A few days passed and Ivan was feeling that he was never going to come out of this place alive. He had lost weight, felt exhausted and winced every time he heard the clacking of the boots in the corridor. He tried to count the days since he had been incarcerated, but his mind was foggy and he was unable to think coherently.
Through the rectangle of the window he could follow the repeated cycles of light and darkness, but their difference became insignificant in his dazed mind. Even if he survived, this solitary confinement and lack of proper food and sleep was certainly going to transform him into a madman who would spend the rest of his days locked up in some mental hospital, wallowing in his own excrement and not recognizing his own family.
One night he awoke
awake byto the resounding of theboots in the corridor. As he heard the key turning in the lock of his cell, his blood ran cold. Two guards entered, ordering him to follow them outside.
Usually they would never take him to interrogation in the middle of the night and as he walked down the corridor, he had a premonition of torture. When he entered the interrogation room and saw not only the man who interrogated him the very first time, but also two burly men sitting in
thechairs and playing with their batons, he was seized by panic. This was my Doomsday, he thought, glancing at the strong arms of the two men and black batons which were soon going to turn his body into a black and blue mass.
The interrogator did not order him to sit down. Instead, he
was brandishingbrandished a sheaf of papers, grinned and said, “Comrade Ivan, here is your salvation! Just sign underthis document and you’ll never come to this room again.”
“What is the document about,” asked Ivan.
“It is your confession,” said the interrogator, the smile disappearing from his face.
“But I have nothing to confess,” Ivan said.
“In this place everyone has something to confess,” the interrogator said. “Actually, you
’vedeserve dto be beaten properly, but I’ve just become a father for the third time and therefore I’m kind to you tonight. So take the opportunity before I change my mind.”
Ivan was standing motionless, not knowing how to react. If he signed the confession, he would end up in prison for years and if not, he might be so severely beaten that he would become
becamean invalid, cursing the day whenhe took the photographs. He expected the guards to attack him at any moment, but they didn't seem ed notinterested in him at all.
They smoked cigarettes and started chatting about their plans for the coming weekend. The interrogator leaned back in the chair, puffing his cigarette and reading a sports newspaper. A few hours past and nothing happened. Only Ivan felt his legs were becoming heavier. Then the interrogator and the guards were replaced by another shift, which seemed to ignore Ivan completely. More hours
pastpassed and his legs and feet felt very swollen and heavy, causing him an intense pain which spread through his whole body.
His eyes were staring at the empty chair before him and that simple object became an obsession. He tried to imagine pictures of his wife and his children, but they came up in his mind and disappeared almost in the same moment, and instead, this wooden chair returned, and he yearned to sit down just for a few seconds and rest his legs. When he closed his eyes, the interrogator shouted immediately, “Open your eyes! Don’t look down! Don’t sleep!” And Ivan looked up again trying to stay awake, although exhaustion drained him of his strength. A voice inside him screamed, “Give up, sign and you’ll be free!” Another voice told him, “Don’t sign anything! You are innocent!” He must have been standing the whole night and the following day and night, and
onlyGod knows how many hours. Every part of his body felt like an open wound.
They did not allow him to go to the lavatory and he felt ashamed when he saw the stream of his own urine moistening his trousers and trickling down on the concrete floor. The interrogator and the guards laughed at him and the interrogator said, “If you shit yourself you are going to eat up everything!” He collapsed few times, but every time the guards lifted him up and ordered him to stand again. And then suddenly he screamed, “I can’t stand it any more! Give me a pen!” Someone shoved a pen in his hand and he signed his name and fell down on the floor.
He had lain on the mattress for three days before he managed to
maketake his first steps. His legs and feet were so hideously swollen that he believed they were going to be amputated. He pleaded with the guards to let him see the doctor, but they ignored him and they put his meals close to the door so that he had to crawl to reach them.
Now he had
thetime to think about the torture that they had put him through. He had underestimated their intelligence. He believed they were former farmers who only knew how to use brute force, but they havehad defeated him without hitting him onea single time. He wondered who had invented this refined torture, the Great Leader, some of his henchmen or comrade Janko who was probably inat this moment wassitting at the table in his dining room and enjoying delicious food and exclusive wines.
TO BE CONTINUED