Warning: This story includes descriptions of a man being murdered, a woman being choked during sex, then raped, then murdered by hanging. Lethal, non-consensual.
None of us ever talked about it after the war, but I think it should be written down while I still remember so vividly the details of what happened on July 11, 1968 in a small village close to the Cambodian border in Vietnam. That was the night that my squad captured a Vietcong agent responsible for a number of terrorist attacks, including the blowing up of a Saigon club filled with Americans.
We were sent out into the field with orders to find a Vietcong agent who specialized in delivering bombs. Our orders said we were to capture and deliver this person to an ARVN officer, colonel Ng, for execution. The ARVN had been trying to eliminate this enemy agent for a long time and they had claimed authority for the execution.
Army Intelligence has always been an oxymoron, but they had done their work thoroughly in this case. I was surprised when we were shown photographs of the agent, a slender, 28 year-old Vietnamese woman with long hair and a small scar over her left eyebrow. They even told us where we would be most likely to find her.
It took a week to finally snare her, but we surrounded her in a hut where she was busy having intense sex with one of her male counterparts. The man was lying on top of her, fucking her as hard as he could. And he had a belt pulled tightly around her neck while he fucked her.
We could hear her hoarse breath coming out through her wide-open mouth, her head thrown back as far as it would go. The two of them were obviously into it. The poor bastard was close to cumming when sergeant Burkette burst into the hut, followed by Whitmire and Donato, who were both PFC's, and myself. We caught them totally by surprise. He pulled out of her in a fright as we made them stand with hands on their heads.
The woman wasn't bad looking--if any woman living in filth could be said to look good. She had nice tits, small and firm, and she had a flat stomach and she had shaved her pubic hair to a small patch over her mound. She stood there, hands on her head, the belt still wrapped around her neck. This was the right woman though, no question about it. The face, the scar, it was her. She cursed angrily at us. I never learned more than a few words of Vietnamese, so I only recognized the swearing. The Sergeant shoved his gun into her face and said "Shut the fuck up!" She fell silent.
Her sex partner stood equally silently beside her. He still had a semi-erection that jerked every time someone yelled. Suddenly he made a dash for the bed, coming up with a pistol--a US army service revolver. The sergeant shot him immediately. I half expected him to do the same to the woman, and so did she. But he did not.
Instead, he looked at us and said "Let's get her out of here. Tie her hands behind her back, we're taking her to colonel Ng."
"Where is he?" I asked. I had only been briefed on what I needed to know, where to find the woman.
"At the temple," Burkette replied.
We all knew where that was. About two kliks east of our position was a village that was now dead. We'd circled cautiously around it on our way to capture the woman, less than an hour earlier. In the village was a small temple. It was a stone building, tall for such a small village, with a wood shingled roof.
"Why the temple?" Whitmire said. We all wondered the same thing.
"Cause those are our orders" Burkette told us. He slipped her loose robe over her naked shoulders, leaving her bound hands still behind her, but hidden from view.
The sergeant hustled us out of the hut and directly into the forest. He grabbed the belt round her neck so she couldn't run and he led her, like a dog on a leash, the entire two kliks. We kept our guns trained on her. She said nothing. She spoke no English, and seemed not to understand us. It didn't matter. She was our prisoner and she understood that well enough.
A squad of ARVN soldiers stood guard around the temple. They motioned us inside with our prisoner.
Colonel Ng was waiting for us. My first impression was that he was dangerous. A small but powerful man, he had the look of authority that indicated he was in total command there. Whatever he said was law. We were the Americans, the serious military force, but this was his country and we were visitors there in this remote jungle village.
"You have done good work bringing her here. As a reward you may stay and watch the traitor die," he said. He said it as though he was granting us a great honor. The woman made no sign that she understood. I realized that she spoke no English.
"What are you gonna do?" Donato said.
"I am going to hang her," colonel Ng said flatly.
