Waiting At the Gates of Heaven

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Chapter 13

“Are you telling me that I just have to leave Palestine without any explanation from your part?”

Lalage was outraged. How dared this British assume that he knows better? How dared he come to her with such an absurd claim?

“Please, Miss Lalage. Be reasonable!” He pleaded with her.

“Reasonable?! Where is he? Where is Uriah Reed?” “I cannot tell you. He said you would understand.” “Oh, did he? This righteous man whose wisdom

never fails knows everything, doesn’t he? Well, he is wrong! He doesn’t know me at all.”

“Please, Miss Lalage. I have played my part. I am here on his behalf. This is the message and I am nothing but the messenger. If you are wise, you’ll leave this place.” “And just assume that I am not wise. What will

happen then?”

“I don’t know. Who knows what tomorrow can bring? Well, have a good night, Miss Lalage, and a safe journey back. I am leaving Palestine tomorrow, too. Feel free to join me, if you wish. There is nothing I would appreciate more than your company.”

“Thank you, Mr. Archer, but I’ll leave when I decide to. Good night and farewell!”

“Farewell, then!”

As Mr. Gabriel Archer’s silhouette dissolved into the night, Lalage fell into a bottomless pit. She threw a shawl over her shoulders and left the house. Where she was heading, she knew not. Her eyes scanned the area. Mr. Rai had still not returned, and Lucien was nowhere to be seen. Furthermore, Lalage suspected that Lucien’s disappearance from home and Uriah’s mysterious departure were somehow connected.

She ran and ran, passing the orange grove and heading to the sand shore. Only the wind roared and the seagulls pierced her ears with their plaintive cries. And Uriah was nowhere to be seen.

A week later, Lalage was heading back to London. The train was trailing along the tracks, faster and faster, and she was sitting all alone, like a shadow, dwelling in the memories of her short encounter with the man she had grown to love.

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