It began with Germans walking into my house. The grabbed me and shoved me out the door. They pushed me into the back of a truck with 30 or 40 other men. We rode for a while until we came to the train station.
There, we were pulled out of the truck. One man moved too slowly and was shot. I didn't react, but just kept moving. We were hearded into cattle-cars.
We rode the train for a while. There were things in the shadows. . . Things I knew were men once, but not any longer. They had long fingers, and eyes that flashed in the darkness. They were snarly creatures. Angry. Hungry.
The sun went down as we rode, and the things came out of the corners and began ripping through the others, feasting as they went, the victims screaming. I wasn't so frightened by the creatures as I was disgusted that they fed without eating the entire man, but left parts uneaten. Then I was frightened, because I knew that I was now feeling that hunger. . . that I was becoming like them.
Before they reached me, though, the cars stopped. The things retreated to the corners, and the screams died down. We were more interested in where we were going than the things that would eat us.
I recognized the things before me: this was a concentration camp.
The chimneys rose before me, the sky blackened with smoke, and the snow of ash tumbling down. On either side of the railroad were razor wire fences, and armed guards with dogs walked back and forth. I could see the disturbed ground outside the fence and realized it must house land mines that had just been planted.
Herded off the cattle-cars, we stood in a mass. I shrank toward the back of the crowd. Two lines were formed. I did my best to look strong and yet cowed, and was shuffled to a line where I could do nothing but watch the other line march toward the chimneys.
I was shown a bunk, and stayed there. I slept cold that night.
Time passed. I recall long lines for food, and hunger. I recall working and the feeling of my stomach devouring itself. I recall chasing rats and spiders for food, and not caring if they were diseased. I recall painful stomach cramps and leaving a man to die who was coughing one night and silent the next morning.
Somehow, I don't know how, I escaped. I ran across fields, dressed in rags and barefoot. My feet were punctured by sticks and thorns, and I could hear dogs in the distance. The moon was full, and I cursed it as I ran. I jumped into a lake, swimming for a small island in the center, but my strenght gave out and I had to go back to the shore.
The dogs were closer, and I could feel their lust for blood.
I ran again, and found a barn. I ran into it and found a horse. The horse could smell me, and kicked. He missed, but not by much. I panicked and ran again, out into that cursed moonlight. I was tired.
I could hear the dogs run now, not only their barks. I was imagining the feel of their breath. Was there anywhere else to go? Anything else I could do?
Finally, I collapsed, vomiting on the ground. As there was nothing in my stomach, it was blood and bile that came forth. I saw this and vomited again, disgusted.
A light hit me in the face, and a growl came from my left.
And I awoke, a free man.