Excerpt from “Street of the House of Wonders” by Rachida el-Charni:

"He took her by surprise with a number of brutal punches aimed at her temples and face. She lost her balance and her body slid under his. The punches continued, causing her grip on his shirt to slacken, and finally he managed to free himself. The pig then kicked her in full view of all who stood there, terror gnawing at their faces, paralysed in their cowardice. He kicked her once more, violently, then ran off…

With her wounded pride she gazed at the people’s faces and felt as if a wall stood silently between her and them. Then, as she raised herself up, still covered in the dust of battle, she heard a quiet, hateful voice say, ‘Shame on you! You’ve made yourself a laughing stock. Wretched!’

She swung round, looking for the owner of the voice. She stared fixedly at their faces, then shouted, ‘Gutless, spineless cowards! Since when has standing up for yourself ever been something to laugh about?’”