He crouched at the edge of the building known as the processing plant with its smells of human waste and charred wood. It was one of many places where the recently discovered concoction known as “blast dust” was being produced for the military. Making it was a degrading and dangerous enterprise best left for prisoners and work slaves–like himself. Next to the processing plant was a walkway then came a long garden with a variety of flowers and plants. The dichotomy was stark and intentional. Those who listened well and followed the demands of the guards worked in the garden. Those who did not were left figuratively and literally in it up to their knees. Of the two places, he was more familiar with the latter. He was not one to be cooperative. He had seen and known too much in his time to just take the guards and their Kevutian masters by their word. He wanted out of this prison camp and the day had come.
He heard footsteps moving soft and slow. His heart skipped a beat and he tried not to panic. Running now would only expose him to greater danger and lay waste to his careful planning. He needed to stay focused. Besides, the steps were too light to be those of someone suited in an armored tunican. It must be another prisoner. And it was.
“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” said the other male prisoner in a soft voice as he approached him.
“Yes. It’s all I think about. I’ve been planning this for nearly a full acadon now. It has to be now or I will just fade away like one of those maksons over there.” He pointed to a large orange flower in the garden that was hunched over and falling away. The other man glanced at the flower beside them.
Erutvumot 8 or “Erut” turned to his friend and took him affectionately by the shoulders. “It’s not too late. You could come with me. You could all come with me.”
Erut’s friend looked into his eyes. Erut could tell that the idea of getting away from this place was inviting to him. It was all any man in this place could think about but the fire of passion that lit momentarily in the man’s eyes died out almost as quick as it came.
“No,” his friend said, bowing his head.
Erut knew his friend felt shame in his cowardice but said nothing about it. The feeling was understandable. Any attempts at escape or signs that something was amiss about the camp could lead to severe punishments. He patted the shoulder of his friend.
“It’s OK,” Erut said. “You needn’t say any more. It’s enough that you’re willing to help me.”
The man raised his head as if it were heavier than the mountains that loomed down upon them just outside the camp. He seemed barely able to maintain his gaze. He peered into Erut’s eyes as if it were the last time he would see him–alive, at least. “Good luck,” he whispered.