Winter Daisies

Hastily I rubbed my eyes; it was hardly morning when I awoke. Stunned and shivering from the frigid air and the overwhelming pain in my head, I took a moment to let my eyes adjust to the room. The salty taste of blood sat evident in my mouth, a constant reminder of my place here. How long have I been here? What had they done with my family? My mind was a broken record of nagging questions. While wiggling my way off of the cold pine that was meant to be my quarters, the repulsiveness of rotting flesh and emesis flooded my senses. My eyes burned, my mind moved faster than my quivering, exhausted limbs. The echos of sobbing and the redundant whisper of prayer flooded my mind like a slow poison. With an heavy ‘thud’ I hit the ground not knowing where I would go or what I was seeking to accomplish; I just had to get away from here. Small emissions of light shone through spaces between the boards in the wall and illuminated small pieces of my bunkmates faces. Young, scraggly skeletons of men and boys crammed together, packed four and five to a small cubby space. Some had bandages on their heads and scraps of cloth used as makeshift slings. In the far corner a few boys were bouncing around like corn in a kettle, chasing a rat out of their space; or maybe their hunger had gotten the best of them, I wasn’t entirely sure.

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