This is part of a fiction piece I'm still working on... Feel free to comment :-)
The Body in the Alhambra
It is the Year of the Shooting Stars. The plaza is strangely silent, empty. No one is sitting on the stone benches feeding the pigeons, no couples cuddling in the shade, no children pitching pebbles into the pool and fountain. The air is still, not a leaf breathes. Even the noonday sun seems silent as it glares down upon the rocky hilltop. Where is everyone, I wonder. Slowly I look all around the plaza, searching for a sign of life.. nothing, no one....
I turn to the palace gate. The towers loom over me, forboding and erie in their ancient stone garb. The entrance is dark and cool, and my sandals whisper to each other in the soft gloom. I turn to the right and walk down the Emir's Hall, heading towards the old prayer salon. A small black cat dashes almost unseen from behind a pillar into another corridor. I shudder and say a prayer over myself. Dear God, please don't let anything bad happen....
The prayer hall is empty save for one old sheikh, the same sheikh who raised me as a child and taught me to pray. We spent many long nights hiding in the tower, reading to each other, he correcting my mistakes, and I listening to his hushed broken old voice, trying to imagine what he must have seen and heard during the invasion, how he survived the attacks.
I call his name, "Omar!" and my voice echoes in the large empty hall, its lofty dome and carved pillars and walls mocking my weak thin voice. But he does not answer. He is seated on the rug, leaning his back on a pillar, his head tilted to one side. I approach him and as I get closer, I realize he is dead..
Who killed him? Why? After all that has passed.. he never told anyone where it is... Surely he wouldn't give the secret away now.. after keeping silent for forty six years! They never suspected him. I heave old Omar over my shoulder and begin to search for the bridge to the outer gardens. If I remember correctly, the old cemetary still lies to the northwest of the outer gardens. Will I make it that far? My mind begins to wander. It has been twenty years since I walked these halls. I don't recognize the patio with the strange ancient lion statues, their heads and eyes bulging fearfully out of an eroded body, their feet cracked after centuries of carrying water. I sense I am being watched, but whenever I turn around and look, I see no one, not even the cat that ran away from me earlier. The others said the palace had been abandoned for more than a year, and many feared it was haunted by wicked spirits. Locals did not know Omar was still inside, surviving as he had during the invasion, knowing all the secret water sources and chambers, the bridges into and out of the palace, the hidden gardens deep within the fortress. They never entered, though many often came to the outer plaza to relax in the shade and gaze at the old rocky structure, none of them suspecting what a tremendous jewel lay hidden inside.