Secondhand

The long neglected metal door complained loudly as the two burly guards pushed their way into the cell.  "Warren, get a load o' this!'' the smaller of the two called, laughing obnoxiously. The lanky, malnourished prisoner had fallen asleep in an almost fetal position atop a mat of filthy grey straw. There he twitched and moaned in fevered nightmare.

"Pathetic.'' He kicked the boy squarely in the stomach. The prisoner let out a muffled groan and tried to pull himself up, but collapsed into a fit of coughing. The other guard, Warren, scowled, but made no move to help his comrade or his charge.He crossed his arms.

"Specific orders, Jules. You where given specific orders to behave yourself. Doesn't anything ever get through to that addled brain of yours?This kids gotta arrive intact. Completely, or we're through."

Jule scoffed. "Orders? Or threats?"

"You know Cyril. Both."

At the mention of the captains name, the man sobered. "Fine," He grumbled, pulling the boy to his knees by the collar of his prison-issued shirt.The inmate was still coughing heavily, now spraying the concrete floor with a fine mist of blood. Warren swore, and grabbed his ward underneath both arms, knocking his partner out of the way.

Jule complained of his abuse, but with no real conviction. He was nervously eying the prisoner, who was now gasping for air. The young man was turning an alarming shade of purple, and his lips where rimmed in a dark phlegmy substance.Dry heaves jerked his body in a dance of pain.He had been worth no more than a meager ration to the States; that had been expelled long ago.Warren held him up awkwardly, impatiently waiting for the fits to subside.

"What the hell is wrong with him?"

Warren looked at Jule incredulously, accusingly. "You can't be serious."

Jule looked away, having just enough grace to at least try to look ashamed. "Orders is orders, right?" He mumbled, more to himself than anything. " Orders is orders..."

The End

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