• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 10
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They watched us — when we walked beneath the wall, when we scaled it and looked out over the top at what we told the children was somewhere they mustn’t go, and where, when you were old enough, you looked with an empty feeling, a sudden feeling, that turned over in you before you looked away. At night, street lights cast a pale light that picked out the camera lenses’ white glass eyes. In the day the cameras were less sinister, but the eyes of the men themselves followed you now, with those pupils like bullet holes, as you walked to work, as you walked down the road with your thoughts, or with the thoughts of someone you’d just met and wanted no one else to know. The red spirals appeared overnight as if by a grand illusion — no one knew who, or how — blotting out first a mouth, then an eye, then two, not the whole face, not at first, and we used to walk beneath the wall, feeling afraid that they would know we were pleased that their eyes and their mouths had been blotted out. And then for one glorious period, a week perhaps, maybe two, the whole faces were painted over with those beautiful red spirals — silenced, blinded, struck dumb — and we walked through the streets talking, thinking, and looking like we never had before and haven’t since.