Sharif Farik had been sitting handcuffed to a chair for what seemed like hours. Shortly after his capture, he was escorted inside a white van and blindfolded. He tried his best to draw a mental map of each turn and count the seconds between, but it was impossible to keep up. There was complete silence in the vehicle during the entire journey, further increasing his disorientation; and the blindfold had been kept in place as they transferred him to the room where he now sits.
He knew his comrade was dead, that Morocco and Al-Yuqai had also either been killed or captured and felt the same fate was awaiting him. He will soon join them in paradise. He knew he was in a room alone with the only sound coming from muffled voices outside. His captors were American and British. He had learned to recognize the accents. He did his best to remain calm through prayer, knowing that soon he would be interrogated. He had been trained well for this. He was prepared. He will die before divulging any information to the enemy.
His shoulders were aching tremendously. His eyes were straining to capture any trace of light. His nose was trying to detect any hint of odor. The heat inside the room was stifling and sweat had been trickling down his face and back for quite some time. On occasion, he became aware of his breathing rapidly increasing, and he would have to find a way to calm himself and slow it down. He knew he mustn’t allow them to see panic or fear. There was nothing to be afraid of, his cause was greater. How long until it begins?
A door opened to his left and footsteps filled the room. Darkness was suddenly replaced by bright, burning light as the blindfold was ripped from his head. He squinted at the room around him. He was sitting in a hard wooden chair surrounded by four windowless tiled walls. The floor was cement, and spotted with several unidentifiable stains. A plain, square shaped table lay before him. As his eyes gradually adjusted to the bright fluorescent light he was able to discern the figures in the room. There were three of them, one on each side and one directly in front. They were dressed alike in common black suits and ties. Tension and hatred emanated from them as they peered down upon him. The one in front pulled up a second chair and sat down directly across from him with his elbows propped on the table. He was clean and well-groomed, obviously a government agent. They looked at each other without blinking. They said nothing. Even their breaths were barely audible.
Farik had locked eyes with the man sitting across from him. Minutes passed, and there was only staring. Neither man would look away. Farik slowed his breathing, continued with his silent prayers, and slowly prepared himself for what was soon to come.
A slight smirk formed across the man’s face, and Farik exploded in curses and insults in his native language. He dared them to try to get him to talk, he damned them to a slow and painful death, he forecast the victory that his people would win and the defeat that their people would suffer. He praised Allah, and cursed their Christian deity. He spoke with such ire that every muscle in his body was fully contracted, his eyes had become only bloodshot slits, and his face was contorted into a mask of hatred. But the man across the table did not change his expression at all. He sat in silence holding his sly smirk while Farik continued his verbal tirade. Then, for the first time he broke eye contact and glanced down at the table, leading his foe to do the same. Farik followed his gaze to what lay before him, and what he saw made him freeze in horror.