Excerpt of The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam
(Page 6 of 6)
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Then where is she at this hour? We are here as part of a big operation in Usha tonight, to capture those who attacked the school earlier this month. Well make them pay for the twenty-seven lives we lost.
The sun was beginning to rise outside when someone came in and said Zameen had been apprehended.
The lapis lazuli of their land was always desired by the world, brushed by Cleopatra onto her eyelids, employed by Michelangelo to paint the blues on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and, from the look of certain sections of the sky above Marcus and Qatrina as they came out into the garden, it could have been Afghanistans heights that were mined for lapis lazuli, not its depths.
The couple searched their surroundings and then went into Usha, trying to understand what had happened.
Hours later, as dusk began to fall, Qatrina stood beside an acacia tree, holding with both hands the clothesline tied around the trunk. Marcus thought it was for balance, but then saw that the section of the rope between her hands was tinted indigo, where one of Zameens dresses had once seeped colour into it, the dress she must have been wearing when they captured her because it was missing from her room.
He led her back to the house, the perfume from the acacia clinging to her. The djinn were supposed to live in the scent of acacia blossom, making themselves visible only to the young in order to entrap them in otherworldly love.
Excerpted from The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam Copyright © 2008 by Nadeem Aslam. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.