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8



Alternity, an Alternate History Novel
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Joe clicked off the screen showing the number of marathon applicants from California who had been rejected, and clicked onto the screen showing the Californians who had been accepted. Ten seconds later, he clicked onto the screen showing the Colorado rejections.

It was after he clicked onto the Colorado acceptances screen that Joe stopped, and squinted. His squint was at the name of Hamza Habib, who had indicated his country of origin as Egypt but who was now listed with a Boulder mailing address.

Joe scrolled down once more, stopped, and scrolled up to double-check Habib’s street address. He then scrolled down a second, a third, and a fourth time. Finally, he reached out, to pick up the phone.

############

“I question your commitment to the Cause, my young friend.”

Saifullah looked up from his sip of tea, and slowly lowered the cup that had been provided by his host. “How can you question my commitment, when I have come all the way to America to execute an operation?”

The imam smiled at Saifullah’s impertinence, and set down his own cup of tea. “I have learned that sometimes it is wise to question one’s commitment, precisely because one is in America.”

Saifullah squinted. “I do not follow, imam.”

The imam rested a palm and fingers on each knee bent on the rug on the floor. “My young friend, I will not deny that this country offers many distractions, and perhaps temptations, even for one who has dedicated himself to martyrdom.” Sensing an opening in Saifullah’s façade, the imam leaned forward. “I will not deny that I myself have been tempted from time to time to stray from the path of righteousness.”

Saifullah, softly, set his tea on the floor, and made a small spread of his hands. “I haven’t even drunk alcohol like the others, imam.”


















































The Running Men by W.R. Hammons:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14

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