[from Nadeem Aslam's The Wasted Vigil, Alfred A. Knopf, 2008]
Benedikt told her to wait as he went forward on his elbows to investigate, raising himself to a crouching position and then disappearing from view. She would never see him again or know what happened to him, what kind of life he walked into, what kind of death. The orchard was vast, and there were many others around it, but he had said he would find her easily because somehow they had ended up within a clump of three trees that were the only ones among the hundreds that were not in flower. She curled herself in the high grass and perhaps fell asleep beside the stolen Kalashnikovs. When next her mind focused, the voices out there had grown in number and dawn had arrived, and now she saw, as though hallucinating, that the branches above her had blossomed with the first rays of the sun, the late buds opening at last, hatching white-pink scraps against the clear blue of the sky.
The Wasted Vigil