256 Words

Begging for Mercy

M. Stanley Bubien

The murderer of my family stood before me, eyes toward heaven, bound hands outstretched, palms up, gesturing upward, then down. He prepared to receive his execution.

And I prepared to deliver it.

He was mumbling.

"I must hear," I said. But the crowd, they murmured too loudly, forcing me forward, hoping...

I halted, held my breath, listened, hoped...

He prayed.

My features remained stone, with executioner's eyes for the crowd to behold, but I bit hard on the inside of my cheek. "Recall the Sharia," I spoke to him in my mind. "Recall the code. Mercy!"

He continued praying. I waited.

At first, the onlookers believed I honored his prayer, but they grew quickly impatient, their voices soon rising in pitch.

Still as stone, "Recall the Sharia," I said, only for his ears. In response, he gestured more fervently, admonishing heaven---only heaven.

Forward I dragged the Kalashnikov rifle, grunting, "Recall! Beg my mercy!" He payed no heed.

Mercy! If I could beg for him... But the Sharia spoke. Mercy came only to those who asked. And he refused.

So be it.

I hefted the rifle, sighting his head. "Rage," I spoke, "come," and forced myself to return---my children's blood, my wife's blood, red, staining my rugs. "Rage!" I said, looking again into their faces, "Come!"

It obeyed. My cheeks burned with the vision, and my temples throbbed.

As I squeezed upon the trigger, I opened my eyes and looked into his face. My finger hesitated.

"Rage," I spoke, and again forced myself to return...

Based on a true story.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien All Rights Reserved.

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February, 1997
Issue #10

256 Words