"THE CHILD has measles, gastroenteritis and ringworm," said Jean-Pierre. "It is also dirty and undernourished."
"Aren't they all," said Jane.
They were speaking French, as they normally did together, and the child's mother looked from one to the other as they spoke, wondering what they were saying. Jean-Pierre observed her anxiety and spoke to her in Dari, saying simply: "Your son will get well."
He crossed to the other side of the cave and opened his drugs case. All children brought to the clinic were automatically vaccinated against tuberculosis. As he prepared the BCG injection, he watched Jane out of the corner of his eye. She was giving the boy small sips of rehydration drink - a mixture of glucose, salt, baking soda and potassium chloride dissolved in clean water - and, between sips, was gently washing his grimy face. Her movements were quick and graceful, like those of a craftsman - a potter molding clay, perhaps, or a bricklayer wielding a trowel. He observed her narrow hands as she touched the frightened child with light, reassuring caresses. He liked her hands.
He turned away as he took the needle out, so that the child should not see it, then he held it concealed by his sleeve and turned again, waiting for Jane. He studied her face as she cleaned the skin of the boy's right shoulder and swabbed a patch with alcohol. It was an impish face, with big eyes, a turned-up nose and a wide mouth that smiled more often than not. Now her expression was serious, and she was moving her jaw from side to side, as if grinding her teeth - a sign that she was concentrating. Jean-Pierre knew all of her expressions and none of her thoughts.
He speculated often - almost continually - about what she was thinking, but he was afraid to ask her, for such conversations could so easily wander into forbidden territory. He had to be constantly on his guard, like an unfaithful husband, for fear that something he said - or even the expression on his face - might betray him. Any talk of truth and dishonesty, or trust and betrayal, or freedom and tyranny, was taboo; and so were any subjects which might lead to these, such as love, war and politics. He was wary even when talking of quite innocent topics. Consequently there was a peculiar lack of intimacy in their marriage. Making love was weird. He found that he could not reach a climax unless he closed his eyes and pretended he was somewhere else. It was a relief to him that he had not had to perform for the last few weeks because of the birth of Chantal.
"Ready when you are," Jane said, and he realized she was smiling at him.
He took the child's arm and said in Dari: "How old are you?'
As the boy spoke, Jean-Pierre stuck the needle in. The child immediately began to wail. The sound of its voice made Jean-Pierre think of himself at the age of five, riding his first bicycle and falling off and crying just like that, a sharp howl of protest at an unexpected pain. He stared at the screwed-up face of his five-year-old patient, remembering how much it had hurt and how angry he had felt, and he found himself thinking: How did I get here from there!
He released the child and it went to its mother. He counted out thirty 250-gram capsules of griseofulvin and handed them to the woman. "Make him take one every day until they are all gone," he said in simple Dari. "Don't give them to anyone else - he needs them all."
That would deal with the ringworm. The measles and the gastroenteritis would take their own course. "Keep him in bed until the spots disappear, and make sure he drinks a lot."
The woman nodded.
"Does he have any brothers and sisters?" Jean-Pierre asked.
"Five brothers and two sisters," the woman said proudly.
"He should sleep alone, or they will get sick too." The woman looked dubious: she probably had only one bed for all her children. There was nothing Jean-Pierre could do about that. He went on: "If he is not better when the tablets are finished, bring him back to me." What the child really needed was the one thing neither Jean-Pierre nor its mother could provide - plenty of good, nutritious food.
The two of them left the cave, the thin, sick child and the frail, weary mother. They had probably come several miles, she carrying the boy most of the way, and now they would walk back. The boy might die anyway. But not of tuberculosis.
There was one more patient: the malang. He was Banda's holy man. Half-mad, and often more-than-half naked, he wandered the Five Lions Valley from Comar, twenty-five miles upstream of Banda, to Charikar in the Russian-controlled plain sixty miles to the southwest. He spoke gibberish and saw visions. The Afghans believed makings to be lucky, and not only tolerated their behavior, but gave them food and drink and clothing.
He came in, wearing rags around his loins and a Russian officer's cap. He clutched his middle, miming pain. Jean-Pierre shook out a handful of diamorphine pills and gave them to him. The madman ran off, clutching his synthetic heroin tablets.
"He must be addicted to that stuff by now," Jane said. There was a distinct note of disapproval in her voice.
