(an excerpt from my Poland story – a very rough draft)
There was a small nick on the floor where the bed had landed. Nothing major, but it stood out in her vision against the smooth wood-grain patterned lino. No, it wasn’t much, but it was something, and in this Eternium of Boredom, the blemish on the otherwise smooth floor unlocked things in her mind, sending a stream of thoughts tumbling around her skull like slapstick circus clowns. The previous emptiness clanged loudly with exciting notions of escape! work! moving! concentration! fun!
Sepia-toned images of rugged and cartoonishly muscular convicts played out their roles in a silent movie on the screen of her third eye. The plot was simple – dig through the floor and get the fuck out of there. Tattered, boldly-striped black and white prison issue clothes hung off them as they worked away, dripping in sweat. Before now, she – like every other viewer of these almost archetypal scenes – would have observed them with smug pity – skeptically predicting that they would be caught just before their moment of freedom, and then doomed to an extended sentence, with authoritarian eyes watching their every move. They would be separated from each other in every conceivable way to avert the danger of their thoughts feeding and encouraging new plots and plans, and devising each others’ emancipation.
The longer she thought about it, the more completely she realised that these age-old scenarios were written in bias by Disney and his minions; the NWO shills who carefully and cunningly constructed the future dreams, fears and desires of generations of children who were hooked on their colourful fare. The message was one of control: “Don’t dig. Don’t rebel. Be good and follow the rules and you will eventually be free. But if you do the wrong thing we will ruin you.” It was a classic theme throughout many children’s and adult’s prison stories. Yet not so subtle, when she thought deeply about it.
Now, though, she understood that the outcome didn’t matter, and what’s more, the convicts themselves knew their fate. But, given the opportunity, they cleverly allotted it beneath their rational minds – the part that imagined the effects of causation – and, no matter the outcome, at least they fucking tried. It proved that they were alive. A plan is a purpose and movement is motion, because acceptance, submission and stagnation is death. Doing – something, anything – is an affirmation of dedication to yourself that you will live life your way or fucking well die trying.
Rebellion is a sign of life.
She knew before she began that she would be caught, and she knew that she would be punished for it. She knew she wouldn’t get anywhere – she had neither the tools, nor the plans, nor the maps to get very far. She knew that they would restrict her even further. All this she knew, but she had to do it. She saw the potential in such defiance – a promise of self-respect.
She moved slowly across the now nearly empty room, sat on the ground in front of the blemish on the floor, and started picking. She picked, she flicked, she peeled and she pulled, she picked and picked and picked and fucking picked until it came up, slow and sure, revealing the ash-grey concrete streaked with glue underneath. What had this floor contained before? Whose feet had trod this ground before her? What place was this once upon a time in war-torn Krakov? Had it held prisoners, had it shattered lives?
The lino looked new, and the glue was still strong as attested by her hour-long picking project. Was this a newer initiative of the greenest EU member – to turn unused factories leftover from the war era into functional spaces in which to rehabilitate the walking dead? The generational time-lag – casualties of the occupations – whose effects rippled down toward a historical hangover to rear their ugly heads years after the horrors of history were swept under this lino? What ghosts stalked these halls? What unrest was imprinted beneath these floors?
The heavy noosphere penetrated her permeable skin. And here she was, adding her own distress to that massive, invisible presence; prying open this portal with skeleton fingers and ghost keys, opening a door to days past – to restless spirits and to vengeful vows. She was Pandora again, but who could blame her? Curiosity is a powerful thing, and she was no pussy.
After some time, she noticed that she held a rhomboid-shaped piece of the lino in her hands. Where the puzzle piece was missing on the floor, the grey cement breathed in the relief of its unmasking and sighed out ancient troubles. In and out, a heavy phantom respiration. Inspirare. Exspirare. Breathing along – conspiring with it – she put her cheek to the wound, patted its edges and whispered lovingly to it, “I know, I know.” Watering the space with sympathy and self-pity both, the dove-grey cement turning charcoal in the wake of her weeping; the drought of forgotten memories watered to life once more by the river of her tears. She closed her eyes against the pain, but images of those ghosts fleshed themselves out in her mind’s eye, showing her how they had lived through their ordeals. They gave her glimpses of their anguish and glances of their memories.
In these new visions, the pictures played out vibrantly. There were women and there were men, of all ages and classes. Most were thin or getting that way. There were wars outside, wars in the home and wars in the head. Psychosis and despondency. Violence and inertia. Fists and weapons, hammers and sickles, skulls and swastikas, starvation and famine, failed crops and stolen harvests, poisoned wells and scorched earth. The intense desire for comfort; for freshly baked bread, warm hearth fires and the soft cushion of family. Sunshine, warm on the skin, and cool gentle rain, sweet and cleansing. The knowledge of immediate death and interims of torture, reprieves of neglect, but ultimately driven mad by solitude, which is truly the smothering of the self by the self.
