The impact of the landing was hard. It wasn’t very hard for Cecylja to get up but bruises and scratches were already appearing all over her body. Her glasses were askew but luckily they weren’t broken. Her body felt sore and moans escaped her lips. She was lucky enough to land on the carpet-like grass; if she landed on pavement, she would have broken her bones. As she stood up, readjusted her crooked glasses, and looked around; she saw that there were trees all around her, trails made of gravel leading to random places, wooden benches planted next to the trails and there was a large colorful playground to her left. She was in a large park.
“Filipina! Antoni! Jacek!” she called out “where are you guys?!”
At first, there was no response but when Cecylja called out again, there were many voices calling out at once. She ran out to them, stumbling over a couple of times. When she reunited with them, she saw that they were also covered with bruises and scratches. Boom! They turned around and saw that far from the park, there was a fire. The burning ball of flames was small yet it was as bright as a candle light. The fire had a short, black tail behind it; suddenly, the other parts of the tail were blowing up one by one until the train looked liked an orange, fiery worm. The four of them all ran after the train.
By the time they reached the train, flames were already licking the tracks and some parts of the grass and a couple of people were surrounding the train. They all stood feet away from the flaming vehicle, the orange light from the fire shining their flabbergasted faces. The witnesses all turned to the four of them with expressions that showed that they had millions of questions on their minds. One of them walked towards the four and pointed a finger at them.
“You…you…you all did this didn’t you?” he accused them.
“No, no, no!” stuttered Jacek “We escaped from the train. It was going to kill us…the terrorists…they left us to die and they took everyone else away…We were supposed to die but we escaped before it could kill us!”
All the witnesses, including the man that was speaking to Jacek, pulled out their smartphones and started dialing numbers. One of the other witnesses warned the four of them to stay where they were and not to move. Antoni turned around to look behind him and then looked at his companions.
“Wait, where is the guy with the blades?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” answered Jacek. He looked at Filipina and Cecylja with a look of warning. “You two stay here, Antoni and I will find the guy that attacked me earlier. I hope he didn’t run away.”
“No, wait!” protested Filipina as she and Cecylja ran after Antoni and Jacek.“We’ll come with you!”
The four of them ran back to the way they came from. The grass was dark, wet, and slippery; the sky was getting brighter; the dark smoke and the odor of burning garbage was in the air. They ran as fast as they could but not too fast, they didn’t want their stamina to run out. They all hadn’t run away. In five minutes, they reached the spot where Jacek pushed the terrorist out and he jumped out of the train. The hispanic was stuck under a fallen pole and was struggling to release himself from the pole and the ropes.
“I had to stick him in there in case he woke up.” Jacek explained.
“Let’s leave him there,” joked Antoni “He’ll get out by himself.”
“No!” snapped Jacek who took the joke seriously “We need to report him to the police besides we have to go to the police anyway, we have to get them to find Lilka and Brunon. If we leave the guy here, he will get out by himself and get his terrorists to come after us.”
“But Jacek,” said Cecylja “I have a feeling that if he gets out, he won’t go to the terrorists to get us killed…not that I don’t want to hand him over to the cops.”
Of course he will!” snapped Filipina.
“He won’t,” Cecylja argued “You know why I think that?”
“Cecylja, you are such a reta –“ retorted Antoni
“LISTEN! All of you! He won’t because he was supposed to die too!”
They all went into a silent pause; Cecylja’s cousins all stared at her as if she had suddenly grown a second head.
“How do you know?’ asked Antoni in an accusing tone.
“Don’t you remember what he said when he was guarding the room that had the bomb?” she explained “He said that he would make sure we didn’t get near the bomb even if it cost his life. The terrorists wanted him dead, I don’t know why but they wanted him dead – “
“Even if it cost his life Cecylja,” argued Filipina “That means he either volunteered or the terrorists chose him to guard the bomb. They were asking for a sacrifice and they sent him to sacrifice his life to carry out that mission.”
“But he was – “
“Enough!” ordered Jacek “whether or not he was wanted dead or alive by his buddies we still have to hand him over to the police. We’re lucky we’re alive! ”
“But…why did those terrorists want to explode this train? I know it was an act of terror but what were they trying to prove? Also what happened to the woman in the hijab and the little boy?”
There was a long pause before the quartet saw witnesses and police officers running towards them and other police officers speeding towards them with motorcycles. Sirens wailed and blue and red lights flashed. The same man who accused them of blowing up the train came pointing a finger at the four of them.
“There they are!” He accused “They even have a poor man tied up, gagged, and stuck under a pole.
“No, no, no, no, wait!” shouted Jacek
“This is a misunderstanding!” defended Cecylja.
“We didn’t do it, that guy did it!” pointed Filipina at the Hispanic “We almost died because of him!”
“We didn’t do anything!” shouted Antoni.
