Sometimes the smell gets to me. Usually I just tune it out. The capillaries in my eyes trace tiny, pulsing bloodworm trails across
the leathery darkness. There’s a faint acridity in the air that’s been getting worse for the last hour or two. How long has it been since I’ve been hosed down? The smell is interrupting the blankness of my mind. It’s as if I can feel it, a shifting but firm finger of toxic fumes. I get synesthesia a lot. Usually I let it distract me. Now I wish it wouldn’t. I sometimes get panicky, and that’s the worst thing that can happen, because there’s nothing I can do. Panic only wears me down, weakens my spirit, and my spirit is the only thing that can get me through this.
What can that smell be, I wonder. My mind is still foggy, only slowly becoming aware of my situation. It’s been a long time since I was fully present. Why is that? I can’t remember, not just yet, and I have a strong sense that it’s better if I don’t remember.
The darkness really is leathery. There’s leather around my head. Lots of it. I realise that my eyes have been closed for longer than I can remember. I can’t open them. It’s partially that the leather is too tight, partially that days or weeks of crusting and secretions is semi-permanently adhering my eyelids to each other. I try to wiggle my eyelids to see, but it’s fruitless and I only manage to yawn.
Revolting! I smell my own breath and realise that I haven’t salivated in who-knows-how-long. My breath has the same acridity as the air around it, but is somehow less harsh and yet more foul. My eyes are watering, though, as I continue to react to the fumes. Good, I think: perhaps watering will jar them loose and I can see a way out of this.
I become strangely aware that I am perceiving my arms and legs in some position other than they are actually in. They seem to be floating. I feel as if I can move them, but when I try I get the distinct impression that they are bound, and have been for some time.
A light comes on, bringing a sense of dread – faint at first, but rapidly, almost exponentially increasing. My mouth waters and instinctively falls open. Shut that! I tell myself. I don’t know what’s going on here, but opening my mouth won’t help anything! Yet I sense that it will help. I’m terrified of what will happen if I don’t open it. I quiver it open slightly, and feel instant relief.
Something warm and soft touches my lips. My instinct tells me to open wider and let it in, whatever it is. But my rational brain, which has been awakened from a very lengthy slumber, sounds the alarm and I screw my mouth shut tight. Something is horribly wrong. But the moment I shut my mouth the panic is palpable. Something horrible is going to happen. Something is horribly wrong, indeed, and it’s the fact that I won’t open my mouth. This is wrong, I’m sure of it, but I can’t remembery why. My rational brain won’t have any of this nonsense.
I should have followed my instinct. The unmistakable sensation of several thousand volts floods through my nervous system. I open my mouth. For a few brief seconds, I am blank, and free. No mind. No memory. No sensation. Then the warm, soft thing touches my now-opened lips, and I remember.
I have been here for a very long time.
I am in a wooden box, in a leather hood, firmly bound in a permanent kneel, supported by beams on three sides so that I can sleep in this position, with my hooded head in a gentle vice and my mouth at a glory hole in the wooden exterior.
I am a urinal, and have no other function. I am kept alive on protein shakes. My box is flooded with soapy warm water when my excrement makes it dangerous to my health.
My kidnapper expects to be able to keep me alive this way for years, he said. I don’t know how many it’s been.
I am to respond to the small LED each time it goes off by opening my mouth and drinking every drop of urine.
Failure to open my mouth results in shock.
Spilling a drop results in shock.
Speaking results in being shocked unconscious.
There are no other rules, and no other possibilities.
All these memories flash through my mind before the warm, soft thing, which I recognise now as a man’s glans, passes through my teeth. As it slides in further, past the tip of my tongue, my mind slows down, eases off the panic, now that it remembers the rules.
I haven’t had this presence of mind in a very long time. But I have no idea how long. It’s driving me crazy. I know that I have managed to obey by motor memory while remaining mentally “out of body” most of the time. I know that I have heard before, in my previous life, that this is something people do under severe trauma. It occurs to me that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a case of somebody remaining “out of body” for the length of time it feels as if I have. I have to know how long it’s been!
I decide to speak. The dick is now midway down my tongue. At least a quarter second has passed since it entered my mouth. It will let loose any second now. Slowly, I move my atrophied oral muscles. “Howoooowwww l-ll—-lllllloonng bb-bn”. Trying to make the “b” sound I feel the dick head fall out of my mouth. The electricity kicks me again, but this time it’s over in a flash. I know better than to yelp out. I sense movement outside. Something blocks my airstream at the glory hole. I hear a muffled voice through the leather: “Seven weeks.” My brain goes numb again.
Numb. Seven weeks is all it’s been. I’ll spend the rest of my days this way. Thousands more days of timeless, dissociated urinal service. At the end I’ll atrophy and waste away, probably die of asphyxiation when my chest stops supporting breath. Maybe I’ll get lucky and die of ammonium inhalation. Not this time, though. The kidnappers have noticed the smell and I can feel the front of the box open and the chill of the power hose making a flood of ancient shit and piss under my horizontal calves. The flood subsides; the box is sealed again, and I notice the smell is gone. And my brain goes numb again. Seven weeks is all it’s been. It feels an eternity. How many eternities do I have left?
I am vaguely aware of a warm, massaging sensation on my gums and tongue as I serve my kidnapper’s need again. I am vaguely aware of swallowing, although I perceive it as a distant echo of the idea of somebody else swallowing piss, somebody else who happens to be in my body while I drift away somewhere else. I am vaguely aware of another muffled voice. I’m not present enough to hear the words, but I think I get the meaning: Don’t ever speak again. And the shock is back.
I am awake, with the unmistakable knowledge that I was electrocuted to unconsciousness. I can smell burning hair and flesh, and realise with horror that there is a harsh burning sensation coming from my dick. There’s a light in the corner of the leathery darkness. My mouth opens, instinctively, and my brain again goes silent to allow me to do my work.