Cassie Daniels doesn't know who is after her, but she does know they want to foil the guerrilla leader's plans. Can she be a true help to him when the balance of her own mind is in doubt?
Dr. Ni's Author Spotlight
She's on the run and she doesn't quite know who is pursuing. Is it the man with the unrecognizable face? The boy with the eyes that terrify? The man dressed as a campesino who doubles as The Interrogator's assistant? Who IS pursuing Cassie Daniels and what is her real mission in Calido? Sojourn in Calidia takes us through urban landscape, steamy jungle and a variety of human consciousnesses--some of which we hope never to see again--as we tease out this young Black woman's journey in a land not of her birth but definitely of her spirit.
A soft pale hand removed the rod. “Now perhaps you can remember the name?”
The campesino’s head lolled forward on his chest. A pale hand grabbed the campesino’s chin and yanked it upwards, slamming the back of the campesino’s head against the headrest.
The hand squeezed the campesino’s chin brutally. A pair of eyes peered into those of the campesino despite the semi-darkness. The campesino’s eyes were almost completely glazed over. Fingers on the hand snapped and a third man, dressed in a uniform barely perceptible in the dark, immediately turned and walked toward a far corner of the room. There was the sound of a door opening and squeaks were heard. The mouth attached to the body belonging to the hand moved.
“We are not inhuman. We shall let you rest. We may even let you go.”
A pair of eyes watched the campesino closely. No reaction. Damn. The bastard would have to rest. One needed strength to feel pain.
Fingers snapped impatiently again, twice, and the third man closed the door, shutting out the squeaking sounds, and quickly moved toward the campesino. He removed the man’s bonds like one familiar with his task. He picked the man up and carried him to a long, low bench, careful of the campesino’s many wounds. There was a long wide cotton quilt spread out on the bench and the third man lifted each hanging portion and carefully covered the campesino. A sigh escaped the campesino’s lips as warmth engulfed him. His last thought before falling into a deep sleep was of death.
The body attached to the hand moved toward a fourth figure dressed as a campesino.
“You are sure he knows?”
The man dressed as a campesino nodded.
“Then why has he lasted so long?” the voice asked with a slight note of irritation.
“He is the only man in Cálido that knows. He will speak.”
The man dressed as a campesino spoke tonelessly. He had the kind of voice that one did not remember, yet confused with no other. It was as though he spoke to you inside your own head and made vocal the thoughts and wishes farthest from your mind yet uppermost in your heart. If he moved, it was the action you remembered, losing all memory of the man himself. He was completely unidentifiable.
A palm gripped fingers behind a back. The body tensed, waiting for the man dressed as a campesino to speak again. Nothing. The body sighed.
“I am afraid he will die before he talks. You know what that will mean.”
“I know what that will mean for you.”
The body shook. It wanted to ask what will it mean? What will he do to me?
The man dressed as a campesino looked at him, his eyes glitter-ing. You do not want to know.
The hands came from behind the back and the mouth moved again. “Tie him to the chair,” the voice ordered.
The third man carefully removed the quilt from the campesino and carried him back to the chair. He seated him and retied the bonds taking pains to avoid the campesino’s many wounds. The third man straightened and looked toward the body belonging to the hands.
“Yes, now!” the voice thundered.
The third man walked to the far corner of the room again and opened a door. Squeaking noises filled the room. The third man removed something then shut the door. The squeaking noises contin-ued. He approached the chair with a cage. He sat the cage down beside the chair and began to turn in the direction of the body.
“Must I instruct you at every step!”
The third man turned back to the cage and opened it. A mouse ran out onto the cold metal floor. The body snapped its fingers. The mouse immediately stopped running and its nose quivered in the air. Finally he ran to the campesino. The smell of sweat and blood drew him to the right person every time.
The little mouse waited. The third man slowly reached forward and unzipped the campesino’s fly. The campesino’s under-wear had been taken from him. The little mouse scurried up the campesino’s leg. The brow of the body with the soft palms glistened with sweat in anticipation and excitement.
The little mouse reached the campesino’s lap and sniffed again. He then moved to one side and greedily bit into the campesino’s right testicle. The campesino screamed, suddenly wide awake. He screamed louder and louder as the little mouse took one two three four bites. At the fifth bite he screamed “Dios mio! Dios mio!” and the room was flooded with a warm white light. It was like being wrapped in the quilt, but better. The campesino was moving toward the source of the warm white light and just as he reached it----
“Dead,” the voice muttered. “You! Back to the fields! And the next one you bring me …”
The man dressed as a campesino said nothing.
“You!” the voice directed the third man, “remove this, this carcass!”
The body turned and angrily strode to the door. A palm twisted the doorknob, then pulled the heavy metal door, straining despite a superficial attitude of effortlessness.
The man dressed as a campesino smiled.
The body applied all its strength, the door swung open, the body walked through, and then the same palm slammed the door shut.
The third man stepped forward and began slowly, methodically, untying the dead man’s bonds.