Thanks to Lacy for her words of encouragement
He thought he would find relief in the silence, but he did not. He had scrambled for cover and reached it. Carefully, peering through the brush, he watched as the Confederate soldiers walked between the bodies looking for survivors. Every now and then they’d kick one just to ensure the escapee was dead; all of his fellow prisoners were dead.
Scott Lancer should have marveled at the fact that he survived. He should have sighed and thanked God, but somehow, he didn’t feel thankful. In fact, it was hard to feel anything at all. He was in shock. He had lived through absolute hell.
He stayed motionless and listened to the Confederate soldiers calling for coffins. The Commander joined them. He did not walk amongst the bodies, but looked at them from a distance. “We’ll bury them here – a mass grave. Put a marker for each man that died. That will send a clear message to any other prisoners thinking of escaping. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be sure to show them that escape is only for those who choose to die.”
Scott was surprised that they seem to show no interest in walking the area looking for any other prisoners. They seemed sure that there were no survivors of this escape attempt. For that, he was grateful. Closing his eyes for a moment, he tried to drown the cries and shouts of those that had died from his memory. He couldn’t shake the sounds and visions of those moments. He would carry them with him for the rest of his life.
Knowing that he would be here for a while until the soldiers had completed their assignments; Scott repositioned himself to a more comfortable position and watched. The soldiers made quick work of digging the large grave. They showed little respect for the men they buried and almost tossed the bodies into the grave. Dark black dirt followed until all were covered. One soldier had stayed to the side and created simple crosses from pieces of wood in the area. As the others stood by, he placed the markers in the mound of dirt. Scott was surprised when the soldiers almost seemed to take a moment to think about what had happened. They stood quietly as if in reflection and then they began walking back to the prison camp.
Scott knew that it was time for him to go. Carefully and quietly moving through the brush, he resumed his escape. He knew it was important for him to keep thinking about his surroundings so that he would avoid Confederate soldiers and not be recaptured. He needed concentrate on finding a Union camp or soldiers on patrol. But as he began to run, he could not help but think about those he left behind.