Imagine a place – dark, cold and damp. A handful of light coming in through a small window, the second useful slot in the room, illuminating it enough for you to notice the moss-ridden sill and the rust-eaten iron bars of the window, and sometimes strong enough for you to notice your own silhouette and search for the non-existent lines of fate on your hands. The primary useful slot, however, being the small, foot-wide rectangular slot in the otherwise invisible metal door through which, at fixed times, comes in a steel plate with few organic smelling substances on it – eatable.
Imagine a smell that never fades, that has rooted itself so deep in your mind and soul and particularly in the tracts of your nose that it is always the first and the last thing you smell. A smell which repulses you so much that you wished your brain receptors were dead. It makes you gasp for air and lean on the hard stone-bed with your lungs burning and eyes watering. A smell of decay, of decaying animals, of decaying food and shit and piss, of decaying plants and of the decay on your body. You want to get away from it but you can’t because you have become one with it, and just when you think you have adapted to it, it hits you so hard that you fall on your knees.
Imagine the hard stony ground of the room, uneven and rough, bruising your knee every time you fall on it, hurting your feet when you stand or walk, or crouch with your hands to get to that formidable plate of food. You lie down all day, avoiding cuts on your feet. Your eyes maladjusted to the profound darkness in your life, the bed’s rough edges slice open your shoulders with each touch, now run over so many times that you almost have stripes of new and old skin at the start of your arms.
Imagine a hunger. Imagine a need. Imagine a routine. Imagine a death. You don’t know if anyone in this world is alive, anywhere, anytime. There are just two people in this dark, stinking world – you and the one who slides over the goddamn plate. You haven’t had a bath in years. You have water only enough for two gulps. Your body doesn’t exist, it is but an amazing conception of bones standing on each other without falling and breaking. You don’t know the meaning of muscles, forget fat. Your body is plain, simple bones. You have a tight routine involving sleep and food. You sleep when its dark. You sleep all the time. You have programmed your mind to wake up for fifteen minutes at known regular intervals – enough for survival. Fact of your life – smell, decay, bathing and humans don’t matter, Food does.
You sometimes imagine death. You wonder if you’ll ever die. You wonder how it would feel like. You wonder if there’s a heaven or a hell. You think if they will be any different. You question their existence. Heaven – if it was there, you wouldn’t get it. Hell – it couldn’t get worse. You smile at your philosophical outlook. You become happy then. You have figured out the key to happiness for a brief period of time. It’s in being content. You’re content.
It is in such a situation, of being content, that you hear clicks, scratches and screeching noises of metal clashing. You sit up on the bed. You feel a small protrusion on the bed against your hip and you shift. The clangs and screeches continue to grow louder. You can feel the ground shaking. You hear a key click and then the ground rumbles. A heavy door of metal is pushed aside, letting huge amounts of light inside your room. You can’t see. You hear strange noises, rhythmic, commanding noises. You cover your eyes, the lights burn you.
You feel cramped. The space around you begins to fill up. Your arms are held in strong grips, and you are pushed on the floor. Your feet are cut, you feel a warm sensation wrapping around them. You try to open your eyes, they hurt. You try again. You see creatures, strange ones yet familiar. You think you have seen such things before. You realize the strange noises you heard were their voices. You think you have heard them before. The creatures drag you along a rocky path. Your feet collide with sharp rocks and heavy stones but you don’t feel them. After a while they leave you on a soft ground.
You see the brown ground below you. It’s soft and cozy. You feel the need to sleep. Your eyes close and you lie down. A strong shake wakes you and you are forcefully made to stand. You sway. You look in front of you. Five creatures stand pointing at you with metal pipes. You draw your eyes closer, trying to get a better look at the creatures. You see their hands. You lift your own hands and you are amazed to see the striking similarity. You see their torso and their legs. You look down at yourself. You gasp in sudden realization.
You are one of the creatures. Fear grips you. You try to force your mind but it doesn’t help. You close your eyes and force harder. You can’t remember their name. You look at them again. Their pointers rise a notch higher, their eyes pressed. You look at the pointer, your mind racing. It comes to you.
You hear the same strange noise from a creature. The pointers make louder noise, bang-bang. Small bites sting your frail body at different places. The impact pushes you off the ground, you fly for a while. A darkness surrounds you again, slowly this time. It is a different darkness though, covering in itself everything. You are happy to see the darkness. You feel the need to sleep, and the darkness says that you can. You smile. You’re content. As you close your eyes you recall the name of the creatures. You whisper it to yourself. Humans.
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