Each vignette was fleeting, but the feelings would stay with her until the end of her days. They left their impressions in the crevices of her soul and then dissipated – maybe back to the past, or maybe they were never there at all. She was soon alone again. Just a sad detainee hugging the ground, clutching her pitiful prize with red-raw fingertips, and sobbing to the music of her own bleeding violin heartstrings.  Here she stayed until she was spent and numb.
She eventually pushed herself up and stood shakily, weak with exhaustion. She steadied herself against the wall and breathed deep to revivify herself. In, out, in, out. Inspirare. Exspirare. The piece of lino she held was about as big as one of her hands. It was strong and sturdy and thick, pointed on two opposing corners and blunt on the obtuse angles. She slapped it against her thigh and it stung; good. She dug one of the points into her palm and that hurt too; even better. Violent thoughts sprang upon her – visions of gouging soft eyes, of piercing thin eardrums and penetrating the delicate flesh of the throat. There was blood and gore in her eyes’ desire and it made her smile.
Her next concerns centred on how she was going to get away with this. Surely they’d see the gaping wound on the floor and search her, and probably fuck with her even more. “Oh well; so mote it be,” she muttered. She was not going to put it back – she’d put too much effort into its extraction. She could probably pick the whole fucking floor up if she were so inclined. “Imagine that!” she said to herself, “just fucking picking all of the lino off the floor, piece by piece. That could be fun.”
She decided that if they didn’t let her out soon she’d begin that mission. She’d just pull the cunt up and create a gnarly mosaic with the pieces. Depending on how much time she had, it would probably have to be a simple design. She hoped for a hammer and sickle, but maybe she’d have to make do with a little pentagram, or a swastika in a pinch. She would have killed for a pen and some paper to write this out, or to be able to draw something.
She tried to carve the floor with her new knife, but only light markings were revealed. She rubbed her dirty fingers into the etchings and a faint tattoo appeared in their wake. Not good enough. Not dirty enough! Well, at least she had a souvenir from this memorable holiday, and even a weapon if it came down to it. She wouldn’t do much damage but she’d sure as fuck go down trying. “Has anyone ever been assaulted with a piece of lino before?” she wondered. “Probably. They make shivs out of all kinds of shit these days.” Her Dad had told her some beautiful first person stories.
Just to be smarter, she decided to hide her lino knife down the front of her undies when they came. She felt safe with it in her hands, the hardness of it reminding her that even if things got worse from now on, she’d be able to feel good about defending herself and at the very least, they’d have to find room in their obviously small budget to redo the floor she had just wrecked – not to mention the beds, mattresses and even the cup and tray she had destroyed.
“God bless my opposable thumbs,” she said to herself as she handled her weapon.
She thought back to the knife fight in Kill Bill Vol.I, and wondered how skilled she would be in hand-to-hand combat. Never having fought with a deadly weapon before – only boondis – the truth of it dismayed her somewhat. But, she could punch and kick and bite and scratch with the best of them, and she’d even perfected a killer chokehold many years ago.
Inspired by Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat (those idiots who said that video games had no impact on their players were fucking kidding themselves), she and her older brother used to practise moves on each other. She’d go nuts; all flailing arms and legs, a messily lethal warrior child. The only way her brother could ever really get her was to pick her up because he was older and he was stronger. But she was a sneaky little cunt. She figured out a way to wrap her legs around his neck and choke him out so hard that he’d drop to the ground. The power balance tended toward an equilibrium after that.
Throughout the ensuing years, in playfighting her male friends, she had learnt that this was the only way she could maintain her physical superiority. She was grateful that her innocent emulation of fictional warrior heroines had evolved into this elegant coup de grâce. She doubted she’d ever get to use that move on the screws in here though. There was always two or three of them because so far she had exhibited nothing but vicious non-compliance, and they were all big cunts, especially for Polskis. They’d just pin her at any sign of violence. They’d probably inject her with something sedating too, and she wouldn’t have a bar of that. So, it was clear. The knife would have to be used.
She danced around the room, thrusting and feinting. She was already a pretty good dancer, but this practise session gave her extra confidence for any potential skirmishes at close quarters. “Light on your toes, my girl,” she remembered her Mum saying, teaching her how to punch on. “It’s all in the footwork.” And so she danced, and moved and practised, until they came for her.