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9



Alternity, an Alternate History Novel
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The imam had raised a flat palm at the mention of the substance forbidden by Islam. “It is not the temptations of the flesh that concern me with you, my friend. It is the temptations of the spirit.”

Saifullah dropped his own hands onto his own knees. “I still do not follow.”

The imam sighed softly, through a smile that widened. “It seems, my young friend, that you are in danger of becoming concerned with Western notions of success.” He leaned forward once more, and lowered his voice. “Might I fear that you have grown to admire that which you have pledged yourself to destroy?” He leaned forward even further. “Might I fear that you will hesitate to destroy that which you love?”

Saifullah’s searching eyes shifted back and forth above a body which had tensed. He did not look directly at his interrogator. “I merely wish to make the most of my time on this Earth, imam.”

The imam leaned back, but still leaned forward. “Therein lies the danger, my friend. Take some time off, and rest.” He raised an index finger. “And perhaps use that time to read more of the Koran.”

Saifullah squinted his eyes. “But all of us leave for New York City in the morning.”

The imam wagged the finger. “I have already spoken with the others. That ‘all’ will not include you.”

Saifullah flushed. “I’m being removed from the operation?”

The imam had already dropped the finger. “On the contrary, you will stay behind to--” The finger brushed the beard. “What is the American term? ‘Hold the fort.’”

Now Saifullah’s flush was one of anger. “But there is nothing in the fort to hold. The Americans will be sure to search for me once the others have spread the--”

The imam’s finger stood erect and still in the air, silencing all. “Do not worry about the Americans. They will all be dead soon enough.”


















































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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