Loud screaming – Viktoria Kandilarova

I could hear loud screaming piercing my ears but I barely recognized it as my own. I could only feel the searing pain from each strike across my back, my stomach and my head. It felt as if my whole body was on fire and every time the whip struck me I was overwhelmed with agony, jerking away, trying to find any means to escape but I was being held down. Every time they struck me I had to count. I forced the sounds out of my throat…


I screamed. My back arched violently as I tried to get away from the pain, my own voice now sounding foreign to me. 


Another scream was cut short by my coughing. I could barely catch my breath and the blood sprayed everywhere, covering me.


I felt as if I had no control over myself. I could feel the warm blood pouring out of my wounds, my flesh sliced open with every strike. I was shaking and the world seemed to spin but they never stopped.


The pain was now becoming blinding. It was caging me, leaving me bare and vulnerable until there was no escape.


My vision started to become fuzzy. All I could see was red and black, black and red, spots covering my vision. I knew nothing but the searing pain I felt shooting through my whole body.


I was trying my best to keep counting. Over and over again I strained myself to continue, to hold onto those words because they were the only thing keeping me from losing my mind, keeping me from succumbing into pain until I lost myself, until that was the only thing I could think of.


I can remember when me and my mother were taken away and transported into the camp for the first time. I wanted to get away, I was determined to find a way to leave this horrible place. I could see the look of pure anger and disgust of those who took us, as if we deserved even worse than what was about to happen to us.


When we first arrived we were forced to strip along with everyone else. They made us bathe and gave us identical clothes and undergarments. They were ripped and dirty but all I could think of was that the last person who had worn them could be a corpse now. Some of the girls cried when they cut our hair against our will. We were completely stripped of our identity, nothing more than just a number, just a tool for them to use. I clearly remember seeing four girls holding hands and giggling. Their waists were so thin, they looked like they could break from the slightest wind, with bruises and scars, some of them still new. Despite this, they forced themselves to laugh, to seem carefree in their last moments before they were shot in front of my eyes. They deserved more. We all deserved to escape.


I remember a few months after I had arrived at the camp. I could see my warm breath coming out in huffs in the cold air around me. I remember sitting outside with fingers so cold I could barely move them and trying to make myself a small ragdoll out of scraps and old pieces of cloth I had managed to collect. My hands were shaking and despite my trembling fingers I continued manipulating the fabric to my desire, desperate to create something, anything. It reminded me of a doll I used to have as a child.


That one went across my back.

My mother used to tell me whenever I was scared or lost and did not know what to do that my doll would always show me the way. My heart was beating in my ears, thumping loudly, and I could not silence it. I did not want to. I was so desperate to find something to hold on to, desperate to keep my sanity. To find anything, any way, to not lose track of who I was. 




The flesh of my thigh felt as if it was about to be peeled off.

We were treated like animals, like pure scum. Our lives had so little value to those who tortured us. Soon exhaustion started to get at us and many collapsed on the ground, unable to continue. They were shot on the spot. At the end of the day, when I had heard the screams of women tortured, interrogated, experimented on and killed, when I had seen hope drain from everyone’s eyes and even my memories from my life before this had started to fade, the only thing I could come back to was that ragdoll.  

I have lost count of how many times I have been hit. I felt like hours had passed. I could not possibly know but I think it is coming to an end now. I think my body will not handle it any longer and it will all soon come to an end. The pain will stop, the memories will fade and it will all go away.

I finally found a way to get away.

Funny how I think of mother at this moment, but I do not think of her agonizing screams as she was restrained and cut open in front of me. I do not think of her bloodshot eyes calling out to me, looking me over as to memorize every detail because I was the last thing they saw. I do not think of how she struggled until her last breath and how she lost the fight, her body going completely limp the moment the injection was forced into her heart. No, this time I can see mother in front of me, with her soft smile and doe eyes welcoming me. I can no longer hear my own screams. I cannot move and every part of me is paralyzed and numb.  She would have wanted me to put up more of a fight, I think, to maybe throw a fit and yell and fight to the very end but Mother, I do not think I can fight it anymore. I am so tired. Mother, I am sorry I cannot fight for you. 

I think I will meet you again soon.

Viktoria Kandilarova

© Katedralskolan