November 15, 2016

The year is 1942, some 3,000 soldiers and I are hidden from the Germans,
All of us victims of war
All of us concealed away in the various tunnels
and caves in the Adzhimuskai quarry.

Praying that we lost the Germans during the escape.
We thought that we could hold out in this quarry for as long as possible.

All of those men were filled with the terror the Germans had released upon them.

Most nights were filled with nightmares and images I wish I had never witnessed,
The blood curdling screams of men as they were torched alive by flames that burst out of the flamethrowers like they burst out of a jet engine
The smell of burning hair and flesh clogging my nose

The bullets impact as they ripped through the millions of my Ruski brothers.
Seeing the dark red liquid drip from the lifeless souls that once were brothers, fathers, and sons of another.

These images just kept replaying themselves every night
The more I saw them,
The more it burned into my memories,
Covering up the memories I had of back home.

As the time passed by
the Germans became more aware of where we might be hiding
A patrol of German soldiers would walk by every evening
The patrol surrounding the quarry,
They never entered at first
So what was the point of the patrol?

My comrades began to become more worried and paranoid
Some would speculate and come up with reasons why the patrol kept showing up
None of them right,
None of them actually prepared for the day that the Germans would finally strike
The safe haven we’ve come to know so well.

We were all awoken to noise of a loud hiss,
And the numerous chants and yells of Germans,
“Die russische Weichei!”
I looked outside of the tunnel I was assigned,
The sights I saw that day,
The air around us turned greenish yellow
It leaked into the various tunnels
My brothers breathing this vile stuff into their lungs.
I saw them suffocating
Vomiting onto the ground beneath them,  
They started twitching violently
I saw them plop to the cold hard stones beneath them
Their skulls smashing into them
Like a pumpkin smashing into a wall on Halloween

Before I knew it,
The gas started to leak into the tunnel I was stationed at.
I felt it flow through my nose and into my lungs
Trying not to breathe it in yet needing air at the same time
Every breath I took
The more my lungs started to collapse
I crashed onto the cold stones in the tunnel
As I started to crawl towards the supplies that contained the one thing that could save me
And my lungs
Every movement hurt me both inside and on the outside.

Rocks sliding across my stomach,
Leaving behind scratch marks and a world of pain.
As I had made my way to the supplies
I became nauseous
My insides started to kill themselves off
Then the surge of stomach acid shot up my esophagus
The one thing in my mind was to grab that gas mask
Put in on my face
And breathe.
Take in the somewhat clean air that my body could actually use.

That was a day I would never forget,
As it is burned into my memories
And will stay with my soul.
I am unable
To hide from the fear of that day.

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