Gone with the Shackles… Essay

It was dark. We were in the midst of a heavy downpour. I lay motionless on the cold, hard cement floor of my prison cell. It had been twenty-four hours since I had been taken in…

Looking back, it had seemed likely we were going to win the war. It was filled with murderous, bloody and depressing events. But yesterday there had been something in the air. It was not the smell of deceased flesh. It felt like optimism. The invading army was slowly but surly being defeated. At about 1500 hours the front line had gained about eight miles and out adversary had seized fire. Was this just a ploy? Or were they giving up? We did not know for sure. We kept our hopes high though. I decided to take a rest from the chaos that surrounded me. Sleep was a luxury we didn’t take for granted anymore. I slept lightly, waking at the slightest sound. Suddenly I felt a movement beneath me. At first I paid no attention to it, but after a few minutes it became very vexatious.

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I pulled my pistol out. I aimed at the inanimate creature, which was still unknown to me. It was moving very fast. In my frustration I got ready to pull the trigger. I thought the gun was not loaded so I reached for my bag for some bullets. The bold creature had revealed itself. It was a dirty rat that was nibbling down on my blanket, defiantly. Hurriedly, I tried reloaded my gun. Unknowingly I pulled the trigger, the gun did have bullets in it, and the bullet missed the rat and rapidly hit my foot. My foot was crenellated; blood was splattering everyway in my desolate cell, sending my whole body into a state of complete shock. My foot felt as hot as hell and throbbed uncontrollably… I screamed at the top of my lungs…

The guards outside had heard the disturbance and rushed through the door as quick as lightning. They hastily informed me I was to be taken to my sergeant for assessment. I pleaded with them that it was an accident, but they didn’t believe me. I was dragged through the besmirched stinky filthy trench, as if I were a rag doll. Painfully, I walked on. I desperately looked around whilst being dragged by. Nobody seemed to notice me; soldiers around me preoccupied with their own tasks.

When we finally reached the sergeants office, he called me in. he was a tall, dark colored, handsome man. I noticed he was missing a figure, I was tempted to ask what had happed, but figured it not to be the best of ideas. His deep voice would intimidate anyone. I explained to him what had happened. He ruthlessly dismissed my explanation and shouted that I would be held in an encampment until they though of a just punishment for a coward like me.

Days became weeks; weeks became months. Many men and even some women had come in and out of the prison. Still I had not heard my punishment. They kept me in a small, cramped, dingy, box-shaped room; with nothing but a bed and toilet and sink. Hunger would kill me before they did. I was given three pitiful meals a day, which resembled rice chicken and water. It was the same every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The conditions in which I slept in were ghastly.

The stench was a grim mixture of urine, feces and decomposed flesh. My bed was just a thin damp mattress on the concrete floor. It seemed like the mattress had been used a million times over and not all that slept on it had not survived the night. Spider webs, dust and grime filled every corner of the cell. The guards were surprisingly pleasant; at least to me they were. Maybe they felt a sense of injustice in my being here. There was some relief in this. I felt numb and helpless as I peered through the bars of my cell to see British, American, and Russian soldiers beaten, tortured and incapacitated till they had almost no breath left in them at all.

After what seemed like an eternity I was moved to another cell, in a different location. I was pushed into the back on a large vehicle blindfolded and we drove on a rugged road for some two hours. The food and living conditions at this new cell were slightly more livable yet they were still far from humane. It had been almost six months since I was taken in. The rumor in the penitentiary was that the war was almost over. Victory was close for our enemies; the powerful opposition weakened Germany and Japan. Hitler had been in hiding for four months. I felt sure that if the war would soon end then my release and freedom was a possibility.

American militia and taken over our penitentiary. We were all now in the hands of the Americans. We were in a state of confusion. We knew that we had gained freedom from our own people but now we were in the hands of the enemy. Death was still a lurking close by. I could sense it. The first thing the Americans did was to move us into their territory. The plane journey from Berlin to Washington D.C. was very long, strenuous and uncomfortable. They told us that President Roosevelt was going decide our fate once we landed…

After what felt like an eternity we finally landed. The sun in Washington was bearing down on us. We were all shackled together like cattle lined up for slaughter. In the distance we noticed a black limousine driving toward us escorted by police. It was President Roosevelt. He nonchalantly stepped out of his limousine and walked toward us. He scrutinized each and every one of us paralyzing us with fear. I had never been put under such a microscope. His haunting look would never leave me. He whispered something to a tall, well-built gentlemen’s by his side. The next thing I knew my fellow comrades were gunned down in front of my eyes… one by one…bodies hit the ground. It would soon be my turn. After almost one year I would be put out of my misery. I was next; I closed my eyes tight in silent acceptance. The gunshots seized…


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