell

  September 2008 »

The walk was a long one and at first David was glad that the guards didn't stand entirely on ceremony. They walked casually and tried to talk with him a little. Every pretty girl that they passed on the road started a whole new round of conversation that seemed centered around her. David guessed his two guards hadn't advanced very far up the ranks.

Since they had left mid-afternoon, they stopped for the evening at a small hotel. The room was payed for only by virtue of their being soldiers. By the time that they left, the guards had consumed enough food and corn beer that David could see the owner was more than ready for them to be gone.

If he had wanted to, he could have easily broken away. His mind told him that he didn't really have anywhere better to go. If Mallqu had an interest in the pit then it was possible that he also knew how to make it work.

The land that they walked through was mostly flat and covered with trees. When they arrived at their final destination, just before noon, it sat at the top of a small rise that was bare. The place had the appearance of a military complex with iron gates and soldiers on watch. A small stream, that was allowed to pass under one wall, made it at least partially self-sufficient. The appearance was rough from the construction of iron buildings combined with wood. The uniforms and a few adobe structures added the only other dots of color that could be seen in the maze.

David's staff was taken away as he was placed in a holding cell. Most of the soldiers scattered to eat lunch and have a small siesta. "This is messed up!" David exclaimed. It attracted little attention.

The entire afternoon passed with the same amount of neglect. He was served a coarse, dry bread for dinner. The cot for him to sleep on that night was small and stinky. If he hadn't heard rats scurrying around, he would have taken the floor instead. It seemed that he was low priority, which would have explained his two escorts.

In the morning, he was woken up by a deep voice asking "┬┐Runasimita rimankichu?"

David rubbed his eyes and the question was repeated. It was weird to hear the clicking sounds that were a part of the language coming from such a deep voice. "Runasimi" was all that he had understood, so he replied in the man's language with "no." It was the wrong answer.

The entire morning was filled with questions. All of them were repeated many times, but it didn't help. He didn't know what most meant and there was no effort to explain them. David began to wonder if the examiner was clueless or if they really did think he spoke their language.

After a while, David gave up and replied with questions of his own in English. "Why am I a prisoner now but wasn't two days ago?" "Have you figured out yet that I don't speak Runasimi?" "Look, do you have a superior?"

Somewhere around noon the questioner delivered a very long lecture to him. At the end a few more questions were asked and then he left. An hour later two new guards came and unlocked the cell. They indicated that David was to follow them.

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