• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10


The sounds of the island filter through the shutters. A van, a motorbike, crates being unloaded, someone shouting in a language I have yet to master. The same every morning. It’s not yet six, but already the sun is drawing lines on the floor. It will be hot. It is always hot here.
By noon, they will have found us. Banging on the door, a warning that I will not understand but will recognise by the tone of voice. Three of them, maybe four, uniformed and armed. Perhaps I will call out, beg them not to harm me. Perhaps I will remain silent, frozen.
They will batter on the door till it gives away. I will sit up in bed (for I will remain here till they come), sheets drawn round me, frightened. Or defiant, I don’t yet know.
Their guns will be pointed at me as I plead with them to turn away while I dress. They may honour this, or they may leer. I will pull on hastily discarded clothes lying on the floor and tie up my hair.
“Tell him to get up too, unless he wants to be shot.” This is what their words must mean. They wave the barrels of their guns in your direction.
I will do my best to tell them to take me, leave you alone.
They jeer. He is not much of a protector, to lie prone while his love is being taken away.
As they hustle me out of the room, I catch one last glimpse of your body under the sheets, now dappled with sunlight as the heat reaches its height. Someone prods you with the butt of a rifle. You don’t stir. You can’t stir. They pull back the bedclothes and see you in all your naked, ashen beauty. They will look at me with awe, with horror, with disgust. Someone will hit me, and my lip will bleed. And they will drag me out as neighbours peer from between the slats of their shutters at the foreign girl who should have known better.
But for now, my love, we lie with our arms draped round one another and I promise never to let you go, even though you can’t hear me, even though you left me during the darkest part of the night.