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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A modern day Concentration Camp victim escapes.

Submitted: May 07, 2012

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Submitted: May 07, 2012



The Stripey


He was standing at the entrance to his house when he first saw her, a blob of fluorescent orange against the grey and green landscape. He was looking across his ten acre plot, down the slope towards the valley bottom where a stream hurried along, bubbling over and around the boulders and slate. She must have come over the ridge and descended through the Forestry Commission conifers that grew thickly on the far side. The blob was crouched over the stream, drinking, when suddenly it sat down and then keeled over, half in and half out the water, and lay still.  He went back into his house, put on his boots and his fleece jacket and started down the tufted grass slope to investigate.

He had been a right of centre tabloid journalist when, after years in the political wilderness, the National Party swept to power and snapped him up. Now his writing always supported the party line and his employers were not ungenerous. He had a prefabricated replica of a single storey Long House with a roof that, from a distance, looked almost like genuine slate. The effect was slightly marred by the solar panels and the satellite dish mounted on it. It was in a lovely spot in the Borders if you accepted that Camp 5, on the other side of the ridge with its harsh lights, fences and watchtowers, was out of site and out of mind. Officially for re-education he knew that Number 5 was designated a 204 camp and the slogan that appeared over the main gate, “RE-EDUCATION THROUGH HONEST TOIL”, didn’t, in this case, really apply. Some of the camps provided labour gangs that were seen about in their distinctive clothing carrying out manual tasks. People had adjusted to the new reality and would look away or cross the street. However, the only way anyone came out of a 204 camp was as fertilizer.

As he got closer he could see that the blob was a young girl, olive skinned, with dark hair so closely cropped that she was almost bald. She was wearing thin orange button front coveralls with black vertical stripes and cheap black plimsolls. A “Stripey”. She must have jumped from one of the transports and fought her way over the ridge. He wondered if they had missed her. “Almost certainly” was the answer. She was semi-conscious and he picked her up and supported her as they started up the slope to his house. She smelt appalling, a mixture of dirt, sweat and the miasma that comes with an ailing body. Once in his house he took her to his bathroom and ran a warm bath. She protested weakly as he stripped off her plimsolls and filthy coveralls. He eased her into the water and washed her like a baby. She was thin to the point of emaciation and covered in bruises and burns from the “Tickler” cattle prods that the guards used to urge their charges to greater efforts. Afterwards he wrapped her in his spare duvet and spoon fed her Pea and Ham soup from a tin he had heated. He put her coveralls and plimsolls into his washer/dryer and when he came back she had fallen asleep on his leather sofa. He stood and looked at her for a long time.

They were quite polite when they came for her the next morning, thanking him for his cooperation. He had phoned them while she slept. He watched stony faced as they dragged her over to their Unimog transport but his eyes were wet. He felt sorry for the girl but he was a Party Member and, under the National Party, self-preservation was everything.

The End


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