"How many times do I have to tell you?" shouted the guard.

He hit Chris with the butt of his rifle. Chris rolled over, his hands clutching his chest. He struggled to breathe his eyes watered furiously. The guard kicked him sharply in the ribs.

"Get up," he barked.

Chris writhed in agony. He rocked back and forth until he was up on his knees. He opened his eyes and dared to look up at the guard.

"God damn it, I don't have time for this," the guard snapped, and pulled Chris up by the shoulder.

Chris stood for a few seconds before falling against the guard.

"Stand up damn it!" bellowed the guard.

"I'm trying," whispered Chris.

As soon as he made that remark, he wished he could take it back. He fell to his knees just as the butt of a gun came at his head.

*~*~*~*

When he awoke he was laying in a corner of the shed. A piece of cloth was wrapped tightly around his head. He looked towards the entrance of the shed, but couldn't tell if it was day or night. His throat burned with thirst. He looked around for the bucket of water the men kept in the shed. He saw it; but it was just out of his reach. He tried to sit up, but the pain was too intense. His head spun as he lay back down. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to block out the pain. Soon he heard a familiar voice.

"Thank god you've woken up. It took everything we had to convince the guards you weren't dead. They'd be just as happy to throw you to the crematory. Dirt bas." Reiker broke off and smiled at Chris.

"How ya feeling?" asked a Sergeant Chris had only talked too once or twice.

"How long had I been out?" Chris asked, ignoring the sergeant's question.

"Oh, about five days, it's really a miracle you didn't die," answered Reiker.

"By the way, here's your buddies now" the sergeant added, referring to the two approaching guards.