No one is more surprised than I am that I crossed 50,000 words today, 50,829, to be exact. For the most part of the last nine days, I’ve done nothing except write, which the pile of dirty laundry, the dishes in the sink, and the unmade bed all attest to, and the rough draft isn’t finished.
I finished Chapters 14, Believers; 15, Widow Maker; and 16, Undisclosed Location, and started Chapter 17, Words of Truth. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15, Widow Maker:
“Quiet, woman!” the man said and took a step toward her. Abdullah jabbed the butt of his rifle into the man’s back. He went to his knees and stayed there when Abdullah put the rifle’s muzzle against his head.
Alexei turned to the woman, struggling to keep the anger off his face. He squatted so he wouldn’t tower over her.
“I need to know where the Sheik is headed next,” he said, his voice soft, some pleading in it. Abdullah translated in the same tone.
“I do not know the route, but his intent is to go up into the mountains in Tora Bora,” she said. “From there, he can use caves and tunnels to elude the American forces.” She caught his expression and continued, “The men think we understand nothing we hear. We were in the kitchen, but some of us were close enough to hear bits and pieces of the dinner conversation.”
“What did you overhear?” he asked.
“The Sheik and this Saudi mullah talked about the American buildings, the ones the planes flew into. The Sheik laughed. He said most of the martyrs didn’t know they were going to die, that they thought it was just a hijacking.”
Her husband again told her to shut up, that was apparent no matter what language you spoke. Abdullah jabbed him again with the rifle to silence him.
“Then, he talked about how he knew the buildings would fall because he knew about construction. He laughed again when he talked about the death of infidels. With the mullah, he talked about his plans to leave Afghanistan through Tora Bora and to go to Pakistan. The Taliban are to escort him there and form a barrier between him and the Americans. My husband videotaped it all. There, in the cabinet, is the camera.”
Alexei nodded to one of his men, who went to the cabinet and retrieved the camera. He took the camera himself and placed it in a bag slung over his shoulder. Then, he lay his hand over his heart. “Mother,” he said, “what can I give you in return for this knowledge?”
She narrowed her eyes at him, but her decision was swift. “Harzat Ali is my cousin,” she said. Ali was an Eastern Alliance commander, now in a loose coalition with the Americans and the Northern Alliance and moving against the last of the Taliban. “He and I were raised like brother and sister. He will take me into his household. These two, I don’t care what happens to them.”
She removed her arms from the embrace and leaned forward, her eyes inches from Alexei’s so he could see the conviction in them.
“Make me a widow,” she said.
(c)2013 by Phyllis Anne Duncan