Posts Tagged ‘death’

I don’t have anything to say other than “What the ever living FUCK?!”:

A man reportedly held a knife to the throat of his 15-month-old nephew and decapitated him in front of his mother in a Saudi Arabian supermarket.

The 25-year-old Syrian man beheaded the toddler apparently after having a dispute with the toddler’s parents, his sister and brother-in-law, Arab News reported.

Another newspaper, the Saudi Gazette, reported that the toddler was 18 months old.

The killing happened in front of shoppers and staff in the fruit and vegetable section of the Al-Marhaba supermarket yesterday morning.

A police officer told Arab News: “The murderer was in a dispute with the boy’s mother and her husband. He chopped off the boy’s head in front of the mother to get back at her.”

Another witness, Abu Muhammad, who is in his mid-60s, told the paper: “It happened so quickly. Before people could intervene, the man had cut more than half way through the child’s neck.”

Another local expressed his disbelief that anyone could carry out such an act.

“No one could bear the gruesome sight of the boy’s decapitated body lying on the floor,” Muneer, a car mechanic, told Arab News.

“How could someone do such a thing?

“I just can’t understand it … I still can’t believe it.”

One shopper, Ahmed Abdul-Rahman, told the Saudi Gazette: “I was shopping when I heard a scream and saw people running toward the shop’s pastry corner.

“When I arrived there, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“A headless body of a child lay on the floor and the head was lying nearby soaked in blood.”

The man was arrested at the supermarket, reports AFP. Murder is punishable by death in the Islamic country, and the sentence is usually carried out by beheading.


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Old Love

This was a story I revised for a contest. I wrote it circa 2000. Nothing has been changed since I revised it for the contest.

His breathing was clipped and slightly ragged as he recovered from the exhaustion of passion. Sweat trickled down the side of his face. The soft sheets beneath him drank it with thirst. His eyes gazed at the wrinkled body lying next to him. Her wrinkles matched nearly all of his own. His lips curled into a boyish smile, though his outer-layer betrayed his true age. He felt her pale hands against his chest, her fingers running over the gray silken hair curled together lay there. Her hands were a stark contrast against his skin; his dark wrinkles made her pale hands seem to glow in the darkness. He felt her warmth, her spirit, her love as they moved closer together underneath the single sheet.

His thumb brushed the white hair back from her eyes, stroking her cheek gently. He felt the sweat on her too, a pure sweat from passion, lust, and love. Her storm cloud colored eyes gazed up at him. Her spirit flared brightly inside them. His heart leapt in his chest when he saw it, when her aura combined with his own. All of their years together had brought them closer as lovers and friends. The fire in her eyes reminded him of the first time he had seen her. The very thought twitched the corners of his mouth into a tight smile.

Moonlight pulled itself over the windowsill, poking its head into the room, and watched the two. Her back was to it, but his face was revealed in the light. He pulled her close, his arms wrapping around her, her own clinging to him. Their legs intertwined with the passion of the experience. Their love had been shared in the most intimate of ways, shared in the way they chosen never to share with another. They were together, for all time, and no one could take that from them.

She trembled. He knew why. All of the obstacles they had overcome, the hatred, the separations, the misunderstandings, all of them had been obstacles that should have torn them apart. But they endured. They fought. They lived, loved, and learned. They stood side by side against the staunchest opponents, never once flinching or faltering. And in the end they had won. He rubbed her back, thinking of the first time that he had comforted her. She cried, he soothed. And there had been many times his tears stained her shoulder and her hands relieved his burdens. Their devotion kept them strong. They truly were truly bonded.

Life had been full of challenges. Yet their love moved them through any obstacle. He combed his fingers through her hair, watching her with his dark eyes. She sighed in content, pressing harder against him, the moonlight tickling her face with its fingers. Their hearts beat in sync, the echo of emotion permeating throughout the room.

“I love you.” Her voice was small and sweet, filled with a hint of soft summer breezes. Her eyes watched him. Silvery tears glistened at the corners. He pulled her closer, feeling her warmth and love wrap tenderly around him.

