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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 


Samar Yazbek
Arabia Books

'Only a real man can catch me!' Aliyah began to shout. This was enough to set the boys off. They chased her, hurling threats as she leapt away, aided by her slender frame and her familiar ity with the alleyways' twists and turns. She was heading for home, to get to safety before they could catch her. She didn't  notice when one of the boys was dragged off the street by his  mother, who scolded him and grabbed him by the hand to pull him inside. As the darkness grew stronger, the two remain­ing boys started to get scared. Black cats with fluorescent eyes scaled the walls as the light faded into total darkness. In the narrow alleyways, the wind whistled a ghostly tune. Yet the boys did not turn back because, every now and then, Aliyah  glanced back at them and gestured at their backsides. She was  burning with rage for having been deprived of the foreign chocolate, a taste she had never known in all her life.

The clatter of tin roofs and the noise of miauling cats grew louder, and a light rain began to fall. Aliyah had reached the top of the alleyway leading to the room where she lived with her family. She relaxed her pace and waited, but it was only a few moments before her enemies appeared, coming to a halt before her. Aliyah panted like a puppy, resting her hands on her hips as she stared straight at the two boys in defiance. The boys prowled in circles around her, having decided that variety  would be their tactic in torturing her. Meanwhile, Aliyah's; thoughts were on one thing alone: to pounce on one of the; boys' backs and cling on, then bite him on the neck. She had seen cats do it and had once tried it out successfully on the boys, who had begun to fear her after that.

Aliyah slipped from under one of the boys' legs and jumped on his back. She ripped his shirt and plunged her teeth into his neck, until he started to scream. The second boy pulled her hair..