She did not respond.

He examined the infant boy. Drenched in blood, the body was lifeless.

Gently he lay the dead infant on the ground. “I pray for your eternal happiness in the afterlife.” He turned to Tamara. “Are we the only ones alive?”

Her moist eyes were fixed on the tiny corpse, and she seemed in a daze.

Jamal shook her by the shoulders. “Tamara, the child will be much happier where he is going. We must think of our own survival now. We must live to serve as Allah’s instruments of vengeance.”

He strapped his backpack on, came to his knees, and looked about. An eerie silence enveloped the garden. Scattered all over the terrace were bloodied bodies. His gaze shifted to the reflecting pool in front of the terrace. Riddled with bullet wounds, two men lay face down in the shallow water. Next to them a little girl floated on her back, her terrified features frozen in death. Jamal groaned at recognizing his three-year-old niece.

After breathing a few profanities, he whispered to Tamara, “As God is my witness, dear cousin, we must take an oath to die rather than let the murderers escape justice.”

Seeing no signs of the masked gunmen, Jamal crept out on the terrace to inspect the bodies, hoping some were still alive. He looked for movement. Any movement.

All were dead.

He ran inside the mansion and into his uncle’s office. Rummaging through a file cabinet, he found the three-page document he had prepared a few weeks earlier. After folding it, he placed it inside a canvas-wrapped package in his backpack. He then retrieved his uncle’s car keys from the middle drawer of the desk and hurried back to Tamara. Grasping her hand, he led her to the Mercedes sedan parked on the cement driveway. He dropped his backpack on the rear seat, and they climbed into the car. Taking a final look at the carnage, he offered a silent prayer, then drove off.

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