The exchange: John Striker
The exchange was set to happen this morning. We met up with Don Pablo's men in the cathedral, handed them the briefcase filled with bills that we coated with tracer dye, and then met them at the SUV outside. And from the SUV, they pulled out the banker's daughter. Her mouth was duct taped shut. She was wearing a long dress, with long sleeves, in the same outfit she was last seen in before she was taken. Her hands were cuffed behind her back, and a dog collar was fastened around her neck. Don Pablo's men led her towards us using a leash attached to her collar. She hobbled towards us gingerly. It was clear she was in pain, and that her brief time with the Mexican Cartel had been rough. I didn't understand the reasoning behind why she was bound, or why she was gagged, or why we had to walk five miles on foot from the cathedral to the drop off zone near the airport. But that's what they wanted us to do. It was Mr. Karlovic's daughter, and we were getting paid a shit ton of money to get her back home to him, so we could not fuck up. We did as we were told. Word was, was that the Cartel had caught wind of Mr. Karlovic cooperating with the DEA. Feeding them information. So they retaliated by capturing his daughter. Took her to Mexico. She was gone for days. But then we heard back from them. That she was alive. And they were ready to give her back.
It was a long five mile walk up a dusty and poorly maintained path from the cathedral to the private airport runway. A hour into our walk and we had gone for barely half a mile. We were moving at a snail's pace. It wasn't any of us. Everyone had shoes on. It was her. They made her walk barefoot. But it wasn't just that. Something else was going on, and she was clearly in a great deal of pain. If she slowed her pace, Don Pablo's men would tug at her collar and shock her butt with a cattle prod. I was unarmed, but if I had a gun, I might have shot those assholes dead right there. Sorry bastards should have know better than to hurt a little girl. She hobbled gingerly on her feet, and wobbled unsteadily from side to side, the entire way there. It pained and disturbed me to think about what may have happened to her, but I tried not to think about it. We just needed to get her on the damn plane, and headed towards the States. Man. This was going to take all day…
My first day: Miguel Santos
I had always played the robber when I was kid playing 'cops and robbers.' For as long as I remembered, I had always wanted to be in the Cartel. My family was poor. We were going nowhere. This was the only future for us. We had all heard of the stories of glory and adventure, of the gun running and firefights. The Cartel was where we could be free, we thought, and of course to make big money in the process. So I signed up. No brainer, right? They took me in immediately. Said they knew my cousin, who recommended me. Of course, I didn't want to let them down. Or my cousin (we all had a cousin in the Cartel). They told me on my first day that I had a very important job. I was going to be a cameraman for a very important movie. Wow, I thought. This was different than what I had expected. I had thought maybe I would be on guard duty. Maybe they would start me off light and have me guard like a stash of weed. But whatever. I was eager to please. I wanted this job bad. I showed up on my first day, and they handed me a pretty fancy handheld camcorder. HD and everything. Great audio too. I was told we were going to start right away. No kidding, huh?
They brought in a girl. Tiny thing. Very pretty. Looked American. She had light brown hair, blue eyes, creamy skin. She looked frightened. Start recording, they barked at me. So I did. I didn't know what was going to happen next. But it shook my very soul. They stripped her naked and taunted her. Make sure you get all of this action, Miguelito, they shouted. There were about a dozen of them, surrounding her. I knew a couple of them from my neighborhood. I knew I had to do everything I was told. At first I didn't want to let them down, or my cousin, or my neighborhood. But I started to feel scared. I got the feeling if I didn't do what I was told, that maybe something bad was going to happen to me. Or my family. They knew everyone in my family. I had a bad feeling about what was going to happen next, but I just kept filming. I think I was more scared than anything else. I was too scared to stop.
