There he sat, alone in the tiny,
mouldy, grey-green stone walled cell,
the horrific screams echoed in the corridor outside.
He got up off his makeshift bed – a wooden bench,
and looked through the bars to see what was going on.
He looked, but the corridor was empty,
there was nothing at first,
he only heard the screams and groans of people,
then, he saw it.
The doubled up figure of a woman,
covered in blood from head to toe,
it looked like the guards paid her “special attention”
for some reason, being dragged by her hair,
all matted with blood, back to her cell.
A couple of days later, he met up with the woman,
while they were queuing to see the prison doctor.
He asked her what she had done to receive such brutality.
My crime, she said, was I stopped work for a minute,
because I had injured myself, and could not carry on.
I told the guard in charge, and he had me brought back here,
and beaten up.
He felt the tears stinging the back of my eyes,
how could a human almost beat another human to death,
especially a woman.
He went back to his cell that night,
and could not get the image out of his head,
these beasts, hitting the woman to the floor,
then repeatedly kicking her,
with big, heavy duty work boots on,
in the face, kidneys, even the ovaries.
It was then he decided,
that he could not allow himself to stay here any longer,
to see this kind of torture and be able to do nothing about it,
and also to face that kind of torture himself,
day in day out,
so he went over to his wash bag,
found the cutthroat razor,
his mother had gave him when he was 18,
he remembered her words:
You’ll need this now, you’re no longer a boy,
you’re a man.
How ironic the name was as he thought,
mother had always warned him to be careful with the blade,
and now, as he closed his eyes,
he pictured his mother’s smiling face,
as he put the blade to his throat,
pressed on and slid it from ear to ear…