"Gerard screamed as a feeling of nausea began to overpower him, increasing in intensity blow after blow."
18. Water Cure
They made him get on his knees. They tilted his head back and placed a pair of pincers on his nose so he could not breathe through his nostrils. His jaw was forced open again, and a funnel was placed over it.
A blackbird brought a pail and a tub of water. The pail had a wedge meant for allowing liquid to pour in a concentrated way. The blackbird dipped the bucket into the tub of water, filling it. He brought it over to Gerard, and slowly he tipped the pail so that the water entered the funnel that was being held in place.
Gerard gagged as he felt the lukewarm water going down his throat. His inability to breathe through his nose was giving him the sensation of drowning. The water was coming down nonstop, the blackbird not retreating the pail until it was emptied.
Gerard tried to cough, but as soon as he began, the blackbird had refilled the bucket and was pouring more into him. Soon enough, Gerard became bloated with water. His stomach was filled with the liquid as it contained little else.
Gerard tried to protest, but they still insisted on another bucket. Gerard felt as though his belly was going to burst. Tears stung at his eyes, but if he did not know any better, he would swear it was simply the water seeping of his eye sockets because there was no more capacity in his body for any more fluid.
Finally they seemed to get the message that he had been filled up. They then laid him down and kicked at him. A blackbird took a wooden stick and struck at Gerard's distended stomach multiple times. Gerard screamed as a feeling of nausea began to overpower him, increasing in intensity blow after blow.
After taking quite a beating, Gerard could not take it anymore. He vomited all over the floor, retching multiple times.
Just as the feeling of relief that comes after vomiting overwhelmed him, they forced him back into the kneeling position. Gerard barely even got any time to catch his breath before they replaced the funnel, and began the process of refilling his belly.
Gerard whimpered, feeling horrified at what they were doing but knowing he was powerless to stop it. They filled him with more buckets until again he could contain no more. Then they would beat him, kick him and hit him until he vomited it out. Then he would be placed into position, and they would repeat.
After the third vomit, Gerard's mouth and esophagus was so lined with bile that the addition of water made it so he merely felt like he was being forced to drink watered down stomach acid.
The feeling of not being able to breathe was beginning to get to him more and more. He just kept drowning...then hurting...then drowning... then hurting...
They kept it up for nearly the entire day. When they were finished with him, they removed the pincers from his nose. Gerard took in a huge breath, then fell back into the lake of vomit that he had spilled onto his floor. He laid there in his own tears, sweat, and vomit --- just breathing. Inhaling...exhaling...inhaling...exhaling... it suddenly felt like the greatest privilege in the world.
One of the blackbirds threw a dirty face towel at him.
"You better clean that shit up." he growled before closing the door behind him.
Next chapter: "I can't see smoke hanging like a noose in the sky. I can't see death lurking, only you and I. We're small cogs in a big machine, wake up son 'cos it's no dream..."