"He is," Jean-Pierre admitted.
"Why do you give it to him?"
"The man has an ulcer. What else should I do - operate?"
"You're the doctor."
Jean-Pierre began to pack his bag. In the morning he had to hold a clinic in Cobak, six or seven miles away across the mountains - and he had a rendezvous to keep on the way.
The crying of the five-year-old had brought an air of the past into the cave, like a smell of old toys, or a strange light that makes you rub your eyes. Jean-Pierre felt faintly disoriented by it. He kept seeing people from his childhood, their faces superimposed on the things around him, like scenes from a film cast by a misaligned projector onto the backs of the audience instead of on the screen. He saw his first teacher, the steel-rimmed Mademoiselle Medecin; Jacques Lafontaine, who had given him a bloody nose for calling him con; his mother, thin and ill-dressed and always distraught; and most of all his father, a big, beefy, angry man on the other side of a barred partition.
He made an effort to concentrate on the equipment and drugs he might need at Cobak. He filled a flask with purified water to drink while he was away. He would be fed by the villagers there.
He took his bags outside and loaded them onto the bad-tempered old mare he used for such trips. This animal would walk all day in a straight line but was highly reluctant to turn corners; on account of which Jane had named it Maggie, after the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Jean-Pierre was ready. He went back into the cave and kissed Jane's soft mouth. As he turned to leave, Fara came in with Chantal. The baby was crying. Jane unbuttoned her shirt and put Chantal to her breast immediately. Jean-Pierre touched his daughter's pink cheek and said: "Bon appetit.'' Then he went out.
He led Maggie down the mountain to the deserted village and headed southwest, following the riverbank. He walked quickly and tirelessly under the hot sun: he was used to it.
As he left his doctor persona behind and thought ahead to his rendezvous, he began to feel anxious. Would Anatoly be there? He might have been delayed. He might even have been captured. If captured, had he talked? Had he betrayed Jean-Pierre under torture? Would there be a party of guerrillas waiting for Jean-Pierre, merciless and sadistic and bent on revenge?
For all their poetry and their piety they were barbarians, these Afghans. Their national sport was buzkashi, a dangerous and bloody game: the headless body of a calf was placed in the center of a field, and two opposing teams lined up on horseback, then, at a rifle shot, they all charged toward the carcass. The aim was to pick it up, carry it to a predetermined turning point about a mile away, and bring it back to the circle without allowing any of the opposing players to wrench it from your grasp. When the grisly object got ripped apart, as often happened, a referee was there to decide which team had control of the larger remnant: Jean-Pierre had come across a game in progress last winter, just outside the town of Rokha down the Valley, and he had watched it for a few minutes before realizing that they were not using a calf, but a man, and the man was still alive. Sickened, he had tried to stop the game, but someone had told him the man was a Russian officer, as if that were all the explanation anyone could possibly want. The players just ignored Jean-Pierre then, and there was nothing he could do to get the attention of fifty highly excited riders intent on their savage game. He had not stayed to watch the man die, but perhaps he should have, for the image that remained in his mind, and returned to him every time he worried about being found out, was of that Russian, helpless and bleeding, being torn to pieces alive.
The sense of the past was still with him, and as he looked at the khaki-colored rock walls of the gully through which he was striding, he saw scenes from his childhood alternating with nightmares about being caught by the guerrillas. His earliest memory was of the trial, and of the
overwhelming sense of outrage and injustice he had felt when they had sent his Papa to jail. He could hardly read, but he could make out his father's name in the newspaper headlines. At that age - he must have been four - he did not know what it meant to be a hero of the Resistance. He knew his father was a Communist, as were his father's friends, the priest and the cobbler and the man behind the counter in the village post office; but he thought they called him Red Roland because of his ruddy complexion. When his father was convicted of treason and sentenced to five years in jail, they had told Jean-Pierre that it had to do with Uncle Abdul, a frightened brown-skinned man who had stayed in the house for several weeks, and who was from the FLN, but Jean-Pierre did not know what the FLN was and thought they meant the elephant in the zoo. The only thing he understood clearly and always believed was that the police were cruel and the judges were dishonest and the people were fooled by the newspapers.
