Thursday, 1 May 2008

On......the bizarre incarceration of Ra'id Tajudeen Hussain


I awoke blind to the stench of urine and sweat, not knowing where I was or how I came to arrive there. I tried to move but my enclosure was miniscule and my legs, cramped as they were, bounced off the walls of my cell.


I was in a crouching position and movement of any kind was a remarkable effort.


I called out but no sound was distinguishable to my ears. I was either deaf or mute. Or both. I knew then that I was under incarceration and this small, dark, humid place was to be my cell. I had been deprived of all my senses. But wait.....no.......I had my hearing still. I could just about make out, from some great distance, a ticking sound, thumping, rhythmic. Like a bomb. The ticking was at times loud, more urgent, closer, imminent. At others it was faint, steady, distant, but ever present.


I feared for my safety, for my survival, my base instincts wishing to thrive and continue existence despite my desolate environs. I could do nothing for now but sleep.........


I awoke to loud noises from outside the cell. Again I cried out but again my voice died on utterance. I tried to discern the noises, to give them meaning, to understand who my captors were and what they wanted with me. All attempts to understand were futile. The language they spoke was foreign to me. Again tiredness overwhelmed and sweet sleep embraced me.


As I grew stronger I began to grow more aware of my surroundings. The cell was largely dark and devoid of any discernible doors or windows. On occasion, the cell would be partly illuminated with a faint, dull glow, like a great light from beyond was trying desperately to force its way in. The walls seemed soft, padded and worryingly seemed to move occasionally in constrictions, as they had a life of their own.


I was kept alive intravenously. A long tube was attached to me and the other end extended somewhere beyond the walls of my confines. Many times I would lie awake to try and hear a sound to see how this tube was replenished with food and nutrients. Each time I would sleep and fail in any attempt to make contact with my captors. Perhaps the nutrients that came through the tube also contained overpowering sedatives. In any case the tube was my only means of sustenance and I was reluctant to tamper with it.


I was left largely in silence and for many months the only consultation I had was with my own thoughts and memories. I had somehow grown accustomed to this place. I was getting stronger each day and I knew that I was being kept alive for a reason. The voices I heard outside the prison assured me that there was some sort of life out there in spite of my solitary confinement. Through my own imagination or perhaps even in reality, I felt that the voices would sometimes address me, speaking calmly, gently, and even lovingly. At other times the voices would be a series of loud yelps and exclamations. I felt that I had a friend on the other side, perhaps they were even fellow prisoners. There was one voice in particular which I began to find pleasurable. Despite the babble it would always be there. It was the voice of a female. There were times when I would go into great distress and kick and flail wildly in desperation and discomfort. Even at those times of anguish, I could hear the voice and it would return me to the placid, dormant state that had become a predominant sentiment in my institutionalised solace. So many times I wished I could regain my vocals and master her tongue so that we could communicate. I desperately wanted to meet this voice that had become a companion these past few months.

The cell reduced in size each day. Little daemons would come at night to silently remove small blocks that would constrict the space. I knew this for each time I slept I would feel movements within the cell and yet there were no physical presence when I awoke.

It is true that those in captivity will, over a period of time, begin to feel a certain attachment to the prison that holds them. After a while I thought less of my previous life, its incandescent lights and perpetual joys. The truth is I even forgot altogether what it felt like to be free. All I had now was darkness and voices and I had begun to cherish these two nebulous things. Even the movements and vibrations within my cell no longer frightened me. They were now a part of me. I felt safe and comfortable, no longer caring who my captors were

It is one of life’s injustices that at the apogee of comfort, there shortly arrives discomfort. The vibrations (were they earthquakes?) grew more uncomfortable and more periodic. Each time those lifelike walls would tighten and close and squeeze. I felt that I must surely be the subject of some cruel experiment but wait........there was a light in the distance. Not a faint hum of a thing but a distinct glimmer. There it was, it grew brighter and it drew me closer. Suddenly, and without warning, the light revealed a door. There had always been a door! But it had been sealed shut. It was now opening to whom? To what? A paralysing fear gripped me and I did not want to leave my cell but those vibrations were getting worse; they were expelling me from my dungeon and into the light. Gloved hands grabbed me around my head and pulled me roughly towards the great light. A great blade shimmered above my stomach and cut away at the intravenous tube that had been my saviour. I wished to return to my prison. This world was too cold, too exposed, too...........light.

