Sally shuffled forward, her head bent low, watching the feet of her fellow prisoner. The snapping of a whip caused involuntary flinching as the line took another step forward. Tied together through an umbilical cord of chains and shackles, the line progressed forward. This was beginning to turn into a yearly migration of sorts; as soon as the project was finished, they were moved.
The whip sang through the air, striking the man in front of her with a loud snap. She felt the air move and watched the leather strap part thin cotton and flesh seamlessly. Sally couldn't respond. She had learned early never to respond to another prisoner's pain. At least not in full view of the guards, or else she would be subjected to the same treatment. The man in front of her grunted once, and shook his head, trudging forward as the line moved again.
Idly, Sally wondered what the government had in store for them here. This was the fourth camp she had been in. The first one she had been was strictly used for labor, but now...night was what she feared the most. They rebuilt a new senate building that had been destroyed in World War III. It wasn't bad; the guards had been pleasant enough—almost kind in some twisted way. Sadly, or rather, expectedly, each camp became progressively worse.
"Keep the line movin'!" One guard yelled, snapping his whip through the air again. "It's gonna be on yer heads if y'all git any rest tonight or not."
The line took another three steps and Sally fought the urge to roll her eyes. The guards seemed to be younger at each camp. It was either that, or she aged by decades in a mere four years. She felt older than her 26 years, but it was worth it...wasn't it?
Yes, all of this was worth taking a stand for Christ. After all, He had paid the ultimate price.
The air sang once again as the cane snapped, making contact with her back. Sally grimaced, resisting the urge to react. It wasn't her place to complain.
The line continued to trudge forward and Sally caught a glimpse of the camp. Makeshift shacks loomed in the distance and a small shiver went down her back. The whip snapped again, as she felt the chains tugging her forward—closer to the enclosure.
She shook her head once and swallowed painfully. This camp was different from the others. She could remember the others having color...and even oddly enough, music. This place was drab. Gray clouds hung low in the sky blurring the line between the horizon and the gray, muck covered ground.
She took another shuffling step forward, out of the mud into a rack-shambled building. The snapping of the whips faded, only to be replaced by the buzzing of razors as a large man grasped her head and snapped it backwards, rapidly shearing the thick stubble that had started to grow again. With an equally harsh movement, the man released her, shoving her out of the building, and sending Sally tumbling into other believers. Sally could feel her chain jerk the next person into the building.
"Line 'em up!" The young guard was yelling again. "Git to yer feet 'nd start movin'!"
Something inside of Sally snapped. She staggered to her feet, as she glared at the boy. "We are still humans." She screamed, taking a step towards the suddenly terrified child. "We are still flesh and blood humans! Why--"
The blunt end of a club stuck Sally's head. Her knees buckled. As Sally lost her stream of thought. Dark edges danced around her vision and Sally struggled to press on. Her thoughts seemed to be scattered. Something wasn't right.
Sally blinked as the darkness tugged her deep, and she struggled for a long moment before finally surrendering to the blessed rest of unconsciousness.
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." Romans 8:34-36 (NIV)
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