Sentinels

My father, brother and I were in Russia, I could tell because of our hats. Not because we were wearing particularly Russian-looking hats, but because of how we were wearing the hats.

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We would have been having a great time, because we were always on time, but government officials who we could hear over the secret radios in the roofs of our mouths spoke about three tourists fitting our description, and the word they were using for tourists they were pronouncing like terrorists.

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To evade our potential enemies, we decided to “hide in plain site” not only by finding the busiest causeway in the land, but also by running down the street in the open. If we acted too crazy they would know we couldn’t be ourselves and leave us alone.

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The street was made of sand, as wide as a river, and on either bank wall to wall buildings pasted together, reaching into the atmosphere they extended beyond our field of vision, even when we squinted.

The buildings were unlit inside, yet we could see each of the buildings was filled with silhouettes. The entire population of the world stood on every level, still, and staring directly at us though we couldn’t see their eyes.

They did not recognize us, but they knew we were innocent, so even as we ran until our lungs felt like bleeding, I have never felt more safe.

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