I opened my lungs and I spoke for the first time in 9 months. I asked for food and for water. I complained about the cold. I begged for return to the darkness as the light hurt my eyes. My voice had returned and therefore I screamed and screamed. And then I was placed into a shawl and ignobly carried and placed into the arms of one of the captors. The captor spoke and it was her. The voice that soothes. My eyes still refused to focus properly in this new light but I could just about make out her figure and she was looking at me and smiling. I stopped my complaints and suddenly I felt very safe again. This was my mother, Halima Hussein, and she was to name me Ra’id Tajudeen.



The Bizarre Incarceration of Ra’id Tajudeen Hussein

68 comments:

Ms. Catwalq said...

awwwww

dang, i wonder if all babies feel that way...

but not to go off on a tangent but it's thought such as this that people hold on to in advocacy of pro life...

Ms. Catwalq said...

Fuck!!!!

I am first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and second!!!!!!!


yeah!!!!

I will like to thank...myself

Charizard said...

O r u serious? hehehehehe...had em going there...I never looked at being born from this perspective b4...All the while I was asking myself doesnt this guy have any previous memories...

UndaCovaSista said...

"...There were times when I would go into great distress and kick and flail wildly in desperation and discomfort. Even at those times of anguish, I could hear the voice and it would return me to the placid, dormant state that had become a predominant sentiment in my institutionalised solace..."

I love they way you describe the mother-baby bond...made me feel all warm and fuzzy (and broodier than i already am. Yeah. Thanks for that!):)

@catwalq - i dont think you're going off at a tangent cos the exact same thoughts were going through my mind as i read

My (rather simplistic some might say) take on the matter is how can something that grows, breathes, feels, hears etc not be considered a life? The very word embryo means literally 'that which grows'
Of course i note that there are other angles to the debate and other factors that are taken into account before a woman chooses to keep a baby or not, but that's my take.

The Bizarre Incarceration of Ra'id Tajudeen Hussain - BIRTH. Nice...

Anonymous said...

This story reminded me of the Austrian Cellar horror. Everything I see, read or hear seems to bring it back to my mind.

Even we who are not victims are traumatised by it will need much healing.

Jaycee said...

Lolll...at first I thought u were describing the last days of Saddam Hussein...then I realized it was describing the day a soul was born into the world...

Beautiful description of incarceration. Yeah, bizarre too...

Nonesuch said...

Brillant! Simply Brillant!bravo!!i'm standing and clapping and typing at the same time. I know say one day you will be GREAT.

Fantastic writing.I need to read it again.

Nonesuch said...

I'm back.

The constant ticking like a bomb was mother's heart beat. The long tube ... the umbilical cord. Good you didnt tamper with it. You grew bigger so the cell...womb became smaller.The vibrations... braxton hicks or was it contractions the onset of BIRTH.

Thank God you opened your lungs cos that the reason you were captured in the 1st place.

Brillant post.

Afolabi said...

WOW...this is a masterpiece!! Atutu. Please send it out to as many literary magazines or journals, if it hasn't already been published.
I initially thought you were describing a real prisoner Raid Tajudeen Hussain whose first incarceration was in his mother's womb. I googled the name (not too smart...I know)

Naapali said...

A very frightening and unsettling peek into where we all came from and have been denied return (in spite of the best efforts of many men).

Naapali said...

I forgot to mention I was deeply affected by it.

@UCS
- trust u to decipher the code.

UndaCovaSista said...

@naapali - you're welcome..

geisha said...

i was that trapped being for a while there. pictures, pictures...

Zephi Fahrenheit said...

gosh I am so slow..I was actually thinking of sadaam hussien..and I was wondering if he had life sustaining tubes attached to him when he was hiding in the cave and if his mother directed the US soldiers to where he was hiding...I kid you not..its laughable now

when I saw catwalq's and the rest of the other bloggers comment it all started coming together...

and its absolutely brilliant
bring me to this...we get use to our discomforts that they become normal...and the comforts we yearned for become strange..

Ekoakete said...

