Today is different By Kitty
I wake up. My fingers stretch out seeking my mother’s warm body. Her sky blue eyes are hidden like a gazelle hiding from a cheetah. She once was an alluring lady, so they tell me, but now she looks drained and weary.
For seven ceaseless weeks we have been incarcerated in this unbearable concentration camp. Life here is gruelling. Despite our attempts to keep clean, our clothes and bodies are sordid and illness is common. The food is bland; there is never enough. We’re beginning to starve.
Even though I try to remain brave and hopeful, I’m fearful that I like so many others, will disappear.
They make you work, it’s tough and numbingly boring. But today is different. This is the escape day...
For the last few weeks, mother and I have been planning an escape. It sounds ridiculous, who has ever escaped from a concentration camp? But despite this, we still have faith in our plan; what other choice do we have?
We have been saving what food we can, although it isn’t much and I’ve managed to steal a small hand trowel which has been hidden in a shallow hole in the earth under my bed. We are ready and waiting for the right time.
Night is falling and it is still, too still. There is a great chance the guards will hear us with not even a gentle breeze to disguise our footsteps, but mother is becoming restless and we must leave.
Slipping out into the night, the cold air slaps me hard around my face and I shiver with fear, hunching my back and lifting my shoulders to keep warm.
It is pitch black, just like ravens feathers; I can’t see anything. Mother is leading me, we’re running now. As the fence approaches us, we see a torch light…
‘Get down,’ she hisses desperately as she pushes me to the ground. ‘Lie flat and stay still.’
I fall to the ground. My face scrapes the gravel and my mouth fills with grit. The torch light flashes in my eyes. He is so close I am sure he can hear my heart pounding. I can see the creases in his leather boots as he marches past. He stops. This is the end, I know it. Turning his head slowly, we make eye contact. Beaten, I turn my face into the gravel and give up. I hear the crunching of his footsteps but they are going away from me. What does this mean?
I glance at mother. ‘Go,’ she mouths. Scrambling under the fence through a low dip in the ground, I feel a sharp pain across my cheek. Blood drips down and a metallic taste fills my mouth, but I have no choice but to ignore it.
Running like hunted prey, I think about what lies ahead; a dangerous and frightening time. I also think about how tonight, human spirit and kindness has been demonstrated, and now my heart is soaring.