“I love you too, angel.” She put her head to his chest and he combed his dark fingers through her hair. The moonlight’s gentle fingers entwined them in its loving grasp and the breeze blew through the open window, enveloping the room in a refreshing coolness.

They had endeavored their entire lives to do all the things that they had set out to do: raise a happy, loving family and acquire the key to happiness. They had completed both. Even in their twilight years happiness was theirs. Even in peaceful bliss of each others arms after a passionate night. Even then they accomplished all they set out to do.

He watched her glistening eyes and kissed her brow as she smiled. He waited for so many years, through untold hardships to be one with her. And she had done the same, enduring everything with equal ferocity and determination as he. And now they were one, a singular vessel of finality.

Watching her, he smiled and told her again of his love before his eyes closed. He knew hers had as well. The last thing he saw, the last image in his mind as he lay with her in his arms and he in her arms, was her eyes, with the ever-present beautiful soul burning in them. And then they drifted off to sleep as one, lying snuggled together under a single sheet with the moon throwing its luminescent fingers hands their bodies.

Their daughter came to visit them in the morning and unlocked the door. Nothing was cooking and the television wasn’t on. She went to the kitchen and called for them, opening up some of the windows to let fresh air into the house. She checked the coffee pot. Nothing was in it. Her father, though having not drank coffee for most of his life, had just recently needed the caffeine boost to wake him up in the morning. And if the coffee wasn’t brewed, it meant they were still asleep. She half laughed to herself. Her mother and father never slept passed 11 o’clock. She headed to the bedroom.

When her amber eyes took them in, she gasped. She gasped, not out of disgust, not out of the vulgar display, but out of fear. She knew. She choked back a sob. She knew. Railing against her self-control, tears rolled down her cheeks. They lay together, naked, with only a white sheet over them. Their eyes were closed and they faced each other, cradled in one another’s arms. Sleeping peacefully, she knew.

She had been raised to understand sacrifice, to comprehend an archaic gesture that it was said only the greatest of men could make. She had seen it in her parents. The way their eyes looked at each other and their mouths whispered each other’s names. She remembered vividly the way her father watched her mother reading to her when she was only five. She remembered the way her mother smiled when her father tried to teach her how to play guitar. She remembered the way her father would take her into his studio, show her how everything worked, and let her listen to what he was working on. She remembered fondly how her mother would take her into her lap as she worked on the computer, telling her all about the stories she wrote.

She always marveled at the way her father was able to give her mother something new every week and how her mother was always taken by honest surprise and wonder. She fantasized about her own husband doing the things her father had done for her mother and the joy that would fill her own heart.

But she remembered most of all how they felt about one another. How her father would whisper and say the sweetest things to her mother and how her mother would make special knick-knacks for the sake of giving them to her father. And how her father treasured those special heart-given things.

She knew this was the way they would pass; resting in each other’s arms for all time. The tears fell away but not in sadness. There was only the happy clarity of understanding as she watched them lying cuddled together in the center of the vast bed. She smiled and slowly walked to the side of the bed. And she leaned over first kissing her mother’s forehead and then her father’s. She pulled the sheet up to their shoulders and smiled sweetly at both of them.

“I love you mom and dad. You two get some sleep now.” And then she walked out slowly, closing the door behind her, leaving them to sleep in each other’s arms for all time.

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The leaves rustled with the wind’s delicate fingers combing through them. Slashes of sunlight penetrated to the forest floor here and there, highlighting fleeting glimpses of fauna in motion. In the distance, birds clicked their mating calls and were answered with almost identical sounds. A squirrel darted up a tree with its booty in hand, proud to store something away in its alcove.

Samantha smiled through the fading pain. There was at least some solace in what had come to pass. There would be beauty enveloping her in its tender embrace. She swallowed back the lump in her throat. Thick iron greeted her senses. In a body going completely numb, there was at least that feeling.

