The camp was dark and smelled of unwashed bodies, dried blood, sand and feces*. Over us, sparsely-leaved trees hung, blotting out much of the night sky. A camp fire flickered over our little community. All around it were children, their cold AK-47s resting tightly against their sleeping bodies. Nearby, I could just barely make out […]


I can’t help but stare in wonder as I watch the army around us make camp for the night. It seemed like we’d been on the move for a week. And the entire time, a continual stream of scouts had been coming in and out of the camp, reporting what they encountered to the senior […]

The Salvation of Darkness

The darkness is near total. Only a small torch, carried by my sister Atakilla, illuminates the way. The rancid scent of the tallow that fuels her candle disturbs me. The light from the irregular flames sputter against the smooth stone walls of the passageway. I am the Queen of my people, strong and honored. I […]

The Gnome

They call me the gnome. They’ve always called me the gnome. I didn’t used to care. I didn’t care what other people thought of me. I hardly gave consideration to what I thought of myself. I just am. Others can worry about currying the favor and praise of their peers. That has never been my […]