The Black Cage (Story)

Kara Kafes

I don’t know how long I’ve been in this cage. Maybe I was born in here, this five step wide black cage. Because I’m here for as long as I’ve known myself. I’m sitting in this small cage with my eyes closed. I’m living in a pitchblack world and I dream everything as pitchblack.

Since my first day in this cage (maybe a month maybe a year ago), my eyes are closed; when I pass my thin hands upon my face, I realize some things are closing my eyes. I cannot take out the object that closes my eyes even if I want to. Most probably the men who came everyday to my cage and beat me closed my eyes. But why?

I don’t know.

Hence all colours are only black for me. Black cage, black door of the cage, black iron floor, black torturer men, black fists, black kicks and a black world…

But I’m not blind and I’m sure of it. I’ve nothing in my hands to prove it. But my instincts tell me that I’m not blind. I hope that those men will open my eyes some day and I will watch the world with the astonishment of a child who came newly to the world. I just hope…

Like a newly born baby, I will relearn the world. Red, blue, white…
My surrounders will teach me colours again. Tirelessly, obstinately will they say this every whipstitch:
“Look, blue! The colour of the sky and the sea. What’s it, let me see you repeat!”
“Look white! The colour of clouds. What’s it, let me see you repeat!”

There are still some words that are alive in my mind. Sometimes they come out of dark corners of my mind. For example “blood-red”… It’s only a word for me. A word that consists of 8 letters… Because it’s been a long time since I forgot what kind of a colour was red. Either red or black…

They are coming again. I wonder if they are bringing me food. I forgot when the last time I ate some food was. But it’s a habit, one wants to chew some things. I don’t know what they gave to me. I can neither taste nor smell. After all, it’s impossible to smell food where allday it smells blood, ichor, urine (and shit).

Footsteps that echo in corridors as usual… I’m so used to these sounds that as soon as I hear them, a fear wraps my body, my heart beats madly as if it wants to tear out my chest. It prepares itself beforehand for tortures that will last for minutes. My unscabby wounds ache more as footsteps came closer. The blood that runs through my veins flows faster in my body.

The key enters the door of the cage and a click is heard. The door is opened jarringly and slowly. The unbearable silence that is cut by deep breaths is torn by the jar. My ears that are used to the infinite silence ache. My teeth are set on edge…

They come in front of me with small steps. As usual, the fat one is on my right side, the thin one is on my left side. And the fat one punches me habitually with his boned hands, as soon as he enters the cage. It is in vain trying to protect myself. No matter how I try to hide my face, he pulls my long dirty hair and brings my face into open. He successively strikes me blows. My wounds that are unable to find some time to scab pour firstly yellowish ichor and then blood. My blood as warm as toast flows slowly from my face to my chest.

When he leaves my hair, a tuft of tiny hair remains in his hand. As usual, when the fat man is done with me, he spits into my face. Mucous salivary sticks to my face. I take it with my hand and put it on the floor of the cage.

Fat man’s duty for today is over: He beat me and he spitted at me. The real torture is beginning soon.

The thin man approaches me and pulls his face over mine. His breath that smells cigarette and alcohol throws up to my face. And suddenly he screams.

For hours, maybe for days, my ears that heard nothing but the snarl of my breath and the beat of my heart, ache. The scream tears the silence around me and in my brain. I want to close my eyes, but before me the fat man holds my arms. The scream echoes in dark cellars of my brain and takes away my few memories that remained firm.

The scream, then, starts to yell. The voice is deep and senseless, there’s nothing than hatred in that deep voice.

“Who are you? What’s your name?”

I don’t answer, I cannot answer. I don’t remember when I said “I don’t know” and when I stopped talking either. After all, they beat me either I talk or not. Giving no answers doesn’t change the situation.

The thin man kicks me in the head and goes on asking his questions:
“Answer me, churl! Who are you? What’s your name?”
When he gets no answers, he kicks me in the head once more. My head hits the cage’s floor and is torn. Blood leaks to my scalp where no hair grows being wounded over and over.
“You don’t answer, so to say. You think you resist us. You fuck it up, son of a bitch. You’re fucking everything up by resisting…”

One more kick… I feel so tired that I cannot hold my head up from the cold floor. My open wounds ache by the effect of the cold and rusty floor. The fat man who sees I cannot raise my head holds me up and like a puppet he puts me upon my feet. I dangle, I’m about to fall.

“Look at yourself! You’ve lost your humanity. Isn’t it better that you take your lesson from the beating you get here and free from here? The only thing you should do is to say who made you write those writings. Then only then, you’ll be freed from these endless tortures. Don’t you want it? I’m asking you for the last time: Why did you write those writings and who made you write them? Or rather with whose commands, for which organization did you write those writings?”

No answer. One more kick…

“There won’t be a man out of you. You’re going to get a beating from me until you die to no end. Why? For some foolish stories… I read all of them, you know? I read every single story. I didn’t understand a shit. Are those fucking stories worth so much the beating you get? What are they good for, except those tons of beating?”

I don’t understand what he’s talking about. Did I have stories? Was I a writer? Were those stories the reason why I’m here? What was the thing called story was…

I couldn’t even remember my name. It was as if my memory had been erased. I didn’t remember a single thing about my past. The only thing I remembered and knew was that I was in here, in this black cage.

“Why did you write those stories? To blur people’s minds, didn’t you? To rebel people against the government, for revolution, isn’t it? In your stories, without any shame, you talk to Allah. What next! Who are you to talk to Allah, you son of a bitch. Do you want everybody to be an infidel like you? There is a suicide in the end of every story. Do you encourage our clean children to commit suicide, you muthafuckha?”

God, suicide, stories… I don’t remember anything. I was kicked in the end of every question and I was held up by the fat man.

“Why are you writing? Why don’t you live like a man in the way of the government, Allah! Why are you creating new lives, new worlds with your writings? Creation is peculiar to Allah. Infidels like you deceive and seduce our children by creating new worlds in their writings. Do you think we’ll let you do this, sons of bitches? We kill you all in such cells if needed.”

He got out with the fat man after he gave a last kick to me. Little by little their footsteps aparted and in the end disappeared.

Silence again, deadly silence again…

I lied still where I fell. Every part of my body, especially my head was aching so much. My life energy was decreasing as my blood poured out of my body. Slowly I was dying in pain. I wasn’t afraid to die, but I was sorry not being able to see the world in colours once again. My bleeding wounds ached more by the coldness of the rusty iron. I was asking myself questions before I died: Who am I? Why am I here?..

I couldn’t answer. And every second was one step closer to death. I knew I wouldn’t live long enough till the next torture. Like I knew I weren’t blind…

My eyes were closing. My eyes were closing little by little, no matter I didn’t want them to be closed. And I was scared to be confined to infinite darkness and I was crying. Maybe I was crying for the first time. Or for the last time…


Translated By: Tuğçe Ayteş

You can read this story in Turkish: Kara Kafes