Twenty minutes

The last drops from the shower head were the only perceptible sounds until I heard the racket. It sounded too close for it to come from the neighbour’s upstairs. I thought that the wind had moved the blind from the open window, which at the same time, had moved the lamp from the table or any other item from the desk in the study. Having just showered, I headed for the hallway in shorts. Less than a metre away from me I found the reason of that noise. It was 21.15 pm of Easter Thursday.

A medium built man, short brown hair, brown skinned, stubby beared, black eyes and gloved hands stood in front of me.

The first few seconds were of mutual awareness and analysis of the situation, the aim was to prevent the other’s reactions.

As much as I had tried in various occasions to visualise a similar scene with the intention of planning the most efficient reaction, I never imagined the effect of what the real situation produces. In my case, it was the absolute astonishment- this can’t be happening- added by the utmost fear and I was temporarily paralysed. Two broken fibres in my calf muscle, which had been making me limp from a couple a days before, didn’t help in giving me any kind of self-confidence or security.

Having perceived, I guess, that I didn’t have a serious enemy in front of me, ready for anything, the man came towards me reaching for me with his arm and putting his hand on my head. The gesture seemed to me more like a blessing than a threat.

-Get on the floor-

I thought that if I succumbed to his orders I would be completely at his mercy and I could only think of one clear aim: to cross the hall-way, reach the front door and exit the house to escape while I tried to ask for help.

– Get on the fucking floor you asshole!-

– What do you want? – I was only trying to gain some time-

 In that moment there appeared another man, also brown-skinned, but much stronger.

–     Lie down on the floor right now you son of a bitch and tell us where the money is-

Without demonstrating any kind of aggression, I took his hand off my head, I advanced in his direction and I started a confrontation. They started holding me from one arm, from my hands, legs, my hair and wherever they could get a hold of, but I started escaping from their hands while I advanced slowly but unrelentingly towards the exit.

In occasions I dragged them both along, even though one of them was punching me in the face and ribs. When they saw they couldn’t easily control me, one of them, the strongest one, took out a small knife, he bent down and stabbed me in the inside of my thigh with a near surgical precision. The wound started to bleed profusely and that, joint with the pain from my calf muscles, made me loose my balance instantly. Finally I knelt down on the floor and I was totally at their mercy.

This was followed by them dragging me to my room and sitting me on the bed.

–       Where is the money? The money and your wife’s jewellery.

–       Listen, I have a wallet in the entrance with money. There should be around 400 euros. That’s all I have, I promise.

–       Don´t lie to me you bastard. Give us all the fucking money and the jewellery.

–    Where is your wife’s jewellery?

–       What wife? I don’t have a wife, I’m divorced and I live alone. There is no jewellery and the money is in the entrance, in my wallet. Let´s go and get it.

The wound in my thigh was bleeding more and more by the minute and while one of them forced me to keep still on the bed, the other one searched the room in a hurry. He found the machete that I keep next to my bed, and on the bed-side table he found a knife from the Spanish Armoury, a wedding present, which cuts your breath only by seeing it. My weapons were soon going to turn against me.

–       How cool is this, mate- he said when he found the hunting knife.

He kept the machete and gave the hunting knife to the other guy. They laid me down on the bed and they put the weapons on my face, on my neck, on my throat, all the while they wouldn´t stop asking for the money and the jewellery.

–       Please, Im bleeding very heavily. Let me do a tourniquet otherwise I’m going to die, please, please…-

–       Give us the fucking money you bastard otherwise we kill you right now, give us the money!

I kept pleading with the same answer.

– Let me do a tourniquet on my thigh please, can´t you see how much I´m bleeding?

 In a given moment the small one slapped me in the face, but the other one sat me down, and he let me get hold of my pyjama jacket with which I started to tie up my leg. The strong one stood up and came back quickly with a belt which he tied on top of the tourniquet which I had improvised.

 The one who was searching the room stood up, opened the wardrobes of the room and said:

–       There´s a safety box here-

 They stood me up and took me to the safety box. The least strongest, very disturbed, grabbed it with both hands to try and rip it off the back of the wardrobe.

–       Wait, wait, let him give you the code. Give him the code, come on!

–       Ok, ok, I´ll open it.

They switched the light on, I opened the safety box, they took out an envelope with money inside, a collection of watches, a wallet with foreign money and my Father’s cufflinks. Even though the discoverment had calmed their anxiety, after counting the money, they faced me once again.

–       Where is there more money?

–       I already told you there was money in the wallet on the table next to the front door. Take it and leave, please.

–       Takes us there, what else do you have?

I was exhausted and I didn´t know what to say. I didn´t have any more money or anything valuable that could leave them satisfied.

– There is nothing else other than what you see. Grab whatever you want and leave. Please.

They took me to the front door and they grabbed the wallet with 400 euros

inside and other wallets with credit cards. They pushed me into the

lounge and threw me on the floor. The strongest one was was constantly

holding me and always leaning the knife on a different part of my body while the

other one was moving like crazy grabbing everything that seemed interesting,

an ipod, my laptop, a radio…

Suddenly, the strongest one started saying:

– Quickly, let´s go, hurry, let´s go!

It was in that moment, together with the first few seconds of the encounter, that I felt the real panic.

Their faces were uncovered. I had resisted at the beginning, I had tried to

mislead them by saying I didn´t have money, I made them loose time adding

risk to their actions and they had a knife with a machete that would slide like

butter into any part of my body. And even though the logics and probabilities

were in my favour, honestly, I did not know what was going to happen with my

life in the next few seconds.

I have never felt so scared.

When I finally heard the one who was holding the machete say to the one who was holding me “tie him up”, I was convinced that I still had possibilities of coming out successfully from the story. But I needed medical assistance.

They got hold of some trainers from the wardrobe in the entrance and they tied my wrists with the shoelaces, very strongly, but in such a rush that they left one of my trainers hanging from my right hand.

–       Don´t you fucking move.

It wasn´t hard to do what they told me to. Hand-tied, lying on the floor, I waited until I stopped hearing noise and when I was certain that they had gone I dragged myself towards the kitchen, I got hold of a knife and I cut what was tying me up. Limping, bleeding heavily from the wound, bruised and extremely exhausted, I stood up somehow, I went out the front door, I called three doors and they opened in the last one.

A dog barked, a lady came out.

–       My god, what happened to you, son?

–    Please call 911.

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