Sûrah XCII
THE NIGHT
"And believeth in goodness;"

92
DUSK FALLS

FRANCHONE

His name is "Ahmed"?

ZAHRA

Was. He is no more. I pray there be no aghyar—meaning others who will hunt me to fulfill the fatwa.

Drained—her explanation like a nervous reenactment of events, her bruises smarting unabated as black-and-blue reminders—Zahra covers Franchone's hand with hers and guides it slowly upward till her injured breast is cradled by his therapeutic palm, at once allaying and consoling; plying insufficient pressure to intensify her discomfort, he, instead, relieves the weight and thus the ache which is dispersed, its absence making room for slumber—his by hers no less induced as stress abates.