Breathe | Teen Ink


March 16, 2009
By Hannah Etheridge BRONZE, DeRidder, Louisiana
Hannah Etheridge BRONZE, DeRidder, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Take a deep breath, and close your eyes, because this is just your mind playing tricks on you again.

As the silence is screaming in your ears, and the sunlight is pounding on your skin, you just can’t seem to grasp reality. Stuck in your sick fantasy, you pretend not to hear the screams.

You haven’t eaten in days.
In your dreams, you ate with your mother, brother, and father last night.

It’s a shame that your mother was sent to the gas chambers at the very beginning of this tragedy.
Such a shame.

It’s a shame that your father is still a testing “animal“. The last time you heard from him they were trying to change his eye color.
Such a shame.

It’s a shame that while you find comfort in the hand the is grasping onto yours today, it will be gone tomorrow.
Your brother is being sent to another camp, and you’re not.
Such a same.

As your beautiful, chocolate eyes gaze into the guard’s blue eyes.
You silently wonder why you had to have brown eyes.
You silently start to wonder why you’re Jewish.
You silently wonder why God is so cruel.
Then finally, you wonder if life is worth living.

“Is death worth dying?” A voice says behind you.

You’re shocked, because you didn’t think you said anything aloud.
It’s getting hard to tell reality apart from fantasy.

“What do you mean?” Your scratchy voice questions. You startle yourself, and your brother. You haven’t talked in weeks, and now you have just engaged into a conversation with a stranger.

“Is death worth dying?” The man repeats his question. He’s tall, all bones and ribs, because food is almost nonexistent where you are.

“It has to be better than this. This is hell.” You tell the man, your eyes trying to concentrate on his figure, your breathing ragged.

“A lot of people say that these days, but no one has an answer. Do you?”

You stopped for a moment, and felt the cool wind on your almost bare skin. Running your bony hands threw the stubbles of hair on your head.

Tears start to pour down your face, as you notice that everyone here doesn’t have hair. They’re starving. They’re dying.

“That’s an easy one,” you reply through sobs, “you can easily make your own path to the “real” hell. That’s your actions, and your actions alone.” You pause for a moment, because now you’re crying to much, and no one can understand you. After a few deep, ragged breathes you try to bring “light to the situation.” “Here, you can’t control your hell, can you? If you don’t have blue eyes, you’re here. If you don’t have blond hair, you’re here. Even if you’re trying to make your way to heaven, you end up here. Innocent people go to hell here. This is truly hell.”

The man says nothing, but he pulls you into a bone-crushing hug. He sobs into your “cloths” and you wonder exactly what you said to make the nice man cry.

“It’s okay, we won’t be here for long,” you say, and give him your biggest, and best smile. Your mother would be proud.

The man starts to go into hysterics as he pulls you closer to him.

It’s a shame that you’ve only just met him, you would have gotten along with him.
What a shame.

It’s a shame that you feel really weak right now, or else you would have calmed him down.
What a shame.

It’s a shame that the man is going to live to remember this.
What a shame.

You close your eyes and take a deep breathe.
You smile again, the distinct taste of salt on your lips.

It’s a shame that you’re not going to live to see your brother off.
What a shame.

It’s a shame that you will live long enough to be gassed.
What a shame.

As you hear his ragged breathing, just like yours, you look up at the man again and smile.
“Just breathe, it always helps me forget I’m in hell. Because why would hell have such a wonderful feel?”

The author's comments:
This is obviously historical fiction, based on the hallacious events that ocurred throughout World War II.

I am aware that literature works are typically written in first or third person narrative, however, I felt that by writting this piece in second person it added a more dramatic effect to a dramatic time.

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