The Dawn of War

Joanne Barker

The Dawn of War

© Joanne Barker

Cover Art: Joanne Barker, “Dawn of War,” 2018. Digital artwork available at

Chapter 1.



The dust of the war’s rubble hung in the air so thick you could taste it, as if something close to flesh was always burning, holding death in its place, bitter.

It was Friday afternoon and Theo had to get herself from the hospital’s library where she worked to the credit window to the store and home, all before sunset’s curfew and all while crisscrossing and backtracking through the city’s hilly landscape with a heavy bag full of books. She walked hurriedly though it might call attention. They would stop her. They would surely stop her. Her work id should give her a pass but they almost always took advantage to rummage through her things, ask her questions, or sometimes just hold her for hours on end without cause and then release her without an explanation. She should be more cautious, all things considered. But on she went. Rushed. Rushing. She kept her eyes down and tried to stay the course, weaving through the war’s debris left about as some kind of tribute to the victors.

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