"What?" Donato couldn't believe what he was hearing. He wasn't the only one. I had an immediate urge to get the hell out of there.
"You are not invited to participate," colonel Ng said. "You are only invited to watch. However, you can wait outside if you wish." Clearly he wanted us to stay despite the offer to leave. The man wanted an audience. I believe he really liked executions.
I almost accepted the offer to leave, even if it meant displeasing colonel Ng, but I didn't. The truth is that I knew the woman was under a death sentence. There was nothing I could have, or would have done about it. I just wanted to get home in one piece. Also, I have to admit that the prospect of watching her get hanged had a certain macabre appeal. I had seen people die a lot in Vietnam, and I hate to say that my initial shock over seeing death was greatly dulled. It's a casualty of war, you lose that ability to feel shock over seeing the death of another person, especially a stranger.
Sergeant Burkette pulled us aside and said "Consider it a war experience, boys, the colonel is going to hang her regardless of what we do. And remember, he hasn't invited his own men to watch, just us."
I didn't see what difference that made, but there was no further discussion about it. I guess we were all pretty high on adrenaline after breaking in on the prisoner while she was getting laid. Seeing her lying there naked, being choked with a belt, pumping like mad, and then seeing her partner get shot, it really got us spiked up. I just hoped the execution would be quick so we could get the hell out of there.
Burkette formally handed the prisoner over to colonel Ng, saying "She's all yours, sir."
The colonel removed her robe, revealing her nakedness once again, and led her to a bucket sitting in one corner. He spoke to her in Vietnamese and she started swearing back at him. The colonel yanked the belt around her neck tight and pressed his face up close to hers. Again he spoke to her. I didn't know what he was saying. He grabbed her shoulder and roughly forced her down into an uncomfortable squat over the bucket. He screamed orders at her, and to my surprise she began to shit in the bucket.
I was completely confused, until Burkette whispered in my ear that people empty their bowels when they are hanged. I guess colonel Ng didn't want to make a mess in the Temple, even if it was alright to perform an execution there. It was as logical as anything else in Vietnam.
When she was done, he offered her a piece of newspaper to wipe her ass with. It was the one thing she could do with her hands tied behind her back. At last, the colonel allowed her to stand up. He shouted another order, which brought one of his guards inside. Colonel Ng handed the bucket of shit to the soldier, who accepted it and left.
"I hate the smell of shit," he said to us, smiling. Colonel Ng was a strange case, a man who was alternately savage and cordial.
Then, suddenly savage again, he hauled the woman by the leash to one of the wood posts which supported the roof frame. It was quite sturdy--this was the most substantial building I'd seen in any Vietnamese village. The roof peaked at about fifteen feet, supported by a half-dozen large posts and cross braces. He placed her back against the post and bound her already tied wrists securely to it. She was going nowhere, and she knew it. Tears started streaming from her eyes and she began to protest. Colonel Ng cuffed her hard across the face and unleashed a long, angry denunciation in Vietnamese, of which I understood nothing.
"Perhaps we should gag her," the colonel said to us, with a conspiratorial smile.
"An excellent idea," the sergeant said. Burkette was very excited by the turn of events.
Colonel Ng took a khaki handkerchief from his pocket and stuffed it in her mouth. She immediately tried to spit it out. Once again, she received a backhand across the cheek for he trouble. Then the colonel took out a roll of tape from a US army first-aid kit and wrapped it around her stuffed mouth. She could make as much noise as she wanted, but only a muffled sound would come out. It didn't matter anyway. There was nobody around to hear anything but the ARVN soldiers and us. And the soldiers outside weren't going to say boo, no matter what sounds came from within.
The colonel looked at her in appraisal and began to rub his crotch with one hand. "Before she dies, I have some personal business to prosecute," he said seriously.
And before I knew it, Colonel Ng had his pants open and his cock out. He was quite well endowed for a small man. He pressed himself up against the prisoner and rubbed his thick erection against her pussy. She shook her head wildly as he pressed himself into her.