The squirrel scampered down the trunk of oak and stood on a nearby rock, staring at her. It cocked its head one-way and then another before leaping from the pedestal and gradually tiptoeing towards her form. Its tiny black eyes watched her face before turning to the fallen tree trunk crushing her hips and abdomen. There, she ended at the tree began. When it looked back, her hand had stilled and her eyes stared unblinking at its tiny face. It cocked its head to the side one last time before darting off in the direction of more fallen booty.

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Note: This was originally submitted for a contest. It hasn’t been edited beyond what was submitted. Originally inspired by a Coheed and Cambria song. Later re-written to take out all references to said song.

Randall walked the road in silence. His violet eyes stared intently at the horizon spreading before him but he still couldn’t see the great armies that he knew had amassed just beyond his sight. Their numbers were said to drench the very land itself with black bodies. Such implications filled his mind with the most horrible images he could conjuror. He swallowed and released a heavy breath. There was still time. By the light, he still had time.

Frightened eyes watched him from behind the towering gates of the great city, the last bastion of majesty in the fallen kingdom. His heart sank in his chest like a great weight. Every pair of eyes stared at him with hope. They had offered solemn prayers, tokens of thanks, and kind words on his journey. They had steeled his will to an act he knew would either liberate or damn them. It hadn’t mattered that because of him they had found themselves in the terrifying situation his people now faced. It hadn’t mattered that he had unknowingly released a plague that had taken most of the kingdom’s populace while they slept. He was their savior. Their eyes echoed that sentiment.

Randall found his eyes darting amongst the faces in search of the one that buoyed his spirits. There she stood near the front in all her youthful wonder with her arms stretching toward him and her bottom lip tucked squarely between her teeth. Tears glistened at the corners of her eyes. He sucked in sharply. If there was anything that gave his noble mission pause, it was the thought of her. It was because of her that he had taken all the chances he had, hoping desperately to prevent her death as she lay wasting away in his arms. He had succeeded, of course, but at what cost? Randall smiled. She returned it in kind. At the cost of her beautiful smile; his sweet little Annalina. With iron resolve hammering in his chest, Randall turned to the tower of Fal’thorn spiraling above him, the very tower from which all of their problems had begun and from which he hoped to end them.

Randall pulled the door to the temple open and ascended the stairs inside to the top. As he passed a stained glass window, he heard distant quaking. When the circling staircase afforded him a look at the horizon, he saw the rumors were indeed true. The armies marched across rolling hills, blackening the ground as if it were a living mass coming to trample his people. Roaring flames erupted from the mass, demonic magic hungry for blood. Randall stood transfixed with terror. It had been he who called them into being with his selfishness. He faced the stairs. He had to hurry; for his people and the little girl that called him father.

He took the stairs two at a time, never again pausing to look out the windows. He had lost too much time staring at what faced him. The armies came.

Randall reached the summit and turned to the horizon. With the mountains far to the south enclosing the kingdom, he finally saw the full extent of the army. There was no unsoiled ground beneath its withering mass, moving as one slow being towards them. He swallowed a shiver back down his spine. Before turning away, he stared into the distant mountains where the daemon lords would be patiently waiting as their armies marched. It was there he would direct his anger.

Regret sat in his throat. He had meant to save her, to save his people from a fate worst than mere mortal death, but had instead doomed them to walk as nothing more than ghostly after images of their earthly selves. Even after he had found a way to pull the plague from the lands, he had delivered them into the hands of a menace they had banished thousands of years before; now those exiled lords sought to reclaim what had once been theirs. The tower of Fal’thorn stood as the symbol of that past struggle.

People in the city stared up at him. His eyes danced around in search of Annalina, whom he spotted with her arms outstretched reaching up to him. She mouthed his name. For her he would succeed.

Randall turned to the center of the tower and held his arms aloft. Soft white light pulsated between his palms as his fingers wove around it, growing it as its soft colors turned his purple robes lavender. Staring out at the black armies closing in on them, Randall lifted his arms into the air and sent the ball into the heavens. The ring of steel and murderous chants of daemons finally graced his ears. They were close.