Brilliant stuff! Well done Atutu. I must say I didn't see that one coming. One of those pieces that take on a completely different meaning on the second read. Wonderful!

bumight said...

first thought "is atutu's name ra'id Tajudeen Hussain?"
I agree this is another way to look at the issue of birht, albeit a frightening one.

@catwalq: so are u post-Life? ask afrobabe for the meaning!

omidanbellafricaine said...

Brilliant and vivid, blows my mind. Copied and pasted it into my files on my computer do you mind? I should have asked first I know.

omidanbellafricaine said...

I'm mad that i just discovered your blog. SIgh so much to catch up on

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

men, to imagine that is what we all probably go through....

Carlang said...

Lovely piece.
I've always wondered how my first nine months were. Now I've been given an intresting insight.

Love the way you wrote it Atutu.
You really should hurry up and publish something.

@ Catwalq:I'm niether for or against abortions.
Just as i'm neither in support or against the eventuality of wars.

Both involve the slaying of a life to save another's or it's way of living.

'Yar Mama said...

Fantastic writing. Very original and totally captivating. Nice blog, will certainly become ' a relative that you can't get rid off'.

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ Cat: Yeah I think are certainly times when the infant feels a bit scared and trapped. As you say life is life regardless of the stage of maturity. There are sadly times when abortions are a medical necessity however it is something worth thinking about for the majority of cases where it is not.
P.S: Gonna read your entries in the next few days and will let you know what I think. Fingers crossed 

@ Charizard: Hehehehe. Gotcha

@ UndaCova: Ehn u are broody ke? I am watching this space with great interest. I agree. It is life from the moment the embryo is formed. However for many people making the decision it is somehow easier to believe that it is not.

@ Anon: The story was partly informed by my imagining of the horrors that the younger children would have experienced in that dungeon. Sadly even when even death calls for that monster there will remain his sickening legacy. The evil that men do lives after them...

@ Jaycee: Thanks me dear. I had wanted to ambush the reader’s expectations a bit by using an Islamic sounding name and went one step further by using Hussein as the surname. It is a cheap trick I know but hopefully by the end one can compare the images they had formed of the prisoner at the beginning with what the character at the end.

@ Nonesuch: I’m glad you enjoyed it. I particularly like when you say that “that is why you were captured in the first place” I had not really looked at it like that before.

@ Afolabi: Thanks dude. I will take your advice. LOL @ googling RTH

@Naapali: We try and we try but our visits post-birth are always temporary. Thanks for reading bro. Your comments are always very appreciated as you know.
P.S Have finally read Taxi Driver/ Mich and Ont and made a few notes along the way which I will send to you this week after consultation with the other editors. In a nutshell, great premise but needs some fine tuning. Great climax and ending. My plans for you are almost realised my son but as I said there is still work to be done.

@ UCS: You codecracker you.

@ Geisha: You definitely were geisha. You definitely were.... Thanks for reading luv

@ Zephi: As I said to charizard.........gotcha. Your point about getting used to our discomforts is true. I hate to refer to it again but the Austrian cellar case is an example in which Elizabeth, the poor daughter, would have actually slowly grown to accept her torture as normal and perhaps even abandoned all hopes of escape. Scary stuff.

@ Eko: Thanks for reading bruv. If I could get you to read a second time with a different eye than job’s a good un!

@ bumight: If only my name sounded so cool.......... Yes I think it is a bit frightening but there is no denying that the child in the womb is frightened at varying times during it’s time there.

@ omidanbellafricaine: Thanks for reading. No I don’t mind at all. Catch up as much as you can please and let me hear your views.

@ solomonsydelle: I tell you my sister. Is it any wonder that we are all fighters deep within?

@ carlang: Thanks for reading maestro. We are working on the publication issue starting with our little project. I have finished reading your story and as I said to Naapali I am sending you a short commentary on it. It is quite marvellous I have to say but I am fuming that you did not meet the deadline for that second story u promised. Have u started it? Perhaps I could pull a few strings......

fantasy queen said...

shiiiiit!!!!

i sorta feel like maybe i did actually feel like this those nine months of darkness and loneliness...this makes me thin that twins have it good, triplets have it better and quadraplets....damn, they musta have a ball...lol

great play there, and for once i didnt get the gist before the gist was unveiled.

UndaCovaSista said...

*with fists on hips and steely glare* Atutu, why on earth does that surprise you so much?!

Allied said...

