Born on death row – my short story

I was tired, exhausted, but anxiety dominated and rendered the escape of sleep redundant. My feet, cold and crippled on the floor of my concrete cell. I was so used to the pain that I’d discarded my cries after an eternity of being engulfed by darkness. I could hear the whimpers of others rising up into the already dense fog of despair.


I tried at first, when I still had a soul, when I still felt life; I tried to connect. I remember it once felt natural to be affectionate, it once felt natural to trust. I learned though, quickly and brutally. I saw whenever I dared meet the eyes of our warders, that there was no connection, no friendship, no compassion.

There’s something worse than being hated and detested, something far more wretched. To beg for mercy and it be cast upon deaf ears, to plea for your life when it plummets upon padlocked hearts and visionless sight, when you’re irrelevant and people look right through you; then… you’re invisible.

My pain scorches.

My fear swamps.

My screams pierce.

And my skin bleeds.

I saw a fraction of humanity once. The day I momentarily jolted back to life. Seeing that stranger walk into the prison, a day I’ll never forget. That stranger who looked a lot like me, except, he was free. He strolled past our cells with an air of joyful innocence, kind eyes, and a pure soul. He stopped briefly as he passed my cell. He stopped and looked, right at me. His smiling eyes in direct communication with my own. He SAW me. It was the closest thing to affection I ever remember and the jolt it gave me was like a defibrillator to the heart.

The warder came in almost immediately and I feared for the stranger’s life. I shouted out to warn him, and that’s when I saw it. The connection. The warder ran straight over and launched his hands towards the stranger’s neck. I winced, awaiting the violence. When I heard no scream I looked up to see the hands thrown around the stranger were in an embrace, of love and tenderness.

My head thudded in an agony of confusion. If the warder could SEE the stranger and was capable of such gentle kindness, why was I treated so differently? Why was I invisible? Maybe soon, he’ll see me too… and then I’ll be loved like the stranger. It gave me hope. For a while. But it didn’t last.

Soon came the dark day.

I’d been allowed outside and I was walking around inhaling the freedom of fresh air, when two men dragged me into a narrow hallway. I couldn’t move. I was so choked with fear that I couldn’t breathe. They straddled me and rammed something hard inside me.



I screamed out.

They laughed.

That’s the day it began and was repeated, more than I allow myself to remember. I killed myself that day, emotionally. The extinction of light, led my mind to black, and I blocked out this hellhole of a nightmare.

Sometime after, I don’t know how long, I was brought into this cell. Confined. Unable to move. Pain. Blood. Agonising pain. My mind was so fucked up I had no realisation I’d gone into labour. I can’t remember much about it. They took my child, I know that. Of the tiny fragments I recall, that was the most painful.

The attachment you feel after giving birth is so fierce. Mothers around the planet will generally risk their life to protect that of their babies and when that’s taken away from you, the grief of loss, the mourning, is desperate despair.

I wasn’t the only invisible soul trapped in inescapable torment. I watched as they dragged another girl out onto the floor, whilst she convulsed in agonising seizures and spasms. “Hurry up and die.” the warder sneered.

I sensed death. It was near.

We’d heard the rumours, but you can detach yourself from a story. When you read of horrors you don’t want to believe, you divert your consciousness so reality remains veiled. Like all diversions though, at some point it must rejoin the road, the intended direction of travel, the highway of your subconscious that remains ever aware of the terrifying truth.

The stories that echoed in locked-away thoughts of being shackled, of tongs being attached to their heads, of huge electric currents passing through their brains until unconscious. And, of the times when the warders fucked it up, watching as the poor bastard writhed in a hopeless, miserable struggle.

Agonising electric shocks.


Unable to move.

But still conscious.

Regardless of the outcome, conscious or not, both resulted in the same sequential destruction; blood vessels in their throats slit and then left to bleed to their mortal demise.

So here we are, born on death row. I don’t know why we are here or what we did wrong. I don’t think there is anything I could do to change this outcome or to escape my fate. It would seem my life has been overlooked, translucently insignificant, and my death commissioned before I was born.

I never understood the anger. The force of which was so torrential I could only imagine it came from a heart of disturbed evil, but then, I’d remember the stranger and the embrace of genuine love.

I once heard a warder scream, “Shut the fuck up! No-one gives a shit about your squealing cause you’ll taste so good when you’re dead!” He said they’d cook our flesh and feast upon our lifeless bodies.

The stranger: a dog.
Me: a pig.

So very alike with four legs, equally affectionate and intelligent, capable of feeling love, fear, hunger, loss, stress, and pain. One adored, the other ignored.

There’s something worse than being hated and detested, something far more wretched. To beg for mercy and it be cast upon deaf ears, to plea for your life when it plummets upon padlocked hearts and visionless sight, when you’re irrelevant and people look right through you; then… you’re invisible.


Thanks for reading.

Anna x

(Follow Anna @TheVeganna)

P.s For anyone who wants to know and learn more, I’d recommend watching ‘Cowspiracy’ (available on Netflix), ‘Speciesism’ and ‘Earthlings’.

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