The Flame

Shararah had not known a time without violence; first the Taliban, now the Americans. Soon, the Americans would leave; at least, that is what she was told. There would be another violent group, freeing the people in the name of Allah or God or Freedom or some other deity.

The stench outside of goat pee and stale cigarettes was the smell of despair and occupation, the smell of her life. When Shararah volunteered to wear the explosive belt, the others tried to discourage her, tell her this was a job for a man. They wanted the glory. But she insisted. Soon enough, women would no longer be allowed in public. Let me do this for them.

She walked into the square close to the GI’s and took one last picture to post. This was what she hated most, the collateral damage. No one would know this was not about hate, but an act of freedom for Shararah’s soul.

 

*First Runner Up in Flash!Friday. She had me transfixed by the sentence “The stench outside of goat pee and stale cigarettes was the smell of despair and occupation, the smell of her life.” The ending is chilling. It captures the emotional chaos in the modern global world: I have a point to prove, and even though I have nothing personal against you, you are going to be blown to pieces.  (Judge Pratibha Kelapure)