There was only one way he knew to rid his lands of the daemons that now encroached on his people. Not a trace of apprehension pounded with his heart. For her, he would succeed.

Randall’s eyes turned to the heavens as he watched them open. Clouds swirled around silken white light that fell from their midst and bathed the tower. In that light, free of fear, hatred, guilt, and apprehension, he felt only love. He poured that love into the heavens. The people below gasped and held their collective breath in wonderment. Randall’s feet left the ground and he held out his arms as the light pulled him closer. In that moment, Randall gave his ultimate sacrifice.

The light erupted into flames. Randall’s bliss turned into deadly vengeance. The heavens shuddered with a crash. Snaking tendrils of righteous justice seized his heart. In its wake the tower beneath him shuddered violently. The stained glass windows shattered with a roar and each brick moaned and crumbled with the fury of heaven’s blast.

The living flames consumed Randall. Shaking, he splayed his hands out to his sides and screamed before the roar of the fire drowned him out. “Annalina, watch over me!”

The tower exploded in a flash of glory. Chunks of stone skittered across the ground. He felt the fires changing him, reforming his body into their living messenger. He shivered, calling out to Annalina again. “Annalina, watch over me!”

Randall gestured, his unabated hatred directed at the dark mass below him. “I have come as only the heavens are able to give, reformed!”

He pointed. A long tendril of flame and smoke followed his burning arm’s movements. His voice thundered with anger. He could think only of little Annalina behind the gates and the murderous deeds the daemons would have done to her. “For the deeds you have done, Heaven’s message is clear.” He screamed. “I will kill you all!”

Randall rushed to the ground towards the army with the righteous fire of heaven behind him, scorching the ground for miles in either direction. He had but one thought: death. As he struck the front of the army, he heard the howls. He need not look to see them fall. For miles they dropped from the wall of heavenly vengeance sweeping out behind him, smoking, still. He drove further into the heart of the army, felling everything across the field. He knew what they would have done to his people. His sacrifice would be salvation.

Randall screamed as he roared passed the hills and valleys that held the army, into the encampment of daemon lords. All five stood watching, resolutely challenging him with lifeless eyes. They spread their black wings in contention. Randall didn’t wait for them to prepare. He plummeted into them, twisted their already crooked forms with his fire, and cleaved their hearts, pushing their souls back into the nether abyss from which they had come. The thought of Annalina encompassed him.

Randall raced back towards the city, watching his fires consume what remained of the armies. The heavens again opened with their light as he neared the smoking rubble of what once signified the sacred tower. They extinguished the fury undulating his body and wrapped him in a white shroud. The light pulled him closer to the heavens from which he had beseeched help and guidance. In his sacrifice, he had given everything he had: his life.

As he rose, he looked into the city and saw Annalina standing with her arms outstretched pleading for him. Randall answered her with his own. He watched as Annalina’s feet left the ground and her tiny body began floating towards him. She wiggled free from those trying to grasp her and ascended towards him. Randall encircled her with his arms and held her against his breast. Annalina smiled at him and gave him a kiss on his cheek. Her tiny voice whispered a word of thanks to him. Randall smiled into the light as it bathed the two of them before they disappeared through the clouds.

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When the rain stopped, Katherine laid there for a long moment, contemplating whether rising was in her best interest. With a sigh, she realized that if she wanted to eat today, it would have to be.

Like every day before today, she rolled off of her bedroll tucked beneath the single cupboard of her barren little room, stood, stretched, and ambled to the door. There was no point putting on any clothing; no one was going to see her. Her greasy hair was tied back in a ponytail and her hands and feet were still covered with the dirt and grime of yesterday’s hunt. She surmised that her face was too but it had been so long since she’d seen her own face, she’d forgotten what she looked like.  A forgettable little girl in a forgettable little room. At least that’s what her parents had once said. Now they didn’t talk because they were dead.

