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We dragged our feet, one by one while we walked alongside the remaining living corpses. Above our heads, a heavily guarded fortress signified our arrival. Final destination. I clutched tightly at his hand. Scared. From this point on, we were prisoners of war.
Josh gazed gently down at me and gave a firm squeeze of my own hand, ‘I will protect you.’ I smiled at his words but my heart still felt heavy. This was something greater than the both of us. Those that entered Hell, often don’t come back, whole. Our lives were their puppets to control under their hands. God, I pray for the end of our suffering.
We were lead to an open courtyard. Surrounding us from all sides were towers of prison cells. We were tiny ants inside a foreign colony. Guards lined us up in long rows of twenties. I stood beside Josh as tall and dignified as I can. My eyes silently followed the movements of the guards as they inspect every single person. When the warden came to stand in front of me, I bit down my disgust as his large grubby hands roamed my body. As he straightened up, I saw a frightening hunger in his eyes. I let out a breath as he stepped away from me but then he spoke, ‘Strip.’ I flicked a glance towards the surrounding people. No one else had to strip. Why only me? I remained as I was, ‘I refuse to strip. On what basis do you demand further inspection?’ He poked his finger at my chest, evidently enjoying the touch, ‘When I say strip, you strip. No reason needed.’
‘And what if I refuse?’
At my remark, he placed his hand on the top button of my blouse and sneered openly, ‘I will strip you myself.’ My heart dropped, this was as far as my bravery could endure. I quivered under his touch and closed my eyes. Suddenly, I heard a painful snap of broken bones and a scream that wasn’t mine. Hesitantly, I opened my eyes. The warden was on the ground, clutching at his limp arm. Josh pressed his boot hard on the warden’s groin and hissed, ‘You do not touch her. Ever.’ Suddenly, I watched in horror as Josh was thrown to the ground by armoured guards. I ran to his aid but was stopped when an arm locked me in place: the warden. With me in one hand, he bellowed at his guards, ‘Shoot him down like a wild beast!’ I kicked and screamed and bit at him but as I was dropped, I heard the inevitable sound of gunshot. Too late.
I fell at Josh’s side, crying at the gushing pool of blood. I held his head gingerly as I ripped my blouse and bandaged his stomach. The white cloth instantly reddened. Too much blood. He was losing too much blood. I desperately pressed at the wound, but the blood wouldn’t stop. I looked down at my hands; they were dyed in his blood. He was going to die. He was going to die and I couldn’t do anything about it.
‘Someone save him! Someone please save Josh!’ I hurled myself at the Warden’s leg, and clutched on it, ‘Please save him. Please, I beg you. I will do anything; just save him, please!’ He peered down at me with a sickening smirk, ‘Anything? Even sleep with me?’ I glanced back at Josh’s unmoving body. The pool of blood had steadily increased. If he didn’t get medical attention soon, he would die.