Dear Planet Earth,
It’s been a seemingly unending series of ups and downs, battles that would determine the outcome of the entire world, and the ever-present threat of dying, unremembered and unmourned at any second. Yet this small, precious achievement is clear — we are free.
I awoke last week to the sound of distant explosions that became louder and louder with each successive blast. The ground shook and instantly made me think of earthquakes as I fell from my bed. I rubbed the newest bump on my head and corrected myself. Mortars.
I ran to the window of my cell door, desperate for any clue of what was going on. It was a long wait, repeatedly looking up and down the musty hallway populated only by rats and my own echoing pleas. An answer finally came half an hour later with the drumming of footsteps and someone shouting, “Hello? Anyone here?”
“Here!” I screamed. “I’m in here!”
I could feel tears and a smile starting to form; I tried my best to stop them in case this was all some cruel joke the mole people had orchestrated. The man came closer.
“Just you down here?”
“I think so,” I said, straining my neck to see who my savior was. “Karter?”
He looked starved and dirty. His hallowed cheeks and sunburned skin told me he had been put to work on the labor camp as I feared.
“Scotty-boy? Thought you were dead.”
I was about to ask him about Maria, and Rachel, and a hundred other people who I really didn’t want to know the fates of.
“No key, huh?” he said after quickly examining the door. He reached behind his back for something small. “My last one. Hope you’re worth it.”
He placed the unpinned grenade in front of the door and bounded away. I did the same.
Then I lost my hearing.