Saturday, April 19, 2008

Catch a glimpse in your blind spot

I came into a small bombed out village where the walls of once-were-houses were little above head height and there was a man sitting in the shadow of one oily-bricked wall.

He saw me as I came around to his place in the ruins, and he smiled and said, "Hello, I am pleased to see you upright when everyone else here is lying down, asleep I think."

I had seen some of these sleepers, some burnt, some with holes in them, all of them dead.

I asked him how long it was since the Albonians came.

"Is there still smoke?"

The recent rain had damped that down, although there was still the smell of wet burnt wood.

"I can show you something," he said and he pushed himself up. I noticed that his right leg was missing below the knee and there was a large dark stain under him. "Here," and he loosened one of the bricks in the wall, "help me with this."

I pulled the brick out of the wall revealing a dark hole, which shouldn't have been dark, because there was nothing on the other side except mud, blasted buildings and dead people.

"Look in there," he said. So I did, there was nothing to see, just blackness.

He took a length of card from his pocket and, with shaking hands, lined the gap with it.

"Now look," he said.

So I did. Still nothing. I told him that.

"Let me look then."

I moved out of his way, and he rested his forehead above the hole and shut his eyes.

"I can see how it was."

He slumped down after this. I think he'd died just then.

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