فصل 09

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فصل 09

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER NINE

The House in Heliopolis

Back in Cairo, Ahmed and Leila were searching for Christine Farrow.

Policemen were questioning all the shopkeepers - especially those who sold cigatettes or food in small street shops.

Leila had policewomen working for her. They were visiting the small markets in the parts of Cairo where Europeans lived. The servants who work for the Europeans often shop in these markets in the afternoon.

In a small market in Heliopolis, a new servant began to do her shopping. No one had seen her there before. But servants are always friendly and they smiled at the new servant and spoke to her.

‘Be careful of Ismael - he charges too much money for vegetables,’ one woman said.

‘Count your change carefully at Abdul Rahman’s, the butcher’s,’ said another.

Some women were sitting talking in the shade of a large tree. Leila, the new servant, sat down beside them and listened to their talk.

Most of the conversation was about prices and wages.

Leila sat and listened. She knew that she must not ask the women questions. If she asked them about their work, they would become suspicious and tell her nothing.

After a few minutes, a young woman sat down beside them. One of the women said, ‘How are you, today, Fatima? And how’s the sick European woman?’

‘I think she’s still there,’ replied Fatima. ‘She hasn’t been out of the bedroom once. What a wonderful life she has! Her husband does all the work in the house.’

All the women laughed.

‘Is she very beautiful?’ someone asked.

‘I’ve told you before - I’ve never seen her,’ replied Fatima. ‘But she must be very beautiful. He does all the housework and she stays in her bedroom. I’m not allowed in there - the door is always locked. My job is to do the shopping and clean the kitchen - that’s all.’

‘And you’re well paid for it too,’ said another woman.

Everybody laughed loudly.

Fatima picked up her shopping basket. ‘I must go back now. He’ll be waiting for me.’

There was more laughter and Fatima walked way. Leila stood up and said goodbye to the women. She followed Fatima for about ten minutes. Fatima stopped in front of an old house and knocked at the door. A man’s face appeared at an upstairs window. Fatima stood waiting at the door.

Someone is being very careful, Leila thought to herself.

A few minutes later, the door opened and Fatima went inside. The door closed immediately.

Leila hurried to a small shop at the end of the street and asked to use the telephone. Half an hour later, Chief Inspector Ahmed arrived with two policemen. They stopped the car where Leila was waiting for them.

Leila told Ahmed about the servant in the market. Then she showed Ahmed the house.

‘Fatima, the servant, says there’s a sick European woman in the bedroom,’ Leila explained to Ahmed. ‘Fatima has never seen the woman and the bedroom door is always locked. Perhaps this is the house we are looking for.’

‘But we must make certain,’ said Ahmed cautiously. ‘It may not be Christine Farrow. Perhaps it is a sick woman.’

‘We must make certain,’ said Leila. ‘I must get inside the house and find out who she is.’

‘But how are you going to get inside?’ asked Ahmed.

‘Let’s wait until Fatima comes out. Perhaps she will help us.’

They sat in the car waiting. Just after five o’clock, Fatima came out of the house again. She had a basket in one hand and a bunch of keys in the other. Leila and Ahmed got out of the car. Leila stopped Fatima and spoke to her. She showed Fatima her police identity card. ‘We want to ask you about the man you work for,’ said Leila.

‘He’s a foreigner,’ replied Fatima.

‘And what about the woman in the bedroom?’ asked Leila.

‘I’ve never seen her,’ replied Fatima. ‘The bedroom door is always locked.’

‘But if you haven’t seen her, how do you know it’s a woman in the bedroom?’ said Ahmed.

‘I’ve heard her crying - and I know the sound of a woman crying.’

‘How long has she been in the bedroom?’ Leila asked.

‘About five days,’ replied Fatima. ‘Since last Friday.’

Leila and Ahmed looked at one another.

‘Where are you going now?’ Leila asked Fatima.

Fatima told them that she was going to buy bread. Because of the heat in Cairo, bread does not stay fresh. In the morning, people buy bread for breakfast and lunch. Then they buy more fresh bread in the evening.

‘Are those the keys of the house?’ asked Leila.

‘The foreigner locks himself in his bedroom every evening between six and seven,’ Fatima explained. ‘It’s the only time he gives me the keys to the house.’

‘What does he do in his bedroom every evening?’ asked Ahmed.

‘I don’t know what he does in there,’ replied Fatima. ‘But sometimes I’ve heard voices. But there’s no one in there but him.’

‘Will you help us?’ Leila asked Fatima.

‘What’s happening?’ asked Fatima. ‘Who are you? I don’t want to get into any trouble.’

‘We are police officers,’ she explained again. ‘You won’t get into trouble if you help us.’

‘What do you want me to do?’ asked Fatima.

‘We don’t want you to do anything,’ replied Leila. ‘We want to find out more about the people you work for. Let me take the bread back into the house.’

Fatima was not happy about this suggestion. But finally she agreed.

‘I’m worried about this,’ said Ahmed when Leila was ready to go into the house. ‘It could be very dangerous.’

‘It’s the easiest way of getting into the house,’ said Leila. ‘And we must make sure that it is Christine Farrow who is locked in that bedroom.’

‘What will you do if it is her?’ Ahmed asked.

‘That’s easy,’ replied Leila. ‘I’ll open the front door and let you in. Make sure you are waiting near the door with the two policemen.’

Leila turned to Fatima, ‘Now tell me again,’ she said, ‘where is his bedroom and where is the bedroom with the woman in it?’

Fatima explained once again and Leila listened carefully.

‘Good,’ she said. ‘I’ll remember that easily.’

Leila walked up to the front door with the keys in her hand.

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