Written by Yurun (Irene) Zheng
August 16, 1971
He was the first one to be released.
He stood in front of the building and looked up at the sky. The sun shined on him, gradually warming his body. A breeze blew on his face and gently shook his hair back and forth as he watched a flock of birds fly above him, singing and chasing one another happily.
He turned back, threw his cigarette to the ground, and stared at the building that had changed his life forever…
August 14, 1971
“Get down you stupid prisoner!”
A guard thrust him onto the floor. He twisted and turned his body, trying to free himself under the heavy foot. He would not allow his dignity to be insulted by a college student just like him.
“Superintendent Zimbardo!” He heard someone calling.
He flinched at the name and immediately became motionless. The echo of that name remained in the air, sending shivers down to everybody in the prison.
The guard caught the chance and stepped harder on his back, suppressing him deeper until he was lying completely face to face with the ground.
He was almost out of breath. His head was spinning around and around; his throat was so dry that he could not make a sound through it; his chest was burning on fire under the heavy boots that were nearly going to penetrate through his body. He could not resist. He lay there silently, waiting for more pain.
Suddenly, he was shoved into a tiny room. He did not know where he was, but was relieved to be finally freed from the pain. He leaned against the wall and looked around, but all he could see was darkness. He tried to move his body, but there was no way to go. He pressed his ears onto the wall, but all he could hear were the whistles and curses from the guards.
“Let me out!” he shouted, but no one responded to him.
He kept knocking on the door, knowing that nobody would open it for him. The panic was consuming him. He knew he would be stuck here, alone in the complete darkness, forever and ever.
Before he realized it, he began screaming and crying. The sounds lingered along the hallway, echoing back and forth from one end to the other, just like a ghost hanging around with him…
August 16, 1971
It only lasted for 36 hours.
He shook his head, trying to get rid of the terrible memories. He looked at the building once again and reached for his Kodak camera. He calmly took a picture of it and started to write in his journal.
Tonight at 11:30.
He smiled again, almost genuinely, and then walked away.
Lightning started rumbling like drums; wind began howling like demons from hell; raindrops were falling like long knitting needles.
Nothing would bring the birds back to the sky again.