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White balloons

March 17, 2013

A white balloon sailed high above the mountains, out of range.

Shura watched it go. It was the third one she had seen that day, and there had been five the day before. It drifted, apparently with the winds, unconnected with the destruction below. Explosions all around her, soot and debris, injured comrades – and there, up in the heavens, unaffected, immune from the violence, a white balloon.

It seemed so harmless. But everyone knows the story about the Trojan horse, and Shura was no exception. She would have shot the balloons out of the sky given half a chance. She did not know what was inside – something biological, something chemical – but nothing in war was innocent. Nothing from the North was likely to bring good news for her people.

She imagined it coming to rest in a village further up the trail.
She imagined the curiosity of a child.


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