He didn’t even bother to turn and look at Hanif as he spoke. He was too busy fixing the counters.
“Hey, you runt, why don’t you answer?” As Hanif turned his face towards him Salauddin’s eyebrows quivered.
“Is your old man dead yet?”
Having failed to work up a smile, Hanif answered straight-faced: “Didn’t find the d . . . d . . . doctor. How can I hold back de . . . d . . . death?”
The board set up, Ahsanullah made the first strike. Working at metal welding had turned his fingers into well tempered steel rods. With two of these rods he knocked a couple of white counters into the pockets and repositioned the striker. But his concentration was everywhere.
“Isn’t Doctor Matin looking after him?”
Salauddin demolished the doctor with a snort of laughter. “That’s why I asked if he was still alive.”