They came in the middle of the night. Expletive-screaming teams of jackbooted, black-clad List Enforcers battered down doors. Family pets were shot as Enforcers dispersed to round up sleeping children and parents. Bound and blindfolded, whole families were herded into cattle trucks, crammed in so tight taking a full breath was impossible. The weak and elderly succumbed quickly. They were fortunate.
The wailing of terrified young raised a horrific din. The fear of their parents was palpable. Recent rumors of midnight arrests had been dismissed. The sudden silence of friends thought curious and unconcerning. State-run DNCB News had carried on as if every day were a holiday. But the threats had been real, and the lists.
The unheated, open-sided cattle trucks rendezvoused in Walmart parking lots. They departed in convoys of twenty. The stink of fear and feces, vomit and urine left an odorous trail along the route to roundup zones. The December night froze beard, breath, and spirit.
Once inside the barbed-wire ringed classification areas, men and women were publicly strip-searched and separated into groups. Masked, silent attendants worked with efficiency and speed to distribute thin list-slippers and thinner yellow jumpsuits. Children were corralled by group: infant, adolescent, teenager. The elderly and sick of all ages were grouped together and marched to an Amazon warehouse. Resistance was met with silent force, the bodies carried away with the elderly and sick. The remaining human beings were barcoded with an alphabet of letters and lines on the right forearm and microchipped on the back of the neck. When each group contained a hundred souls it was loaded into the cattle trucks. Again in convoys of twenty, the cattle trucks drove to designated airports where they offloaded their human cattle. Gigantic, windowless cargo aircraft, engines idling, each swallowed five-hundred bound and blindfolded souls and departed, lifting into a star-filled sky that had mesmerized human beings since their knuckles dragged the ground.