I am used now. I have been at it for years and I’m still counting, the way I count the number of lashes as I rain a hurricane of them on my patients’ buttocks, on their legs, arms, ankles, at their back. I love it at their back because they can’t shield their backs. They don’t stress me. I hate it when some patients stress me. But at their backs, it’s easier.They just lay on their stomachs and I do my business; thrashing them till my fingers start to itch, blood spraying over my face, staining my overall in the process. Fear? What fear? Look, if you stay on this job for years, you sort of blend in.
Torture becomes your job description.
And you live with it, because above you, rather before you, there are orders from the proverbial ‘above’. I don’t care about orders because as long as I walk in that shithole, I am my own boss and I do whatever I want on my patients. I love the freedom it gives me. The freedom to beat everywhere I want.
My wife doesn’t know what I do. Well, she knows I work in the prisons, but that’s about it. The rest is my business. If I can put food on the table, then she should keep her mouth shushed. So, in the morning, at the break of dawn, I wake up and make love to her before leaving the house for work. You might wonder why I do so, but those moments of pleasure occupy the rest of my day, because here, right here, this is not pleasure. This is death. This is horror. This is darkness. And this is my office, in these corridors of death, in this alley of horror, in this blanket of darkness. Tears, blood, flesh, wails, and death. Batons, canes, wires, pangas, chains and thorny clubs. It’s a cocktail of materials.
My patients come from different parts of the country; from Kampala to Kasese. From Gulu to Mbarara. They hurl them in here, like sacks of millet. And I work on them. I beat them up. In fact, I hate to use the word ‘beat’ because beating is for primary schools; I take care of them. It’s the right word I was instructed to use. Taking care of them. Like I’m their personal doctor. Most of them leave with their skins at the back peeled off. Most of them leave with dislocated ankles. Most of them leave without limbs. Most of them leave with deformed faces looking like zombies in a horror movie. Some of them never leave at all. Most of them rot away in this shithole. Most of them can’t walk by themselves after I have worked on them; they stagger away and eventually fall; they never stand again. Some die from here. Most of them stare at me and beg for forgiveness, their bleeding bare hands stretched before me as though I’m a priest offering Eucharist. Jesus gets a mention or two.
I don’t forgive them, God will forgive them Himself. It’s become part of my life and I can’t run away from it. I love my job, because at least, it keeps me busy. My brother is jobless. And I want to recruit him into this business. It would be interesting to work with my brother; he’s much stronger, broad shouldered and palms the size of a saucepan. He’s a former convict, but he is a reformed man now. He will start work by next week when a new batch of patients arrives. I’m told many are coming. Even University students. It’s going to be bloody, I mean, literally. Anyways, I have to go back to work. I work at Nalufenya!
Disclaimer: This is a fictional narrative of a torturer who works at Nalufenya, a place that has broken the internet for its atrocities.
Photocredit: Amnesty International