As I woke up from a short slumber, I looked down the hall way where many more like me were also resting. Sleep has eluded me for months now. I get a few hours at best, a few minutes at worst. The images of my family being taken from me haunt my dreams. I guess this is my punishment for not keeping my eyes open to what was going around me.
It was two years ago when it started. It was slow at first, it started with the government making laws on our vehicles, what sorts of cars could be on the road and things like that. I didn't pay any attention to them, my car was well within the limits of the laws, so I knew I was fine. Then came a new law limiting what sorts of firearms people could own. Again, I didn't mind it, me and my wife didn't really like guns, and we didn't own any, and we especially didn't own any of the ones affected by the laws, so again, we ignored them.
My neighbor however, he didn't like what was happening. Kept saying that this had happened in other countries before, and the result was always total control.
"Calm down" I would always tell him. "We aren’t those countries"
"Just watch" he would always say. Personally, at the time, I thought he was just paranoid. But he always invited people over for steaks, and his wife was very good at cooking, and our kids got along, so I didn't worry about him.
Looking back, I should have paid more attention to him. A few months ago, he and his family vanished. Their car was gone, and they took all of their things and moved away. He didn't say where, he just left. None of us knew where he decided to go. That should have been a warning, that maybe I should have done the same. But, I liked where I was, and I didn't want to uproot my children from the place they've known all their lives.
One night, I heard a loud crash come from his house. I looked out my window and saw several men in black fatigues around his house. I thought they were vandals, so I picked up my phone and tried to call the police. But our phone was dead. I tried my cell phone, and again, nothing. Before I could figure out what was happening, there was a knock at my door. So, I put my robe on, went down stairs, and answered the door.
Two men in suits were standing at my door, and asked me several questions about my neighbor, which I answered truthfully, and when they asked about his whereabouts, all I told them is that he left a few weeks ago, and that I didn't know where he went. They thanked me for the information, and left. Their friends in the fatigues also left. Two days later, I woke up to the smell of smoke, and the house where my neighbor lived was on fire, when I called the fire department, to my amazement the phones were working fine, and they showed up very quickly, but were unable to save the house. Why didn't I see the sign again.
Two days later, it happened. Me and my wife watched on the news as a massive protest took place in the capital. Thousands of people were demanding that the government step down, and that emergency elections be allowed to take place immediately. But little by little, the protesters were rounded up by the authorities, after a while, I caught a glimpse of an officer telling a subordinate something, obviously I couldn't tell what it was as the scene was being watched from a helicopter high above the chaos. But it didn't matter. Mere minutes later, several vehicles showed up, and I thought they were going to start turning fire houses on the protestors to disperse them. But when I saw flashes from the tops, and people in the crowd literally explode, I quickly turned off the television. I had just watched our own government murder its own citizens.
In a panic, I decided to try and book a flight away from this place. But as I searched the travel sites, all I kept getting was 'flight suspended', with each entry. I then tried to call a co-worker, but the lines were dead again. I started looking around on the news sites to see if there was anything on what happened in the capital. But the only things mentioned about the protest where about the arrests made. I then got an E-Mail alert, it was from my neighbor. All it said was "I told you this was going to happen", just before our internet was shut down. I put my head on the desk, and was almost in tears when I realized of just how wrong I was all those times.
That night, those government agents I spoke too only days before broke into my home, and arrested me and my wife. The agents then started telling me a list of charges, that even my wife stated was bullshit. That was before they put a piece of duck tape over her mouth, and a black hood over her head. They then took her out of the house while they stood me up on my feet. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw the agents taking my children out of their beds. My youngest was crying the whole time, and my oldest was also bagged and gagged. My second child looked at me, and I tried to tell her that everything was going to be alright, before the agents led us all outside.
Once we were outside, the agents took the bags off, but held onto them. My children were crying, my youngest was crying the loudest for her mother, who couldn't even say anything because her mouth was tapped shut. They put then put my wife on her knees, and then put a gun to her head. One agent then approached me.
