He looks at me, coldly and without compassion.

“I don’t care that you don’t understand. ‘What is it that you want me to do?’ I want you to take that rock and carry it over there,” he says. “Don’t ask why, just do it.”

He cracks a smile. “That wasn’t so hard,” he says, his voice flavored with amusement. “Keep up this pace and you’ll be finished by next week. That’s it, grab another rock and put it with the others.”

He stands there. “You really should learn to get along with everyone. Fighting isn’t going to make your stay here any easier,” he offers sarcastically. “Learn to keep your head down. Your stay here is only temporary; you’ll be back home with your family in no time.”

He laughs hard at my expense, “That’s right! I heard about you; your family’s dead. Well, maybe soon you can join them. We always could use more cannon fodder – someone to soak up all those bullets flying around so our boys can shoot those trashy, no-good rednecks in the next fight.”

All laughter is gone, as he gets a distant look in his eyes. “My brother’s wife got taken in the last raid. Just those idiots wait until the river stops flooding. I don’t even know how they got across it.”

He stares off in the direction of the river for a moment, then quickly turns back. “No slacking! Move these rocks or you will wish you were cannon fodder already!”

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