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The boys called out my name under the balcony, telling me I was yet again first in class. We played ball by the mosque as we had played off our prizes for years. A lone tortoise found its way by the playground and a friend of mine presented it as a gift for my genius. I smashed my award against the wall, that I might think it some untutored youth, seeking nakedness beneath the shell. Nevertheless, blood flew. I screamed off my friends' condemnations. By the pre-dawning dark hours, I tiptoed my escape. My bicycle silent against the asphalt, rode me to the playground. I buried the wretched creature with its dried blood on the shell. The shell, forever covering the body, made the dirt balls crack on its surface, a dying sound.