||| The Wilds

Gun-metal mist lays heavily over the sleeping valley, elongated boughs of trees forming fantastical images just beyond the veil. Church spires pierce through with a resilience uncontested whilst a single red beacon flashes ominously on the hill overlooking the eerie no man’s land. Early risers dart along the dark streets, flitting past barking dogs and eager roosters ringing in dawn as a rising sun burns away the ocean of mist. As the veil lifts, dog packs stretch and yawn, cats wander silhouetted walls, and children begin the daily trudge to wherever they’re going. A tannery empties its stock of cured leather skins from warehouse to truck, shaken out and soon to make their way to market. An old dog perches on the tannery roof watching the escapade below with a certain nonplussed disdain, perhaps wondering if there’s any breakfast to be had. Four school-going children decide football is a better idea than maths, slinging their bags to one side as they kick a make-shift ball around the Tannery truck. As the truck pulls away, it’s momentarily chased by children, dogs, and roosters alike until it disappears into the morning throng of northern Ethiopia’s Adigrat.

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