She looked so ashamed. I just knew she had never been naked before in front of others. The men jeered at her. They slapped her in the face. They grabbed her nipples and twisted them. She shrieked. They grabbed her ass and squeezed hard. Pushed her onto the floor and yanked her back up on her feet by her hair. Puta americana, they yelled, as they groped and slapped her face, breasts, and even her pussy. She was sobbing. And then a few of them started to undo the buttons on their trouser. They took turns raping her. Miguelito, they would yell, get her face! Get her face! Make sure you record her crying. Are you close enough to where you can see the tears? Miguelito! Miguelito! Get a shot of her pussy, man! Look at that! It's oozing blood. You see that cream? That's my cum, man! I still got plenty of that where that came from!
They took turns violently raping her on the concrete floor. We were in a warehouse, so her screams really echoed within the walls. Every now and they shouted at me to zoom in on her pussy or her asshole, or her face. After an hour or two, the floor around her was smeared with streaks of blood and semen. Her thighs themselves were lined with interconnecting streams of dried clotted blood. Hey Miguelito, you should get in on this action, man! No, man, I'm good, I said. Are you a faggot, Miguelito? What's wrong with you man, you don't wanna have fun with us? No, I'm good, man, I said. I'm just here to do my job, man. Hey if you're a faggot Miguel, you can do her in the ass. Just close your eyes and pretend she's a boy. She's pretty tight in both holes, but she's even tighter now than she was before. You think it's because she likes it, Miguelito? You sure you don't want in on this, Miguelito?
I could tell that she was swollen from the brutality and cruelty of the rapes, and if it had hurt to begin with, well it sure as hell was probably hurting more and more as this never ending gang-rape went on. And it went on. For hours. The sound of skin slapping on skin was endless. The grunts from the men. The grunting and moaning from the girl, who was now too tired to scream. I wasn't doing anything but filming, and I was already getting exhausted. But it got worse. When they were done raping her (it seemed like forever, since several of them had a multiple rounds with her), they strung her up from ceiling, upside down, with her legs pulled wide apart from separate ropes. They cuffed her hands and hung a metal weight from the center of the chain linking the cuffs together. One of them brought back a broom with a wooden handle, and another brought a metal wire coat hanger. The broom handle was snapped, leaving only three feet of its wooden handle to use. The wire coat hanger was unwound and straightened, leaving about two and a half feet of thin wire. They took turns whipping her with the wire and beating her with the wooden handle. You could tell she was exhausted, though when the metal wire sung through the air with a hiss, and cut through her delicate skin, she screamed, as tiny droplets of blood sprayed into the air. When the wooden handle struck her flesh, bruising deeply the muscles in her limbs, she grunted and made guttural noises like a wild animal being gutted alive. When one man tired from the swinging, another would replace him. They spared no part of her, save her neck and face. They beat her arms and shoulders, her back and chest. Her belly. Her ass. Her thighs, calves, and even the soles of her feet. They struck with particular ferocity and frequency her genitals and breasts, as these seemed to produce the most rejuvenated and agonizing cries. When they were done, her creamy white skin had turned into a fearsome pattern of criss-crossing deep purple bruises and angry red, bleeding welts. I think probably the most disturbing moment was when one of the men noticed she was urinating over herself. He called me over to get a close-up of the piss leaving her swollen pussy, and capture its flow as it traveled down her torso, mixing with the blood that clung to her skin. I captured in great detail on my camera as the piss slithered down towards the floor up her neck, soaking her hair, and dripping, forming a salmon-colored pool of liquid just under her head. I felt like I had lost my humanity at that point.
And this was just the beginning, they said.
The exam: Amanda Drake
I was getting paid a lot of money to be this rich banker's doctor. But that day, I wasn't getting paid nearly enough. I got a call from Mr. Karlovic that he needed me to fly a plane to Mexico (Hell no, right?) to conduct a brief medical exam there and to make sure someone was safe and well. As I prepared to tell him 'hell no,' he told me just how much he was willing to pay me to do this just one favor for him. Half a million dollars, in cash, no questions asked. And just for a few days. Holy shit. Now that's not a sum of money that I could ignore. So I went to Mexico.
