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Published by Mousumi Patnaik

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Published by: Mousumi Patnaik on May 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Son of Adam
“You must not fall in love with me!” 
Marc Blais’s warning annoyed Dove, especially as he added,“However much you are tempted.”Of all the vain, conceited men, she thought indignantly. She wasin the Middle East to look after Sheik Rahma’s children, not to entice thetough ex-Legionnaire in charge of the oil kingdom’s security. Besides, she had no desire to fall in love with an experience-scarred womanhater.“You are in no danger from me,” she answered him coldly.“Absolutely no danger at all.”
Dove manoeuvred her white Mini into a parking space outsideher parents’ shop and before alighting sat for a moment contemplatingthe plate-glass window behind which was displayed an assortment of magazines, paperbacks, dummy packs of various brands of cigarettes andtobacco, and the usual array of wide-necked glass jars filled with sweets,chewing gum and other novelties guaranteed to tempt children to partwith their pocket money.She frowned. Things looked the same yet were in some waydifferent. She tried to pinpoint the indefinable change and discovered aclue in a bedraggled bow of scarlet ribbon lying limp against the lid of achocolate box, and a second in the curled-up yellowed pages omagazines left too long exposed to the sun. As she stepped out of the car to peer closely through the window her misgivings grew. A grimy veil of dust had settled upon the window display, unwrapped sweets had beenallowed to melt inside of jars and then solidify into a hard, permanentmass; magazines and books were the ones she herself had set out whenhelping to change the window last time she was home, four months ago,and stuck in one corner was a dusty cardboard box, its contentsshimmering in the sun. Christmas tree baubles on display in the middle of April! Undoubtedly some misfortune had befallen her meticulous father and her fanatically tidy mother.Hurriedly she swung on her heel and almost ran around the corner of the building towards a side door that gave access to the flat above theshop, feeling a mixture of exasperation and worry, prepared to reprimandher father for omitting any reference to trouble during their weekly chatson the telephone. Her mother had always been inclined to be vague andlatterly even more so, but that could be due to age. Still pretty, stillwinsome, she had over the years clung like clematis around her sturdyoak of a husband, relying utterly upon his decisiveness, trustingcompletely in his judgment, blossoming so much in his care that she wasable occasionally to indulge in the small vanity of assuring passingcustomers: ‘I’m sixty-five years old, you know!’ then preening as theyvoiced genuine disbelief.Music from a transistor drowned Dove’s entry into the flat. Shetraced the sound to the kitchen and stood for a moment in the doorwaywatching her mother’s unusually slow movements as she prepared

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