Saturday, February 20, 2010


The village, with its closely clustered buildings and narrow streets, sat in the midst of the valley like a pebble in the palm of a green glove. A thin dusty track, which spanned the length of the valley, ran directly through the town’s middle before continuing on its lonely way. Towards the west, the road climbed, gradually becoming more faint and ill-defined as it went further from the town- just two thin wheel ruts through the tall grass. As it neared a line of low hills and rocky escarpments it narrowed to a single path before disappearing entirely within the low-lying, scrubby woods that stretched away from the valley's edge as far as the horizon.

Not far from the end of the track a boy, no older than sixteen and naked to the waist, sat indian style beneath his shirt, which was stretched between two branches to keep the sun off. Nearby, in the shade of a cliff, water seeped from a slimy crack in the rock and collected in a quiet green pool at the base of the cliff. The dry woods, brittle and thirsty, dusty and brown, surrounded the boy and his secret spot.

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