TITLE: Luli's Unibrow
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
When Luli, a Tajik gypsy girl, accepts an outrageous gift from a wicked customer, an entire village comes after her. Proving her innocence requires to grow a horrible unibrow and hide among a group of nomads in the Pamir mountains where dealing with vengeful spirits change her destiny.
The fragrance of freshly baked delicacies fill the market. Tajik samosa and manti, a dumpling filled with chopped lamb and squash, tempt me as I wander through the labyrinth of stalls. My stomach makes knots inside me. I tighten the scarf that holds my baby brother on my back. The pressure eases the hunger, enough to keep my hand from snatching a brown juicy grape the size of my baby brother’s fist.
I am a gypsy and covered in silver jewelry, wool ornaments, and layers upon layers of brightly colored skirts. The gaze of vendors follow me and housewives press their hands over their inner pockets where they hide their money. The fluttering of padded robes hiding a lining of silk robes cause my little brother hiccup in fright. I move the pan of my veil over his head. Maybe the brouhaha of the market will finally lull him to sleep.
The friendly vendors greet each other with soft salaams. “Peace upon you.”
Women with flopping scarves topping flat hats are dishing up cups of kymyz or mare’s milk. I don’t care very much for the beverage, but my stomach pinches me so hard, I would drink anything just to get the hurt out of my body.
I snake my way further between the piles of vegetables, jiggling a copper coin in my hand. Some people add few more coins in my hand after spying the baby. Not enough to eat. I thank them anyway.
“God bless you, my prince.”