The dream had come once again. The man’s eyes riven with hatred were drawing a bead upon Harry who had turned for the briefest of instants upon his café chair. There were more eyes appearing at every instant like shrapnel, hundreds and thousands. He saw himself in a palace with his dead father once again young staring sternly silently at him. The abject pangs of inescapable loneliness undermined him and he bent over as if struck in the midsection and he suddenly opened his eyes into another restless gray dawn. The bed was empty next to him. Sandrine was gone. A sense of hopelessness overwhelmed him like an ocean wave. He realized that he was absolutely alone in the world, a stranger, with no one to care that might have once really known him. He rose from the side of the bed the sweat upon his body chilled by a draft from the outside. He went into the next room and saw the door to the front hall ajar and the distant patter of two voices down below. One was speaking in forcefully in Arabic and the other in a combination with same in French. He slowly approached the opened door and he thought he heard the male voice loudly utter, “Raschida”, several times. The voice responding was Sandrine’s.
Harry sank back from the door and returned to the bedroom shaking. His mind could not sort out the impression of fear that had spilled over from his dream into the waking reality of the voices in the hall. He climbed back into the bed and pulled the covers up over him for a moment not sure if he should feign sleep or depart immediately leave through the rear entrance of the apartment? The front door clicked closed and Sandrine entered the bedroom a moment after her face gone unaccustomedly pale. She walked over to the far side of the bed stopping indecisively as if unsure whether to carry on the facade of further pretense. She sat down on the edge quietly facing the window not moving a muscle. Harry pulled back the covers and slowly swung his feet over to the floor and rising walked around the end of the bed and stood before her. He stood there transformed from the previous effect of his staring at her, not speaking, his silence posing the question, waiting for an explanation. She looked up at him tears streaming down her cheeks with a look that bespoke both terror and a desire for forgiveness.
“They have found me . . .”, her voice quavered as she looked up at him imploringly. “They will kill me if I don’t help them!”, she sobbed almost choking. “Oui . . . Qui.”, he said softly now completely drained of emotion. Sandrine sobbed some more,” . . . ma ma mnon frère!” Silence reigned for an eternity of minutes until Harry spoke. “Then you are not Sandrine . . . are you . . . Raschida?”, he said in a matter of fact manner. Raschida uncovered her face for the first time to him. “No . . .!”, she hissed suddenly, “She was my best friend in childhood, ma soeur.” “You’ve been in love with someone who was already gone before you had the chance to know her.”, she sobbed again, “ . . . et puis je pris sa place. “ The spark of her anger drowning some more tears. Harry stood there struck by the futility of the situation. Whatever her connections, they were both in too deep in some undisclosed way. He could not tell if he was still locked in a nightmare or if this turn of events was real? It brought logic to the reason for her behavior of the last weeks in keeping to the apartment and off the streets around it. Perhaps the police National were on to something when they had torn his lodgings apart while he was still ambulatory in the hospital? He had to wonder were they watching both of them now? Listening in by some high tech device like a bug? So little had been said up to this point between the two of them up to now it seemed unlikely that they would come crashing through the front door if they had heard anything. “We must depart here, now, immediately!”, he said to her as he reached out to pull her hands away from covering her face. There was something within him that was fatally committed in the sense that he could smell the smoke of his own bridges burned. She was the only palpable thing in his universe now. He pulled up upon the warmth of her hands and brought her into his embrace. She held onto him like a scared child pushing her face into his seeking the reassurance of his kiss. They were somehow were both back where they had started.