His First

terrorist“I need to talk to a human,” he demanded. “You’re just a– figurehead.” Yasin crinkled his nose and reflexively shut his eyes against the whiff of decomposition that slithered into his senses. The stench pervaded the whole block, but it was savagely cloying, this close. Black flies skittered¬†in a turbulent cloud and then settled back into their business, whirring their putrescent songs.

Behind him his neighbors furtively pulled out their phones and began to record him. None dared laugh.

“You couldn’t cooperate, could you, apostate.” Yasin grabbed the sweat-slicked hair of the young Kurd he’d killed days ago. He wound the greasy locks in his fingers for a good, tight grip, and ripped it from the stake where it had presided over the corner of Babis and Sandz streets for the past three days. Taunting him.

His botched decapitation had been viewed more than 24 thousand times on YouTube.

Yasin, struggling with the dull blade, had tugged and twisted the Kurd’s head while his eyes blanked into oblivion. The neck. Yasin hadn’t considered how tough the neck would be, like those stubborn cypresses his father bade him cut. He’d get partway through and then the green, fleshy insides would be too strong for his pathetic tool. He’d twist and pull but the sinews wouldn’t break.

The video showed his comrades in the background laughing at Yasin’s ineptness, at his arms trembling with exertion, slick with sweat. A drop of Yasin’s saliva fell onto the Kurd’s cheek, but they said Yasin cried for him.

It was his first time.

The neck defied him, disturbed him to the point of madness. The past three days Yasin invented and fortified a defense for his wounded pride: That man was not human. No human being had that much resistance in his body.


[Entry for Cracked Flash Fiction contest. They provide the first sentence, and you have three hundred words with which to play. I haven’t done this contest in a while because my Saturdays have been busy with swim meets and picnics– good stuff. My novel is at 35K words, thank you, CampNaNoWriMo! For the first time ever, I’ve written myself into a plot knot the size of the Grand Canyon, and I’m trying to figure out how to reasonably move my characters to a resolution. A good problem to have– enough plot that it can get snagged on itself! My past attempts had the plot length of my pinky finger, so we’re moving ahead. ūüôā

This flash fiction piece was a welcome, if dark, break from my novel. The incidents in Nice, France, have got me thinking about these people who so blithely mow down living, breathing, innocent souls whose¬†crime is that they aren’t on the same team. How does a¬†mind reconcile doing that to people? Trying to figure it out in this 300 word flash fiction piece.]

Personal Journey

What Faith Looks Like

Bob leads a short-term mission trip to an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He’s not pictured because I can’t find one of him. That’s Bob. He loves to pour into the lives of others, wanting no credit, no fanfare. Bible author James said I show you my faith by my works.¬†I see Bob’s faith in the faces of all these people.

See that pic of the two little heads working on the roof? That’s Luke and Delaney, 15 and 16 years old. The youngest member on the team is 11 years old, which was how old Luke was his first year. Don’t be deceived by all the smiles: this trip is grueling. I think their joy is a glimpse of God’s love and sacrifice (love is sacrifice, just ask Jesus). My Tory is the beauty on the left of the black and white picture. Michelle, my daughter in spirit is on the right. I got to know Michelle when I went on the trip two years ago. It makes me smile to think of these ones I love, loving others.