October 20, 2013

Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Dahab” by Alganesh Embaye

Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Dahab” by Alganesh Embaye

Fiction Friday: Excerpt from “Dahab” by Alganesh Embaye

by Carolyn | Warscapes has publish an excerpt from the story “Dahab” by Alganesh Embaye, a writer from Eritrea. The story is set during the “Red Terror”, a violent political campaign in Ethiopia and Eritrea during the 1970s. The protagonist, Dahab, tries to go on with life as usual, brewing and enjoying coffee with her neighbour, but inevitably the unrest affects them.

The city started changing. Sidewalks turned into trenches where soldiers crawled in and out like ants. Every morning, deep throated revolution chant would rumble off like the scary voice of a genie. Red was the color of colors and became Kinglike: Red Youth, Red Terror, Red Guards, red flag, red badge. Dahab grew anxious. The red campaign scared her. And those monotonous military slogans and images and portraits with an arm thrust through in the air, or hammer and sickle, or some other shit posted and painted on public walls bothered her. And that screechy military song too, it would play on and on and on. So fucking annoying. That was why she hated it when her husband turned a radio on—they roared and chanted all day long ‘til their mouths bled.

The lemon tree in the backyard was her safe haven. Every day, when the burning sun shrank its rays and rolled down behind the chained mountains, Dahab would settle under the lemon tree with birds hovering above and brew her coffee on a wood flame. Her neighbour, Jemila, was always waiting for that time; when the aroma of the coffee and scent of incense wafted across, she would come in with a plate full of butter cookies and join the coffee ritual, so they talk, laugh and whisper about their fears while swatting mosquitoes and sipping their coffee.

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