Very lovely... I wrote something about that but out of the womb experience...
http://allied-genesis.blogspot.com/2007/08/bondage.html

J Adamthwaite said...

Nice!

I really didn't expect the twist; you've pulled this off really well. And the ending is just lovely.

Lighty said...

wow!!!!!!!! this is sooooo beautiful.

i av tried on numerous occasion to write a poem based on this but not quite made it to the desires of my heart.

i am so jealous u pulled it off in a writeup. arghhhh! i hate u.


wow! this is good. well done.

its so fantastic that one would never think it was a mother/child situation until the very end. i loveeee it, and i hateee u 4 writing it.

Afrobabe said...

Wow...I am still waiting for a published copy of all this brilliance...

I swear i wont borrow a copy...will buy one..

nice work...

Naapali said...

waiting with bated breath and trepidation for your editorial whupping!

Toluwa Lase said...

was quite confused in the begining..and then..it hits me...i was probably feeling the same way b4 i was born.

I luv'd it!

Ms. Catwalq said...

Atutu dear, don't mean to start something here....

@Bumight: I am pro-choice. Simple. I believe that two souls cannot inhabit the same body and that life begins upon the first breath outside of the mother. Thus, I do not consider it murder....

@Carlang:My response is the same as above. If I want an abortion, I am having one. And I'd vote to have it legalized too...

That said, I enjoyed the post.

theicequeen said...

awww, thatrs beautiful,brilliant, fabulous..in erry way, the writing, the meaning...hmm, makes you think, you know? goood stuff!

and the life/notlife thread going on..mehn, personally, i fink the embryo is a life already formed..and shouldnt be bullied or considered irrelevant cuz its little, a life is a life..a human life at that..thts my take tho.

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ Fantasy queen: Very good. You are usually good at rumbling these twists. How body na? I have not heard from you in that ‘other place’

@ Undacova: My love you have stared into the eyes of unbridled expectation and you have confused it with surprise. Unbridled expectation demands an apology.

@ Allied: Quite brilliant. Your take on it is even more rewarding for the reader.
@ J Adamthwaite: Many thanks for reading. I do enjoy a good twist ending but I must admit that it can sometimes be a bit sensationalist.
@ Lighty: Hehehehe. Hate you too my Yorkshire lass. Hate you too.......
@ Afrobabe: I am pleased to hear that. Support your fellow writers so that my sheedrens go feet chop.
@ Naapali: Not a whupping I assure you bros. Far from it.
@ Toluwa lase: Thanks so much for reading. I am glad you enjoyed it
@ Ms Catwalq: So you wanna be startin somethin, so you wanna be startin something......... Fourth and Serenity. Mii likey as Kafo would say
@ theicequeen: Thanks so much for reading. I side with you on the issue that life begins pre-birth but I concede that people must be allowed to make the choice.

fantasy queen said...

lol' would take the first flight to that 'other place' tomorow.

UndaCovaSista said...

Hey! Are we to accept this as the new and improved Atutupoyoyo? The one that responds to comments on his posts? Hmm. Whatever epiphany you experienced on your road trip must have been really special (lol!)

A thousand apologies, unbridled expectation. My bad...

AlooFar said...

Damn, this should be published in New York Times.

How U?

Barbarella123 said...

This i must say is absolutely brilliant writing!! I was totally engrossed in it till the very end...

Lolu Kush (Afronuts) said...

Dang!

You wrote this or u copied it?

Awesome piece of work! The suspense that carried thru to the revelation, was cool!

Nonesuch said...

Update Broda

Lolu Kush (Afronuts) said...

Oh...now i see why u loved this line in aloofar's 'what if' poetry

'What if the womb is our grave
and the grave is but the cocoon pregnant with life?'

get it?

guerreiranigeriana said...

*stands and applauds loudly, then faints*...you completely floored me with this piece!!!...unbelievably well written or should i say crafted?...never would have fathomed you were speaking of life in the womb prior to birth...just amazing...something students should read in their literature classes and discuss...bravo, bravo!!!...

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ fantasy queen: You already did now. Abi make I expose you?

@ Undacovasista: It was something of an epiphany wasn’t it. Either that or this is alien mind control.

@ AlooFar: My broda I dey o. I really enjoyed your last post particularly the stance you took on the subject. The fascists must not win o!

