The Horror of Man Part One

The Horror of Man Part One

A Story by N. James Frazier

This is part one ina two part series of a fictional experience in one of the most devasting locations and times in humanity. The Gulag system in the Soviet Union produced the water mark of devastation, in that being Kolyma.




Twisted metal, reaching for the blackened sky, looked like a tragic forest. Bits of glass were strewn across its forest floor and smoke was rising in thick and black clouds. I can't find my way out of this forbidden woodland. I feel a sharp pain in my left leg as I make a feeble attempt at hobbling towards safety. It's unbearable and I soon fall to the ground in surrender. I can hear voices searching for survivors, but I know my own is too weak to function.
I was already dead, I knew this. Hell I knew this before I ever embarked on this Voyage from Hell. Even if I was saved my fate only loomed ahead in what can only be described as the Devil’s Playground. So much torment and violence swelled my destination, Kolyma. This I already know, for I was once myself a supervisor of this mark of horror upon humanity. Words cannot describe this. I realize these horrors now on this Vessel of Death. We were on The Road of Bones.
My name is Sergey Kaufman. The pain in my leg wonders why I need to revisit this place of suffering. I stare at the poster of the man with a big mustache, staring at me mocking me on this ride of misery.
Kolyma was the ideal place of suffering, a masochistic’s dream. This place was a Tower of Torment over Auschwitz. Trust me I know. In the last 10 hours I have experienced horror that anyone ever should:
We were locked in a holding area at the bottom of this horrible, merciless ship. From the beginning I knew I was going to die in Kolyma. I think my fellow inmates knew the same. “Together We Suffer” seemed to me the motto of the masses. The thousands of animals locked together like some horrible dehumanizing zoo.
 Of the madness that ensued, it could only be because of the lack of restraints for the inmates of seemingly enough, this Dreg. We had political prisoners, farmers, rapists, inmates, homosexuals, vagrants, and other social parasites. We were all forced together in the same area. Imagine this for yourselves, rapists alongside librarians and poets. Murders alongside politicians. Paranoia and insanity were what we came to. Nothing more.
In fact this is what feed us. I fortunately was held in somewhat good favor with a few of the crew members. I remember giving cigarettes and vodka to some of them when they were in port. Before the height of the madness they had saved me.
The revolutionaries were the first to go, the ones who thought they could convince the sea of inmates into rebellion, they were made example of by the crew, killed by their own kind, or fought viciously against their fellow revolutionaries for control of the inmates. Eventually two factions began a horrible violent battle against each other.
I remember being up on a ledge seeing this violence, the two factions were like a storm, barreling down upon each other. Killing the ones who refused to pick sides and then eventually turning into one giant field of bodies. No one knew who was who, they killed each other for control, then eventually they killed each other in order to survive. Not knowing who was who, or which side was which. I remember pounding away at the doors, in an attempt to escape. The guards could not remain deaf with the sounds of literally crushed lives crying out with their last breaths, all inside the belly of the ship. There world around me was deafening, as I clawed away at the chaos that was that hold. Blood stained the walls and floor there.
The door flung open the coldest breeze that has ever been felt pushed its way into the hold along with guards that I had befriended. Dozens of guards inched their ways into the hold. The stench of death and mass of bodies lying in the heat of a diesel engine sent them retreating but back they went.
Shots rang out as the guards made an attempt to stop the violence. The bullets did nothing more the kill a few here and there. A fire lit up in the hold that was at first isolated and then spread. The guards began shooting hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the hold in an attempt to put out the fires and subdue the inmates.
The masses stopped their fighting against themselves and turned to the real threat at hand, the guards and the freedom that laid several meters behind them that was the deck of the ship. The men marched against their captors in attempt to take their freedom back. It is an awesome sight, the look that was in the thousands upon thousands eyes that night. It was an awesome paradox, in that even though they were almost close enough to strangle their freedom, the were still nothing more than caged animals.
The guards, realizing that they were all severally out numbered fought with every breath they could back up to the deck and I did the same. I made it to the deck, the icy winds cut my back like razor blades when I made it to freedom. Thousands of prisoners lied in the belly of the ship, with thousands of gallons of water still there and fires still raging. What a horrible recipe for chaos.
The pandemonium that ensued could never be estimated as a contingency. The shouts of the inmates banging and screaming in horror, as they were being burned, and scalded by the combination of fire and water. The inmates were being boiled and broiled in there. After eight hours of screaming the catastrophic events of last night ended. There was nothing more that could be heard than the wail of the banshee that was the night wind. No crew member was man enough to fight the smell of the dead that had been slowly dispersing itself throughout the ship. The thought itself of opening the ships hold would not be dawned upon. The masses of the hold being burned and boiled is not a sight or smell any man can ever allow themselves to experience.
It had been four hours after the last scream that a terrific explosion ripped through the hold. Glass and strewn bodies were blasted all around. Death stalked this entire godforsaken ship. I hated man, everything he has done has been in vain. No good that has become of man could possibly compensate for the violence that had been set up in the Gulag. Nothing could possible salvage this abortion that was mankind and her existence.
There was nothing more than carnage around me: Bodies on ice, lifeless burnt little figures. Bodies contorted. Dead. Horror. Out of the desperation were gangs of survivors shambling through the debris that was the ship. One man was carrying the next. There were probably 15 men left alive. Thousands had been killed for no reason. Bodies for as far as the eye could see. This is all I could see, was the destruction of mankind.
There was nothing we could do except wait. This was our only savior, the idea that help might get here before we all died from exposure. We all bunkered down in what was left of chaotic hell that was the hold of that ship. We huddled together to consume as much warmth that we could from the wreckage and ourselves. I wanted to die. I wanted to let go and perish. There was nothing but scars in my life now. I don’t want to open my eyes anymore because of the carnage that I have witnessed. My leg which had been numb from a minor cut and exposure had gotten its feeling back slightly. The world around me, and the horror that was humanity was more unbearable than any physical pain that I could possibly ever feel. In no less than two hours later, a ship was on the horizon. I had no idea my fate. It would most likely not be good.

© 2008 N. James Frazier

Author's Note

N. James Frazier
Please ignore grammer, and please let me know I have at all brought this to any of your attentions. There will eventually be a second part to this account of horror at Kolyma.

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very intense and interesting. Your words are really well-chosen

Posted 12 Years Ago

I'm sure I've said this before, but you have a wonderful way of using word play. This entire piece was one of those tales that pulls you in and makes it real. I enjoyed many of your images, especially:

"Twisted metal, reaching for the blackened sky, looked like a tragic forest. Bits of glass were strewn across its forest floor and smoke was rising in thick and black clouds. I can't find my way out of this forbidden woodland."

Grotesquely vivid....enthralling. Thank you, Mr. Frazier.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on February 10, 2008
Last Updated on February 19, 2008


N. James Frazier
N. James Frazier

Chicago, IL

I am 20 and I write short stories and screen plays. While also attempting to direct them and turn these pieces into a film. I also right some poetry. I am also a manager/director/and advertise for a s.. more..