Dancing In The Shadows of Love

Free Dancing In The Shadows of Love by Judy Croome

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Authors: Judy Croome
my eyes and bury my head in the safety of Enoch’s shirt, sweet smelling with cedar wood, but the simple grandeur of my old chauffeur, Elijah, denied me any such evasion.
    He did not waver. Not even as the rebels shoved him with their feet and pushed him with their horses. He staggered but did not fall. He lifted a hand to clutch at the piece of green felt, with its flimsy star, pinned to his jacket. As he held his centre, the rock that held him steady, he read from his Eden Book , pulsating with a peace that drove the horsemen frenzied.
    ‘Yea,’ Elijah quoted, ‘let them turn every one from his weakness.’ The opening spray of bullets hit him and splattered blood over his hands and over the cream leather with its gold nova . He forged on and the four horsemen screamed in fury and fright. ‘Let them turn from the violence that is in their hands…’ At last, he weakened and the book tumbled from his hands. He fell to his knees, his white shirt crimson and his face beatific. He held his arms to the sky and cried, ‘ Master ! Master!’
    I wanted to attack him and scream, ‘Leave him alone! Leave him alone!’ But I was not there; I was in Little Flower’s bedroom, shouting ‘Leave her alone! Leave me alone!’
    There was so much blood, but my Daddy was not dying, for more than one bullet boomed through the air. I dug my face deeper into the safe cedar-smell of Enoch’s chest as a fireball thundered, flinging us to the ground as the unearthly wind roared to a crescendo before my world fell into silence.
    After a while, I lifted my head and looked around me. I saw the scattered bodies of the rebels, dead every one and burnt ashes to ashes.
    And, in the midst of that inferno, I saw the ghostly outline of Elijah dancing.
    He arose from the flames consuming Barry’s old Rolls, his chauffeur’s cap at its usual jaunty angle. His charred arms reached out as if to grip the reins of an ancient chariot and, as I watched, his transfigured remains collapsed into ashes, dispelling the flickering image in the clouds of smoke billowing around us in the aftermath of a malevolent evil I had thought I would never experience again.
    My head ached from tension and fear and I fell back onto the ground. I lay there, with my face in the dirt, tears I’d never cried before—no, not even when Daddy slumped dead against my breast—streamed off my chin and soaked into the dry and desolate land that cradled all of me: both body and soul, body and soul.

Chapter 12
Zahra (The Past)
    “This is the night
That either makes me or fordoes me quite.”
    We lay there in the dirt, Grace and Enoch and I, wrapped in each other’s arms and surrounded by the silence of death and the indestructible old mountains. It was safe, then, to remember my Daddy did not die the day Zahra was born; the day she rose out of Little Flower’s sorrow and pointed his own gun at him.
    ‘Come now, Daddy’s Little Flower,’ he said. ‘Put that away. Good girls like you don’t play with guns.’ He smiled confidently and held out his one hand as he walked towards me, the other already undoing the buttons in his trousers.
    ‘I’m not Little Flower,’ I said, as I watched him sit on the edge of her bed. ‘I am Zahra.’
    ‘That’s right,’ he agreed. ‘It’s your birthday today! You’re fifteen, a young lady. I’ll buy you a pretty dress at the store tomorrow. A lady’s dress. You’ll like that, won’t you?’ He ignored the gun Zahra held and leaned over to rub my breasts, his breathing heavier as he stroked his manpart through the gap in his trousers. ‘Be Daddy’s good girl. Let Daddy love you.’
    He did not comprehend Zahra’s steel: nor did I, until that moment.
    ‘Take your hand off my bosom,’ I said, calm and in control. The hand holding the gun did not shake in the slightest as I added, ‘Or I’ll shoot.’
    He didn’t believe me and squeezed tighter. So I squeezed the trigger. There was blood everywhere as Daddy slumped against my

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