Chapter 18 She-Devil

"I used to sing songs that would make poor Uncle Rudolpho's shirt wet with tears. I used to be a girl. But I traveled fourteen kilometers across the salt sea, and found myself threatened by a djinn, chased by a blind man, held captive in an orchard, transfigured into a woman, and confounded by an imposter!" Amaris Dahia shot a searing glance at Hayát. "You say I carry the name of a warrior queen?" She ran her hand once more along the green garment, then tossed it aside and proclaimed, "The 'Queen' is tired. If the 'Queen' is to save the world, the 'Queen' must rest." Then she gathered up a pillow and headed for the window.

"Where are you going?" asked an astonished Lali Zahra.

"I prefer the night to a room full of gossiping crones," she proclaimed, abandoning the women, each alone in her bewilderment, and ascended to her rooftop refuge, where the pestering sand focused her thoughts on the coming dawn. Then she heard it—a strange howling, tearing through the wind like the distant cry of a hungry child. Warning her, daring her, beckoning her. And she thought, Dahia el Kahina. Louar, the One Eyed Jackal.