|Hello Christopher Eastman-Nagle
I am reviewing your story as a judge for "Short Shots: Official WDC Contest" . Thanks for entering!
I found this a very richly written short. You did a great job of describing the scene and connecting your reader with Rosemary and her plight, and Jussuf and his moral dilemma. Until the reader gets part way into the story, it could just as well be set in ancient times. The only part of the story that made me twist and reread were the political commentary woven into the story. Had she made comparisons to North African politics and her beliefs, they would have fit. I felt like they were almost out of place, like you were trying to make a subliminal point in the story. I feel the main point, of her making that choice, was overshadowed at the end by the political comments.
As we say, just my opinion.
Some suggestions for edit :
"None of the gang take any notice of the water carrier, for where can she run in this forsaken but now guarded place, once a busy imperial hub on the southern coast of the Roman sea, full of the shouts of traders, the clatter of wheels and horses, greetings across the street, women singing as they put out the washing on their verandahs and masters berating lazy apprentices….. ?" ~ Suggest breaking up into a few sentences.
Overall, a fascinating story.