When I arrived, I waited at a small private airport, in a small room, with a tiny examination table. I think my heart melted when I first saw her walk in. I knew her. It was Mr. Karlovic's daughter, Anna. I had seen her before, for various coughs and colds, at their home visits. But something was direly wrong. First off, she was handcuffed, collared, with duct tape around her mouth. She hobbled into the room, clearly in a great deal if pain, grimacing with every step, with every motion. As she very slowly and gingerly (and with a great deal of moaning) approached the exam table, the men who accompanied her uncuffed her, removed her collar, and ripped off the duct tape covering her mouth.
I had Karlovic's man (a Mr. Striker, he introduced himself as), help me help her onto the examination table. It was then that my day full of horrors began. I can't, she said softly, lips trembling. Can't what, sweetie, I asked. I can't get on the table. Why not, I asked? I can't sit down, she said. Sweetie, what's wrong? And it was at that point that she pulled her dress up, revealing a long plastic white handle protruding from her vagina, and what appeared to be stems or leaves of some sort protruding from her anus.
I don't think I should be here, I could hear Mr. Striker say behind me. Neither should I, I responded. I'm going to leave, he said. No, I said. I might need your help. I certainly wasn't going to let Mr. Striker leave me with these other men along in the room with the girl. Sweetie, I said to Anna. What did they do to you? I got nothing back from her. She stared tremulously back at me, tears streaking down her face, and seemed to look past me, with these barren, forlorn eyes. This poor girl was beyond traumatized. Her entire body was tremulous. I then turned my anger to the men who brought her here. What did you do her, I screamed. You monsters! We're going to need to take her to an operation room! This isn't something we can handle here in this room! Their response? A pistol blow to my head. No operating room they said. No anesthesia. You get her ready to go home right now.
With blood streaming down my face, and one hand holding a towel stifling the blood pouring from my laceration on my forehead, I took her vitals. These men were monsters. Her blood pressure was low. She had probably lost a lot of blood, from whatever she had to endure these past few days. She needed IV fluids. So I started a line. I dressed her wounds. When she was done, she looked more like a mummy than a patient, wrapped with gauze and ointment. But when I got to the objects lodged in her, I panicked. The right answer would have been to leave everything in. But I myself was so traumatized from the moment, that I wasn't thinking clearly. I felt this urgent need to remove whatever was inside of her. What's in her, I asked? The sick monsters just chuckled. How do you expect me to take these things out? Pull, they said, laughing in my face again. So in the heat of the moment, I had Mr. Striker hold her down. Open you legs, sweetie. My heart sank as I tugged gently, but the plastic handle wouldn't budge. I tugged harder, and harder. I don't know what came over me. The poor girl moaned in agony. Her opened thighs shook like jello. Maybe it was morbid curiosity. My own vagina ached, and my feminine spirit crushed, as I pulled harder and harder. To my relief, the object did start to slide out, despite significant resistance. When I removed it, it was covered in blood, and in my horror I identified the object. It was a toilet brush.
We did the same ritual for the object in her anus. I pulled and pulled. It was incredible how large it was. It was really lodged inside there. How they even got it in is a mystery to me, but finally, in a sickening sucking sound, I finally pulled the vegetable – a fairly large turnip – out. Carved into, and lodged deep in the flesh of the bulbous root, with only a small tip of it showing, was a flash drive.
The password: Chris Kramer
It was just me and him. We were sitting inside his conference room. It was a little dark, cold. Nobody was really in the mood to change the settings on the AC. His daughter was OK, they said. They were really hush hush about the details. I demanded to know the details. I wanted to make sure she was safe. That she was OK. She's on a plane, they said. She's in stable condition. Dr. Drake is with her, but so are Don Pablo's men. There's a video they want Mr. Karlovic to watch in its entirety with pieces of a password intermittently placed within the video feed that they'll stream over once the plane has landed. Mr. Karlovic himself has to be the one to give them the correct password, letter by letter, and they will only stream the video once. Only then will they release her, alive.
