the last chapter:
Neither man moved. Moyad stood behind Illaam and the two cousins peered at each other in the looking glass, time suspended in the parallel universe. “You know I don’t want to hurt you, Illaam.”
Despite the words of the motionless man, Illaam saw that Moyad held a needle in his hand. “Why?” His cousin turned slowly, feeling somewhere between hopelessness and determination, “What happened to you, Moyad, to change your heart so? We used to believe in the same God, once.”
“We were only boys then. I am a man now. Truth has many faces. ”
“It is the evil that lives in some men’s hearts, like those that killed your parents, Moyad. How could you avenge their death on a country? This is not Allah’s wish.” Illaam saw a flicker of pain and hesitation in the eyes of the man he once knew and loved.
“What do you know about Allah’s wish? You still have your head in the clouds, still just a boy.”
The needle rose then. Surprising Moyad, Illaam deftly slid his body beneath the other man’s arm and Moyad slipped on the sanitary tiles, which allowed Illaam to escape.
Uncertainty no longer reigned. He knew what was in his heart and he knew he must follow his own truth. Someone had to be warned of the plans Moyad and his friends were about to play out. To live knowing he may have saved lives and didn’t, was an unbearable thought to Illaam. The wire beneath his tiny bird feet widened and Illaam ran as fast as the little boy in the bazaar those many years ago.
When the station came into view, Illaam could breathe. He saw with new eyes and the clarity with which he saw dispelled his fear. When he blinked, the bazaar was still vivid behind his lids, the spices calling him with the smell of heaven. But the sound of his grandfather’s voice was drowned by an echo he couldn’t make out.
Illaam fell to the ground before he could make sense of the sound. He did not see the blood, could not see the red pool forming a halo on the concrete around his head.