Trickles of sand crept into the boy’s clothes as he lay peering over the crest of the dune, down at the caravan below. He told himself he could ignore the sand just as he was ignoring the sweat, the heat, his hunger and thirst, his fear.
Less than a mile to the east the caravan would pass through Alssikin, a narrow defile appropriately named for the long thin knife even young boys in his village carried. Only a thousand yards long, Alssikin was the right spot to launch an ambush, were a band of brigands so inclined.
“Come over here and lie down on the bench.” She pulled my arm and the rest of me back to the little corner spot where some folks drank their coffee instead of buying it and going home to make their own.
“There. On your back. These straight edges will keep tearing apart if it’s not taped well, and I can’t do that if you’re standing up.”
I eased down on the bench and put my hands behind my head so everything was out of her way. She did things with wet stuff, cleaning and moisturizing or something like that, then rolled out three hundred yards of gauze and an entire roll of tape. Somehow it all fit on my chest. Somehow, it made me feel a whole lot better. I might even get out of here without too many awkward questions.
“So who knifed you? And why?”