He Left There Alone

February 9, 2009
By Stefne SILVER, Lonepine, Montana
Stefne SILVER, Lonepine, Montana
5 articles 3 photos 1 comment

With not more than seven years to his name, a young boy swipes at a buzzing fly. He squats to sit cross-legged, facing the high wire fence. But a name he has not for he exists only now as a number. He is not as bothered as his older brothers that everyone in this terrible camp, besides the soldiers of course, are now recognized and identified only as digits.
The young child has grown tired of the thickening silence that seems to surround him. He can't comprehend the anxiety and fear that hangs humid in the air. He yearns for a play mate but the blank and expressionless stares everywhere offer no refuge although his on confusion and discomfort can be plainly reflected back. His heart hurts, for father has not returned as promised. The soldiers had taken father to the doctor after he fell ill a few days before.
The child may not know what has brought him to the concentration camp, but he understands enough to despise the frightening soldiers. Not only have they taken mother and sister but now the child begins to feel father's absence. Where was mother taken? He turns it over in his mind, and his frail little body aches for her tender and loving touch. He needs her comforting and assuring stroke more than ever now, but he doesn't know where she can be found.
His seven year old mind soon distracts him from thoughts of mother though. The grass is much greener on the opposite side of this enormous fence that surrounds his new home and cuts through the sense of security. The green plant life opposed to the dirt beneath him is not what catches his eye though. A small black and orange colored fuzzy stick is struggling in the grass on the other side.

He grins to himself when he realizes that it must be a caterpillar. He used to catch many of these back at his old home. His old home'he can barely remember anything about it but rather bits and details that are vague and incomplete and will be soon forgotten altogether in a few weeks' time.
Reaching through the fence, he gently pokes the insect. It curls up automatically in defensive mode, playing dead. The child frowns slightly; he has not meant to cause this small creature fear. With dismay, he realizes that he is acting cruel now, like the soldiers that show no compassion whatsoever to the peaceful gentle people with the shaved heads like his own.
Using a different approach, he uses definite care to pick up the larva and hold it in his cupped palm. He holds it like that for awhile, all rolled up, admiring its coloring and multiple legs. Soon the caterpillar seems to dispose of its worries and begins to resume its crawling. The small boy giggles softly at the tickle of the tiny legs treading upon his arm.
Confusion, fear, sadness are no longer reflected in his eyes but instead replaced by the simple shine of joy and contentment for he too has disposed of his worries taking the caterpillar's lead. One does not have to view the child's innermost thoughts to determine the happiness's sincerity genuinely read upon his childish face.
Suddenly he stops, for he feels another's presence. He looks up, shielding his eyes, to see a huge soldier hurrying towards him. Though not especially near, the soldier is approaching quickly. The child no longer wishes to have the soldier bring him to where mother has been taken, wherever that may be, because his innocent and helpless being can still recognize fear. And he is now much afraid. Squeezing his newly discovered friend carefully in his palm, a harmless seven-year-old boy, having been exposed to far too much unbelievable horror than anyone should have to experience, curls up next to a huge wire fence. He is escaping forever.

The author's comments:
This is my own personal version of a holocaust rememberance. It is slightly similar to "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" except that this little boy isn't fortunate enough to find a human friend.

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