"Tell us where your neighbor went, and your wife will be spared. And you can go back into your home, and forget this night ever happened."
"I honestly do not know where he and his family went. They never told us!" I told them.
"You're lying." The agent responded. "We know you communicated with him recently. And we know you were the last person to see him here."
"But I swear to you, I do not know." I told him, my eyes darted to my wife, as she looked at me.
The Agent raised his hand. "I'll give you one. last. chance. Where is he."
"I'm telling you. I do. not. know." I told him again, tears running down my face by this point.
"Wrong answer." He said, dropping his hand.
I looked at my wife just in time to see the man behind her squeeze the trigger. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. Her eyes widened slightly, although I've been told that's a reflex as a bullet enters the back of your brain. Her frozen eyes just stared out into space as her lifeless body collapsed to the ground. Our children screamed in agony after watching their mother die like this. My oldest, stepped on the toes of the agent behind him, and elbowed him in the gut. But before he could reach his mother, the agent in charge uttered two words I'll never forget for the rest of my life.
Without missing a beat, three agents with automatic rifles took quick aim, and fired several shots into my son. He staggered a bit, before finally collapsing by his mother. A tear entered my sons eyes before another salvo from the agents finished him.
After that, everything went dark. I know I was led into a vehicle of sorts, and was chained to the seat. I could hear others being loaded in as well, probably my other neighbors who witnessed what happened to my wife and oldest son. I also heard more screaming and shooting, no doubt the agents mercilessly killing others just to make some sort of point. I could no longer hear my other two children crying, I figured they must have been placed in another vehicle. My thoughts however drifted from sorrow, to revenge. I didn't know how, when, or where, but I didn't care. I knew that I would kill these sick bastards. But as I had these thoughts, the vehicle started to move.
I couldn't tell how far we'd gone, or even where we were going, as the only sound was a few people breathing heavily, and the vehicles engine. Somehow, through the thick sides of the vehicle, I could hear a tire squelching, and a loud engine coming closer and closer. My first thought was some kid was hot rodding, but those thoughts were dashed when the vehicle was hit hard, and rolled onto one side. The collision was soon followed by automatic gunfire, and I could hear people talking, and giving orders. But the ones giving orders, one by one stopped talking, in tune with their guns no longer firing.
Merely a few moments after the last agent went silent, I could hear the back door swung open, and to my surprise, my neighbor, the one they were looking for, called out.
"Who's alive in here?"
I moved my hand to show I was alive, and mere moments later, the hood that was covering my face was taken off.
"I'm sorry about what happened." He told me "I was thinking of my wife and kids when we left, I didn't think there would be reprisal against the whole town."
"Don't blame yourself" I told him as he cut me free. "I'm to blame for this. If I had listened to you, instead of just blowing you off…"
"It might not have mattered." He said as he finished cutting me loose. "They would have done this regardless of whether or not you knew."
Minutes later, he freed the other captives that were still alive, but we had no choice but to leave the dead.
"What of the rest of my children?" I asked once we were away.
"They're safe" he said "We stopped the vehicle and rescued all the children that were left alive." His voice darkened slightly. "They murdered anyone under two years of age, and any woman who was pregnant."
"Fucking animals" I said to myself. "How can they do this?"
"No offense, but this is what I warned you about." He said before leading us away.
It has been five months, two weeks, and three days since my wife and oldest son were murdered. And to date I've made them pay for it many times over by killing a hundred and thirty four of theirs. And my weapon bears the scars of many of those kills with notches on the butstock of my rifle. I will not stop until the last of this dictatorship has been killed by my hands, or is at a gallows being ready to be hanged for what they've done to this country. And even if I do not live to see the new found freedoms I've fought so hard to win for my remaining children. I will at least rest easy knowing that I took as much of this totalitarian government down as I could.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.