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The Terror of My Past
5 April 2000, Wednesday

As the warm winds of summer turn to fall, I watch, and listen.

I stand on the edge of a cliff and look at the intricate patterns of colors and shapes in the wide expanse below me. I stare down upon the endless void of earth, not yet fully understanding the reason I am here.

Then it hits me. I remember everything-my home, how they treated my family, what they did to my brother-everything comes flooding back to me. And I am caught in a whirlwind of confusion as I recall every detail.

I close my eyes and see the throng of flames enveloping my home; lapping at my family; trying to reach us and make us part of its raging fury. We escape, but only into the arms of inescapable terror.

As they pile us onto the trains and drag us off to the camps, I become separated. My wife and children are herded like sheep into a train going east, while my brother and I go west.

At the camp, life is hell. There is little to no food and water, and we work continuously. I am in constant fear that they will decide to kill me. But they don't.

Then it happens. My brother discovers a way out. He found it while he was working. Everyone decides we will go, one by one. We don't want anyone to notice we are missing. This way, they will think we died somewhere.

The first night of our escape plan, my brother and I go. We were chosen to go first because he discovered the way out.

We looked back. We had made it a half a mile from the camp. We were nearly to the bridge. The bridge that led to freedom. That's when I heard gunshots.

I looked around frantically for my brother; then I saw him. He was lying on the ground, bleeding, nearly dead. When he spoke to me with his dying words, I nearly felt sick. "Never let this happen to you. I love you, my brother." And then he was gone.

I ran. I ran as fast as I could to the bridge. It seemed like forever, but finally, I was across it. I was safe. I was free.

I open my eyes to find myself looking out over the void again. I say one last goodbye to my brother, then turn, and leave.