Taria Karillion

Carim’s earliest memories of Aleppo were the bone-shaking cart ride, laughter-filled hours with Traders’ children, fathers haggling over bubbling narghiles with their writhing wisps of smoke.

His favourite memory, though, was the messages from Uri – hidden in a mousehole in a tiny, long-necked bottle.

But that was years ago, before sleeping with one eye open was normal. Surreal, to now stand in the abandoned rubble, daring to hope. The last message, never collected; the address of Uri’s Aunt to whom they’d fled.

Carim felt an unfamiliar stretch across his face. There, in the mousehole, was a tiny, long-necked bottle.

About the author: As the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer, Taria grew up surrounded by far more books than is probably healthy for one person. A Literature degree, a journalism course and some gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, her stories have appeared in a Hagrid-sized handful of anthologies and have won enough literary prizes to fill her other hand. Despite this, she has no need as yet for larger millinery.