In the morning, a neighbour popped in to pick up Laina. “Better hurry,” she warned. “Or we'll get punished.”
“Turgan's here,” Laina's voice brimmed with excitement. “Turgan has come back! I told you he would.”
“Yes, yes.” The woman frowned. “Tell me about it on the way, there, but let's go.”
Even though the sun had not yet risen far above the horizon, the air was already starting to cook.
They met more people on the way, all flocking to labour in the plantation. Laina introduced Turgan to everyone. He recognised some who had been young with him. Some were cheerful, some sceptical; some indifferent, others hostile. He used the courtesy he had acquired abroad to convince them he was a reformed man.
Boherush, the Darrian overseer who yelled orders and cracked a whip set Turgan to working the shadufs. The job involved lifting water from the oasis lake into the irrigation channels that watered the orange trees.
The work would have exhausted a normal man, but came easy with Turgan's superior strength and stamina. Under the constant watch of the overseer, he made a show of panting with effort and frequently wiping his brow. However, there was no chance to slip away.
He would have to wait until dusk. Or no- he might join Laina for one more evening meal, one more conversation, one more night.
Genre – Horror
Rating – PG-13
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