Rubashov stood stiffly between the bed and the bucket, held his breath, and waited for the first scream. He remembered that the first scream, in which terror still predominated over physical pain, was usually the worst; what followed was already more bearable, one got used to it and after a time one could even draw conclusions on the method of torture from the tone and rhythm of the screams. Towards the end, most people behaved in the same way, however different they were in temperament and voice: the screams became weaker, changed over into whining and choking. Usually the door would slam soon after. The keys would jangle again; and the first scream of the next victim often came even before they had touched him, at the mere sight of the men in the doorway.
Arthur Koestler, Darkness At Noon, Bantam Books, 1966.