They called it a rescue mission but I saw none. It returned a train of human misery. Their feet churning ankle high slush on the peeling tarmac. Headed by satchel-burdened horses they traipsed a line through our town. The ranger at the head a man who wanted to see no more.
Behind, the purposely blinded clutched the rope he towed, or the shoulder of the man in front. Some with requisitioned garments for blindfolds while others bore hollow darkened stares.
Those who had clothes had parts stuck to them by moist black patches. On the naked you could see for what purpose they were kept. Raw strips on their calves and thighs. Some hobbled by slices taken from their buttocks. Some wept while others said nothing. Finally came the wagons and carts drawn by the militia, carrying all those who could no longer walk. Women who held their stomachs with furrowed brows. And stretchered shapes cut short at knee and elbow. They most of all had no sound to make.
I observed with a low feeling in my stomach that there were no children. I watched fully clothed and healthy. Like a stranger witnessing my own funeral.