Hiwaz Conspiracy Part One: Economist Assassin

A young man named Ahmed returns to Libya after studying economics in the United States. But he’s not here to start a new life in the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Instead, he waits patiently in his hometown of Benghazi. And when the orders come from his contact, he is prepared to move quickly.

Hiwaz was probably somewhere in Tunisia at this point. Through many Libyan nodes, Hiwaz, a remnant of the old military guard before Gaddafi, had recruited them in the States and in Europe. He ushered them to Morocco where they trained for months…unseen, unheard. Slowly, the man began filtering through the Libyan border, and taking positions within the populace. Now they wait…

Weeks pass. His contact is silent, and the abyss of the unknown stretches out in front of him. Until one day Ahmed finally gets word…but too late. Hiwaz is dead, his plans lay in ruins. And the roundup begins. He is unsurprised when they finally show up at his door. He is trussed up and sent off to Tripoli, to the dreaded Abu Salim Prison where he is processed. He waits in the corridor, standing and handcuffed with a bowl of some unidentifiable substance posing as food poised at his feet. He is starving, but he will not eat like a dog.

Days pass, and the guards find him slumped on the floor, bowl untouched. Processing complete, they move him to a cell, where he is soon joined by 14 other doomed souls. News starts to filter in about what happened. Hiwaz and his co-conspirators, attempting to infiltrate through the Tunisian border, were killed in a firefight against the vigilant Gaddafi apparatus. The leader of the Great Socialist People’s Jamahiriya is invincible.

But news of what really happened begins to filter through. As a young man named Zakaria is arrested for the sole crime of sharing the uncommon name with one of the conspirators, another man is ushered into Abu Salim. Word travels from cell to cell in a wave of information. He was with Hiwaz, they whisper.

Weeks sail by, and Ahmed loses precious weight. Deciding that he will observe the month of Ramadan indefinitely, he saves his food for the setting of the sun. The cell network filters in more news. Hiwaz and his cohorts made it through the border. There was a gunfight near Bani Walid. Some were killed. Some were captured.

Next to hapless Zakaria’s cell in an adjacent block, a man who was with Hiwaz is shepherded out of his cell one day, and never seen again. The guards soon tell Ahmed that he and others were hanged publicly back in Benghazi, a serious lesson that the Gaddafi apparatus is well-oiled, and poised for retribution. Suspecting all along that he would be hanged for his part in the conspiracy, Ahmed waits. But they never come.

As the distinguishing lines between the days melt away, the lines of hunger on Ahmed’s shattered body become more pronounced. He feels spears of madness probing his brain, but he resists. He repeats nursery rhymes he learned in the States over and over. When that fails to keep away the darkness, he remembers as many verses from the Qu’ran as he can, and repeats them deep into the stygian nights. They were stopped. They showed them their papers but were brought into the station anyway. Hiwaz was taken in alone to interview about his papers. He carried a gun.

To be continued…

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