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Morning Serial.

Byline: by Peter Shaw

When Serge was on guard duty inside the tent, he took to burning leaves and toilet paper in order to keep the insects at bay. I preferred the smoke to the bites.

Onthe thirddayofmycaptivity, I noticed that Sasha (2) was no longer with us. I suppose this put a greater burden upon my two remaining captors, who now had to guard me inside the tent for some 23 hours per day, as well as the approaches to the tent.

None of us was getting much sleep, and while my thoughts at every waking moment were concerned with my family, and the slim possibility of the authorities finding me, or the chance of an escape, clearly these guys had their own problems. The helicopter flights over the area were becoming more frequent.

Could it be that the authorities were closing in?

Had Sasha (2) gone to negotiate with someone in authority? I sensed that the lack of sleep and the needfor constant alertnesswas getting them down. Thewet nights and hot, mosquito-filled days, were fraying their tempers.

I know not whether they were able to wash outside the tent, but the growth of beard around their mouths indicated they were not shaving. The skin on their faces must have been well irritated, but at no time in my presence did they take off their masks, or place one on me.

There was now virtually no communicationbetween us. Sasha was becoming more and more sullen. He would begin to talk for a few seconds, and then lapse into silence. Any attempt onmy part to converse was met with an abrupt hiss, and a clenched fist under my nose. Sometimes he kicked me, hard.

Itried to communicate with Serge. This took the formof translating simple words like knife, fork, spoon, kettle into Georgian, English andWelsh. It worked to a limited extent, but I could not maintain his interest and after a few minutes, I was invariably hissed into silence. In fairness, he kicked me only once.

On the fourth evening, I tried to explain that I had a stomach problem.

I have genuinely suffered intermittently from indigestion for manyyears, which I've kept at bay by suckingmy way through a tube of Boots indigestion tablets each day. I certainly had no problem with my stomach at that time, probably because I was not eating very much, but I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to feign some sort of sickness. I had to do something.

So Imoaned and groaned inmy camp-bed and indicated, with circular motions of my hand, great discomfort in the stomach. They paid no attention to me. I kept this up all night.No-one had anysleep, and in the morning I pretended I was unable to get out of bed.

They muttered and gesticulated to each other for a few minutes, and then unlocked the handcuff and tried to help me fromthe bed while I writhed and yelled in pretended agony.

Continues tomorrow

Hole: Kidnapped in Georgia, by Peter Shaw (Accent, pounds 7.99)

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Hole: Kidnapped in Georgia
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 12, 2008
Words:513
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