Nine gathered around the late afternoon campfire.
Ate a meager meal 30 yards
from the road leading into the village.
Close enough to see.
Far enough to hide
from those who considered them…
less than whole.
The tenth among them.
Sat a short distance away from the nine.
Outcast among outcasts.
race and religion.
this insidious malady.
The noise was muted at first.
Voices reverberating off the rocky hillside.
One by one the men stood.
Listening for the approaching crowd
somewhere below the crest of the hill.
Buzz of conversation
broken at times by gentle laughter.
Travelers accustomed to the
comforts of companionship.
in tone and tenor
drove the lepers’ sting of isolation
deeper into their souls.
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