As the years went by he understood more and suffered more and his sense of outrage grew. When he went to school the other boys said his father was a traitor. He told them that, on the contrary, his father had fought bravely and risked his life in the war, but they did not believe him. He and his mother went to live in another village for a while, but somehow the neighbors found out who they were and told their children not to play with Jean-Pierre. But the worst part was visiting the prison. His father changed visibly, becoming thin, pale and sickly; but worse man mat was to see him confined, dressed in a drab uniform, cowed and frightened, saying "Sir" to strutting bullies with truncheons. After a while the smell of the prison began to make Jean-Pierre nauseous, and he would throw up as soon as he entered its doors; and his mother stopped taking him.
It was not until Papa came out of prison that Jean-Pierre talked to him at length and finally understood it all, and saw that the injustice of what had happened was even more gross than he had thought. After the Germans invaded
France the French Communists, being already organized in cells, had played a leading role in the Resistance. When the war was over his father had carried on the fight against right-wing tyranny. At that time Algeria had been a French colony. Its people were oppressed and exploited but struggling courageously for their freedom. Young Frenchmen were conscripted into the army and forced to fight against the Algerians in a cruel war in which the atrocities committed by the French Army reminded many people of the work of the Nazis. The FLN, which Jean-Pierre would always associate with the image of a mangy old elephant in a provincial zoo, was the Front de Liberation Nationale, the National Liberation Front of the Algerian people.
Jean-Pierre's father was one of 121 well-known people who signed a petition in favor of freedom for the Algerians. France was at war, and the petition was called seditious, for it might be construed as encouraging French soldiers to desert. But Papa had done worse than that: he had taken a suitcase full of money collected from French people for the FLN and had carried it across the border into Switzerland, where he had put it into a bank; and he had sheltered Uncle Abdul, who was not an uncle at all, but an Algerian wanted by the DST, the secret police.
These were the kinds of things he had done in the war against the Nazis, he had explained to Jean-Pierre. He was still fighting the same fight. The enemy had never been the Germans, just as the enemy now was not the French people: it was the capitalists, the owners of property, the rich and privileged, the ruling class who would use any means, no matter how vicious, to protect their position. They were so powerful they controlled half the world - but nevertheless there was hope for the poor, the powerless and the oppressed, for in Moscow the people ruled, and throughout the rest of the world the working class looked to the Soviet Union for help, guidance and inspiration in the battle for freedom.
As Jean-Pierre grew older the picture became tarnished, and he found out that the Soviet Union was not a workers'
paradise; but he learned nothing to change his basic conviction that the Communist movement, guided from Moscow, was the only hope for the oppressed people of the world, and the only means of destroying the judges and the police and the newspapers which had so brutally betrayed his Papa.
The father had succeeded in handing the torch on to the son. And, as if he knew this, Papa had gone into a decline. He never regained his red face. He no longer went on demonstrations, organized fund-raising dances, or wrote letters to the local newspapers. He held a series of undemanding clerical jobs. He belonged to the Party, of course, and to a trade union, but he did not resume the chairmanship of committees, the taking of minutes, the preparation of agendas. He still played chess and drank anisette with the priest and the cobbler and the man who ran the village post office, but their political discussions, which had once been passionate, were now lackluster, as if the revolution for which they had worked so hard had been indefinitely postponed. Within a few years Papa died. It was only then that Jean-Pierre discovered he had contracted tuberculosis in jail, and had never recovered. They took away his freedom, they broke his spirit and they ruined his health. But the worst thing they did to him was to brand him a traitor. He was a hero who had risked his life for his fellowmen, but he died convicted of treason.
They'd regret it now, Papa, if they knew what revenge I'm taking, Jean-Pierre thought as he led his bony mare up an Afghan mountainside. Because of the intelligence I have provided, the Communists here have been able to strangle Masud's supply lines. Last winter he was unable to stockpile weapons and ammunition. This summer, instead of launching attacks on the air base and the power stations and the supply trucks on the highway, he is struggling to defend himself against government raids on his territory. Single-handedly, Papa, I have almost destroyed the effectiveness of this barbarian who wants to take his country back to the dark ages of savagery, underdevelop-ment and Islamic superstition.
Of course, strangling Masud's supply lines was not enough. The man was already a figure of national stature. Furthermore, he had the brains and the strength of character to graduate from rebel leader to legitimate president. He was a Tito, a De Gaulle, a Mugabe. He had to be not just neutralized, but destroyed - taken by the Russians, dead or alive.
