*a gun is cocked in the background, blood is dripping from my mouth and nose, my tears are staining the rag across my eyes, the zipties holding my arms together are bloody from me squirming in them*
"DE NAEM, YUOR RAENK, NUMBAH AN' DE DATE OF BIRFF"
*for the repeated time I feel the cold barrel of some kind of long gun against my cheek*
"CHRISTIAN STEIFEN, CIVILIAN, WAR PHOTOGRAPHER, 23 OF OCTOBER 1992"
*I scream this at the top of my lungs, for the millionth time. It is day 236 of my being captive, the day I will be rescued. At this point in time I do not know this, I dont even know what day it is, I do not know what time it is. 236 days ago I left with the IEDD squad of the 704th Battalion stationed in eastern Afghanistan, to take pictures on a routine mission to clear a civilian road of potential improvised explosive devices. Routine. My father would say, nothing is ever routine. If something becomes a routine, you have to change it to stop yourself from making mistakes. Today was a routine mission and today we made mistakes*
"WHY AR YUO LAIING MISTAH"
*the man talking to me has been the same one for a long time, they swapped out regularly before, but I think they are running out of interrogators*
"CHRISTIAN STEIFEN, CIVIL-
*bang, shooting, screams, distortion, someone grabs me and pulls me across the floor. I repeat the 9 words I have repeated for 236 days over and over again, I cant hear myself talk over the ringing in my ears, I just continue to scream those 9 words. For 236 days I believed those 9 words would save my life and halfway through that day, they did*
"SIR, SIR, STOP SCREAMING"
*somebody is shouting at me in plain english as I feel the sun on my skin*
"SIR, YOU ARE SAFE, THIS IS THE US ARMY"
*I hear something like a helicopter and sand hitting my face like small needles poking me*
"For fucks sake, get him out of the restraints... SIR, MY NAME IS MAJOR MÜLLER, I AM FROM THE BUNDESWEHR, WE HAVE COME TO RESCUE YOU"
*suddenly the zip ties behind my back are removed and my hands fall down to my side like a sack of potatoes. The same instant somebody pulls the rag away from my eyes, and I am immediately blinded by the sunlight of the unforgiving country if Afghanistan*
"My name is Christian Steifen, I am a hobby photographer looking to do some hiking in the mountains and visit the country"
*I am standing at customs and immigration's of the country of Chernarus at the Novigrad national Airport, while a customs officer is questioning me about my stay. I came here to escape my episodes that remind me of those faithful 236 days, I have stopped the war photography and through my book "Two Three Six" I have earned myself enough money to retreat once a year for 1 month. But at that point, I didn't know that my attempt to escape my own insanity would get me into the insanity of a different kind*