They were barely alive.

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I entered the courtyard and was greeted by the stench of human waste and the groans of the dying. Half a dozen men were caged before me, suspended by their heads, their feet dangling above the ground.

I confess rage swept over me.

As I stormed toward the first cage, a guard came running from a doorway off to the right.

The Colts were in my hands before I knew it, and the guard was blown backward by the force of the slugs slamming into his stomach. His screams brought four more men out of the room, and they all fell, wounded like their comrade.

I had no interest in mercy.

Not for them.

I reached the first cage, found it was held closed only by a single thong, and opened it. It took me a moment to free the man, but I did, laying him on the ground. Around his head was the same type of square I’d freed Liu from.

A rifle roared, and I saw a man with a rifle standing, shocked by his comrades.

My shot took him in the groin and sent him shrieking to his knees.

I broke the lock on the wooden square around the man’s neck, and he climbed to his feet.

“Thank you,” he whispered, his voice shattered.

Together, we made our way to the other prisoners, freeing them. By the time the last was in the arms of his speaking brothers, another group of guards arrived. When they saw us, they went for their rifles, but there were only four of them.

The Colts thundered, and dust rose up as the freshly wounded men fell to the ground like the others.

“Go to the shore,” I told the speaking men. “There is a ship there and a friend. Are there any more prisoners?”

The men shook their heads.

“Good. I’ll be there soon enough,” I said.

I reloaded the Colts as the men made their way out of the prison, and I turned my attention to the wounded. Their thoughts assailed me, begged me to help them.

“You want my help?” I asked, drawing my knife. “Alright.”

I knelt beside the first man and dug the bullet out of his belly.

He died before I finished, and the others tried to crawl away.

It seems they didn’t want my help after all, but they got it just the same.

#China #Horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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