Anon by Sabiha Alam, Skinners’ Academy

Inspired by ‘The Family of Darius before Alexander’, Paolo Veronese, 1565-7

I’m scared. Apparently we have made some kind of mistake, but I don’t think its right for us to be here, pleading for our lives. All my life, I’ve been told we don’t bow down to anyone. We don’t beg for mercy. We are the Persians. Yet this is exactly what we are doing. It isn’t right. I’m only twelve. I’ve got a full life ahead of me. Forget me, what about poor Lizzie, she’s only seven. To be honest, I don’t really know why we are here. This Alexandra guy keeps going on about how we’ve made a mistake and crushed his pride and honour. I can hear Lizzie, quietly sobbing beside me. And this crowd, it’s enormous! What do we look like, some kind of freak show? This monkey needs to shutup; I can’t hear what granny is saying. The monkey is standing on the wall behind me, rattling a chain and making weird monkey noises. I see granny point at mother. I edge closer, trying to hear, she’s talking awfully quietly. But then the kind’s voice boomed as he responded, the monkey suddenly silent.

‘You want me, Kind Alexandra the Great, to free you, in return of her?’ He looked disgustingly at my mother. The crowd muttered amongst themselves. I can’t believe granny even thought of that. They can’t take my mother away. They took my father, I can’t lose her too. The crowd silenced as the King spoke again. ‘She is no match for my wisdom and amazingly good looks…but, she will make do as another slave. Take her away!’ He ordered to one of his guards.

‘NO!’ came a terrified voice. It wasn’t long before I realised it was me. All eyes turned to me. I had a lot of explaining to do.

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