Title: KNIGHT'S CURSE
The wooden vegetable crate wobbled when I stepped up to reach the dust-cakedwindow. I studied the Jeep full of men, looking for someone I recognized,someone from the village. I didn't talk much to the people there, but Istill knew who most of them were. Not these, though. All were strangers, andthey wore uniforms. Military camouflage that hardly camouflaged them at all.The way they slouched off into the bushes, I could tell they believedthemselves unseen. Except that I had seen them quite well. I noted eachstitch on their clothing, every whisker on their unshaven faces, even thecolor of their bootlaces.
I blinked behind the thick sunglasses that shielded my sensitive eyes fromthe harsh midsummer sun. It was nearing dusk now, so my eyes didn't hurt asmuch. I normally stayed within the darkened rooms and hallways of themonastery. I was barely a teenager and my family of Maronite monks did agood job protecting me from outsiders, including the Lebanese villagers whostared and whispered about the way I looked. I heard them. But I could alsohear a bee leave its hive a mile away.
Maybe I should tell Brother Thomas about the soldiers, but it was so rare for us to have visitors other than the village doctor. This visit was anovelty and I couldn¹t pull myself from the window. I felt like a hookedfish, the bait my own insatiable curiosity.