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Authors: P. Djeli Clark

A Dead Djinn in Cairo (6 page)

BOOK: A Dead Djinn in Cairo
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Then someone was there, lifting debris from atop her. Siti. The woman was covered in dust, and blood flowed from more than a few cuts—including a gash that left her hair slick with crimson on the right side of her head. She extended a hand and Fatma was sure to offer the good arm. Standing, the two surveyed the room, now barely recognizable, with splintered furniture and shattered contraptions. A wall had collapsed and the air was filled with thick, billowing dust. Only parts of the clock were left, a few stubborn wheels somehow still spinning. The doorway itself was gone.

“Looks like you’ll need a new suit,” Siti wheezed between coughs. Fatma looked down. Her pants were torn and her jacket was little better. There was a pang of loss as she remembered the fate of her cane. And what had become of her bowler?

“Think this is yours,” Siti offered, holding a bit of gold that dangled from a chain. Fatma took her watch and flipped it open, smiling at the familiar ticking. Scratched and worse for wear, but the damn thing still worked. Closing it, she slipped it back into her breast pocket.

Slowly, the two women began to make their way through the wreckage. Fatma stopped at sight of gray flesh in their path. One of the tendrils. It had been sheared clean at the base, cut off from the thing—or
—now trapped back in that dark realm. She kicked it. Dead.

“What do you think that belonged to?” Siti asked.

Fatma grimaced, remembering her glimpse through the doorway. “We don’t want to know.” Both women looked up at sounds from the distance. Voices. Shouts. One was Aasim.

“You’ll excuse me,” Siti said. “But Merira prefers we keep our distance from the local constabulary.”

Fatma caught her meaning. “Don’t worry. As far as they’re concerned, I never spoke to any of you. You were never here.” She paused. “Thank you, Siti.”

The taller woman beamed, a mischievous look in her eyes. “You can thank me over a nice meal.”

Fatma raised an eyebrow. “The two of us? Share a meal?”

“And why not?”

“You’re an infidel. And maybe a little insane.”

Siti grinned, not denying either charge. She reached up with dexterous fingers to adjust the loosed knot on Fatma’s tie. “My family owns a restaurant downtown. You’ve never had better Nubian food. I have an aunt who will make us the best fatta if asked, no matter the time of year. And wait till you taste her mulukhiya.” Finishing the knot, she played with the length of the tie. “Just make sure you wear one of these nice little suits.” There was a wink before the woman turned and was gone, disappearing into the dust with that rifle slung over her back.

Fatma shook her head, turning in time to see three men in khaki uniforms scrambling over wreckage to enter the room—a dumbfounded Aasim in their lead. Holding her injured shoulder, she hobbled over toward the inspector. He was going to hate the paperwork on this one.


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Title Page

Copyright Notice

Begin Reading



Copyright © 2016 by P.Djeli Clark

Art copyright © 2016 by Kevin Hong

BOOK: A Dead Djinn in Cairo
4.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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