The only ones who paid any attention to Noah and Peter, as they ran, were a mother, father, and their three small boys, who watched with interest as they sprinted away. The tall gaunt mother wore a housedress that was stained and ripped under the arms. The father’s two black eyes and swollen jaw told the story of an unrelenting, but losing, scuffle with authority.
Marc, seven, wore pants that were several sizes too small. Normie, five, had the bruise of a handprint across his cheek. The youngest boy was Kramden. He was three, with light brown hair, and a smile that belied the fact that he could not remember anything besides the ghetto. He had never known a toy, or music, or a playground, and had no memories outside the fence. The red marks on the boys’ arms and necks pointed to vicious bedbug bites. They watched Peter and Noah run for the hidden exit.
The father gathered his desperate family and ran to the woodpile as he saw the boys appear on the other side of the fence. “This is the answer to our prayers,” he said to his wife.
“But we can’t make it through that hole.”
“At least they will make it,” he reasoned. She nodded, tears flooding her eyes with the realization that she would be saying goodbye to the children that it was her duty to protect. She was sending them to freedom with strangers.
“You there! Boys! Wait, please, stop. Help us, please,” the father shouted after Peter and Noah.
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