Sarge was startled out of his reminiscent dream by the sound of his cell door closing. He quickly sat up and looked at the clock. It was 11:15. The guard had started his nightly patrol, and there wasn’t much time before Jimbo would be at the door. Sarge leapt from his bed and pulled a small box out from under it. He began to rummage through it and pulled out a can of old shoe polish, an English to German dictionary, and a crucifix that he had hidden when he was captured.
He blacked out his face with the shoe polish, kissed the crucifix and got dressed. He pulled his blue jeans to his waist, buttoned the button and zipped the fly and pulled his standard issue argyle sweater over his head. After he was dressed he pulled a weapon that he had fashioned out of a broken chair leg from between his mattresses. It was 11:35; Sarge sat and waited for Jimbo.
He tapped his feet and scratched his leg, and before Sarge knew it, seven minutes had passed. Still no Jimbo. “Come on Jimbo,” Sarge whispered to himself. Around 11:47, Sarge heard what sounded like gears turning; it was the lock on his cell door. Sarge noticed his door open slightly as a thin beam of light dashed from the corner of the door across the floor to his feet.
“Sarge?” a voice whispered from the other side of the door.
“Good work Jimbo!” Sarge said. He ran to the door and opened it further. Jimbo was dressed in tight blue jeans that his gut hung over and a button up western shirt. In his right hand, Jimbo carried a chair-leg weapon that Sarge had made for him.
“Are you ready to go?” Sarge asked.
Jimbo swallowed hard, and he was visibly shaking. “Yes Sir,” he said.
“Has the guard checked your cell already?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Come on Sarge!”
“The guard hasn’t checked your room?”
Sarge realized his mistake. He never told Jimbo to wait for the guard to check his cell, and he knew that the guard would be alerted to their escape when he found Jimbo’s cell empty. “Come on, we have to hurry.”
Sarge took Jimbo’s hand, and the two made their way through the long, dark halls of the camp. They ran hunched over, as if they were avoiding enemy fire, and their bare feet made a slapping noise on the hard floor with each step they took. At every corner, they stopped, knelt down, and Sarge would peek around the edge to check the adjacent hallway. Once he was sufficiently sure that the coast was clear, Sarge would grab Jimbo’s shirt and lead him across. Polly’s cell was on the opposite side of the camp as Sarge’s cell. The two had many halls to pass, and they followed the same protocol at every juncture, until they came to Jimbo’s hall.
Jimbo’s cell was the closest cell to the hall they were moving through. They knelt with the mouth of the hall right in front of them, and Sarge then heard something. It sounded like a breeze at first, and then a whisper. Sarge wasn’t sure if it was a voice, or what it was until the sound finally reached an audible volume.
“Mr. Foster?” the voice said. “Jimbo?” The voice disappeared, but Sarge could hear movement in Jimbo’s cell.
“The guard’s checking your cell,” Sarge whispered. Jimbo was shaking again.
“I don’t think we’re supposed to be out this late,” Jimbo said. The voice returned.
“Where could he have gone?” the voice said.
Sarge grabbed Jimbo’s sleeve. “Don’t move, and be quiet,” he said as he stood up. The sound of footsteps was coming toward them now; Sarge took a deep breath and tightened his grip on his chair leg. The footsteps were getting closer, and just when they were about to turn the corner, Sarge sprung forward.
“Mr. Simmons?” the guard said. “What are you doing out of be…”
“Up and in from under the rib cage,” Sarge could hear the voice of his drill instructor in his head. Sarge felt a warm sensation slowly move across his hands. He stepped back and pulled the chair leg from the young man’s abdomen. The guard stared silently at Sarge for what felt like an hour but couldn’t have lasted for more than a second. It was Klaus. The injured guard stumbled backward into the wall behind him, and slid down sideways to the floor and onto his stomach.
Jimbo hadn’t seen a thing; through the whole ordeal he crouched on the other side of the corner, covering his head with his hands. Sarge took him by the wrist and pulled him past the gasping guard.
“Are we going to get in trouble Sarge?” Jimbo asked.
