Thursday, 31 March 2016

CHAPTER I - Jerusalem, Jordan December 1947

There is a man leaning on the counter, a man like a bundle of twigs. He is thin, with the long odd shape of his teeth pressing through the scant flesh of his face, like an animal's muzzle, all the angles of his skull explicit agony to the flinching eye.

Leila glances away. She looks down at her clasped hands, but his presence demands her attention.

He is thin, but there is a wiry desperate strength to him. His eyes burn, and as he leans to speak to the man beside him, spittle wets his arid lips. He raises the thick glass to his mouth and drinks. The ridged curve of his throat convulses, He grins, and scrabbles avid spidering fingers at his arm where the blue ghosts of numbers are obscured by the raked wounds of his constant scratching. His voice is high, he laughs, there is a ferocious hunger to him.

He is unbearably ugly, repulsive. His macula are mute reproaches to her happiness; that at this moment of desperate struggle when survival is the only permissible desire she is alight, afire with passion, in love for the first time in her life.

In this place where the remnants of a people stand to fight for their last chance at life, ready to pay for each grain of sand with blood, she is a girl aglow.


by Manuela Cardiga

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