Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lunchtime read: Exile and the Kingdom

Another haunting tale that is made all the more powerful by the fact that there is a communication breakdown that means someone who meant well is interpreted as intending something much more sinister.

The Guest
A schoolmaster is living in a remote classroom at the top of a mountain pass, which has been made almost inaccessible by snow. For three days none of the pupils have made it to the classroom so he is alone. Then a policeman with an Arab prisoner approach and the teacher is told that he has to look after the prisoner and take him to the next town, something he refuses to do. That night there is minimal conversation but the teacher is adamant that he will not take the man to the town. In the morning the Arab has not tried to escape. The teacher gives him food and money and tells him the way to avoid the route to prison but discovers the Arab is going that way anyway. Once he gets back to the classroom there is a message telling him that he has betrayed an Arab brother and they will come and get him making him feel al alone.

More tomorrow...

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