I’m hard at work putting the finishing touches on the old novel that I’ve been so hot to retrofit, having only recently figured out the secret to a giant bottle neck that had previously incapacitated the project, and I wanted to give you a taste.
So here we are, a picture of a hunter: the arrival of our most dreaded adversary.
…And Mustafa Gamal was a big man, but to underestimate the speed that was hidden beneath his twenty-four inch neck line and custom tailored suit-coat was to make that single, fatal error. It was to sit beside a boulder and not realize this one moved; that it was moving all the time, and had just to fix its position in reality: surely, swiftly, and effectively deadly from so many years in the military; and, almost innately, from his further meditative study. Zion-za, ye’sai. He had come to the belief that physically training his muscles’ strength and quickness could only take him so far; the training of the reflex had to account for the rest. It defied explanation as easily as the empty space inside an atom, but he had killed three potential assassins just moments before they plunged the blade into his deep black skin with the same type of pre-sentience.
His own brother had thought he could overpower the warlord when the fighting had stopped for a summer and they had all returned to the family hutu–a peace, agreed on for the sake of their sick mother and half-senile father–abandoned when he came at him with the knife, grazing him only once. Mustafa had buried Onuu without his coat, to show him how much he hadn’t appreciated breaking his own kin’s wrist that time; but that was two years afterwards, when his brother was killed by a line of troops Mustafa was more or less responsible for.
But he didn’t order it specifically. He found out only after the raid that Onuu was a casualty of the fighting done to take the town. Word came from a close friend of both of theirs who had been there, who had come round the bend into the tight alley and seen him shot, the bullet holes in the corrugated metal shed, the blood leaking from his recent scars, the heart still alive somewhat, whispering its last little words; and the friend hadn’t cried so much as bled a little more himself from his own innumerable scars when he saw the body slumped against the side of the corrugated scrap-metal shed where inside three children hid, hoping to escape the soldiers long enough to run for the plains beyond the village, towards the sunrise.
© B. Tyler Burton — 2010