The Rabbi had been right. All Abel had wanted to do as he regained consciousness was scream incessantly as the gruesome horror of his reality became apparent. He could barely move due to the countless bodies that were crammed haphazardly around him with limbs askew, held in place by the cold, recently packed earth. Abel repeatedly gagged as the stench of blood and faeces assailed him without relief.
Abel slowly collected himself and began to focus. Even in the consuming darkness he formulated how he might reach the surface. He began to dig and shuffle his way past his former fellow prisoners, many of whose faces brushed against his own as he inched his way to freedom. As a mental distraction Abel thought back to the previous night and recalled his conversation with the Rabbi.
The Rabbi Schulman had sent word that Abel should attend his hut. The Rabbi was the oldest resident of the concentration camp and revered by all. He had been immune to the camps atrocities due to his talent as a concert pianist. Nightly the Rabbi would be placed in the far corner of the officer’s mess where he would recycle party approved Wagner anthems as the vile revelry played out before him.
The Rabbi had overheard news of the advancing Allied forces and had first hand knowledge that many of the daily escorted work parties that left the facility had not returned. Cognisant of the fact that a liberating army would soon arrive the Nazis were systematically cleaning house, killing and burying many of the work detail prisoners in large mass graves away from the camp. Abel had been appalled when the Rabbi delivered the crushing news that Abel himself was scheduled to be sent on a work detail the next day.
Rabbi Schulman drew Abel in close and promised that he could deliver him from his anticipated demise if he could bare the enormity of what could be bestowed upon him.
“What would you do in order to survive?” the Rabbi asked solemnly.
“Anything” Abel replied and in doing so had felt overwhelming shame.
Much of what the Rabbi spoke of, what was suggested, was incredulous, surreal, frightening and madeno sense. Only when the Rabbi held Abel forcefully and bit savagely into his neck did the realization of what he had agreed upon become evident.
Abel and the other prisoners had indeed been murdered and buried the following day. Yet here he now was, breaking the surface of the ground that sought to bind him in perpetuity. Abel stood, brushing away soil as he examined his now healed body through his shredded clothes.
In the distant night sky artillery fire threw a vivid canopy over a contested town. Abel began to runtowards the chaos, effortlessly picking up speed, his feet barely touching the gravel road. There was much work to be done in retribution against the Nazis and now Abel had an eternity in which to complete it.
Born and raised in Herefordshire, Carl Innes is a former soldier and police officer who now works as a federal correctional officer in Ontario, Canada. A busy family man Carl writes supernatural/horror screen plays and short stories in the dead of night when his personal demons come to visit. Carl lives in hope that he might be successful enough to be able to finish his working life as a writer, and not have to don body armour or a stab proof vest ever again.
If you enjoyed ‘Abel Working’ leave a comment and let Carl know.
Read Carl’s previously published stories below:
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