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Goats and Gunshots

Goats and Gunshots | Page 1

Karen Churchill

I awake to the sounds of goats and gunshots. Sitting bolt upright, I register that I'm not in my own bed. But where am I? Through the window opposite the bed I can see a flat, very blue sea in the distance beyond fields of shimmering corn crops and olive trees. I can smell the salty, fishy sea air too. And something else, an unfamiliar scent.

Another volley of shots overwhelms the gentler, whinnying of goats and the panting beats of my own breath that echo around the room. The light streaming through the windows is brilliant. It glares at me as I try to work out where I am and what's going on.

Yet another round of shots. Enough!

I scramble out of bed, grab the clothes I had worn yesterday, just a cotton dress and a pair of knickers. I put them on faster than I ever thought I could. A faint smell of sweat and stale perfume wafts over me as I shrug my dress over my clammy body. Staying as low to the ground as I can, I creep towards the window that opens out onto the terrace. No gunshots now, just goats. But I stand guard for what seems like hours, waiting for the next round of shots and hoping they won't be aimed at my window.

I start to remember...a long walk with no apparent end...in the dark…car headlights blinding me, whistling though the dark, as fast as bullets from a gun. I duck and weave, stumbling into the stones and prickly bushes at the edge of the road, trying to escape. I remember no more.

Still on guard, I look down at my legs and feet and they're filthy. Streaked with mud, scratched and bloody. My shiny red toenails, painted only days before, now gleaming, ridiculously out of place at the end of the ruin of my feet - like bloody punctuation marks.

Goats and Gunshots | Page 1

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