As their voices clashed together in disorder, the man stopped struggling but he watched the cousins in disbelief. Three police officers thrust the cousins’ hands behind their backs and clicked their hands together with shining, silver handcuffs. The other police officer lifted the pole off the hispanic and untied the ropes that held him. The officer offered the hispanic a hand and he took it as he was lifted up. When the officer asked the man if he was hurt, he said nothing. Horror imploded inside of Cecylja as she realized what had happened.
“The four of you are under arrest.”
“Officer please, let me explain what really happened.” Begged Cecylja.
The room was gray and empty of almost everything except for the dark, wooden desk that she placed her cuffed hands on; a lit, grey metal lamp that partially illuminated the room; and a wooden chair that she was sitting on. The room was dark and the lit lamp was the only source of light. There was one large window to her right side and a door next to it. Sitting across her was a man with short, black hair, thin almond eyes, light skin, and a pressed nose. He was wearing a gray suit, a white suit and a gray tie. He looked to be in his thirties and he seemed very stern. The man sat upright and folded his hands.
“It was clear that you had the victim tied up in ropes, gagged with a cloth stained with chlorofoam and unconscious. How can you be the victim and he the aggressor?” he asked.
The man exhaled a deep breath and closed his eyes for a brief moment. When he opened them again he did not change his posture but instead stared coldly at Cecylja.
“Very well, explain.” he said even though he was still unconvinced. For ten minutes, Cecylja rabbled on about how she and her cousins went on vacation, the terrorists hijacked the train and kidnapped everyone, the hispanic who planted the bomb and attacked Jacek, and how they had to keep the hispanic quiet. The investigator wrote all of this down as Cecylja was speaking, he showed a trace of expression but Cecylja couldn’t tell what he really thought about she was telling him. The detective looked up at Cecylja while still radiating the same coldness.
“If the “terrorist” was already unconscious, why did you put chlorofoam on his mouth and nose?” he questioned.
“I didn’t put chlorofoam into his mouth and nose, Jacek did. But if he was already unconscious and Jacek put chlorofoam on him, then I really don’t know. I was in the control room when Jacek and the man were fighting and when that happened. Whatever he did to him, it was an act of self-defense, we were all going to die in that explosion. the man even guarded the control room so that me and my cousins wouldn’t even touch the bomb.”
“We will also interrogate your cousins to see what they will say but we will also ask the victim what happened.”
“But sir, this man is not a victim and he will not tell you the truth. I know it doesn’t look like me or my cousins are innocent and the man doesn’t look like an aggressor but what I am telling you is true. I am speaking to you sir, with full integrity.”
“You may or may not be right,” replied the interrogator “but our jobs are to find out ho really is the ulprit behind the crime and we cannot know who is speaking the truth without interrogating and investigating everyone and everything. If you are lying, we will find out but if you are telling the truth, we will also find out. There are people that are convicted when in truth they are really innocent however, that is a slim chance. Our technology and investigation to finding out the real culprit are close enough.”
After Cecylja was released from the interrogation room, her brother and cousins were brought to interrogation and gave the interrogator the same story. Time was ticking by slowly, minutes felt like hours and hours felt like days. None of them knew how much time really passed by; horror, fear and tiredness made it worse for them. They were all exhausted, drowsy, and hungry; after all that had happened, they hadn’t gotten much sleep and they haven’t eaten anything since the morning before the train was hijacked. The interrogator wasn’t feeding them anything but when he was interrogating them, he was eating a foot-long sub from Subway. Cecylja swore that the temperature in the room had changed from warm to extremely hot. Of course. The interrogator was trying to get them all to crack and make them say what he wanted them to hear.
Sometimes, when Antoni would put his head on the table, he would fall asleep but the interrogator would bang on the table and wake him up. Antoni’s head punded from the agony of a migraine; also, every time the interrogator would ask him a question, Antoni would get angry and aggressive. He almost slapped the interrogator but restrained from it. Eventually, the migraine would blaze with such pain that he get on all fours on the floor and puke an ugly-colored, stinky mush. He stopped responding to the man’s questions and started crying; he would instead shout curses and complanits. He had a strong urge to attack the man with his bare hands but he didn’t.
` The hispanic sat outside, sitting up straight with his hands folded on his lap, outside the interrogation room. He knew that even though the cops viewed him as a victim, they would soon find out the truth. It was only a short time before it would be his turn for the interrogation. He knew that never in his life was he a good liar; maybe a few times he got away with some things but he could could almost never master the art of deception. His compadres [i] sent him on this mission and chose him to stay with the ones that were left behind. He had to die with them. He might have survived but in this kind of situation, one couldn’t simply return to that brotherhood.
The door opened and Antoni came out of the room with a tear-stained, red face and sat down next to his cousins on the chairs. The interrogator came out with an impassive face.
“It is time.” said the interrogator.
[i] friends, comrades, companions etc.
Spanish-English translation of conversation:
[i]I sent many people to another place, another dimension, now I will join them.
Polish-English Translation of conversation:
[i] Mom, this is Cecylja…