The masons worked quickly, layering thick slabs of stone across the barbed fence while the guardsman patrolled the eastern quadrant. They monitored their progress for three days straight, one of them always watching until they knew every step of their routine.
It would only take another four days, five at the most, before the wall was too high and they’d never see their family again. She’d be safer there, with Aunt Irma and Uncle Billy. They’d make sure she was loved, fed, educated, and who knew… maybe one day she’d rise up and tear down the wall to find her mother and father again.
“Hurry, Peter. They’re coming.”
The baby squirmed and wiggled, gurgling in agitation before choking out half a cry and kicking her leg toward the spiked wire. Peter’s arms hurt from holding her up, and he could barely see Uncle Billy’s hands reaching to grab onto her.
“What if we never see her again, Maggie?”
Maggie didn’t take her eyes off the incoming patrol, but Peter heard the tears in her voice when she said, “We can’t think like that right now. All that matters is her freedom.”
Peter bit into his lower lip, the sharp pain momentarily distracting him from the breaking of his own heart. “Take her, Uncle Billy. Take her before I change my mind.”
From the other side of the wall, Aunt Irma sobbed softly as strong hands grabbed onto their daughter and maneuvered her through the barbed wire without injury even as her agitation escalated. Peter let go once he was sure Uncle Billy had her, but little Georgia grabbed onto his sleeve, gripping tight until Uncle Billy tugged her free.
There was barely time to blink away his tears before Maggie yanked hard on his shirt, dragging him away from the wall just as the afternoon patrol rounded the corner and started marching toward them.