Death Throes

My latest entry into Flash! Friday’s weekly contest with a 160-word max rule. The above picture was the photo side of the prompt and the word prompt was “war.” It’s one of my favorite prompts in quite some time, so I enjoyed writing something for it and am even more pleased that I received an honorable mention with the comments:

Oh, that opening line. Those opening paragraphs. Visions of suicide bombers from recent news reports flashed through my head, even though we discover, of course, that this is not a current events story. Still, it haunts because of the modern parallels, and because it mixes moments of childhood in with an awful, terrifying situation in which we hope children would never be involved. The line “War was always egotistical” is horrifying accurate.

Story below:

Alp didn’t have chest hair yet because he was only twelve, but he did have eleven pounds of dynamite strapped to his chest with coarse wire.

The sweat from his chest caused the stack to slip down near his waist and he’d hoist it back up like he was cradling a difficult baby with unparalleled collected rage.

He liked to sweat when he was chasing his younger brother, Hande, until mamma yelled at them both. But this sweat felt hotter, thicker. The dirt path fielded most of the sweat bombs.

Eleven pounds. Odd number. But for Alp, the more important number was three. The three words he was to say after lighting the fuse:

“Muradbeşte, bizim halife.”

The Ottoman Empire was in its death throes and Murad V would use the Olympic stage to suggest otherwise.

War was always egotistical.

Struck match. Three runners on the dirt path ran for a different reason now.

And Alp said his three words.

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