Only Ten


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  • Only Ten by Allan Baillie
  • Hussien
  • Hussein's history clung on to him like a barnacle. 
  • Yet by saying this he didn't remove any demons
  • Billie Mullan NAS
  • Hussein was beginning to thaw but he had been frozen for a long time
  • We called him The Shah at first . Not that we knew where he came from, just that he looked at bit dark, sounded funny and looked like he was about to have us beheaded.
  • He had tipped whether its a good thing or a bad thing i don't know.
  • The ruler struck The Shah on the collarbone with a dull whack and clattered to the ground. Bruce stared at The Shah in alarm, just standing there, panting. "I'm a soldier", The Shah said, then walked away.  
  • It was like he had shedded his skin, but he was the same dark boy from the start deep deep, down.
  •  'Hussein was in the Plant Nursery,' Pearl said. 'Hussein?' Bruce said ' Oh you mean The Shah.' 'Hussein. I was taking Suzy -my kid sister- to the library when we saw him running his fingers over a small mandarin tree, as if he couldn't believe that it was there. Smelling the fruit, pressing at the earth and even listening to the leaves.
  • But then he took a great leap, trying to pull a high kick out of the air. It was dropping toward him from the sun, and maybe he saw something that was not there. Anyway one moment he was up there, the next he was crouched into a tight little ball, falling into the mud.
  • And then The Shah walked up to her, looked at her and squeezed her arm. She put her hand on his and tried a very weak smile. He nodded and led her away. All this without a single word. As if he had learned just what to do. As if he had done it before, many times.
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