The bus pulled up to the only building with its light still on and as soon as it stopped four armed men ran up on the bus and told us not to speak and to get off. I couldn’t believe this was happening, my heart rate was through the roof now. As we were getting off, they divided us up by gender and brought us into separate rooms inside the building and told us to strip. We did. I remember shaking and being beyond scared. They made us line up in a row around the room and led us into another room where there were huge square boxes lined up along the wall. We were told to grab one of everything and put it on. The first box was full of every size underwear imaginable. I remember being so happy to see clothes not just because I wouldn’t have to walk around naked, but because this probably means they weren’t going to kill us. I just grabbed the first pair my hand touched and put them on. They were a little big, but I wasn’t thinking about that at the time. The next two boxes were full of sweat pants and sweatshirts; I grabbed one of each and put them on too. After we were all dressed we were marched in complete darkness for at least a mile to the last building in the compound. They split us and lined us up again into shorter lines. They did all of this in the dark. We were told to hold on to the person in front of us and my line was lead into the building, up three flights of stairs, and into long room lined with bunk beds. We were told to find a bed, get in our underwear and go to sleep.
Well, needless to say, I didn’t sleep. I lay there in the complete darkness, listening to my heartbeat. I was still shaking and all I could think about was my family and wishing I was back home with them. A few hours later, about 5am, three armed men knocked me out of my trance. This time they were wearing camouflage, screaming and beating their batons on the metal poles holding my bunk to the one below mine. As my brain began catching up with my body through the yelling and pounding of metal on metal, I realized that I was standing in still, complete darkness, wearing nothing but the new boxers I had received the night before. I stood there in the pitch-black room for over an hour, not moving, afraid of the repercussions. The room was completely still; all I could hear were the footsteps of the armed men and the quick but faint breaths coming from all around me. The sun began to rise and light began to flow though the numerous windows and into the room. As the room grew brighter, I began to be able to put faces to the faint breaths around me and counted. There were eighty-eight men total. All were standing at the foot of their bunks in nothing but their new white underwear just like me. In fact, with the exception of age, skin color, and the size of their underwear, every one of us looked exactly the same.
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