Abdul and Savaka sat behind a bullet pitted wall. It was late afternoon in the holy land and public transport was near full.

            Abdul checked his explosives belt then fastened his coat. "Soon, the bus will be along. We will wreak our revenge for the years we have suffered, for the lands we have lost, for our friends who have perished."

            Savaka raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure this is a good idea. We have been friends for years and I support your cause but this act is beyond me. I do not see how more killing helps anything."

            "They understand nothing less. You cannot reason with them, they think this is their land, yet less than a lifetime ago they were few, these were our lands."

            "Even so you risk eternity. You do realise that Christians believe in a place called hell, for everyone, and you could be heading down that highway."

            "That place is not for the true believers, Savaka."

            " It is a place of fire and brimstone, of eternal torment, the house of Satan. Be sure of your faith."

            "Where there is a hell there is a heaven. Besides my cause is just. I fear not." Abdul's voice held conviction, if not complete certainty.

            "There are others with beliefs too. Some believe after death we are reborn."

            "Reborn to pay for our sins, the Ghoddles. I believe them not. I will take my place in Paradise. What I do is not evil but glorious."

            "I mean the followers of Siddhartha. Like you they believe suffering is inseparable from existence. They strive for Nirvana but not through the deaths of others but through tolerance and enlightenment."

            Abdul smiled, "Were it that life was so simple. I believe we must stand and be counted. This is not about me or simply what I stand for, it is for the ones I love; it is for freedom; it is for the future."

            The sound of an approaching bus came to their ears.

Savaka stared for long moments into Abdul's eyes, Abdul looked back. "You are a follower Savaka but I must lead by example, peace be with you my friend."

            Abdul left the shelter of the wall almost casually. He walked towards the waiting bus.

            Savaka looked on in awe and horror. He did not agree with Abdul but he knew his friend was not brain washed or a fanatical follower of 'Laden', who had to the best of their knowledge died with his second in command in the Afghan war. He, like himself, carried questions about life and doubts about the afterlife. It was a brave, unselfish, yet murderous deed Abdul had plotted. Savaka sat with his head in his hands, a tear rolled down his cheek. He shook his head.

            There was standing room only on the bus; Abdul tried to mix invisibly with the crowd but still he received anxious glances. He avoided the eyes around him and quietly said his prayers. He knew the final seconds of his life on earth were ticking away; the bomb timer was set; it needed no more encouragement from himself nor could anyone else hope to disarm it.

            A young Jewish girl made her way to the bus entrance where Abdul was standing. She would exit the bus at the next stop. She brushed against Abdul. He looked down; he could just see her face; he had the strangest feeling. For an instant he hoped his explosives would not detonate, not at least until the next stop where this girl would depart but it was not to be.

            It was not as Abdul imagined. He saw the blinding white flash of the explosion before his sight was lost; he heard an earth-shattering roar as his eardrums burst. He felt excruciating pain while his body was being ripped to pieces by the force of the blast. He was still aware; his brain required nothing to survive a limited time.

            Abdul really didn't know if he was dead or alive but his sight was returning. It was blurred and the shapes were ghostly. He heard sounds, at first muffled but then with clarity. He was in a hospital; he had survived the blast. He tried to speak but he couldn't seem to form his words, he just gurgled. He tried to speak again, "ooh coo cooey iggle." It really wasn't working.

            He heard a loving and compassionate voice say, "He sounds so cute."

            "He just looks like his big sister," came the loving voice of a woman.

            The man smiled. "His face will always remind us. We will never forget."

            The lady was holding a picture. It looked shadowy to Abdul but it reminded him of someone he knew; the little girl who was stood next to him on the bus. Who were these people? What were they talking about?

            "He will avenge her death when he grows to manhood," said the voice of the woman.

            Abdul was feeling tired. He felt someone stick something in his mouth. He sucked on it. It was comforting. He flayed his arms and kicked his little legs. He tried to think back to how he had got here, but he couldn't remember; in fact he could remember little of anything. The word bomb seemed to come to mind then for a moment enlightenment crossed his face.

            The man turned to the woman, "Am I hearing things, did our son just say, 'Oh Buddha'."

            "Perhaps, just baby talk, bless his little cotton socks. Look he's gone to sleep."

Stories End