A Female Prisoner’s Corpse

In March 1992, we were camping in Sugol Valley in Settlement No.22. One day, after lunch, I left my tent and went up the hill for evacuation. When I settled down at a corner, I noticed a shovel partly covered by dry leaves. I wondered who could have left a shovel in such a remote and deserted place like this.

Thinking that I could use it for my camping, I tried to pick it up after evacuation. It didn’t move. When I kicked away the dry leaves to have a better look, I found a naked young girl’s corpse! The corpse was covered with worms and the shovel was deep inside her body. I ran away in horror. Then, I found another corpse, beheaded and without arms. I was so shocked and confused that I just kept running aimlessly. Soon I became lost and couldn’t find my camping site. It was so quiet that I could only hear the sound of the wind.

A little while later, I heard some movement in the distance and saw three wild boars running away. I was frightened, but curious to see where the wild boars had been. Again, there was a human corpse and the beasts had been eating it! It was a man’s corpse, still fresh with no flesh on one of the thighs. One of the arms was torn away from the shoulders. I shouted for help but there was no response. After calming down, I went up a nearby peak and saw smoke coming from our camping sites far below. I had gone so far in the opposite direction!

In March 1992, we marched and camped at a location some 500 meters away from the location where we found a large number of human corpses the previous year. Obviously, the officers concluded that the site they selected this year was safe.

The area was quite steep with a lot of stones and dry leaves. A good number of crows were hovering above us. When we reached our camp, I felt exhausted and sat down. My colleagues asked me, “Myong-chol, what happened?” I replied, “You guys better look around carefully. I was once lost in the grave yard up there.” They replied, “Not here. It was in the other valley where we camped last year.” They wished they wouldn’t see anything like last year again, not even in their dreams.

Just at that moment, a young guard, only 17 years old, ran down from a hill crying with his pants still halfway down his legs, “Sir, somebody died there!” He was scolded by officers for being a weakling. Then, there was an order to dismantle the tents for retreat. As we left the place, I swore to myself time and time again that I would never come back here again.