Part 3: Turn for the worse/Desperation
This morning brought the falling of first snow, but hardly had it touched the ground, before a platoon of invaders dyed it red with blood, defiling even a child’s joy in the white bliss. No one cares about a white Christmas anymore; our only dream now, is to have a free one, with all of our relations left intact.
There have been riots of unusual number and organisation, but all are suppressed fiercely. The rebellious outbursts annoy the invaders, they seem determinate to crack our spirit with their harsh measures. It is as if our entire lives are read into a proportion machine and scheduled, every detail of it: that many hours of work, that many coupons, that many grams of food, that many ounces of water a day, that much electricity. Food is rationed. Whoever crosses the regime, or dares to doubt it openly, receives no more coupons and are forced to starve, unless they renounce their doubt after being beaten within an inch of their lives. Or they just disappear. Journalists, politicians, revolutionaries, idealists, human rights activists, even entire families, research wings and press groups, they vanish overnight and turn up dead in a ditch somewhere with a bullet to the head, if they do at all. The people are frightened. ‘The regime’ and ‘the invasion’ have become taboo words, avoided as if they called on the plague itself just by being mentioned casually.
Work and school are all the assemblies that are allowed, as well as obliged. Whoever isn’t in either, is rounded up and taken to a work camp till nightfall, under the threat of files of guards with guns. Gatherings of any other kind are forbidden. Cafes and restaurants are either closed down, demolished entirely or under constant supervision. Every public place is bugged. The regime listens in to every public conversation, every phone call, every email. No one dares speak out loud in the streets anymore, but just whispers and falls silent, lowering their heads, when one of them looks our way. It feels like we’re always being watched, no matter where we go. They’re always there, alongside us, armed and ready to shoot.
Companies are under supervision of the regime, all produce and resources, pass through their greedy, grasping hands. The message is clear: every citizen is in the employ of the new state. Slaves are we, no more.
If that wasn’t bad enough, they set up death squads, raiding houses and carrying out executions in squares and streets. They favour demonstrators for their prey, drive them apart like cattle, separating each member from the group and hound them around town leisurely until they grow tired of the game. They like that, playing with them first, giving them a hope of escape before crushing it, and them.
Rebels are shot in the street and left to rot in plain sight, hung up on lanterns along the road like some grotesque Christmas decoration. Sometimes they are still alive. Everyone itches to, but no one dares bring them down. Not when they’re watching, and they always are.
Walking around in the streets, the pungent stench from the rotting bodies, the blood and the filth in the gutters is unbearable. On really hot days, it’s necessary to hold a perfumed hand to your mouth at all times not to gag. Shabby birds eat human flesh in front of us, sitting undisturbed on the shoulders of our dead, arguing with loud shrieks over the best pieces. It is sickening to the bone.
I suppose having ‘garlands’ of corpses is their idea of scarecrows to keep the other civilians in line. This city is no more than their harvesting field.
It was a reign of darkness that has come over this once great city of light.