“Let’s go!” I scream at Aryn. He’s tall and thin, and runs faster than me. He grabs my hand, and together, we climb out under the fence. He whimpers, sweating. I tell him to shut up and run for it. It’s around one in the morning. Is it two? Three? Daylight savings? I don’t know. There aren’t any clocks in a prison camp. I listen to myself as I talk to him. I sound different, like an animal being chased. That’s what we are. And that’s what we’ve always been.
Suddenly, he stops. I hiss at him to keep running. I hit him. He stares, frozen, at something in the distance. I almost slap him on the face, but he turns me around. I freeze too.
His dead black eyes stare at us, blankly, like clouded pools of icy water. He is wearing a round of bullets, strapped across his shoulder down to his waist. I can see the gun that he carries. Aryn intakes a breath sharply.
“H-he doesn’t recognize us…” I whisper, heart pounding.
Anora waves his arm at a man behind him. They were probably on routine patrol of the premises. The man hurries over to him, then charges at us.
We both make a break for it. The man catches me by the ankle, and I fall to the ground. Aryn screams, and punches him.
“Argh-! Tricky bastard-” the man yells. He hits Aryn with the butt of his gun.
Aryn does not get up again.
Suddenly, a gun muzzle is pressed to my back. I can feel the man’s breath on my neck. I look at Aryn again, throat burning. I scream his real name. He doesn’t stir.
“Shut up, bitch,” the man snarls. He jabs the butt of the gun into the small of my back. I shout in pain, and he laughs. He walks me over to Anora. I stare in despair at the man I know and love.
In the light of the lamp, he can finally see me clearly. His eyes widen. He says my real name, the name he knew me by, breathless.
“What are you on about, Corporal?” My captor’s grating voice sounds like dirt compared to Anora’s. I smile, tears in my eyes. Does he finally recognize me?
He hesitates for a moment, mouth slightly open, eyes wide. Then his expression hardens.
Anora says one word to the man. I hear the gun cock behind me. I stare despairingly at him, saying his name again and again, hoping he would react to my voice.
He looks at me with no emotion in his eyes.
“I don’t remember you.”