"The Will To Survive." This Story Gained Me An 'very High Achievement'

1720 words - 7 pages

The reveille sounded, as it sounded every morning, and so began another arduous day in the field. That morning there was a lot of resentment within the squad, the temperature was dropping as quickly as the prisoners' hopes of freedom. Yegveny Miraskensvi was particularly resentful on that day, he felt feverish from the night before with pain in almost every joint of his body. He wanted as much sleep as he could get, as he knew it was going to be the best he would get for over a month. His squad, the 113th was about to be shifted from the main prison facility to a new site in the open countryside. But before the squad could move in, they would have to build the entire settlement from scratch. ...view middle of the document...

His morning stew comprised of black cabbage and bony fish, is being saved for him by a fellow comrade. Miraskensvi and the rest of his squad know that the only way they can survive the camp is by forming a tightly knit community were everyone looks out for each other.After breakfast, Miraskensvi fell into morning roll call only to find Kirchoff, the most feared of all the guards, performing a surprise check up on all prisoners. Each prisoner was stripped down to their underpants in search of civvies, as each prisoner is only allowed the shirt and undershirt assigned to him. Courtinski, an infantry commander, protests saying the guards are violating article nine of the criminal code, Miraskensvi never protested, he was far too acquiescent. For that outburst Kirchoff sentenced Courtinski to five days in the hole, beginning in the evening so his labor won't be wasted. The squad then reluctantly put their clothes back on and the three prisoners that were found with civvies lost both their civvies and their undershirt as punishment. The squad was then moved to the South Gate, Kirchoff then recited the Morning Prayer and reminded the prisoners that a step to the left or right was considered an attempt at escape. The squad then simultaneously pulled down the brims of their hats and ducked their chins under the v-neck of their shirts and braced themselves for their daily labor in the bitter cold.Flanked by heavily armed guards, the squad began their march to the new settlement. To take his mind off the thirty-below temperature, Miraskensvi begins to think, he thinks about the day that sent him to this god-forsaken place. It was during a simple training run with the 24th tank division in Vyazma, southwest of Moscow. Miraskensvi was commandeering a soviet T-38 and accidentally drove it into a camouflaged, boggy area, effectively immobilising it for the time being. For that he was sentenced to ten years inside a Siberian prison camp, even though two days later the tank was set free. His lamentation was cut short due to a brisk icy wind racing up the adjacent hillside. This cut down their visibility even further, as barely could one now see the man in front of him. Once the new settlement was reached, much animosity could be felt within the squad. The barren, white flat that lay in front of them was to be their new home.First they were to build the fence that would keep them from escaping, ditch by ditch, pole by pole, the squad worked tirelessly for ten hours without a break. The numbness in their body slowly thawed into pain as the day wore on. One of Miraskensvi's friends, Pushkov, from sheer exhaustion, fainted. Kirchoff then, as a warning to others, brought out his whip and with all his power stroked Pushkov over the back six times until he finally got back up. What brought Miraskensvi through these tough labor sessions was just the belief that he would survive, the belief that he would make it through another session. He had now been at the camp for...

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