by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 13 – Dawn
Reya waits for an SMS from Amir. She can’t think about sleeping.
At three o’clock in the morning the promised message from Amir arrives:
“Bring the car in two hours. Don’t be late!”
It’s still dark when Reya parks her father’s Mercedes on the opposite side of the street from the main entrance to Tripoli’s prison.
It’s not yet five a.m., but soon it will be dawn.
A man arrives to open the coffee house near where she waits in the parked car.
Lights come on in the café. Soon Reya can smell coffee.
Now it’s exactly five o’clock in the morning.
Inside the prison Marco is woken by the noise of his cell door opening. The strong electric light from the corridor is bright in his eyes after hours of complete darkness.
Two guards enter the cell and drag Marco to his feet.
“Walk!” says one.
Marco is pushed along the corridor. Then up the stairs.
The three exit the building into the prison courtyard.
It’s still dark, and the air is cold, but fresh.
Marco is happy to be outside again, but is surprised that the guards don’t handcuff him as usual.
They go directly across the courtyard towards the main gates of the prison.
One of the guards opens a small door in one of the gates.
It’s just big enough for a person to step through.
The other pushes Marco towards the opening.
“Go” he orders.
Marco is confused. He suspects a trick. Perhaps this is part of the interrogation?
Or maybe the guards will shoot him for ‘attempting to escape’?
The second guard pushes Marco again towards the door.
He pulls out his pistol and points it at Marco.
Terrified he will be shot, Marco bows his head and steps through the small opening into the dark on the other side of the gate.
There is a bang as the door closes, but no gunshot.
Marco looks around.
He is standing in the main street, outside the prison.
He can’t believe it!
The sky is still dark, but to the east he can see the beginnings of dawn.
On the other side of the street a car engine starts.
The car’s headlights come on. Marco can see it’s a new black Mercedes.
The car door swings open and the driver gets out and hurries across the street towards him.
Marco starts to speak, but Reya takes his arm and pulls him towards the car.
“Quickly!” she says.
She opens the passenger door.
Marco climbs into the car. Reya closes the door and hurries to the driver’s side.
She gets in too, and within seconds the car is moving rapidly through the streets of the city.
Reya doesn’t speak. She is concentrating on driving as fast as possible.
It’s now dawn. There are more people around. More traffic.
Reya has to be careful to avoid an accident. That would be a disaster!
“How did you get me out?” asks Marco.
Reya is too busy driving to explain.
The car is going really fast, and they are soon out of Tripoli.
They travel west, away from the sun which rises behind them.
Soon Marco sees a road sign for Tunisia.
“Where are we going?” he asks.
Reya looks at him and pauses for a moment, before replying:
“I’ve always wanted to see Milan.”