"She is tight," he said. "So very tight for a woman of her age."
We watched as the colonel rode her there standing up against the pole. It didn't take long for him to cum in her. I made a silent bet that this wasn't his first rape.
"Who would like to fuck her?" he said, grinning. "Please, indulge yourselves." Sergeant Burkette wanted to. I could see it in his face. But he didn't. Delivering the prisoner for execution was a matter of orders, and watching the execution was not prohibited, but having sex with her was not an order.
"No thank you, colonel," Burkette said. But he would have done it if we weren't there, I'm certain of that. I'm ashamed to say it but I had the urge to fuck her, and the only reason I didn't was because Burkette refused.
"Very well," the colonel said. "That is your choice."
The prisoner still had the belt wrapped around her neck. I thought the colonel would hang her with that, but he had a more classic idea of hanging a prisoner. He removed the belt and reached into a duffel bag for something to blindfold her with. He came up with a piece of black cloth. The woman squirmed and moaned under her gag as he covered her eyes. I don't know if she had figured what was up, but she knew she was deep trouble. She didn't cry or sob though. She was tough and she hated us all, American and ARVN alike. Given a chance, she would have slit all our throats with pleasure. She also was a person who liked to kill. She understood death and it was her ally.
Once again, the colonel reached into his duffel bag. This time he took out a long piece of rope. He had come prepared. She couldn't see a thing as colonel Ng tied a hangman's noose in one end of the rope.
"That's much better than a belt," the colonel said, admiring his handiwork. It was a perfect noose.
"You know that knot well," I observed. "Done this before?"
"Many times," the colonel replied. "It is my job."
He wasn't kidding. He was a professional executioner who took rare delight in his work.
Since there was no ceiling in the room, the colonel easily tossed the noose over one of the roof joists and situated a wooden bench beneath it. He tied off the other end of the rope on one of the upright posts and he was ready.
I hadn't fucked the prisoner, but just looking at the noose dangling there in the center of the room, and seeing her there naked and bound, had me hard as a rock.
"Now we are ready," Colonel Ng announced. "You may assist me," he intoned.
Once again, it was an order not a request. "Bring the prisoner to the gallows." Sergeant Burkette and Whitmire untied the woman from the post and walked her to the bench, holding her arms--which were still tied securely behind her back.
She resisted, but they had her firmly in hand. The colonel reached out and grabbed her nipples in his hands, making her cry out beneath her gag. He pulled her forward by her tits as Whitmire and Sergeant Burkette forced her up onto the bench where she stood squirming. I think she was beginning to get the picture now. There was no question about it when Colonel Ng slipped the noose over her head and pulled it tight around her neck. She started jerking around and screaming with rage into her gag when he did that, but there was really nowhere she could go.
Colonel Ng untied the other end of the rope and pulled tightly to take up the slack. He pulled so tight that he forced her up onto the balls of her feet. All that remained now was to kick the bench out from under her to hang her.
"I think she should see this," the colonel said. And so saying, he removed her blindfold. "Shall I remove her gag?"
No one said anything. We just stood there looking at her. I remember exactly how she looked, naked, her firm little tits standing out proudly. Her nipples were fully erect. I had a momentary urge to suck on those hard nipples, but I didn't of course. Her hands, still tied behind her back , twisted and writhed, in a desperate attempt to escape their bonds, but Burkette had bound her wrists like a boy scout and there was no way she could get loose.
I distinctly recall how long her neck looked with the noose stretching it so high, and how the muscles on both sides of her throat flexed as she twisted her head helplessly. Colonel Ng had placed the noose on the side of her head just behind her ear, and it was pulled so tightly that it made her head tilt slightly. Her neck and her chest were glistening with sweat. She swallowed each breath with a deep gulp which made her chest heave up and down. But she had to breath through her nostrils because of the gag.
"Yes sir. Take the gag off," I blurted out suddenly, surprising myself.
"Be my guest," the colonel said.
