Glass Enclave
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You must tell me about this', she said to Rae, holding up her folder. 'Are all the rumours about you true?'

'What rumours?'

'You and the terrorists or is it all top secret?'

He laughed and put his finger on the blue folder. 'You tell me first what you thought of it'.

'It's sad', she said.

'Sad?'

'There is something pathetic about the spelling mistakes, the stains on the paper, in spite of the bravado. There are truths but they are detached, not tied to reality...'

'They are all like that'.

'You get a sense of people overwhelmed', she went on, 'overwhelmed by thinking that nothing should be what it is now'.

'They are shooting themselves in the foot. There is no recourse in the Sharia for what they're doing, however much they try and justify themselves'.

'When are you going to meet them?'

He shook his head. 'I didn't get the job, they took someone else, someone with more palatable views, no doubt'.

'I am sorry about that'. She wished she had not joked about it before.

'I am sorry too. A winter in Egypt seemed to me like a good idea'. He looked at the windows. Beyond the Winter Gardens, Sammar saw a world dim with inevitable rain, metallic blue, dull-green. Lawns empty of people, covered with dead leaves.

'But really it would have been good for the department. We have to prove ourselves useful to Industry or the government to keep the funding coming in'.


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