‘May I have the tiger?’
Mona shook her head obstinately.
‘She’s only calm when I hold her. She gets scared really easily. Her mother abandoned her.’
Nadim couldn’t hold back her tears. Mona was the most beautiful being in existence — her beloved daughter, the miracle of Qana. In a shaky voice, she repeated: ‘Give Mama the tiger. Otherwise Mama will be angry. Super angry!’
Mona saw her mother’s tears. She looked nervously at her grandmother and heard her prayers. Then she extended the hand with the tiger cub. That wasn’t a tiger cub. That was a can. That wasn’t a can. That was a grenade from an Israeli cluster bomb. Nadim held her gaze steady on her daughter’s face. Their hands met. It was as though the nerves in her hand — the small, thin hairs on her skin — were reaching for her daughter with a pulsating intensity. She held her breath and placed her hand around the cool grenade.


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”Run, Baashi, run!"
The words hit him like ice-cold water and he reacted by instinct, just as she had hoped. He threw himself loose and began to run. The police yelled at him and within moments two of them opened fire. The bullets hit him in the back, head, and legs. He slung forward and landed motionless in the gravel, halfway stuck under a rusty Mazda. For a moment all attention was directed towards Baashi. Rachel kicked the commander's left knee. As he crumbled forward, her hand reached for his hair, and with a tight grip she swung her other fist at the commander's jaw. The neck broke with a sharp snap.


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He walked over to the window, repeatedly banging the gun to his head while mumbling in French. I tried smiling.
”Vincent, would you please sit down?”
He stopped, suddenly realizing I was there. He pointed the gun at me.
”Who sent you?”
”No one sent me, my wife is dead and I … I am looking for her letter.”
I stared at the gun. Vincent was sweating and his hand was shaking.
”We´re dead. You hear me? Both of us. So dead.”

The Burnt Letter Society

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Dan T. Sehlberg

Copyright Dan T. Sehlberg. All rights reserved