The difficulty was that Masud moved about quickly and silently, like a deer in a forest, suddenly emerging from the undergrowth and then disappearing again just as abruptly. But Jean-Pierre was patient, and so were the Russians: there would come a time, sooner or later, when Jean-Pierre would know for certain exactly where Masud was going to be for the next twenty-four hours - perhaps if he were wounded, or planning to attend a funeral - and then Jean-Pierre would use his radio to transmit a special code, and the hawk would strike.
He wished that he could tell Jane what he was really doing here. He might even convince her that it was right. He would point out that their medical work was useless, for helping the rebels served only to perpetuate the misery of poverty and ignorance in which the people lived, and to delay the moment when the Soviet Union would be able to grab this country by the scruff of the neck, as it were, and drag it kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. She might well understand that. However, he knew instinctively that she would not forgive him for deceiving her as he had. In fact she would be enraged. He could imagine her, remorseless, implacable, proud. She would leave him immediately, the way she had left Ellis Thaler. She would be doubly furious at having been deceived in exactly the same way by two successive men.
So, in his terror of losing her, he continued to deceive her, like a man on a precipice paralyzed by fright.
She knew something was wrong, of course; he could tell by the way she looked at him sometimes. But she felt it was a problem in their relationship, he was sure - it did not occur to her that his whole life was a monumental pretense.
Complete safety was not possible, but he took every precaution against discovery by her or by anyone else. When using the radio he spoke in code, not because the rebels might be listening in - they had no radios - but because the Afghan Army might, and it was so riddled with traitors that it had no secrets from Masud. Jean-Pierre's radio was small enough to be concealed in the false bottom of his medical bag, or in the pocket of his shirt or waistcoat when he was not carrying the bag. Its disadvantage was that it was powerful enough only for very short conversations. It would have taken a very long broadcast to dictate full details of the routes and timing of the convoys - especially in code - and would have required a radio and battery pack a great deal larger. Jean-Pierre and Monsieur Leblond had decided against that. In consequence, Jean-Pierre had to meet with his contact to pass on his information.
He breasted a rise and looked down. He was at the head of a small valley. The trail he was on led down to another valley, running at right angles to this one and bifurcated by a tumbling mountain stream that glittered in the afternoon sun. On the far side of the stream another valley led up into the mountains toward Cobak, his ultimate destination. Where the three valleys met, on the near side of the river, was a little stone hut. The region was dotted with such primitive buildings. Jean-Pierre imagined they had been put up by the nomads and traveling merchants who used them at night.
He set off down the hill, leading Maggie. Anatoly was probably there already. Jean-Pierre did not know his real name or rank, but assumed he was in the KGB and guessed, from something he had once said about generals, that he was a colonel. Whatever his rank, he was no desk man. Between here and Bagram was fifty miles of mountain country, and Anatoly walked it, alone, taking a day and a half. He was an Oriental Russian with high cheekbones and yellow skin, and in Afghan clothes he passed as an Uzbak, a member of the Mongoloid ethnic group of north
Afghanistan. This explained his hesitant Dari - the Uzbaks had their own language. Anatoly was brave: he did not speak the Uzbak tongue, of course, so there was a chance he might be unmasked; and he, too, knew that the guerrillas played buzkashi with captured Russian officers.
The risk to Jean-Pierre of these meetings was a little less. His constant traveling to outlying villages to hold clinics was only mildly odd. However, suspicion might be aroused if anyone noticed that he happened to bump into the same wandering Uzbak more than once or twice. And, of course, if somehow an Afghan who spoke French should overhear the doctor's conversation with that wandering Uzbak, Jean-Pierre could only hope to die fast.
His sandals made no noise on the footpath, and Maggie's hooves sank silently into the dusty earth, so as he neared the hut he whistled a tune, in case anyone other than Anatoly should be inside: he was careful not to startle Afghans, who were all armed and jumpy. He ducked his head and entered. To his surprise, the cool interior of the hut was empty. He sat down with his back to the stone wall and settled to wait. After a few minutes he closed his eyes. He was tired, but too tense to sleep. This was the worst part of what he was doing: the combination of fear and boredom which overcame him during these long waits. He had learned to accept delays, in this country without wristwatches, but he had never acquired the imperturbable patience of the Afghans. He could not help but imagine the various disasters which might have overtaken Anatoly. How ironic it would be if Anatoly had trodden on a Russian anti-personnel mine and blown his foot off. Those mines actually injured more livestock than humans, but they were no less effective for that: the loss of a cow could kill an Afghan family as surely as if their house had been bombed with them all inside. Jean-Pierre no longer laughed when he saw a cow or a goat with a roughhewn wooden leg.
