The narrator endures inquisitorial tortures in prison. The last words he hears are the words of the death sentence. The condemned faints. Opening his eyes, he discovers that he is in utter darkness. Afraid that he was immured alive, he jumps to his feet and goes forward. Realizing that he was in a rather spacious room, the narrator concludes that he did not get the most terrible fate. Finally he stumbles upon the wall and remembers the horrors and traps of the Inquisition. Trying to determine the size of the camera, he begins to move along the wall, but stumbles, stretches out on the floor and falls into unconsciousness exhausted.
Waking up, the narrator gropes for a loaf of bread and a bowl of water. After the meal the prisoner continues his studies, stumbles and falls at the very edge of a deep well. Here he understands what penalty is for him – he should have been in the dark to get into this well, like many other poor fellows. However, the narrator is lucky – he
stumbles very quickly.
After this frightening discovery, the narrator can not fall asleep for a long time, but at last he succeeds. When he wakes up, he again finds a loaf of bread and a bowl of water. To the water, obviously something is mixed, as the narrator covers an incomprehensible drowsiness, and he again falls asleep.
Having come to himself, the prisoner sees that everything is illuminated by a greenish light. His camera is much smaller than he imagined, and in the middle there is a deep well. The situation of the prisoner also changes. He is tightly tied to a wooden frame – only the head and left hand left with which he could reach the bowl. The narrator is thirsty, but, to his horror, he does not find water beside him. The jailers want to increase the tortures of the prisoner – in the bowl lies the spicy meat.
The victim examines the ceiling of his camera and sees an image of death on it, only instead of a scythe in her hand is a pendulum that moves. Rats appear, and the narrator with great difficulty drives them away from the meat.
After a while the narrator again looks
upward and with horror notices that the pendulum has considerably lowered, and its lower end, sharp as a razor, has the shape of a sickle. Rats like waiting for the death of a prisoner to make a bloody feast, and the idea comes to the narrator’s head. He smears the strap strapping it with fat from the plate. Attracted by the smell of rats, they jump on the body of the prisoner and are mistaken for a cinch. Animals bite the belt when the pendulum already cuts through the prisoner’s clothes and passes over his chest. The narrator drives his rescuers and gently slips out from under the moving blade. The pendulum stops immediately, rises to the ceiling and disappears. The narrator manages to avoid another painful death.
Suddenly a change takes place in the cell – its walls are heated and begin to shrink, coming closer to the prisoner. soon there is no free space in the cell, and the narrator is forced to approach the well. It seems to him that life is over. The narrator, whose clothes are already smoldering, is preparing to jump into a bottomless well, but at the last moment his hand is missing. This is General Lassalle. French troops entered Toledo. The Inquisition is now dominated by its enemies.