Isobelle Carmody Award
For Creative Writing
I looked at him. Kill in cold blood, I thought. Just another one. He lay draped
over the icy, unforgiving concrete. His limbs fell around him and his soul broke
apart, shattering on the hard footpath. The yellow star branded into him shone
far too brightly against his wilting ashen-grey skin. It seemed like every breath
would cause cracks to spring up his body like a porcelain doll. His lungs fought to
drag in and hold each laborious breath, before it spilled out again.
I invited the trigger closer into the involuntary jerk of my index finger. He
didn’t even realise his life was about to be snuffed out. Instead, he just heaved his
head up off the pavement and looked at me. Piercing me with those strangely
luminous hazel eyes – forcing me to look behind the bruised and beaten skin that
clothed him. And then, I remembered…
It was a soggy, melancholic day in Ichenhausen–Nazi Germany
1935; the kind that seemed to sag at the edges and to be splashed
with a watery grey paint. But despite the depressing weather, my
seven-and-three-months-year-old self couldn’t have been any
happier. This was due to the plain fact that I was with my best friend,
I had everything except the eyes. My mother was considered
Aryan, so naturally, my hair resembled a smashed cheesecake with a
lavish topping of fresh straw. But my eyes, they were Gypsy eyes – a
dangerously deep brown.
It was on one of these regularly miserable days in which we were
undergoing our favourite activity: collecting buttons. Both of us
were unashamedly proud of our collection, as pitiful as it was.
That day, Youssef was animatedly recounting anything and
everything – as only seven year olds can. Like me, he had nearly
everything. He had sharp cheekbones and freckles that always had
the appearance of being hastily sprinkled on top at the last minute.
His hair was a muddy blonde but with strange streaks of brown
lining his scalp underneath the curls. His eyes were deceptive too–
a nutty green, that could be referred to as hazel depending on if you
were a glass half full or a glass half empty sort of person.
I nodded fervently in agreement. It was then, that it tugged
gently on the sleeve of my curiosity.
Dozing in the gutter was an unfamiliar button. As scratched and
bruised as it was, we could both identify the colour of blood topped