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I can smell it.  Death is all around me, wherever I turn.  The stench of blood, the terror, the screaming.  I want peace.  I want to live, I don’t want to die, but my time must be coming soon.  I can feel it.  I can feel something.  Perhaps it will be today that I die.

They beat us.  We sleep and live in our own excrement.  The food we eat is foul, recycled, unidentifiable, yet I know they have made cannibals out of us all.  It is not natural for us to eat this way, but we must eat in order to survive.  Each one of us desperately wants to live.

Yesterday, one of them came in and beat us all with a pipe.  They wanted us to move from one place to another, so they beat us to do it.  One of us was bleeding badly.  They picked him up and threw him on a pile where others were dead or dying.  He wasn’t dead yet, but he will be.  Maybe tomorrow after lying atop the heap of bodies, some lifeless, some still with beating hearts.  Then he will be recycled.  I see the pile from where I am inside this large, crowded room where there is no space to move, barely room to turn around.  Yesterday I saw him lift his head, but he was too weak to make a greater effort.  Our instincts move us to survive no matter what but he had lost his strength, and his life would slowly leave him.  Today I see his heart still beats.  Perhaps he’ll die of hunger, or thirst, or be crushed by others that will eventually lie atop him.  Regardless, his last breath will be filled with the decay of corpses that he rests among.

Yesterday, one of them knocked me over and stood on my body, which made a cracking sound.  I don’t know why this was done to me.  I couldn’t breathe and it hurt very much.  The pain is still there and I believe some damage happened inside my body.  I couldn’t breathe and I was afraid.  I didn’t know what else they were going to do to me.  But I am still alive.

Some others were hanging upside down by their legs.  Their legs were probably broken because they were violently swung upside down and their agony and discomfort were obvious.  Once you’re hung upside down you know it is your time to die, and that never changes.  The routine is always the same.  Your throat gets cut, but that doesn’t always kill you.  You just bleed.  And death comes slowly, painfully.

I am deeply frightened.  I do not know why I am here.  We are born here and we die here.

They kick us when they walk by.  They seem amused by our pain.  Yesterday I stood in another’s blood.  I never know if it is my turn to lose my tomorrow.  Though we endure, because we must.  We want to live.

We die young here.  We never get the chance to grow old.  We are taken from our mothers in infancy.  I have heard some mothers singing to their babies just before they are taken away.  I have heard mothers crying once their babies are gone.  Some mothers never stop crying.  It is the saddest sound we ever hear, it stirs us, and in that we find beauty.  They are killing us.

The air reeks of excrement and carcass and death.  I am scared, we are all scared.  We are powerless and cannot help one another.  We have no voice.  We are not recognized as living beings, only objects.  There is absolutely no escape.  But I am fed and I am able to sleep and I am alive.  I will live until I have no choice but to die.  Then I will feel that at the very least, I had the chance to live, despite my uncertainty as to why.

There is something lacking in my world and I can’t quite decipher what it is because I’ve never heard of it, witnessed it, nor experienced it personally, yet I know it exists.  I know it.  I can sense it.  It is something comforting, perhaps.  Something that defines the vagueness and possibly lends a feeling of security.  I lack this thing and though I cannot comprehend what it may be or if it is indeed real, I feel as though having it would make everything more tolerable.  But desire means nothing here.  There is nothing to want but to live.

to be continued…