A/N: This was written for an English assignment. The prompt was "why should we remember the Holocaust?" Hopefully, I've portrayed my answer well enough. Enjoy.

"Countdown"

Jordan: December 25, 2013.

I faintly hear a bell ringing through my sleep. I ignore it for a few minutes, but then something is shaking my shoulder.

"Get up! We have role call! You don't want to be late!"

I groggily get myself up and slowly I follow Kevin, the man who woke me up. We reach the line. We are facing the east, and the sun glares furiously in our eyes. We squint as the officer calls our names.

"B82-Jordan!"

"Here!" Our names, now, are our room number and our first name.

Once he was done, he was about to speak when we hear loud footsteps and gasping. An old man was running up to the line. He breathes out, "Sorry for being late--"

There is a sudden shot, and he falls to the ground. We have learned not to flinch.

"Anyway, before I was interrupted," the officer begins, irritated, "Before your meal you will return to your quarters. There, you will listen to a speech by President Jacques Jean-Paul. Only after that you will go to the kitchens to receive your ration. You know the rest. Now go, you nasty swine!"

We march to our quarters without a word. There, the TV that hangs in the corner of the room lights up. On the screen the crazed face of President Jacques Jean-Paul appears. He has a handsome, pretty face, fit to be in a movie. His eyes gleam maliciously.

"Good morning, vermin," he begins happily, "Do you know why you're here? Your own wretched sins landed you here. I am God's prophet; he speaks through me to judge the world. I am here to cleanse the world of evil. And that includes you. God hates the non-Christians, the heretics. That's why you're here. Jews and Muslims first, then later Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Atheists, anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ is condemned. Only by converting will you become free."

The TV flickers off. There is a sudden heated intensity in the room. Everyone wants to shout, yell, growl: we all hate this man. But we are afraid to. He is a madman; a rabid animal who should be locked up. But he still has power. And the world still ignores him.

We grumpily walk to the kitchens, where we receive a piece of bread and a cup of coffee. I slowly eat it, but even after I finish, my stomach yearns and pains for more food. This is a feeling I am quite used to. I have been eternally hungry since I arrived.

Later, while I am working, I think of my family. They're living safely in America. I wrote them a letter last night. I was very brave; I told them what was happening to me. I hope that when they receive it, they will inform the world of what's happening. And so that way, instead of converting, or death, I will become free.

**********

Sera: December 31, 2013.

I walk inside the house, holding the stack of mail I picked up. I sift through the mail absentmindedly until I find a letter in my brother's handwriting. I drop the rest of the mail to open the letter. I am very excited. He's finally written us to tell us how France is like!

I start to read the letter, and its not what I expected. Very disturbed, I walk into the living room where Mom is watching the news.

"Mom, this letter from Jordan just came in. I just read it, and he says that he's being starved and tortured in one of those concentration camps. But that's weird, since the concentration camps are known to be very nice places for prisoners to live. Do you think that he's trying to scare us or something?"

Mom laughs. "I don't know, Sera. That's probably true. Jordan's quite the prankster. Speaking of those camps, the news just said that France is making a new one in Spain."

"Oh, that's good," I reply.

"The funniest thing was, though, is that they showed a clip of a speech by Jack Gene-Paul or whatever. He was rambling about being a prophet of God. Most hilarious thing I've ever heard. Who's going to take him seriously?"

"Good question," I mutter.

"Well, it's almost five. Have fun at your party!" She waves me off.

Today was New Year's Eve. I can't believe that 2013 is almost over. It has been a wonderful year.

Later in the night, during the countdown, my thoughts drift back to Jordan. I wonder if he's having a good time. I wonder if what he said in his letter could actually be real.

Three.

No. There's no way it could be real.

Two.

Besides, Jordan can take care of himself. He'll be fine.

One.

All thoughts of Jordan leave my mind as I toast to the new year.

**********

Jordan: December 31, 2013.

There is a selection tonight. Fear is running through our group. We are afraid to be chosen. Even though this life is worse than death, we still cling on to our lives.

We pray before dinner. Sometimes, I think about becoming Christian. It'd be relatively easy, and I'd be able to leave this wretched place. But something holds me back.

We go and eat our meager portions of soup. We sip slowly, afraid for what happens next.

Eventually, the bells ring. We know where we're supposed to go. We walk outside and join the line that has formed. We whisper to each other, predicting who will be selected or not. Anything to pass the time.

Ten minutes later the officers arrive. They are dressed in all black, and they blend into the night. They give us simple instructions: one at a time, a group of ten will run as hard as they can forward. Then they will quickly walk back to the line.

This sounds very easy. I am confident that I will succeed.

We wait awhile before our group goes. We run faster than our lungs can catch up. Along the way, I trip over something ragged, and I smash into the ground. I quickly get up to run again, but I can't move without a limp. I must've hurt something. They yell at us to come back, and I slowly make it. I rest.

Now, everyone is done. Whoever they call out has to step out of the line and march over to the crematories to die. I am suddenly consumed with fear. What if they mistook that fall as weakness?

"B82-Jordan!"

I feel many things at once. Fear, sadness, hopelessness, loss, anger, hate. I sluggishly move out of the line as my friends wish me goodbye. I will miss them. I feel as if they were my truest friends.

I walk into the line for the crematories. I am tenth in place.

For the first few steps, I think of nothing. I stare up into the starry sky, partially obscured by smoke. I feel a wave of calm come over me. I am not scared anymore. It was as if something in me accepted by near death.

Four.

I pray. I ask Him to forgive me, and everyone else. To spite our assassins. And of course, I ask Him why. A question that will never be answered in life.

Three.

I fleetingly think of my family and my friends. I wonder if they ever received my letter. I hope they do something, for the sake of others. I smile slightly. I really loved them.

Two.

I can finally sigh in relief. Freedom has come.

One.