In his reverie he sensed the presence of someone else, and opened his eyes to see Anatoly's Oriental face inches from his own.
"I could have robbed you," said Anatoly in fluent French.
"I wasn't asleep."
Anatoly sat down, cross-legged, on the dirt floor. He was a squat, muscular figure in baggy cotton shirt and trousers with a turban, a checked scarf and a mud-colored woolen blanket, called a pattu, around his shoulders. He let the scarf drop from his face and smiled, showing tobacco-stained teeth. "How are you, my friend?"
"And your wife?"
There was something sinister in the way Anatoly always asked about Jane. The Russians had been dead against the idea of his bringing Jane to Afghanistan, arguing that she would interfere with his work. Jean-Pierre had pointed out that he had to take a nurse with him anyway - it was the policy of Medecins pour la Liberte always to send pairs - and that he would probably sleep with whoever accompanied him, unless she looked like King Kong. In the end the Russians had agreed, but reluctantly. "Jane is fine," he said. "She had the baby six weeks ago. A girl."
"Congratulations!" Anatoly seemed genuinely pleased. "But wasn't it a little early?"
"Yes. Fortunately there were no complications. In fact the village midwife delivered the baby."
"I wasn't there. I was with you."
"My God." Anatoly looked horrified. "That I should have kept you away on such an important day ..."
Jean-Pierre was pleased by Anatoly's concern, but he did not show it. "It couldn't be anticipated," he said. "Besides, it was worth it: you hit the convoy I told you of."
"Yes. Your information is very good. Congratulations again."
Jean-Pierre felt a glow of pride, but he tried to appear matter-of-fact. "Our system seems to be working very well," he said modestly.
Anatoly nodded. "What was their reaction to the ambush?"
"Increasing desperation." It occurred to Jean-Pierre, as he spoke, that another advantage of meeting his contact in person was that he could give this kind of background information, feelings and impressions, stuff which was not concrete enough to be sent by radio in code. "They're constantly running out of ammunition now."
"And the next convoy - when will it depart?"
"It left yesterday."
"They are desperate. Good." Anatoly reached inside his shirt and brought out a map. He unfolded it on the floor. It showed the area between the Five Lions Valley and the Pakistan border.
Jean-Pierre concentrated hard, recalling the details he had memorized during his conversation with Mohammed, and began to trace for Anatoly the route the convoy would follow on its way back from Pakistan. He did not know exactly when they would return, for Mohammed did not know how long they would spend in Peshawar buying what they needed. However, Anatoly had people in Peshawar who would let him know when the Five Lions convoy departed, and from that he would be able to work out their timetable.
Anatoly made no notes, but memorized every word Jean-Pierre said. When they had finished they went over the whole thing again, with Anatoly repeating it to Jean-Pierre as a check.
The Russian folded the map and put it back inside his shirt. "And what of Masud?" he said quietly.
"We haven't seen him since last I spoke to you," said Jean-Pierre. "I've only seen Mohammed - and he is never quite sure where Masud is or when he will appear.''
"Masud is a fox," said Anatoly with a rare flash of emotion.
"We will catch him," said Jean-Pierre.
"Oh, we will catch him. He knows the hunt is in full cry, so he covers his tracks. But the hounds have his scent,
and he cannot elude us forever - we are so many, and so strong, and our blood is up." He suddenly became conscious that he was revealing his feelings. He smiled and became practical again. "Batteries," he said, and he brought a battery pack out of his shirt.
Jean-Pierre took the little radio transceiver from the concealed compartment in the bottom of his medical bag, extracted the old batteries and exchanged them for new ones. They did this every time they met, to be sure that Jean-Pierre should not lose contact simply by running out of power. Anatoly would carry the old ones all the way back to Bagram, for there was no point in taking the risk of throwing away Russian-made batteries here in the Five Lions Valley where there were no electrical appliances,
As Jean-Pierre was putting the radio back into his medical bag, Anatoly said: "Have you got anything in there for blisters? My feet - " Then he stopped suddenly, frowned and cocked his head, listening.
