Epilogue

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     Cynthia had questioned him nearly three months ago, he thought, and still, nothing had changed. He watched his lawyer being escorted out of the room after his regular monthly meeting. Dawood rubbed his face one more time before being forced to stand up. He had gotten a glimpse of himself on the surface of the metal table but the reflection was a bit blurred. He knew he no longer looked like the man he was when he was brought here. Dawood felt someone grab a fist full of his hair before violently shoving a hood back over his head. They said nothing, the guards in this facility. They never spoke in his presence or near his cell. Dawood was pushed forcefully down what seemed like a hall before hearing a familiar set of locks clicking in the distance.

     He could hear a pair of boots stomping alongside him and knew what was coming next. He was shoved, face first, into the cell and felt his face collide with the cold concrete floor with full force. Two people held him down, his face firmly planted against the ground with the hood still on and a third man kicked him in the waist. Dawood tried curling up in the fetal position to avoid being kicked in the stomach but felt a fourth person hold him down straight as the third man grunted and kicked Dawood again. Dawood coughed as he tried catching his breath but felt someone tightening his hood. He felt the hood's cord tighten tighter around his neck and began wheezing as he fought to breathe. He wanted to cry out, he wanted to get away from these men, but he had endured this treatment every time he met with his lawyer. It was the retribution he received from these men for being away from his cell, for being treated as a human.

     One of the men pulled Dawood's pants down and pulled his prosthetic leg off swiftly. "Ahhh!" Dawood cried out in pain as he fought against his captors. The men said nothing as they pulled his hood off and tossed Dawood against the wall with full force before slamming the cell door closed. Dawood whimpered as he tried adjusting himself and thanked God once he realized they had unshackled his hands. He pulled himself of the ground and coughed, spraying a light smatter of blood on the cold concrete ground. This was considered solitary confinement but Dawood knew it was more. This was hell on Earth, courtesy of the United States government. Dawood dragged himself over to the sink and leaned on the wall for support as he helped himself up. He coughed again and fumbled with the taps as he felt his vision blur.

     This was his life, he thought as a trickle of water leaked from the rusty faucet. This was his punishment for being faithful to his country. As he washed his face with the grungy water, he tried his best to block out the pain. He collapsed on the ground and crawled over to the small mat that was his bed. Dawood propped himself against the wall and closed his eyes. He felt a draft pass over his legs and looked down at his stump. The debris from the blast had badly mangled his leg. He could barely remember how he managed to tuck Khadijah away from the danger in the theme park with the state of his leg as it was. He chocked it up to the adrenaline in his body and the drive as a father to protect his only child. He ran a hand over his left leg, below the knee, and winced as he felt a knot on the bottom of his stump.

     He was only allowed to wear a prosthetic when he met with his lawyer and even then it wasn't a prosthetic made for him. He had heard from the limited conversations and snickering around him that the prosthetic had once belonged to an Afghani detainee who died of "unfortunate circumstances." Dawood knew better. He knew that these men had probably beaten him or starved him to death. The atrocities committed here were never leaked to the rest of the world since this detention center was now under the hold of private security companies, courtesy of tax paying American citizens worldwide. Dawood opened his eyes as he heard the Islamic call to prayer, the adhan, being played in the distance. He recited the verses with the recording and reached for a rock that had chipped away from the wall over time. He looked at the wall in front of him and shifted over to it before etching a line into the wall.

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