The following essay was written by eighth grade student, Grace Bloom, and received 9th place in the Power of the Pen Creative Writing Competition. By: Grace Bloom The End is Near My legs ache, the pain is like nothing I’ve ever felt. I stand defeated in a line of spiritless bodies who are tired of waiting. Waiting for things to be better, just drifting through life feeling like nothing matters. Having their happiness and the life they used to know shatter right in front of their glossy eyes. The sky is grey and gloomy which reflects the life we all have been living and the torture that was inflicted upon us. I just want this to end. The wind blows through the tall trees and through our battered clothing, which are stained with the blood of our own. “Take off your clothes!!” the guard screams. We obediently, almost systematically, take our striped clothes off one by one, gliding the torn cloth off our bony shoulders and on to the damp, muddy ground. I suddenly realize there is nothing left to wait for but the end. We are all just bodies, dehumanized, ripped of our lives because of one fundamental part of who we are, until the only thing that sets us apart are the numbers which litter our arms. We are already dead inside. I stand tired and cold staring at the pale, scarred skin of the one before me. I hear screams in the front of the line from the mothers who have just arrived realizing what their children’s lives will become: nothing. As we inch closer to the end, the smell of burning flesh and utter destruction fills my nose, and I hear yet another scream, but a familiar one. It reminds me of the playful fights I once had with my little sister in our beautiful yard, playing with glee as mother and father watched through the stained glass windows. I am entranced in memories until a guard’s harsh voice pulls me back to reality and yells for us to continue moving. I drag my frail limbs forward, forcing what is left of my body to move. We are almost there. Everything seems to be moving in slow motion as it reaches closer. The metal door unhinges and opens as the sea of people flood the chamber. Corpses are scattered on the floor under rusted pipes which will soon begin my death. We are finally here; no more waiting to be reunited with my family or to be saved. This is it. The fog envelops me and I don’t have to wait any longer.
Rachel is the proud parent of two Schechter students.