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The Broken Promise

Page 3

Annie Ryall

He kept offering to buy it and Georges would always brush him off, it was like asking for his right arm. As time wore on and it was twelve days after our arrival Georges was becoming despondent, he started talking about taking Farzaad up on his offer and flying back home to Australia, even though he had a horror of flying – an indication of his mood.

He finally agreed to sell the bike to Farzaad for $500 and shook hands on it. But two days later, when the bike was ready, Georges changed his mind. He happened to mention this to the Mullah. He was horrified.

You mean you have agreed to sell your bike to Farzaad, and now you are going back on your promise?

Well… yes. Is there a problem with that?

Listen to me. Don’t tell anyone about this.  You must do exactly as I say, or your lives will be in danger. He made a throat cutting gesture. 

Pack your bags and come to the carpet seller’s shop.  We will hide you and your motor bike in there.  You must sleep there tonight, and someone will be on guard. Then at dawn we will wake you, give you some food, and you must leave.  Do as I say, and you will be safe.

Georges was most scornful of this and received it with a Gallic shrug and a “Borf”, but the Mullah insisted, and I could see we had to do exactly as he advised. 

We picked up the bike, thanked the amazingly resourceful mechanic and his crew, then headed for the carpet shop. There, she was wheeled in with reverence, and sat resplendent amidst piles of carpets and garlands of hanging bags. The young man standing guard over her, rifle slung casually from his shoulder, was a sharp reminder of the dangers of our situation.

After a nervous and fitful night’s sleep we were shaken awake and given a breakfast I barely touched. Stomach clenched with fear, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Would the bike start? Would Farzaad come after us? Had he found out our plan? 

Georges kick-started once, kick-started twice, then on the third go it started.  Whew!  My heart was pounding. 

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