And so we waited for Mr. Striker's call.
He said nothing initially for a few seconds when I picked up. There's a flash drive we have here, sir, he said. It's got the video. We'll play it on our end, and it'll stream to your laptop. We waited for a few minutes. It's connected now, he said. Go ahead and see if the video plays.
The video began to play.
If I wasn't there, Mr. Karlovic would have never gotten his daughter back. He left the room five minutes into the video. He left as soon as they stripped her naked. I don't blame him. But that left me with the near impossible task and responsibility of watching every single minute of the video. I couldn't stop. I couldn't take a break. Pieces of the password intermittently flashed onto the screen. I wrote them down, letter by letter.
'M.' I watched as the poor girl was raped mercilessly by man after countless man. The video flashed forward. I. I watched as they beat her body with a wooden handle, and a wire hanger. 'R.' I watched as they struck her genitals over and over again, sending the girl into howling fits of screaming and writhing. 'A.' I watched as they forced the girl to perform fellatio on the men. 'D.' And I watched as she hesitated to perform oral sex on their dogs. 'E.' I watched as they found a pair of jumper cables, grabbing the red positive terminal first. On its end was a large alligator clip the size of a fist. And in my horror, I watched them open its horrific jaws, pushing one jagged end into her vagina and the other end into her anus, allowing the two sharp jagged claws to shut, clamping tightly the sensitive flesh in between her two orifices, and sending her into a blood curdling cry. I watched as they attached the black negative terminal to her clitoris, allowing the copper jaws to crush and cut into the most sensitive area on her body. I then watched as they attached the jumper cables to a battery inside the engine of a running care, and as the poor girl, hands bound behind her back, arched her body, and seized violently, kicking her legs chaotically out in every direction every time they revved the engine, louder, and louder. Now let's have her suck our dog's cocks, they shouted in their ravenous and crazed frenzy. When she didn't suck fast enough, they would rev the engines faster, sending more and current through her most sensitive areas. N. I watched as they crushed her nipples next, connecting her breasts to the car battery, and as she mounted every man, raping herself on each of them. I listened in pure horror as they revved the engine, once more, pushing her to thrust her hips up and down faster, and faster. T. I watched as she lost control her of bowels and bladder, due to her abject fear of them (or maybe because those areas were so damaged) while she raped herself on their members, further aggravating her already severely bloodied and wounded orifices on these men. Upset that she got urine and feces on them, they simply punished her with harsher beatings, and more electricity to her nipples, her genitals, her tongue, her ears, her fingers and toes, and her armpits. R. And finally, I watched as they forced a large dirty toilet brush into her vagina, twisting, and angling the brush as they pushed, so as to maximize the pain of its entry. Where are we going to put the video, one man asked. I have an idea, another man said. I watched them grab a large turnip, and with a knife whittle out a little hole at its tip, pushing into it a small object, which appeared to be a flash drive. Get her ready while we load the video, the men said in Spanish. I watched as two men held her down, with another man pulling her buttocks wide apart, exposing her bloodied anus. And then finally, the last letter. O. Just before video stream ended. This innocent young girl. What did she ever do to deserve this fate?
I rushed to find Mr. Karlovic, defeated, head slumped over on the couch outside the room. Sir, I said, the password is (and I spelled it out for him) M-I-R-A-D-E-N-T-R-O.
We made the conference call. He gave them the password, letter by letter. And they released poor little Anna. What was it you saw, he asked me. I could tell it took him a lot of courage to even ask. I did not dare answer him. Sir, I said. All that matters is you have your daughter back. I made a frown. I furrowed my brow. Where did the video come from, he asked again. No idea, sir, I said. I knew where the video came from.
At least tell me what those letters meant, he said to me. I could tell he was a sad, desperate man. I spoke enough Spanish. What does that mean, he asked again. Having not watched the video, I might not have understood its meaning. But I did. And if you had watched the video, you didn't need to know Spanish, to realize what it meant. Mira Dentro, I said. It means look inside.