@ Barbarella: Thanks so much for reading. I genuinely

@ Afronuts: 100% mine bros. Yeah that Aloofar’s line was tight. It really links in to this post well.

@ Nonesuch: I am trying o my sister. Doing some major editorial work at the minute for the short story project.

@ guerreiranigeriana: Hey girl how u dey? Thanks for reading hun. Still working on that commentary. You ought to get it by tomorrow.

Jaja said...

This is ingenious!

See, all am missing sitting in that Yenegoa...

Let me read again. Baba...

Smaragd said...

WOW! that was an ABSOLUTELY fantastic piece! i am stunned at the ability to turn life in the womb into such a story! I marvel at that Atutu.

beautiful!

Smaragd said...

p.s.
what, pray tell, do the demons stand for that came at night? food? or more semen being poured in? (pardon the crudeness)

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ Jaja: Welcome from the hinterlands my dear brother. I done miss u well well.

@ smaragd: Thank you so much for reading. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes INDEED you are the first person to point out that these other "demons" were in fact sperm that was trying to invade the womb. The naive embryo does not realise that he is growing everyday and thinks that it is the sperm cells that are reducing the size of his "prison"

naijalines said...

First time here. Enjoyed reading your piece with the 'array of imagery' and twists n' turns. Also loving the creativity behind the title.

BTW, Catwalq's pro-choice argument is so well put:
" I believe that two souls cannot inhabit the same body and that life begins upon the first breath outside of the mother. Thus, I do not consider it murder...."

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Just checking in, Uncle 'tutu

Nigeriansummit said...

Very nice.

Jaycee said...

Update! (lol)

TheAfroBeat said...

BRILLIANT!!! You had me going there for a bit...thinking it was some poor man locked in guantanamo who was somehow able to live to tell the tale.

Good one!

The Indecent One..... said...

Dayuum! Very interesting read...

U wrote it or u copied and pasted?? :p

Very nice...I likes!

ablackjamesbond said...

Fantastic! I loved this!

cally-waffybabe said...

wow have i've missed your blog and naapali's. all your intelligent, infectious writings...

this made me feel a l'il squeamish though as it brought back some child birth memories (story for another day)...

yeah i know i've been MIA and i'm going back to that status. you may find out why some day. hehehe...

hugs

xxx

Waffarian said...

Why, did I think you were a premature baby in that premature thingy they keep them in? I forget the name...it had a short form...anyway, I could just see a little child born too early in that glass thingy...for some reason I can not begin to think that the baby is just being born...don't ask me why...my imagination took on a whole other route with blue lights and IVs, and heavy feet coming to check on the baby...and the nurses...

I think it is because as a child, i used to wander in and out of the nursery in the hospital my mum worked in and one of my favourite things to do was talk to the premature babies cos my mum said they needed lots of love and talking to....I always used to wonder how they felt being outside before their time...when they could have been all warm and cozy in their mummy's bellies.... damn, too many memories...letting this go.

Ms. Catwalq said...

go and check ur email and act right jooo

Waffarian said...

Incubator...thats the word I was looking for...

Pink-satin said...

wow!!!well written!

Porter deHarqourt said...

u've done it again

Ms. Catwalq said...

please put up your logo and flier...

Mommy said...

wow...I am lost for words...

omidanbellafricaine said...

okays its been over 18 days since your last post (yes i've been counting) update already

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

just checking in...

Afrobabe said...

update this place jare...wettin dey do u sef...

Afrobabe said...

Hey, I wrote mine on the 13th...u wrote on the first...who suppose update first??

Update jare!!!

Shubby Doo said...

this is very creative writing indeed...your descriptions of the heartbeat, to the contractions, to the invasion of the daemons were so apt.

the location of the intravenous tube was a clue...it should have made me realise sooner...also the one calming voice of the female should have clinched it...i should have seen that this was not a person in prison but a child in it's mother's womb...but yet...still I didn’t not understand immediately.

I loved the fact that everything is there if you look closely enough yet somehow you have manage to hide the true meaning till the end...

ah22 this is really good...

Tell me what is “this previous life...” with “...its incandescent lights and perpetual joys”...it sounds like a haven...it sounds like my version of heaven

khasiat sarang semut said...

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Buah Merah Papua
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