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by Kenny Rooney

The boy sits, sheltering his eye. Sand explodes, dancing around him, before falling into temporary slumber. His eye peers between bursts, seeking out the specter that will tell him everything is okay. That the nightmare which devours him is over. That the sun will rise again.

A star dances across his hand. Fingers flick deftly. The coin spins up once more before coming to rest in his palm. Pulling his eyes from the storm, the boy looks down at the coin in his hand. A kaffir face stares back into the past, dark holes empty of mercy, focusing on what had been. He flips the coin, the branch of peace and torch of freedom lie darkened by the desert sand.

Lost in time, his thoughts stumble through the midday sun. The boy remembers and the boy mourns. The adhan, the call to the faithful, rings out, soaring through the shifting sands. The boy awakes, chasing dust from his clothes as the melody of the adhan guides him through the mist. He shuffles into the village as people dash around him preparing to pray.

His eye burrows, searching the faces for a sign of her brown almond eyes. His ears strain to hear her sweet voice calling to him. But only dark, frightened eyes return his gaze. The summons to prayer continues to echo in his ears.

The past rails, driving the boy to surrender. The same street on a still day. A beautiful face is framed in black. Hands are clasped in safety and asylum. She comes back to him. A shout rings out, as a friend entices the boy away.

And the world explodes in fire.

Reality drags him back from the past to face the present and serve. He enters the small sand-soaked shack. Searching in a corner, the boy pulls out his prayer mat. He shakes it, banishing the dust, and lays it down before his feet.

The slow drone of an engine above distracts him for a moment, but the eagle’s screech slowly fades away. The boy kneels in submission and lifts his arms to the sky. A hand raised in honor and submission. A bloodied stump raised in memory of the lost.

Allah hu akbar, Allah hu akbar.

Copyright © 2009 by Kenny Rooney

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