I stepped up to her and removed the tape from around her mouth. She spit the ball of cloth out of her mouth without any further help, and opened her throat to take in a rough sounding gulp of air, knowing that if it wasn't her last one it was damned close to it. I listened to her breathing. It sounded like it had back when we surprised her with a cock inside her cunt and a belt around her throat. She liked being strangled and fucked. She was already choking a little, a preview of what was soon to come. She stared at me with her mouth still wide open in an O and I stared back, strangely fascinated. After a few seconds she averted her gaze. I think she had accepted her death at that moment and just wanted to get it over with. That's when I backed away.
Colonel Ng went to her and stood directly in front of her.
"It's time," he said to her. "I want to see you dance for me." Then, without any more ceremony, he kicked over the bench.
I was stunned, but I just could not look away. She started running on thin air. That caused her to swing around wildly. Her whole body jerked and pumped, exactly like she was fucking. I realized that we'd interrupted her fuck session before she had reached an orgasm. It looked like she was having that orgasm now, dangling by her neck for the enjoyment of enemy soldiers whom she hated so much. Her bladder opened up and a thin stream of urine trickled down her legs. Her eyes were wide with panic and her mouth worked wordlessly like a fish out of water gasping its last.
The rope bit tightly into the smooth skin of her neck, and her tongue bulged out luridly. She swung and kicked and my cock throbbed like it never had before. She kicked desperately, seeking the foothold that was not there for her. After several minutes of hanging by her neck, her face turned a nasty purple color.
Her legs moved on automatic, still pumping her crotch back and forth like it was filled with the biggest, hardest penis she'd ever been impaled on. She dangled and twisted at the rope's end for what seemed a terribly long time, although it couldn't have been much more than four minutes before it was over. I swear she came just before she stopped moving, her body bending in the middle and convulsing with a strong orgasm. I'm not saying she enjoyed it, but she died cumming. Finally, she lost consciousness and hung still, her feet pointing straight down. Her bladder was empty now, but droplets of juice from her sopping wet vagina spattered onto the puddle below her.
We stood and watched her swing gently for another five minutes or so. By that time there was no chance she was still alive. When we left, she was still hanging, turning slowly from side to side. Colonel Ng dismissed us, repeating that we had done an excellent job and that he would recommend us for medals to our commanding officer. A medal was something I had no use for whatever. Nobody said anything on the hike back to base.
We saw no enemy soldiers. We saw nobody at all the entire return trip. And we never spoke about what we had seen and even participated in. But I thought about how public executions had been performed for all but a brief period in human history. They're still done in some countries. And people had loved them. Hangings in particular were well attended, like baseball games. It was prime entertainment for many people and it was not looked upon as a bad thing. I only felt strange about it because of my veneer of civilization. But under that thin covering I was no different from anyone in the crowd at countless hangings.
I had joined the army to kill the enemy and I did shoot at a lot of people. I'm certain I killed some that I didn't see during firefights. And once I even shot an enemy officer with a high-powered rifle at long range. I never questioned the need to execute enemy agents, but this execution was somehow different. It was not, strictly speaking, an act of war. I suspected that colonel Ng would be hunted down as a war criminal if the North Vietnamese prevailed. War had allowed his peculiar fantasies to become reality. He had been given a pass to indulge his most base desires, and he had embraced the opportunity. The war had made him insane and it had done the same to us, although to a much lesser degree.
I know that the war itself was insane and that we were caught up in that madness, having been in the jungle for so long, fearing for our lives every minute. Many of my closest buddies died in Vietnam. I sometimes think I was meant to die there too, but that woman died instead.
What we saw that night has lost much of it's reality to me. It's as though I watched a play a long, long time ago. It's a different world where I live now. And although I lead a fairly dull life--what we think of as "normal" in America--I'm not really that same as I was before. Still, I keep coming back to the image of that woman, standing on the bench with the noose around her neck. And I ask myself what is normal?