They tried to ignore the distant adhan of the muezzin .  For the fourth time that day, the familiar sustained monotone began its drone and then the lone male voice soared above it, at first open-throated, then quavering, nasal.  

"Allahu Akbar," it began.  The phrase was repeated three times. 

The soldiers were listening for movement.  The sole shadow to catch Sergeant Bronstein's anxious eye was that of a scurrying scorpion.

They waited.

"Hayya ala-s-Salah, hayya ala-s-Salah."  Hasten to the Prayer, hasten to the Prayer. 

Bronstein heard Rivera spit into the dust.

Stillness.

_____ 

 

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