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22 Dec 2008 also available at: http://divby0.deviantart.com/art/Crumbling-107165887
The camp was like camps usually are: dank, dreary, dirty, overcrowded, and the death of us all. I don't know about the others, but while I was in there, I only saw in black and white. I wasn't colourblind; when I looked out the fence at the world, I saw reds and blues, yellows, greens, and oranges.
They put us in the camp because politics suddenly became black and white. While I was in the camp, all I saw were shades of grey.
Blank men with black umbrellas watched through the bars of the fence—the only things outside that were colourless.
Being in a camp changes people. Some die, not from hunger, malnutrition, or disease, but despair. Some live but become grey themselves, permanent residents though their bodies may leave. Some fade into themselves, and when they leave, pretend that it was nothing, but still feel an empty, weary place inside. Some become more.
He couldn't have been more than forty—nobody lasted too much beyond forty—but looked seventy-five. White hair sprouted from his chin and the sides of his crown, defiant to his combing fingers. His face had wrinkles—smile wrinkles—but he didn't smile anymore. His clothes and skin were mottled and grey.
His name I can't remember now, names too easily forgotten, or left behind; but we knew what he was.
He went to the fence, stood midway between it and the crumbling brink wall. The weather never changed, though sometimes it rained, and a few times it snowed, but healways went out their, and stood and watched.
Once, before I left, we found him leaning, panting, sweating dark tears from his forehead. The blank men and their black umbrellas stood clustered around one of their own who lay prone on the ground. Nobody pointed any fingers, whispered any claims, told us anything, but the blank man was close to death.
I stared at him. The dark drops stained the ground, rolling off his impervious shirt like metallic bearings. It might have been raining that day, but that detail, like so many, too many others, escapes me now. He looked up at me, his eyes piercing and clear. Afterward, I could only hear the end of his prayer.
I died at the end of that week, hearing only his words to the end. I'd like to think he taught me to see colours again, but I dreampt of only greys.
I know it's life that's killing me, I know death is not an end.
I know the truths you're searching for, but I wouldn't tell my dearest friend.
I know how to stop it, just as I know nobody cares.
I know nobody's listening, but they all stop and stare.
Are you listening, boy?
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