Page 27 - Vladimir Bartol ALAMUT
P. 27

Fiction SANJE 29theirs by moats. The eunuchs had their own building there. Apama lived in a separate house.All of these details served only to kindle Halima’s curiosity. She didn’t dare ask questions in Miriam’s presence. She could barely wait until she and Sara were alone again.The meal struck Halima as a regular feast. A succulent wild fowl roast in an aromatic broth, a variety of vegetables, crepes and omelets, cheese, breads, and honeyed pastries with fruit inside. And to wash it all down a glass of some drink that strangely made Halima’s thoughts spin.“That’s wine,” Sara whispered to her. “Sayyiduna allows us to have it.”After the meal the two of them went to their bedchamber. They were alone and Halima asked, “Can Sayyiduna really permit wine if the Prophet forbids it?”“He can. I told you he’s the first after Allah. He’s the new prophet.”“And you say that no one but Miriam and Apama has seen Sayyiduna?”“No one else except Adi, who is his confidant. But Adi and Apama can’t stand each other. Apama can’t stand anyone, for that matter. She was very beautiful when she was young, and now that that’s all lost she’s bitter.”“Who is she, actually?”“Shhh. She’s a horrible woman. She knows all the secrets of love, and Sayyiduna brought her here for us to learn from. You’ll hear about that this afternoon. They say when she was young she had lots of lovers.”“Why on earth do we have to learn so many things?”“That I don’t really know, but I think it’s so we can be ready for Sayyiduna.”“Are we supposed to be in his harem?”“Maybe. But now you tell me if you think you like me yet.”At this Halima scowled. It made her angry that Sara asked her suchnonsense when she needed to find out so many important things. She lay back on her bed, clasped her hands behind her head, and stared at the ceiling.Sara sat down next to her and gazed fixedly at her. Suddenly she bent down over her and began kissing her passionately.

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