The Devotees

by E.M. Killaley

 

My mother’s skin is hot against my cheek as I lean around her leg to watch; it’s still holding the heat of the day, even though the sun has begun to hide below the horizon. The sky fades from cornflower to periwinkle. I can smell the sweat that has collected behind her knees and under her arms, a familiar brine sweetened by her perfume.

Black fabric flashes before us like curtains billowing across the yellow light spilling from the shops across the street. Their sandals slap against the smooth paving stones.

‘Clattering like a herd of cattle,’ my father tells my mother quietly, and she tells him to hush. But he smiles down at me.

‘Black and white,’ I tell him. Their rosaries dance hypnotically in their hands.

   

From Dubrovnik, Croatia, prompt by What Pegman Saw

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