When I put my hand on the door handle, I suddenly heard the corporal’s voice behind me: “Out of bed, private Radix?”
“Yes, corporal. I had to, uhh, visit the loo.”
“Don’t lie to me, Radix. Front leaning rest position!” he barked.
I sighed, but did as I was told. The corporal started a long talk-down. After a few minutes, my arms started shaking, but there was no sign he was going to stop his speech soon. This was the third week of basic training and I dreaded the punishment that undoubtedly was my fate: a beasting, just like the ones we had experienced on our first day and when we were late after navigation training.
“Get up,” the corporal said, moments before I was about to collapse, “I’m going to deal with your punishment personally. Follow me.”
We walked towards the parade ground. But then, he didn’t stop and we walked past it. We also passed the motor pool and came to the staff building. We walked through the long corridor and then he stopped in front of room 00.35. It was his room.
“Wait here,” he said, before entering the room himself. So I stood there, facing the door. Staring at it. Waiting.
Suddenly, someone jumped on me from the left and someone from the right put blackened goggles over my eyes, taking away my ability to see. My hands were tightly cuffed behind my back and I was told to cooperate, just before earmuffs were applied to remove my ability to hear as well. My captors helped me to stand up and started to take me somewhere. I had lost my sense of direction. I didn’t know whether we were walking back to the entrance of the building, or further down the corridor. The guys were talking to each other, but I couldn’t understand a single word as the sound was deadened by the earmuffs.
“Where are we going?” I asked. “Why are you doing this to me? Hey, I’m one of you, guys! Where’s the corporal?” Questions to which no answer was given. The only response was a swat to the back of my head and a quickening of pace.
Apparently, we had reached our destination because the guys stopped pushing me forward. We turned left and they led me into a room. They made me kneel on the floor. Hands behind my back, deafened and blinded. It felt really humiliating not to know who my captors were or what they would be going to do. I don’t know how long I was left in that position, but it felt like a really long time. Were they watching me? I don’t know. Feelings of anger and of fear passed through my thoughts in quick succession.
I was startled as someone suddenly touched my head. The earmuffs were taken off and I recognised the corporal’s voice: “Radix, you’re here because you left the base without my permission. You then also lied about it. This is your punishment,” before the earmuffs were replaced.
“Yes, corporal. I’m sorry, corporal,” I replied, before a piece of cloth was pushed inside my mouth. It didn’t smell very nice and the taste was foul. Several strips of tape were put over my mouth and around my head to make sure the gag was staying inside for as long as my captors wanted. After a few minutes, the wad of cloth was wet with saliva and this made the fabric release even more of its nasty, salty taste. I thought I was going to puke, but I resisted the urge to do so.
I was made to stand up and I felt that someone started to bind my legs together with rope. Starting just above the collar of my boots, he worked his way up towards my knees, alternating between wrapping the rope around both of my legs and looping it around the legs separately, making the form of the number 8. I didn’t know tying someone up was part of basic training, but this guy was very good at it. I tried to wriggle around with my legs, but it seemed as if this only tightened the ropes even more. I wanted to let them know it was uncomfortable, but the only thing I could do was to scream in my gag.
My handcuffed hands were pulled upwards, forcing me to bend over. A hook or something like that was put through one of the chain links that connected the cuffs together. Thus, I was forced to remain in this comfortable position. Unable to move forwards or backwards. Unable to rest my arms. The countless reps of pushups that constituted our regular punishments were peanuts compared to this. This was torture! Forced to endure a stress position, while in sensory deprivation. I was there for God knows how long! The corporal wasn’t like this the last time we met!