Chapter 20 Transgression

Fires burned everywhere. Around one fire, men were throwing glasses to the ground and dancing barefoot on the broken shards, although none showed signs of pain. To her bewilderment, she saw neither blood, nor wounds on their feet. She looked at Tahir for an explanation.

"Faith can be more powerful than the flesh—or perhaps, it is madness." He smiled and continued on toward another fire where a large woman with a cloth covering her face spun round and round to no music and no discernable rhythm. Her movements were lumbering and awkward like a man. Then Amaris Dahia realized, it was a man, dressed as a woman.

"That is a Zouamel," explained Tahir. "He/she divines the spirit world."

"Fine. All well and good," she said, with derision. "Let's see what we can divine from this world."But, as they were turning to leave, the Zouamel suddenly lunged at Amaris Dahia and wrapped his arms around her. Feeling herself being suffocated by his hot breath, she gasped for air.