They Were in My Head and Allah Was Dead

‘They Were in My Head and Allah was Dead’, inspired by a photo by Mike Kim.

Pictonaut short story challenge for May 2013.

I heard a voice scream. “WE’VE KILLED ALLAH!” Then came terrible ululating throbs. Sonic blasts. Hell ripping open. The devils bursting free. Pain. Incredible pain and despair.

Allah was dead, they said. It ricocheted. It ricocheted through the chamber until the sound of surf rose up and swept it away.

Waves. Wave after wave and wave after wave. Increasing in strength and frequency. Merging into a torrent. Louder. Bombarding. Louder and louder. Washing over each other then developing an acute sharpness.

Like sharp pinpricks. Prick after prick after prick. Over and over. Rolling around. An uneasy ocean. Unbearable nausea. Then plummet, splashing to white noise.

It was intolerable. Hideous broiling despair. Sinking. Down to depths of agony. Utterly unbearable. I convulsed but I could no longer feel my body. Sensual overload. Touch and sight undermined, all was hearing. Hearing without hope of shutting any of it out. They owned me. They controlled me. I could do nothing but comply. Suffocated and trapped in their hold.

It was Hell. Hell rose up again as the howls of “WE’VE KILLED ALLAH!” ate up my mind. Biting at me. The howls kept hitting me and hitting me. Repeated and rolled over again and again. “WE’VE KILLED ALLAH! WE’VE KILLED ALLAH! YOUR ALLAH IS DEAD!” until you almost begin to believe it.

The doubt is terrible. Doubt just assails you and it doesn’t stop. It eats at you. It just comes and comes and you try and keep strong but it keeps coming. Doubt hurts more than the noise and the physical pain.

Then came the visions. For some reason when the images arrive you start to become aware of the other senses and I began to really feel the pain in my body. Feeling is probably the wrong word. It’s everything. It went beyond feeling. It’s everything and you just can’t escape.

It’s all being sent up the electrodes and they scream all the horrors into your system. Electric shocks. My nerves burned. Like fireworks exploding, white hot inside. It just shoots through everything and the white noise pulses. The “WE’VE KILLED ALLAH!” cries kept repeating every so often. It was Hell.

I’m pretty sure that some drug was filtered in somehow. After a few hours I’d always somehow catch a hint of an awful smell. Something chemical. That’s how I’d know that the visions were coming. I could smell. It wasn’t only the sound torture that I could feel. Then I saw things. Those things that no one should see.

There was no way to close my eyes or shut out those images. The cries of “WE’VE KILLED ALLAH!” keep punctuating the pictures but, you know, they are repetitive and routine. You can desensitise yourself to them after a while and beat the doubt. The visions varied though. The visions were too devastating. Too overwhelming. Too much. Just inhuman.

Everything I saw was stuff that shouldn’t be seen. I still can’t turn them off. I couldn’t then and I struggle to now even though I’m no longer in the chamber. They’d usually start gradually and then escalate in intensity. It was confusing. I lost all track of time. I lost track of everything. It was traumatic.

“WE’VE KILLED ALLAH!” and other shouts like “WE’VE KILLED ALL YOUR PEOPLE!” and “ALL YOUR PEOPLE ARE DEAD!” along with curse words were the soundtrack. They insulted me personally. Called me hurtful names. But it was what they forced me to witness that was the worst. I couldn’t escape.

I saw cities I knew torn apart. Tanks and bombs blowing apart my hometown. Soldiers in the streets. Fire everywhere. Innocent people – children, women, old people – drowning in flames.

Soldiers smashed through crowds. They shot down everyone in sight. They shoved guns in people’s faces. They handled them and beat them. Beating after beating. Shooting and more shooting. Explosions. Sonic blasts. Hell ripping open and the devils swarming. Everywhere violence. My homeland became Hell.

They fed me those pictures as a start but after some minutes the intensity grew again. Flashes of dead bodies rotting. Maggots. Animal corpses. Images of those soldiers slowly tearing apart the flesh of the victims, playing with their bodies and mocking them. It was all a joke to them. They smiled as all around them suffered. They smiled and laughed as I suffered. They were crude. The images lingered. They rubbed in the horror and they were merciless.

It got worse. Flashed glimpses of my own family members cut with the pictures of death and decay. Insects swarming. Close-up views of bodies being assaulted. Clips of pornography were forced upon me and they become more and more extreme and sadistic. Forbidden parts assaulted me. Genitalia, bestiality and naked bodies combined with the street fighting scenes. Loud pop music blasted out as a backdrop to the hideous screams and explosions.

The soldiers kept laughing cruelly. Stabs of white noise shocked me as I experienced it all and hurt all the more as the faces of my loved ones became more frequent. Such depravity drove me to the limits of despair. They were merciless. The nightmare seemed to never end and the soldiers wouldn’t stop in their brutality, their torture, their carnal practises. Men. Women. Children. The elderly and the dead. They didn’t discriminate.

I couldn’t avert my attention. I saw it all. I couldn’t do anything else. Still the cries of “YOUR ALLAH IS DEAD!” and all the other blasphemous offenses sounded out. It was an ocean of torment and I drowned in it. Drowning over and over in hopeless despair. Soldiers urinating on the Qu’ran. Mosques destroyed as the towns around and all the helpless civilians were engulfed in fighting and flames. Then more violent pornography flashed amidst the scenes of sacrilege. All innocence and purity defiled by the devastation and violence.

Towards the end they focused more on my family. I suffered through the sight of those I love the most seemingly being beaten and raped. The choppy sequences shot back and forth suggesting over and over that they were dead. Now they were rotting corpses. Now they were covered in excrement. Now they were covered in maggots. Now soldiers were molesting them.

With the visions and the noise and the nausea I eventually lost consciousness. Whenever I awoke again I was back alone in my cell and unplugged from the infernal devices. I couldn’t stop shaking and the flashes of the horrors and echoes of the noise wouldn’t leave my memory. My overalls were always soiled. I felt shame. I could do nothing to escape the shame and humiliation.

It was too much. My mother and father. My wife and children. So many other family and friends I loved and my homeland turned to Hell. My religion and faith attacked. All I hold sacred and dear profaned and violated. What did I do to deserve this? No one should see such things but yet they continued to show me. I have no accurate idea of how long it went on for but I am sure that it was hours each time.

It continued every day relentlessly for months on end with no reason. It was my daily routine. I am still not sure why it suddenly stopped and why I was released. I know little of international politics. I don’t want to know. I don’t know what I’m meant to have done or what I’m meant to do now.

I suppose it doesn’t matter and it’s useless to try and understand. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand the inhumanity. It was a horrible nightmare. No one should have to go through what I went through.

They never even gave me a trial.

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