Another hard day of sweat and pain had come to what
called the end. It was only to bring a softer form of misery, into the overwhelming quiet, the kind that left people to their dangerous and fearful thoughts. It wasn't an end; it would never end! The night always crept up on the aching muscles that had no loving hands' massage. Laying down, standing, sitting, crouching... Any way anyone could come up with, something disagreed with anguish.
The water given them froze the decaying teeth, if any were left, that held to the pinkish white gums within the cavity doctors called a mouth. Such icy liquid destroyed elements of the tooth, but it was too late. The food they were given didn't require much except a tolerable stomach and hard gums, if lucky. There was barely enough food to satisfy and the bits and pieces administered didn't depend upon the chomping of teeth to break it apart. Stomachs as empty as the mouths of babies, which were non existent at this specific camp, they had finally learned not to growl or disturb. They just sat in the body, useless but for more salt to be thrown on the injury.
* Amir rolled onto his right side for the tenth time that night. Laying on a wood frame too small for his height, he listened for noise to comfort him, anything but the voices he gave way to each day. Nothing but the creaking of his weak bed beneath his weight emitted sound waves through the crisp, stale air. His brothers and he had learned to hope for the sound of a bird. Caw, caw! Even birds would not come within a mile of the unhallowed yard.
No, this was more than a yard, perhaps an elephant yard. This was a camp, but more worthily called, it was a cemetery for every man that walked upon the ground was considered passably dead. The most healthy and active of men had been reduced to rubble. Painted pictures, of those ghosts he used to call friends, ran through the mind of Amir - former artist. They pictures did not cure his ailments, but they occupied his mind with something other than silence. His friend, ** Amit, could be faintly heard, to the side of him, murmuring stressed phrases of nothingness.
Friends, aside from family and God, were the most important things in life, to Amir. He would have given anything to see a smile on their face, but since their smiles had disappeared with each new wailing wind, he had felt a distance. Not only was there a fence around the camp, but there was also one around each and every solitary person. You couldn't climb it and if you could, you couldn't get past anyone else's. The method these men had were perfect for evil-doers. They had almost complete control over everyone at this point.
Deciding there was nothing to do and that he would drive him self to insanity if he listened to Amit any more, Amir returned to the taunting paintings within him. Amit took presence once more, but this time he was too busy working. He didn't have time to moan. As the circuit revolved again, Amir saw Rabbi Arik.
If you were going to look to anyone for hope, it was the Rabbi. Arik somehow had the ability to fake a smile through his tired face, the same face that had dark rings around the eyes and wrinkles increasing more and more by the day. The Rabbi's smile could send Amir warmth he did not other wise feel, though sometimes the Rabbi could just not muster the strength.
You are feeling grim tonight, Amir, he warned himself, looking upward from the corner of his dry, blood-shot eyes. He was looking at the heavens, silently asking his God to forgive him for being so negative, yet explaining how he had the right. And with the same glance, he also prayed that He would make things better, make it so Amir had no reason to be negative. After a moment of this silent, almost sub-conscious prayer, Amir's eyelids fell into each other. He could not have kept them open for another second.
As Sleep took hold of his mind, Amir heard the voice of his petite mother. "Amir Grajeck! Stop playing with those paints and get ready for Sabbath!"
"Yes, mama, but I am not playing with them..." Amir replied sadly, in his dream, "They are dry. Do you see?" An image of two hands with cups rose to his eyes.
"Of course I see," she said, not looking, "You think we can afford to spare anything on them? The world does not need art right now, Amir; it needs work ethic and hope. -Eh! Art is not a means of hope, but it is recreation. Now... Go get ready," she said commandingly.