“No, we’re going home.” And they made their way to Polly’s hall. When they made it to her cell, Sarge pushed open the door.
Polly was wearing her best dress and matching hat, and she sat on her bed with her suitcase on her lap. Sarge had never seen the inside of another cell; he was surprised to see that it looked a lot like his. She had the same nightstand and the same chest of drawers, but what really surprised him was the still life that hung right above her bed. Sarge took Polly’s hand and helped her off the bed while Jimbo stood guard at the door. “Let’s go,” Sarge said, and with that they left the room.
Sarge was in the lead. Polly and Jimbo followed closely behind him to the corner of the hall. They turned the corner at full sprint. When they past the Jimbo’s hall, Sarge looked down toward where he had stabbed the guard. He stopped when he realized the guard was not where he and Jimbo had left him. “Klaus is gone,” Sarge said. He looked down the hall and saw that the light in the office was on. “Get down.” Sarge and his companions crouched and inched toward the office. They moved slowly and quietly so they where not heard.
Sarge was startled by gurgling cough in office, followed by a worried voice. It was Klaus. “Hello! Please, I need an ambulance,” he said. “Yes, Our Saviors Assisted Living Center. Thank you.”
Sarge could see the guard’s shadow cast upon the clouded glass. His head was resting on the front desk, and his back was turned away from the open office door.“Stay here,” Sarge whispered. “Be quiet.”
Sarge moved next to the office door. He raised his chair leg above his head and took a deep breath. “Almost home,” Sarge thought. He felt as though he could smell freedom in the air that made its way into his nostrils, and the only thing standing in his way was this guard. He took a deep breath, leapt through open the door and made his way toward the guard. Before the young man could turn around, Sarge had plunged his weapon into the guard’s back. Klaus tried to turn and face his assailant, but before he could Sarge had stabbed him a second time. The injured man stumbled over a chair and made his way to the floor.
The room was quiet except for the wheezing gasps of the guard. Sarge began to look for the keys to the front gate in the office. He dug through drawers and filing cabinets, but he had no luck. Then he noticed a ring of keys hanging from a lanyard around Klaus’ neck. Sarge lifted the guard’s head to pull the keys off. He noticed that blood was beginning to soak the carpet around the body. Klaus’ breathing had slowed, causing growing lengths of silence, and it stopped.
A loud shrieking coming from the doorway abruptly broke the office silence. It was Polly. Sarge turned toward Polly and tried to lead her out of the office. She wouldn’t let him touch her; every time he tried to take her hand she slapped him. “Polly?” Sarge asked. Suddenly, she began to assault him, pushing him back toward the office wall. She slapped and scratched and screamed. The assault had caught Sarge off guard; he hadn’t expected to fight Polly. “Stop Polly. We need to leave!” he yelled, but this didn’t detour her attack.
Finally, Sarge blocked her blows and pushed her off of him. Polly stepped backward and lost her footing as she tripped over the guard. She fell onto her side, and the sound of her hitting the floor was accompanied by a loud crack. Polly screamed in pain, and Jimbo ran into the office.
“Sarge! What’s happening?” Jimbo asked. The sound of sirens could be heard in the distance. “Sarge?”
“Reinforcements,” Sarge said. He knew they didn’t have time to move Polly before they arrived, and they’d surely kill all three of them if they were found. Sarge pushed Jimbo out through the office door. “We have to go.”
“What about Polly?”
“There’s no time; we have to go,” Sarge said. Sarge closed the office door behind them as they left. He looked Jimbo and said, “For you the war is over my friend,” and he turned the lock on the office door.
“What war, Sarge?”
Sarge could hear the sound of sirens getting closer. The main door was locked, but Sarge was not sure which key would open the doors. The office key was labeled. Sarge tried the first key; it didn’t work, neither did the second, third or fourth. Sarge shouted as he fumbled with the key ring. He had tried nearly half of the keys on the ring before the lock finally turned, and Sarge jumped as it did. He laughed and pushed the door open. Jimbo followed close behind. They turned immediately west, toward the Allied Line and home.