A Regimented Purpose

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a man's battle with PTS syndrome

Submitted: August 06, 2008

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Submitted: August 06, 2008

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The controlled movement of his walking had faint echoes of a disciplined life and regimented purpose. A monotonous beat of foot step after foot step as he pressed on through the crowd of parents that lined the streets on the busy Tuesday afternoon waiting to pick up there children from school. He wore casual attire, a myriad of browns, which reflects his apathy towards society, and its stereotypical assumptions of the elderly and was pressed with military precision.

He was tall, a shadow of a former built man, which complimented his walk. His brushed grey hair lay flat upon his pale scalp, as though asleep. His pale skin, made to look washed out by his clothes. He rubbed his tired eyes with his fingertips, stained with yellow memories of smoking, the calluses irritating his shaven face.

As he entered the Shopping centre of his quiet country town, he began picking through the shelves as he searched for the items he required to stay alive a little longer. His pension allowed few luxuries, but he indulged whenever he could, this time round he chose liquorish a simple pleasure he had enjoyed since he was a boy. Placing them in his basket he wandered on.

A can, in the next aisle, clunk to the ground. Without a second’s hesitation, he was magnetised to the linoleum with a resounding “thud!” His mind drifted back to the vault of memories he had suppressed.

“John Baker, Michael Harkness, Steven Peters” they read out the names as though they were already dead, called into the room of no return, a door through which contained only death. They say the room was simply a screening room, where they test you for illness, yet few returned. They put this down to struggling against the procedures, and causing the officers harm, which meant they had to restrain them. But he and the other prisoners knew the lead restraints were not due to resistance, but in cold blood, which matched the cold lead, fired by cold hearts, governed by an even colder leader.

Later that night, he sat with his brother as they wrote a letter home, hoping that his family in France had not yet been caught, he reflected on the day’s events and wondered if he would be next.

The wind bit at the ankles of Brian as he awoke the next morning, and followed the rest of hut 4-b out into the bitter winter weather. This was the daily exercise, the training the men received as troops meant that this normally would have been a simple task, but the horrors of this camp had pushed them to there limit. With sunken eyes and bloated stomachs the men were forced to do the exercises. No exercise meant you were to enter the room through which contained only death.

That night there was chatter amongst the huts. They were talking up a rebellion, an uprising against the people keeping them here. All night long you could here things like, ‘we’re coming Nazi pigs, I hope you’re ready’ The men gathered whatever they could as weapon through the night, one at a time so they did not make much noise. Eventually, as dawn broke, each man contributing had his club of justice.

The siren went on time the next morning, and as the men waited for there Justice Brian his brother, wife and daughter all took refuge under a bunk, and huddled together, to avoid the carnage that was about to follow.

The doors to the bunks opened, the aggressors that had tortured, beaten and starved every single one of them were met with a torrent of metal and wooden clubs, sharp metal from the iron roofs wrapped in linen as shanks, some even went as far as wrapping nails in linen and tying it to there hands and feet.

As the men swarmed the officers, they were met with gunfire from the men in the watches. Some men seized the weapons of the fallen Nazi officers and returned fire. For the unfortunate few who decided to try and risk it over the fence while the officers were distracted were often met with crossfire as they tried to cross the new battle-field.

Bullets were hammering the huts striking holes in anything inside. Eventually the rioters were all laid to rest in the carpet of blood and mud that covered everything. Those who were still alive were taken and beaten, some returned, others didn’t. As Brian and the family decided it was safe enough to remove themselves from the refuge of the bunks, they noticed something they hadn’t during the carnage, as they had all be to scared to move. There was a trickle of blood, seeping across the wooden floor, it was coming from there huddle of four.

As each of them searched around for a possible injury, it was Edward, Brian’s brother that did not move. He stayed propped up against the tin wall of the hut. Brian searched the back of Edward, and found an entry wound. It had most probably collapsed a lung and pierced the stomach. Brian let out a small wail of disbelief and cradled his dieing brother.

“Are you OK?” “Sir, can you hear me?” his mind wandered back to reality. “Sir?” he opened his eyes, and saw not a blood soaked hut floor, but clean Linoleum and sneakers. He realised what had happened and picked him self up off the floor. Dusting himself off he walked away repeating “I’m ok don’t worry about me, thank you, yes I’m ok” he payed for the items he’d collected and walked at a quickened pace home, to avoid the gazes of the other shoppers.

He unlocked the door and stepped inside, laid the shopping bag on the table and went to bed, overcome by the memories he had suppressed.


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