CARGOES OF CONSCIENCE

 

It is a claustrophobic darkness we are entering... full of sounds... which are the only clues that tell our senses where, and with whom we move. A rhythmic creaking is pervasive... all-surrounding... as is lapping—subtle splashes, from without, of heavy liquid. Listless waves? A distant hiss contributes bass notes to the nasal drones of slumber; snores are evident, fitful grunts, the gulps and gasps of troubled sleep... a belch... a fart... an infant's whimper... here a sniffle... there a sigh... until a comprehensive wakefulness afflicts the nameless mass whose moans commence, erupt like vomit from a hundred seasick viscera. From a thousand—in the desultory pitch-black, who can tell? Theirs is an outcry of protracted and disoriented suffering from an overcrowded crawl space, inextricably cramped yet vast, that drowns out every vain attempt to understand its probity.

 

Do we travel through some Underworld, witness wages paid for sin? We sense a living death, a dank and fetid, piss and feces hell-hold wherein hapless souls pass days, weeks, months, deprived of light and air; no human dignity, pride, or respectfulness intrudes upon this realm—save for fellow-feeling bred among the tortured...

 

... those... them... they are like a single racked anatomy stretched to limits of endurance by a captor-race descended from afar—who knows from whence (?)—which has abducted, then confined lost souls to a cell of foreign misery that has pitched and rolled and flooded close-packed bodies, scuttled spirits in a sloshing trough of tears and noxious waste that knows no end.

 

Unless the calm beyond this floating crypt betokens new atrocities—which, compounded by unspeakable fear, infects the wretched throng, as countless ears, eyes, mouths, and noses share the plight of hope eclipsed...

 

... and we the audience grow accustomed to the movie's lack of light... as credits, scrawled, run down the screen as if inscribed on a steamed-up porthole... that clears, at last, for a cinematic glimpse of wholesale human bondage.

 

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