Friday, August 10, 2007
Morning sun swells to fill the cloudless sky. It climbs above the young light. Soon, the merciless heat will press down.
The man's white sleeve rests in the half shade. Under a canvas awning, he holds a warm cup of tea on the tiny table.
He watches the bustle of the morning market around him. The sound is muted, because the heat smothers it.
Children sprint by.
A customer hands coins to the tea merchant.
Across the way, a dusty grey soldier tips an assault rifle always ready.
One child drops something the man with the tea can't see. The others pull and pile to snatch it from the dust. The man smiles at the way they scream and laugh.
The soldier is talking on a radio.
The man sips. The tea is almost gone, and it's sweeter at the--
r                            e                            d
v      a      c      u      u      m
w o r l d
The mix of mud colors soars.
The man hits, and every thread of breath punches from his chest.
He's gone from existence.
His ears are ringing as if under steep seas.
He's writhing and choking. Things are piled on him, and he claws and pushes. The upended table falls away. Splinters of wood fall away. There are remains of things. Wet things.
Vehicles are coming. Brown eddies swirl behind running soldiers.
The handle of his shattered cup follows his hand to his throat. It cuts his neck when he rips his collar and sucks burned air.
Machine gun fire rattles in the distance, but no more suicide bombers explode.
And the drifting dust begins to layer down.