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The Lucky Ones

I was captured two months ago in the forest near my camp. Most of my squad were shot dead on the spot; a few of us were saved for other purposes.

That was in late autumn; now it is winter. I crawl out of bed, brush away the fleas, lice and other vermin, and put on my worn and tattered coat. I go outside, get in the mess line, and, in the icy fury of the deep-winter wind, squat and shiver as I eat a meager breakfast.

Z-----, the head Trustee, swaggers over and barks commands like an angry dog; he comes from the same squad, and the same village as I, but now acts like - and is! - my master. He barks again, we fall in, and he marches us across the main assembly area, pass the frozen forms of those who died during the night, to Building 12, where smoke billows balefully from the five tall stacks. It will be warm inside, even if the damned place is filled with death and horror.

This life is truly a living Hell; but I shouldn't complain, for I am, after all, one of the "lucky ones" who, as long as my strength holds out, stokes the furnaces, and not one of those who are thrown, kicking and screaming and still very much alive, into the hungry flames.

Story by:

Bobby Warner

26 July 2016