Married? Celeste was getting married? 

My mind was processing as slowly as the pace at which I walked towards the other Durmans. The ones who'd already been inspected stood quietly, whispering among themselves on the other side of the hall. But at the moment, my thoughts were entirely wrapped around the piece of information I'd just obtained. Mother and father didn't know this. I couldn't believe Celeste had kept it to herself. 

Before I could think more on the subject, a shaky Sahara made her way towards me. Her hands shook slightly as she reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear, and her eyes did not meet mine. 

"What happened?" I asked softly, deciding to talk about the engagement-matter to her later. 


I frowned. Clearly, it was far from nothing. It was very rarely that one would see Sahara be this troubled by something. She'd even been cool and relaxed unlike most of the Durmans when we'd walked into city hall, side-by-side. Even I'd been worried for her, that they might consider what she already knew as valuable and take her away. They hadn't thought but now... My eyes flickered to the Selvite that had read through the two of us, searched us for any clue about the resistance. It must have something to do with him.

"Sahara, what did he say?"


I sighed then stepped closer to her, lightly touching her hand. "You can tell me." 

"No, it's not that." She shook her head and finally looked at me. "Nothing as in nothing happened. Nothing as in he hadn't said anything to me. Or to them." She shot a hasty look over to the Kathite guards that stood in a large group near the councillors, watching and waiting for a Durman to be caught.

"You mean he found something?" I whispered, feeling a nervous sweat break out on my forehead. 

"I'll tell you when we're out." 

I pursed my lips and decided not to question her anymore for a while. Searching through the lines of Durmans for my parents, I finally found them both getting closer to one of the councillors. They'd be fine, I knew they would but nevertheless, I couldn't help but hold my breath. It only took a minute or two for each of them; the less a Durman knew, the less time a Selvite would take. 

When both of them joined us, they didn't say a word, probably trying to keep to the 'obedient nature' that a Durman must adopt when in the presence of a higher class. Mother, however, gave me a small smile of relief, squeezing my hand before letting go.

It wasn't long before all the other Durmans had been exhausted, the councillors looking grim as if this was not the results they'd wanted. They'd only put one Durman into separate questioning, but that was all. No one else had been found even slightly guilty of being part of the so-called 'resistance'. 

The councillor at the middle of their line stood up, glaring out over the remaining Durmans as if his eyes continued to search into our very souls to find something. Unsatisfied, he announced in a disappointed tone, "You may leave." 

The Durmans trudged out of the city hall, their chatter filling up the air. My mother turned to me said, "We better be going home now. All three of us. Take the day off from work and stay home."

"Excuse me Mrs. Caroban," Sahara interrupted. "But would it be alright if Safiya came over to my house? She can have lunch with me."

My parents exchanged a nervous glance. In the end though, father gave a firm nod. Relaxing slightly, I said goodbye to them both and let Sahara drag me away. She held my hand tightly as we took another route to her house than the one we usually used.

"You have to swear not to tell anyone this." 

"Okay," I muttered, puzzled. "I swear." 

She stopped walking, scanning the area to see if anyone was nearby and then pulled me closer. Sahara whispered, "I wanted to tell you before about all this, I really did. But I can, now that they're done searching us."

"What are you talking about?" 

Sahara shook her head. "Actually, it's better if you hear it from her."

"Her? Who's her?" I was getting more confused by the second and my best friend wasn't helping me out at all. 

"Philomena Wihiz."

The End

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