Trafika Europe 6 - Arabesque

the scarecrow

evil intentions and concluded that the crime demonstrated the existence of a culprit. So she proceeded to set up scary figures around her livestock’s corral to frighten away wild beasts. These resembled the effigies that farmers set up in their fields to scare away birds but did not save her herd from destruction. Every morning she would discover the disappearance of one or two head of livestock overnight. Outside the palm- stalk fence she would find the remaining vestiges of this nocturnal bloodbath. There were pools of blood that the dirt had absorbed till it hardened and coagulated and skeletons with their bones stripped clean of flesh with alarming efficiency—as if it had been trimmed off with a knife. Intestines were strewn about—split open and begrimed with dirt and

pebbles—as digestive juices spilled from them, mixed with cud. The skins had been flayed from the body and cut into many pieces as if the perpetrator had intentionally destroyed them to ward off suspicion and to destroy the traces of his heinous deed. At first suspicions centered on wild beasts. Many people told her that the gully the spring’s waters had created at the base of the eastern section of the city wall frequently attracted reptiles, vermin, and wild beasts from the wasteland and that it was certainly not out of the question that dieb jackals had slipped in from there too. When she asked why jackals would prefer her animals to the herds of other people, they ignored this question and claimed this aspect of the mystery pertained exclusively to the Spirit World, because


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