Embers of Life and Hope Snuffed Out

You asked about conditions in the hole. It’s down on the lowest level, back in the back. It feels like a cave. The cells are so small you can stand in the center and touch the walls on both sides, as well as the ceiling above. Which are metal, damp, and stink like vomit. There is a combination sink-toilet-urinal-drinking fountain. But it’s a one piece, “all-in-one” metal fixture that is flaking with rust, and caked with decades of crud. Mine had a cockroach nest behind it, and was seething with bugs. It’s unbelievably gross. The water that comes out of it has a brown tint and makes you sick if you drink it. But after about a week you have no choice. So you drink it, and barf. Then do it again the next day. You really wither away fast under these conditions. 

   You are not allowed to take anything with you when they put you in there. Not even a watch, or a book, or a newspaper. NOTHING! You are stripped out, and put in this crypt alive. As soon as they slam the 3 inch thick solid steal door, the deathly silence falls around you with a heavy power and slowly starts to snuff out the embers of life and hope that burn in your chest.

     In each cell, there is a concrete block about the size and shape of a casket. It sort of looks like an alter. It has four huge metal rings, one in each corner, so you can be stretched out and chained down to it on your back. This is called “four-pointing.”  This cold stone block is where you sit, and eat, and sleep for weeks, months, or years. You are like a cricket in a mason jar, removed from time, just sitting there as death slowly soaks into you, like cold soaking into a cabin whose flame has gone out.

–Schaeffer

Gavin Seim Written by:

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