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Now standing in front of 1300, she pressed the bell and waited. No patter of the guard’s running feet. She unraveled the end of her hijab and wiped sweat off her upper lip with the thin fabric. She tried the bell again and peeked through the partition. No sound. She turned around and walked to the tree.

“Sabah al khair,” she greeted the chai vendor, “Do you happen to know if there’s anybody at home?”

“Mafeesh, I just got here,” she answered regretfully.

“Shukran,” Rose said, thanking her.

Had Bullet relayed wrong information? Afterall, it did strike her odd that an agent would want to work on a Friday, a day people rested from a long arduous week. She pressed the bell once and sustained the ring with a rhythmic pattern.

The gate suddenly flung open, a man whom she guessed was Egyptian Coptic peeked his bald head.

“Fi shinu?” he demanded what she wanted, making no attempt to display his annoyance with the incessant bell ring. Rose quickly looked down, avoiding his gaze.

“I’m here to see Khaleed.”

“Khaleed is not here.”

“But he told me to be here at 7 o’clock and I’ve been here waiting and waiting.”

“Dagiga,” he said, shutting the door. Patience, being a national virtue, Rose did not as much as steal a glance at her watch when he still hadn’t appeared after a minute.

Yes, Café Hope is back. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It feels good to be back after my protracted absence. Ok, so this is what happened…. I’d been looking to move to a more energetic and vibrant city primarily to change my fortune and rub shoulders with the powers that be. So in my ultimate quest for advancement on all frontiers, I put my faith on the line, applied to several attractive job opportunities and crossed my fingers in patience (well, I had to resort to patience when anxiety failed to yield results). After what seemed like forever, I…


  Many, many, many moons ago I spotted a black crow as I got on the ramp to merge on the freeway. This harrowing sighting was amplified because there was something sinister about this bird–the way it cast a rather despondent look my way, as though it had been wronged and was looking to avenge a grave misdeed. A black crow, as I believed then, was bad omen and the only piece of information that would dismiss the thought that something terrible was about to happen was a conclusive study that other motorists too had been subjected to the piercing…


My phone buzzed and I saw a reminder for a networking event I had completely forgotten about. It had been a long day, and I was looking forward to home sweet home. Being one who values time, I’m always crossing my fingers and praying any event at all is not a waste of my precious time. Lord knows, I could be more productive writing stories people would read someday, or reading a book while enjoying a smoothie straight from the blender thingy so I don’t have to wash two items for one meal. Well, after much contemplation, I decided to…