Excerpt chap fourteen.. The woman can only be described as regal, her stance, her beauty, her enormous eyes; she is holding a small girl by the shoulders who also walks with a confident bearing and is stunning to gaze upon as her features are as of an angel: soft, cherubic, enchanting. At that precise moment, a ray of light––be it sunlight or an electric beam which has slipped––chances to settle on her face. The General glances around to locate the source but finds none, a superstitious shiver runs through his body, and he shakes it off. The captain takes a pace forward.

“General, may I present…” but he is not allowed to finish as the small girl wriggles away from her mother’s grasp.

“We’re not afraid of you!” she shrills out in her small voice, pointing her finger accusingly at the General, her mother rushing up. For a few seconds total silence reigns, all eyes are on Chenouali not knowing what to expect. He has gone cold all over. What is happening? He tries to think and then deep in his head come the screams, but he pushes them down. They are waiting, Khizr. He steels himself. Then the suspicion of a smile appears on his face.

“Malak! Malak! I am so sorry.”

“No, please, let her come, Madam, and tell me, Malak,” the whole tent is watching silently, enrapt by the scene between the little girl and the mighty General. “Why should you be afraid of me? I thought you were my guests and also my friends.”

“We have never had any friends, and I have always had to fight to protect my sister, now we have clothes to wear and food to eat, but Jeedah tells me not to trust you until your eyes are true.”