Authors: Emily Danby
Hanan drove at high-speed, her heart pounding. She surveyed the place around her but found no trace of Aliyah. She ventured down every side street and each of the mansion driveways, turning around each time to leave a cloud of dust and disappointment in her wake. The silence of the road was alarming. Hanan was scared as she looked about her, watching out for any sign of another living being, lest someone discover her humiliated state. The residents of the area had all chosen to build out of Damascus to keep their secrets private and to enjoy the fresh air. There in their odd-shaped mansions, with their tiled swimming pools and wide tennis courts, they were far from prying neighbours, from news of the scandals they might be exposed to.
Hanan went from street to street. Aliyah must have got further than she thought. In the distance, she spotted a group of dogs gathering around the remains of an animal. Hanan felt uneasy. She locked the car door and turned down another side-street. Aliyah must be hiding behind one of the walls, she convinced herself as she turned the steering wheel, chewing on her lip. Joy glimmered in Hanan's eyes as she drove around some of the houses. She stopped when she came to the open ground and the long road that separated the cluster of mansions from the first villa standing alone. The land stretched out for miles, the whole space illuminated by the light of the sun. Hanan got out of the car and glanced about her as if getting ready to dance.
The place was empty but for the flocks of birds in the distance.
âAliyah!' Hanan shouted. The voice was loud. She didn't feel as if it were hers. She called out again, but there was no response. No voice calling out in harmony.
Hanan got into her car and set off at speed, startling a pigeon, which took off high into the sky as she careered away, leaving in her wake a thick cloud of dust.