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"This is Hotel the Raj. It has an excellent pool. You may charge all your meals through tomorrow lunch. Do you have taxi fare to the airport? Good. Have a pleasant stay, and a good flight."

Rain was beginning to hammer on the roof as Trager pulled his rucksack from the back seat. He was about to run for the hotel door when Bagchee waved the manila envelope he had left on the floor of the car.

"Please, keep these things," Bagchee called. "If I am not mistaken, you will need them yet."

-There was another flash and thunderclap, and the rain arrived in earnest, flooding the street, driving the kites and ravens ��into the trees. The driveway disappeared into an ankle deep puddle, bouncing with raindrops. A doorman called, "This way! Come this way, sir!" But Trager was blinded by the downpour, and could not make out the ford. Heaving his pack onto one shoulder, he shielded his face with the softening envelope and waded in.

Springtime in Kashmir ©Talbot Bielefeldt 2020.

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