It seemed as if the light would never come. The pain rang in my ears with every beat of my heart. The torturous brutalities that plagued our home would never cease. The others were huddled around me, trying desperately to meld into the walls, to become invisible, but the darkness laughed at us. It beat away at our hope and stripped away our sanity. I’m not sure if I would prefer the light, seeing those before me who are undoubtedly beaten, bloody and rotting in their skin. We were naked, waiting to be taken by those who ached for perversion.
Our home was a small, rusted room with a disgusting dirt floor that ate away at our skin. The room held no furniture. It was completely bare except for the bucket in the corner that forced us into shame as our bodies demanded the purging of waste and fluids. At least they gave us that. Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered anymore. The walls were devoid of windows, which only served to isolate us further. The light that streamed through the doorway was very little, but after a while, your eyes adapted.
People littered every corner and wall, and some of them were undoubtedly dead. Lucky bastards. We used to fight each other for the comfortably hidden corners, but then we realized … no place was safe. They always walked into the room knowing full well who they would take. You couldn’t hide from them, nor could you hide from yourself.
Some of us became friends, but that was a fight for survival. At least it was for those without a brain.
I watched as the men starved. Watched as the look of desperation slowly transformed into a look of a different hunger altogether. I was only slightly aware of how the men in our room watched us writhe on the floor as the aftereffects gripped ahold of our bodies. The crippling need to be touched … to have someone … anyone … satisfy the unsated need for release.
Mostly the women and children began to loathe the changes in the men. We knew what would become of them.
The scientists’ experiments eventually forced the men to crave something, anything other than the rotted flesh of their fellow captives.
In the end, we all did what we thought was necessary to survive. To some, that meant devouring the flesh of our deceased friends, to others … succumbing to the basic desires and raw needs of man.
I mean, who chose to persevere, to live on only to endure the endless rapes and beatings?
Our escape attempts were pathetic at best. They kept us in a weakened state, emaciated by starvation and neglect. Even if we somehow managed to breach the walls, which held us as captured cattle, where would we go? The world was no longer safe, and the unknown kept any hope from entering our minds. Unbearable. Wasn’t that how it all began? How we all ended up there in the first place?
Sometimes the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. Sometimes, when an angel holds his hand to you, waiting for you to grasp the offered redemption and hope, what lay beneath was evil. Unfortunately, despair, hope, and starvation clouded your mind and left you wanting. Needing. Craving something you were unable to find. Hope? Acceptance? Safety?
As always, I was lost in my thoughts, obsessing over my stupidity and naivetés. I tried to remember who I was and what I was. At times, that simple fact eluded me. My name was Sally. My name … was Sally. I chanted my name in my mind, again and again, never daring to speak it aloud. Within the walls of the compound, even a simple whisper could betray you.
No one in the room was unaware of what would come to pass. What we had become. We lost ourselves a long time ago. Although we struggled, most of us cattle became just that. Tamed. Trained. Used, slaughtered and mauled.
One could only hold on to hope for so long until the failure consumes you. We used to gather closely, whispering to one another to devise a plan. Any plan. We needed to escape that hell. Eventually, the filth and stench of our closeness drowned us in despair. It was one thing to be a part of a group that provided hope, but whenever I got near them, I smelled their urine and feces. I could see their pale skin and sunken eyes.
It was difficult to see others with fingermark shaped bruises around their necks or on the insides of their thighs. This world of ours had become completely fucked, and even though we had our moments of temporary insanity when there was a spark of hope, we were easily subdued. Our hope extinguished. Some of the others didn’t even bother to raise their heads anymore. They lay on the floor like dead, worthless carcasses, which might have left me wanting, but their bodies were not simply cast aside.
We were starving. Eventually, we didn’t perceive their demise as useless or without purpose. No, sooner or later everyone in the room would watch and wait for someone to die, filling their hearts with relief as a corpse became a scrumptious platter of meat. Evidence of our starvation and demise could easily be found on the gnawed bones that littered the floors of our home.
I had reached the point where I suffer, live and thrive on the defiant nature only I could hold onto. I’m battered and bruised. The dried, crusty blood on my body itched, but I had become accustomed to the sensation, even welcomed it. I welcomed any distraction from the muffled sobs and ragged breathing.
I used to cringe at the ghastly screams that echoed through the hallway. I wondered where they came from and who was making them. What was happening? Have you ever heard the saying that ignorance was bliss? Well fucking eh, it was. Back then, I was terrified, absolutely and entirely numb with fear. I was scared and confused, and I had little idea of what was transpiring around me. My surroundings were unusual, yet I embraced them. What does that say about me?
The fears were constant. It had been a long time since I didn’t have to flee from the unknown. The unyielding betrayal of life beckoned me with the seduction of information, to give me the answers I frantically needed. Again, ignorance was bliss. Sometimes the whys were so completely fucked that they ripped all sanity from your body and twisted everything you had ever learned, ever known, into one tiny ball of horror.
There was always that one moment of clarity, the precise instant when you realize your predicament and accept that no matter the outcome, you were fucked. Learned hopelessness sucks.
The screams never seemed to end, but of course, time was all relative … wasn’t it? You could almost feel her pain. I used to thank God that whoever was screaming wasn’t me. Thank God for sparing me whatever torture that person was endured. You can only pray for death so many times until you lose hope. Lose faith. I lost God a long time ago. God didn’t live here. I used to wonder why he had left us all in that room, why he left us all to that fucked up fate.
Please forgive me? Please forgive you? What a fucking crock. I refused to pray for someone who was undoubtedly sitting up there laughing at our expense. For if he truly loved us, would he force us to bear the rape and beatings? It was one thing to be broken. It was another thing to have life ripped from your body before someone tossed it back into that shitty room.