John sighed, That’s done, I am home now. He opened the door and was about to call out to his wife and son, when two men grabbed him. They pulled him through the doorway and slammed him against the wall.
“Traitor!” One of the assailants yelled into his face as he knocked the wind out of John.
The other assailant smashed his elbow into John’s jaw. John heard a loud popping sound and wondered if his jaw was broken. A salty taste flooded his mouth.
Not able to think about that taste too much because in came another punch to his stomach and an elbow to the shoulder. Driving him down to the floor. In the background, he heard his wife and son screaming and another person yelling at them.
They were kicking him, now that he was on the ground. He was doing all he could to block the kicks with his legs and arms. Punches pummeled his head. He wife and son continued to scream and the assailants continued to hurl abuse.
What seemed like a long time of beatings eventually stopped. Logically, John knew it was only a minute or two, since he still could reason, but it felt like a lifetime. He knew they could have beat him senseless. Silence as the assailants backed off. Even his family stopped yelling.
Only the sounds of boots on wooden floor, approaching, could be heard. John tested his jaw and found it still moved, at least they did not break his jaw.
“Ya fucked up this time, didn’t ya John?” Said a familiar voice but John couldn’t place it in his rattled state. He tried looking up but his head was still spinning.
“What did I do?” He choked out. Yes, a mouth full of blood and at least one tooth knocked out.
“Oh come now John, let’s not play this game.”
“Please, I don’t know what you think I did. I was out..” He was kicked.
“John… John, that is enough. Lies will just make it worse. You were seen helping that downed pilot. That is treason to help them. You know the Party takes a dim view of this. Especially in light this pilot was part of the attack against the city.”
Fighting to calm himself. “Please, I was out looking for the pilot, like I was supposed to but I didn’t find anyone. I.. I… Please believe me.” He heard his wife start to sob. His son was moaning “No”. He was starting to lose it too.
Sighing, the unrecognized man directed his men to lift John. He was almost beyond fight at this point.
“John this war is not going to be won by being nice to the other side. They choose this path. I believe you thought you were doing good but we can not allow these radicals leniency. They tried to steal the election last year and see what it got us?” They started to drag him out the door. The man continued. “Cooperate with us and I will try to put in a good word for your wife and son.”
His wife yelled. “How could you?”
John snapped at that moment, his sobbing stopped as the last strength came forth. The accusing tone of his wife drove him crazy. He knew they would get the truth out of him but his family would never know it. The truth to his family is all that mattered.
Planting his feet, he pushed one handler into the door hard, forcing him to loosen his grip. Then he violently shook off the other man. Turning back into the house, he looked pass the man, who was going for his gun.
To his wife and son. “It was our daughter. My God, I couldn’t turn her in.”