Of course, I am duty bound to escape, and so I occasionally make a go of it, getting as far as what I cannot tell; there is no fence, no boundary of any kind, the landscape is a cold and desolate plain. Before long my captors find me, wandering through snow drifts and leaning against the furious winds that blow as if commanded by something greater to push me back to my prison.
Back in the mine, I am led to the gauntlet; my emotions have missed me, and are due their pound of flesh. They exact their vengeance without mercy, striking me down with painful blows that send me to my knees. I crawl along the ground like an animal, unable to defend myself against their brutal onslaught. They stomp, grind, twist, hit, and pull at me until I call out for a relief that doesn't come. Once they have had their fill, their baleful thirst sated only by my wild, endless cries for help, they trudge off to a hidden corner of the mine to wait in the shadows for the next time.
I lay still, the cold stone beneath me chilling my bruises. This time, I wonder, was it worse than the last? Will my wounds close over with thick, wretched scar tissue, making me tougher, stronger, harder to break next time? The thought of being covered in a rough, callous, healed skin; that scares me more than the alternative. To develop an immunity to these stinging barbs and slashing attacks would be for me a fate worse than the suffering that wracks me now. It might mean freedom, to have the strength to walk out of here and into the bleak wilderness beyond the horizon. I could leave behind the fury of my captors, with their attacks and the pain they inflict, but to no longer feel this pain is to cease being who I am, and to end my suffering is to end me.
What then, my sentence? I will serve my time, and meanwhile dig for more Hope.