I had to fix a problem with the "Work To Do" which was plaguing the system (it was the new blogs system's fault).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Close your eyes

Close your eyes.

    Wait, no, don't close your eyes. Read first, then close your eyes.

    Imagine a cold, damp, dark room. You're sitting on the floor. You've been waiting for hours alone, in the dark, not knowing what comes next. They came for you, they didn't tell you who they were, they didn't even talk to you. They took away everything you wore, everything, threw you into that room, and locked the door. And you've been waiting. Frozen. For hours.

    You wonder if you should yell, attract attention, but in the end you remain silent. You wait. Scrunched up in a corner of the room, so maybe they'll forget about you, or they won't see you when they come in. You're tired but you can't fall asleep. Because it's cold, because you can't tear your eyes away from the door, and you wonder when they're coming back. And because of the screams. Which come from some other room. And you don't understand all the words, but you don't need to. Your heart beats faster than ever before, your tongue is heavy, your throat is so dry you don't think you could scream. And you wait.

    When they come for you, you babble, you can't help it. Who are they, what do they want, what are they going to do with you? They don't tell you. They just drag you out to another room. There are... things, in the room. You babble louder, because you can't think of something worse than the silence. They don't even look at you. You want to cry. You can't help it. It's terror, unadulterated. You're crying. And you're begging. But they don't listen to you. They tie you down. You're exposed, and restrained, and now they stare at you, and you're sobbing, because the fear is like nothing you've ever experienced before, and the flight response is burning a hole through your stomach, around your wrists, and the humiliation... you didn't know what that was until now.

    When the pain comes, you get to see it approaching. And you scream, and beg, and cry, and all three at once, because there is nothing, nothing you wouldn't do to get away, just get away, but instead you get to see it come closer, closer, until it finds you. And from that point on it'll define your world.

    That's reality for you. Starting now. Pain or Absence of Pain.

    It comes and goes with no rhyme or reason, and you have absolutely No. Control. Over. It. When they take you back to your cell, the torture continues because you get to wait. Some more. Shaking, hurt, no comfort to be found anywhere. No one who cares. And you know. You get to understand with a new depth of certitude that they'll come back for you, that the pain will find you again, and that there is not a single thing in your power that can prevent it. Absolutely nothing. You control nothing. You have power over nothing. You are nothing. And your body isn't even yours anymore. You pray that your heart will give out, but it doesn't. They are careful. They're even nice to you, sometimes. But when they talk to you, they don't use your name. They have names for you, but none of them are yours.

    If you're lucky, they let you sleep. But probably not. They tell you that they are doing the same thing to your daughter, right now. After a while, you forget that there was ever a world outside of this one. You even forget your name.

    It doesn't matter if it happened to you in the past. This is not something you will ever be prepared for. And when you make it out, when they let you go, they still haven't let you go. Because the world is not The World anymore. It is just Absence of Pain.

    There are nightmares, most every night. Cold, damp places send you into a panic. You can't breathe and you feel like you're dying. You can't leave the house. Sudden noises startle you, you can't even bear the touch of your own children. Ghost pain, real pain, in your limbs, in your spine. There are scars. They marked you all over, in places that used to be only yours, that only a lover had touched. Your own skin doesn't feel real anymore. The doctor said your heart would never be the same. It's hard to concentrate, and sometimes... sometimes you're back, back in the cell, and no one can follow you there. Not even the people who love you. You're still alone.

    You are altered, and you will never be as you once were. They took that from you, and some day you might recover, but you won't ever regain that which you lost, because you know, for now and forever, that there are people out there who can take everything you have, everything you are away from you. Strip you bare. Make you scream until no more sounds come out of your throat. Make you less than human. At any time. You won't see it coming.

    And you can't stop them.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Might be disturbing

This is not a fun entry and might be disturbing to some. Really.

I've pondered writing this for a while. We all have topics which are closer to us than most, and sometimes we rant, sometimes we preach, sometimes we admonish. I don't want to do any of those things. I don't want to sermon, I don't want to patronize, or condescend, I'd just like to talk. If that's all right with you.

Today, I stumbled across a story where one of the main protagonists was brutally tortured. Nothing new there. Torture could be a subgenre of fanfic in its own right, perhaps somewhere in the vicinity of the hurt/comfort genealogical tree.

I write it. Check next post. Way, way over half of the authors I know have written it at one point or another, for their own reasons. Varied, varied reasons, I imagine. Plot device, psychological exploration, whatever. I have reasons of my own.

Today, I stumbled across a story where one of the main protagonists was brutally tortured -- and remained glib through the whole process, snarking all the way, escaping to shack up with his significant other, living happily ever after. No harm done. This bothers me. Always does. Just like many are bothered by portrayals of rape which do not do justice to the horrifying nature of the act -- as just another example of a personal issue some might have with fiction. When I read such a story, I don't press delete, I don't start raving, I don't throw a tantrum, I just... take notice. Sometimes, I get a little sad. It's my personal issue.

And I wonder. Authors can take so much care in crafting the emotional landscape of their characters in a realistic manner; why should the depiction of torture and its aftermath be so often... not. Realistic. Is it that they just don't care? Is it that that they cannot wrap their mind around what it means? Is it that they cannot imagine it? Cannot understand? Possibly. Torture is not something that is intended to make sense. Quite the contrary.