"Heil Hitler." The senior commander's hoarse voice reflected within the walls of the ominous camp, designed to segregate the unworthy souls from the superior Aryans. The day was cloudy- the first raindrops slowly splashed against the concrete floors. But no rains or thunderstorms could cease the never-ending toil of the impure souls. Deemed to suffer, struggle and serve the worthy, they lived enclosed in a cage, from where there was no escape. Their lives belonged to the Fuhrer- he owned them, puppets to please his terrifying fantasies.
But little Charles always craved to know more about the world outside. Having never seen the light of the day, except through the cracked walls or the windows up high, he dreamt every night of seeing the world through his own eyes. His heart ached to feel the heat of the sun and the calm of the woods. But all he ever knew was the icy rails, the rotten slices of leftover bread and the horrifying voices of the brutal soldiers. He would never see what was outside those electric fences.
No matter their tender age, the militants never heeded to their hopeless cries. The children were lost, alone and had nothing to call a family anymore. Guns and explosions slaughtered whatever they had in their lives once- their homes, their families, their friends, everything. They made a single mistake, one they could never control- they were born Jews. And hence, they were destined to breathe the rest of their lives under someone's feet.
However, young Charles was determined this time, and nothing in this world could hinder him from taking on this suicide mission, not even his friends, not even Juliet. He had to get out there in the world, and after tonight, he knew he might never have the chance again. It was his final ray of hope. Every year, on the 20th of April, the soldiers put on a celebration, glorifying yet another year's fulfilment in the Fuhrer's life. They would deliver speeches on how dignified his vision was, why Jews were souls to condemn, and how Germany would rise to the top of the world. And the hustles and bustles of the day were more than enough for a four-feet child to earn his redemption, or so Charles believed.
And as days passed away one by one, Charles grew more and more closer towards his salvation. He was about to experience the light and warmth of the sun, away from the frozen cells. None accompanied him in this dangerous endeavour, but little Charles was confident that his plans could work out. On the night before his flight, he spoke with his friends for one last time. He tried to convince them to join him in this attempt, but they had chosen to rot their lives away in the ice-cold dungeons, all except Juliet. After Charles' persuasion for days, she ultimately agreed to follow him on this fatal mission.
Finally, the dawn arrived. When the sun rises in the east, Charles and Juliet would be far away from the brutal lives they lived together. They would open their eyes to a whole new world, one where no one would torture them until they pass out, one where they are free. Before the soldiers appeared to wake the children out of their innocent slumber, the two ran off through the doorways and halls that led to the back door where the fences were left unmended. The commotions of the arrangements had taken almost all the soldiers off the camp's insides, making their trails a lot clearer.
Charles and Juliet ultimately stood near the back door, where all the regiment vehicles remained. They were a single run away towards their freedom, away from their tumultuous childhood. Juliet held his hand, unable to believe that they succeeded in performing something implausible. She looked him in his eyes, with tears of inexplicable happiness, holding to him even tighter to ensure herself that she was not fantasising about what she saw. They took off one last time to their liberation- their little footsteps resounding within the chamber, hardly containing their squeaks of joy, feeling the cold wind rush against them. They could see the sun peeking at them from behind the hills- the only witness of their story of survival.
Suddenly, two gunshots echoed within the room, accompanied by the cry of agony from a little girl. Charles fell on the damp floor along with Juliet, her hands still holding him tight. The bullets carved holes on her childish frame, blood gushing out of her mouth. But she was not grieving- the pain of slowly succumbing to her death was not present on her face. But she quietly looked at him, a smile of hope lingering on her face. She uttered two final words before the soldier grasped him away from her hold, despite his screams and pleading, leaving her to a lonely death, "Thank you."
Something shook Charles out of his nightmare, one that he found himself in every night. The room was small, just enough for Charles to barely move around. With little furniture and no memoirs from the past, it was as if he spent his days and nights in a hotel room. Someone has drawn the curtains back despite him telling them never to do so. The lights were unbearable for the elderly gentleman, especially the sun rays. He firmly believed that the radiations would burn him to the core, make him feel all the agony- he could never remember why.
Charles shakily stood up, desperately waving his hands in the air for support. But there never was a shoulder. He tumbled on the wooden floor, pain surging through his delicate ribs and knees. He slithered, with all his effort, to a corner where the sun could not hurt him. He pulled down an old, dirty rug and sheltered himself under the darkness. Knees close to the chest, he could never let the rays touch him- they would kill him.
Memories distorted, legs unable to carry his weight, trembling hands, weak eyesight and senses- he was now a crippling senior man who awaited his death to arrive and carry him away. He could never remember what he passed through in the past, except during the nights when he endured the terrors of his former life every day. But when he woke up, all of them would be gone. He could never remember why he was panting heavily every morning. He could only remember a name, Juliet, and that he could never feel the sun.