The sun beat down on the desert sand, making the sand unbearable even to lay a shod foot on, let alone a shoeless one. Water could not be seen for miles, and the cool refreshment of night was hours off. All around were big rocks. The big rocks were to be smashed into small rocks, which were to be ground into gravel, which was to be fed into a cement mixer to make concrete. That was the task of the prisoners.
John Frost and Larry Snaro were assigned to haul buckets of gravel and dump them into the cement mixers. They were chained together, as per the buddy system which the P.O.W. camp used.
General Oso had been just about ready to kill them when he captured them outside Juala. They were the only Americans to survive the bombing run. Eventually he calmed down, and sent them off to the Juala P.O.W. Camp. Once there they were poorly fed, given almost no time to sleep, and worked almost to death.
They had plotted escape on more than one occasion. Each time, though, someone beat them to it. And that someone was captured and tortured. It was enough to deter the colonel and the lieutenant from actually trying anything.
The men and women assigned to grind small rocks into gravel dumped their labor into four buckets amongst many. Those four buckets were the only ones that mattered to Snaro and Frost, though. They each grabbed two and headed off toward the cement mixer.
"It's too damn hot," complained Snaro.
"Stop whining," snapped Frost, "I know it's hot. We all know how hot it is!"
"Oh, screw you," said Snaro.
They trudged on. Suddenly, Snaro fell to the sand, spilling both of his buckets. He nearly pulled Frost down, too, with his chain. Frost struggled to pull Snaro back to his feet with the chain.
"Get up you lazy shit! Get up!"
Frost finally managed to pull Snaro to his feet.
"I can't go any further," Snaro coughed out.
He was bright red like an apple. He clearly had sunstroke.
"I don't care! We have to keep moving!"
Frost dropped his buckets of sand and pulled Snaro a few paces further along.
"Don't make me kill you, Snaro," warned the colonel.
"Same way you killed everyone else?"
Frost slugged Snaro right across the jaw. The junior officer fell to the ground. Frost tugged him back up with the chain and then hit him to the ground again. He leapt on top of him and began to beat him across the face. Snaro reached up and grabbed his commander around the throat, trying to choke him to death.
The colonel slapped the lieutenant's hands away. He continued to pummel him. Snaro's hands groped for something. They reached a rock and grabbed it full on. He dealt Frost a blow right in the temple as hard as he could. He fell off of him, bleeding from the head. They both fell unconscious.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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