Chapter 1

The Azrieli Bombing

1

March 3, in the near future

Thailand

He was strapped to a gurney. Foreign tongues chattered around him. His eyelids were heavy, and even if he could’ve lifted them, the bright lights proved to be unbearable. The annoying, screeching sounds of the wheels rolling over the bumpy, cracked tiled floor kept him from falling into a deeper sleep. The lights then faded as he was pushed into another room.

How he ended up groggy, he didn’t know.

The air in the room turned cold and musty. More prating tongues, words of a language he could not understand. The gurney came to a stop after turning sideways and making contact with an unseen object. Then the voices faded.

        Yoram lay listless. A stench in the air nauseated him. He was conscious enough to question whether he could rise up. He tried moving his arms and legs and bending his knees, but lacked the strength to test the bonds. He fluttered his eyelids, anticipating the painful, invasive light, but the room was dim. He opened them fully and found himself beside an old concrete wall covered with dirt and cobwebs, and with water coursing down, its continuity intermittently obstructed by the wall’s cracks and mortar-filled gaps. Yoram turned his head and studied the ceiling, crisscrossed with thin, crooked wooden beams. He raised his head to see how he was strapped to the gurney. He then relaxed and began to go back to his thoughts.

        He held an image of armed men raiding his dingy hotel room, dragging him from his bed and beating him. The blurry memory of the attack was replaced with another where he was lying in the bed of a pick-up truck, and then tied to the gurney. Was it a dream or had he been drugged? Either way, he could not connect these events coherently. So he breathed in deeply and waited for the grogginess to subside, as his mother, who had passed away when he was eight years old, used to tell him to do when waking up in the middle of the night, conscious of his surroundings but completely paralyzed. The feeling terrified him. He’d struggle to force his limbs to obey his brain’s commands to move. Not even a toe would heed. After deep concentration and hard flexing, he’d break from his paralysis, wide-awake. His mother had told him it was because he lacked potassium. He needed to eat more bananas, she had constantly reminded him. And if the sleep-induced paralysis happened again, to relax, try to fall asleep again, take his mind off the paralysis. That strange feeling would occur at least half of a dozen times per year. After eating bananas on a daily basis, he had cut that number to one. Now it was time to forget his befuddled state, and wait.  

Next Chapter: Chapter2