“You dirty whore! You try to rip my self confidence but I will not let you. Do you think that I will fold my arms and watch you marry my younger brother? That will make me a pathetic loser but I will not allow it. You are mine!”
Without wasting time, he ripped her veil. Aisha’s soft hair fell to her back. She knew what was coming. She had experienced it many times as a young girl, so it wasn’t new to her. She ran a tongue over lips and closed her eyes. There was no one in the house to defend her, so fighting him off would be useless. Tears stung her eyes as Abdul ripped her dress apart and tossed the pieces to the ground.
“You are mine!” He repeated. He scooped a generous portion of her hair and sniffed it. It smelt of rosemary oil and another spice that he couldn’t name. He was hard and ready to take her. He didn’t need her permission because she belonged to him.
She surrendered to the beast in him. She had no fight left in her. Aisha needed Abdul to offend her, so she could plan better. She closed her eyes and waited for him to take her. Abdul pushed her to the ground, so that her back was to him while her face was to the floor.
“Don’t ever get me angry!” He grunted before he spread her thighs and began to pummel her without pity.
What he didn’t know was that he had walked into a pit. Aisha was a pit of darkness and all men who walked in never came out the same; if they ever came out.
The lust that possessed him wasn’t long lasting. He spilled his seed into her and quickly rose to his feet. Remorse washed over Abdul as he realized what he had done.
“I am sorry my angel. I…I,” he couldn’t speak. Something dark had come over him and he had failed to put it under control.
Aisha said nothing. Gently, she wiped the tears that had gathered on her cheeks. She rose to her feet and fetched the pieces of her garment that he had shredded. She didn’t utter any word to him. Though Abdul didn’t see her face, it was now covered with a very bitter smile. Though he had defeated her in the worst way that a man could conquer a woman, his woes were soon to begin.
Abdul quickly arranged himself. He was about stepping out of the house when he heard screams of people. He quickly rushed out of the house, past the carriage driver and towards his horse. There were just commoners who were fleeing from something.
“What is it?” Abdul was able to ask one of the wailing women.
She ignored him and continued to run. Something horrible had taken place, but he couldn’t place his fingers around it.
“Run for your lives people of Israr! Take into hiding! Another dead has fallen!” A voice cried from behind.
It was then that Abdul realized that someone else had been murdered.
“I must find Rahib,” he muttered under his breath.
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After breakfast, Umar had dropped a light peck on Fatima’s head before heading out. He felt better today. He decided to collect more herbs and return home to his little cousin. As he strolled out of the ranch, Fatima found it difficult to take her eyes off him. Her heart swirled with love and great desire. She soon realized how foolish that she had been for rejecting his proposal. What if she never had that chance again? From the obvious arrangement of things, Umar’s growing attraction towards Aisha was stronger by the day.
Fatima thought of wrecking what they had by revealing Aisha’s true nature but she dismissed the idea. She wasn’t a daughter of Satan like Tanko’s sister. If she was going to reveal the truth to her best friend, it wouldn’t be to ruin his happiness but to prevent him from being with a two faced liar. If Aisha had the boldness to confess to Umar, she would have no problem at all. She would live her whole life knowing that she had made the greatest mistake by turning down a man like Umar.
“Why do you look at him like he is a bowl of dates?” Laila voice fetched her back to reality.
Fatima jerked and quickly put herself together.
“What are you talking about?” She moved towards the table where the food had been served. Fatima began to pack the plates to avoid conversation with her sister. They had already quarreled this morning. It would really help if Laila could stay off her path.
Laila knew that she had hurt her sister earlier. She was prepared to make up for it.
“Look, I know that I wronged you. I am sorry about that. But I do not want you to be blinded by your hate for Aisha, she may not be as evil as you think. You must not forget that I have interest in her brother. I shall visit the bar later tonight,” Laila winked.
Fatima’s insides burned as she listened to Laila’s ignorant talk about Aisha.
“Why don’t you forget this discussion and go after the man you love?”
Laila had known her little sister for a very long while and it wasn’t in Fatima’s nature to give up on an important conversation like that. Something was definitely wrong.
“Is there something that you know?” Laila walked closer and grabbed a plate from her.
Fatima inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. She couldn’t tell anyone about Aisha’s affair with Abdul. She didn’t know who to trust with something as sensitive as that.
“Talk to me. I will never betray you. I am your sister.” Laila could read Fatima’s silence. Something grave had happened but she had been too insensitive to observe that her sister was going through something tough.
Fatima moved away from Laila. She had made up her mind not to share that information with anybody. Now that she remembered that night, she couldn’t get Iman out of her mind. That little girl could be in trouble for knowing Aisha’s dirty secret.
Fatima abandoned the used plates and spoons. She ran towards the ranch and fetched a horse. Laila followed after her.
“Where are you headed?” Laila called out.
“I must not tell you everything!” Fatima snapped at her. She had a good time making Laila feel bad about her behavior this morning.
As Laila and old Ahmad watched Fatima leave, the old man tapped Laila on the shoulder.
“Do not worry, she will come around.”
But Laila was worried. She had never seen her sister in this mood before. What was so important or troubling that Fatima couldn’t share with her?
“Now that my sisters are both out, I cannot stay in this ranch on my own. This would be the perfect time for the bar.”
“Do not take strong drink,” the old man advised.
Laila smiled and returned, “I won’t. I go to the bar for a different purpose.”
Fatima was possessed with the need to keep Iman away from trouble. She didn’t trust Aisha one bit and she needed to have a little talk with the girl. Umar’s cousin trusted her. Iman had always been very comfortable around her. She was the little sister that she never had.
“I cannot just fold my arms and watch the little girl burn. Something has to be done before it is too late…”
There were two roads that led to Umar’s castle from the ranch. The first was simple to follow; it was a straight way. The second was a bush path that led to a lonely meadow. It was a lonely road. Fatima decided to use the second, she didn’t want anyone to observe her from afar. She didn’t want her sister, Laila to guess where she was headed. Laila wasn’t a fool. Already, Fatima knew that her sister suspected she was keeping information. But before she could let anyone know, she needed to speak with Iman first.
The wind brushed her face lightly and kissed the short scarf that adorned her hair. She loved the feeling of being free; the earthy smell that exalted itself along this path. Fatima enjoyed the aloneness that came with using such an abandoned bush path. She wasn’t afraid at all. All she could think about was Umar. She could never fight for him because he wouldn’t take her back. Perhaps, this was her punishment and if there was a second life, she would learn to make the right decisions.
Fatima’s lips parted into a song. She didn’t care about who was listening; she was alone here. She continued to hum until she spotted a figure at the meadow. Fear gripped her heart as she recalled the murders that were taking place in Israr. What if this was one of the assassins? What if he hurt her and took her maidenhead? Fatima’s blood dried out, her eyes were filled with fright. She realized that taking this unsafe path was a stupid mistake which could ruin her life.
“God please be with me,” her voice shivered.
But as the figure straightened, Fatima recognized the clothes on the man’s body. Her shoulders heaved with relief as she noticed that Umar was the one.
“You scared the devil out of me!” She gave her horse a slight kick to keep the animal moving.

To be continued…

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