As time goes on, the NKVD push the deportees harder and reduce their bread rations if they stumble. Elena becomes alarmingly thin and Lina is so dehydrated that she cannot cry. Every other night they are woken up to be intimidated into signing the documents. Eventually some people give in and sign. People who sign are allowed to go to the village and thus post letters. The bald man speaks unkindly of Mrs. Arvydas and calls her “whore,” saying that she could perhaps find a way to send letters. In case they get a chance to post letters, Lina and Elena write cryptic letters to Kostas and Elena’s “contact.”
The NKVD does their best to make life even worse for the deportees by adding sleep deprivation to their long list of horrors. Eventually, some people decide that the small pleasures of sleep and the ability to go to a real village are worth the impending twenty-five years of labor. Those who disobey and do not sign have no idea whether they will endure, but decide that death is worth their dignity.