Jean-Pierre tensed. So far they had never been observed together. It was bound to happen sooner or later, they knew, and they had planned what they would do, how they would act like strangers sharing a resting place and continue their conversation when the intruder had left - or, if the intruder showed signs of staying long, they would leave together, as if by chance they happened to be heading in the same direction. All that had been previously agreed, but nevertheless Jean-Pierre now felt his guilt must be written all over his face.
In the next instant he heard a footfall outside, and the sound of someone breathing hard; and then a shadow darkened the sunlit entrance, and Jane walked in.
"Jane!" he said.
Both men sprang to their feet.
Jean-Pierre said: "What is it? Why are you here?"
"Thank God I caught up with you," she said breathlessly.
Out of the comer of his eye, Jean-Pierre saw Anatoly turn away, as an Afghan would turn away from a brazen woman. The gesture helped Jean-Pierre recover from the
shock of seeing Jane. He looked around quickly. Anatoly had put away the maps several minutes earlier, fortunately. But the radio - the radio was sticking out an inch or two from the medical bag. However, Jane had not seen it - yet.
"Sit down," said Jean-Pierre. "Catch your breath." He sat down at the same time and used the movement as an excuse to shift his bag so that the radio poked out from the side facing him and away from Jane. "What's the matter?" he said.
"A medical problem I can't solve."
Jean-Pierre's tension eased a fraction: he had been afraid she might have followed him because she suspected something. "Have some water," he said. He reached into his bag with one hand, and with the other pushed the radio in while he rummaged. When the radio was concealed he drew out his flask of purified water and handed it to her. His heartbeat began to return to normal. He was recovering his presence of mind. The evidence was now out of sight. What else was there to make her suspicious? She might have heard Anatoly speaking French - but that was not uncommon: if an Afghan had a second language it was often French, and an Uzbak might speak French better than he spoke Dari. What had Anatoly been saying when she walked in? Jean-Pierre remembered: he had been asking for blister ointment. That was perfect. Afghans always asked for medicine when they met a doctor, even if they were in perfect health.
Jane drank from the flask and began to speak. "A few minutes after you left, they brought in a boy of eighteen with a very bad thigh wound." She took another sip. She was ignoring Anatoly, and Jean-Pierre realized she was so concerned about the medical emergency that she had hardly noticed the other man. "He was hurt in the fighting near Rokha, and his father had carried him all the way up the Valley - it took him two days. The wound was badly gangrenous by the time they arrived. I gave him six hundred milligrams of crystalline penicillin, injected into the buttock, then I cleaned out the wound."
"Exactly correct," said Jean-Pierre.
"A few minutes later he broke out in a cold sweat and became confused. I took his pulse: it was rapid but weak."
"Did he go pale or gray, and have difficulty breathing?"
"What did you do?"
"I treated him for shock - raised his feet, covered him with a blanket and gave him tea - then I came after you." She was close to tears. "His father carried him for two days - I can't let him die."
"He needn't," said Jean-Pierre. "Allergic shock is a rare but quite well-known reaction to penicillin injections. The treatment is half a milliliter of adrenaline, injected into a muscle, followed by an antihistamine - say, six milliliters of diphenhydramine. Would you like me to come back with you?" As he made the offer he glanced at Anatoly, but the Russian showed no reaction.
Jane sighed. "No," she said. "There will be someone else dying on the far side of the hill. You go to Cobak."
"If you're sure."
A match flared as Anatoly lit a cigarette. Jane glanced at him, then looked at Jean-Pierre again. "Half a milliliter of adrenaline and then six milliliters of diphenhydramine." She stood up.
"Yes." Jean-Pierre stood up with her and kissed her. "Are you sure you can manage?"
"You must hurry."
"Would you like to take Maggie?"
Jane considered. "I don't think so. On that path, walking is faster."
"Whatever you think best."
Jean-Pierre watched her go out. He stood still for a while. Neither he nor Anatoly said anything. After a minute or two he went to the doorway and looked out. He
could see Jane, two or three hundred yards away, a small, slight figure in a thin cotton dress, striding determinedly up the valley, alone in the dusty brown landscape. He watched her until she disappeared into a fold in the hills.
He came back inside and sat down with his back to the wall. He and Anatoly looked at one another. "Jesus Christ Almighty," said Jean-Pierre. "That was close."