She stepped into the bleak hallway and stood squinting against the little bit of light streaming in through the cracks in the ceiling. When she was little, she remembered standing in that hall and thinking about how big it was. Now it seemed little more than a tomb that wanted to trap her inside every day.

She stepped over charred beams and other debris leading to the stairs ascending towards the early morning sun. She squinted as she crossed the threshold into the world above. Charred and broken beams twisted this way and that from there base of the structure, the skeleton of a home she had once shared with her family. All around, the woods were scorched for miles and the pall of death hung over the once vibrant forest.

(I will one day continue this story… I love the set up and where I will take it)

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Senaiya watched as the man, covered in mud and dripping with water, crawled onto the bank before her, exhaustion rattling his breath. Water ran down his face, dripping from his hair and nose. He looked defeated, beaten by what ever ills had befallen him, but still she did not move, afraid that he would see her through the fog and green shoots of bamboo separating them.

She didn’t need to worry. The man collapsed, lying still on the lake shore, his breath rattling from his lung as he tried to catch it. But he never did. A wisp of steam rose from his lips, the last breath he would ever release and his body stilled.

Horrified, Senaiya stared at the man, too frightened to investigate and too entranced to run. She’d never seen a dead body in all of her years; at least not one so unceremoniously strewn like the man on the shore. He may have had family who didn’t know he was gone, perhaps children and a wife who would miss him. Maybe he was a lowly farmer who had been robbed of his wares by bandits while he went to sell them in town. All she knew was that he was dead.

The lake was oddly silent. From where she sat she couldn’t hear the bubbling of the streams that filled the lake and the normally boisterous cranes were quiet. Even the fog seemed to press in all around her, suffocating.

She was alone with the man, the only witness to his struggling, final breath. She felt responsible. If anything, he needed a proper burial. If he didn’t have one, his soul would haunt her for the rest of her life.

Senaiya swallowed back the horror and revulsion she felt and made her way down the muddy, rain slicked slope to the shore and crossed to the man’s body. When she got close, she paused.

A trail of blood led from the man to the water still lapping at his ripped and water soaked sandals. She swallowed. It had been bandits. Senaiya went to her knees in silent prayer but stopped with her hands clasped before her. There was something on the man. Something distantly familiar. She hesitated. Would it be wrong of her to turn him over and see what it was that had caught her eye? Would the dead understand?

Not wanting to wait for the answers and with the sand digging into her knees, Senaiya crawled across the sand, gripped the man’s shoulders, and pushed him onto his back.

Of all the things that had given her pause since the man had crawled upon the shore and exhaled his final dying breath, what was on his chest made her faint and sick. There was only one other place she had seen that perfectly etched, pure white symbol: on her.

Against her will, she reached out and touched the symbol. When she did, the man’s eyes opened. She wanted to scream, but her voice was caught in her throat. Unbidden, the man sat up and stared at her. His eyes watched her, not exactly into her own, but through her, as if he was seeing her from a great distance, and she knew that he was. He was seeing her from the echoes of death. Senaiya tried to move away but the man grabbed her wrist, held her as she felt bile rise up in her throat and her heart thunder so hard it almost drowned out the soft lapping of the water on the shore.

He pulled her closer. His strength was so much greater than hers, perhaps the strength lent by the Gods upon his death. She tried to get away but she couldn’t, he held her too tight. When they were near enough that their faces almost touched, he opened his mouth. “Do not let the child emperor have you. Escape.”

She opened her mouth to ask a question but he was gone. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell back upon the sandy shore in the same position he had been before, death once again claiming his person. Senaiya peeled her wrist out of his cold grip and backed away from the shore. Against her will, she vomited on the sand, hacking and retching as that morning’s breakfast came out in great chunks. When the digested food came no more, she spit, looked at the body one last time and started back up the slick slope. She needed to get away. Whoever had killed the man would look for him. She didn’t want to be there when they came. She needed to get back home.

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