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Military, Political, Thriller, Aviation,
Espionage, Special-Operations, International, Spy

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!

 

THE INNOCENT - Chapter One

 

 

 The mother finished washing her baby and wrapped a clean white towel snuggly around her small body. She held the little girl in her arms, rocking her back and forth. “I love you,” she cooed. A tear rolled down her cheek as she caressed the young child. She exposed a breast to place a nipple in the baby’s mouth, prompting the freshly cleansed child to begin sucking. Her thoughts drifted to everything she went through that brought her to this stage in her life. Nothing made sense. The only wonderful thing she had left was the living soul in her arms. Like every woman, she yearned for a loving relationship with a caring husband, family of children and a secure house. A little nest every woman in her village desired, until the Americans came and murdered her husband. Tragically, it would never be.

She laid the baby on the table and proceeded to dress her. From a rope stretched across the room, she unclipped a small white cotton blouse and held it against the wiggling frame. The day prior, the Iman gave her a sheet of white virgin cloth, a spool of thread and a single needle. He told her to lay the baby on the folded material, draw an outline, and then cut and stitch the edges together to make a small gown. She also needed to do the same for herself. The cloth felt like cardboard, making it easy to cut and sew, but once she had the gowns complete, she needed to wash the fabric to make it pliable.

Pulling the cloth over the baby scratched the delicate skin causing her to cry. When her baby enters paradise, the cleansing and the pure white cotton will allow for a beautiful beginning—the Iman told her this in preparation for their sacrifice. The two would be together - forever -without the threat of war, starvation or what she already endured. It has to be this way.

With her baby fed and clean, she began to prepare herself. She poured a five-gallon drum of cool water into a rusted catch basin, striped off her soiled clothes and started the process of washing her body, using a bar of soap to lather her hair and finishing by scrubbing her feet. The brown murky water in the basin matched the color of her skin, now a slurry of dirt and dried blood. She poured the coffee colored water into a hole in the floor that emptied along the outside wall and repeated the process until the water became clear—her purification now complete. She had to have every part of her body clean for her entry into paradise. It has to be this way.

She shook her newly made undergarments, relaxing the fabric until it became pliable enough to dress. She tucked her long black hair underneath a hajib, pulling the fabric across her cheek to hide the thick scar that ran from her ear to above her breast. The goal was to get the marines to regard her as another mother pushing a stroller, versus repulsed by her ugliness. She hated the scar. It reminded her of what could have been, then as quickly taken. If she could draw the marines closer, out from behind their cement barrier, this would be all the better. They all needed to die for what they did. By sacrificing herself, the Iman told her she would meet her husband again in a beautiful place—a paradise. Without him, she and her baby would starve. No righteous man would take her as his wife, since another had already made her a mother. Her sacrifice would ensure her family would always be together. It has to be this way, she again chanted in her head.

A soft knock on the locked door forced her out of her solitude, making her wince with the realization this stage in her life was about to end. She picked up her baby, holding the warmth close to her chest. “Please come in.” Seeing the Iman enter caused her to tremble. “Is it time?”

He shook his head. “We are still waiting for the final piece. I see you have prepared yourself for your journey.” After stepping into the room, he made sure to lock the door behind him. He came to where she stood and held her shoulders at arm’s length.

She flinched when his fingers touched her cheek, pushing her hair away from her neckline to expose her ugliness.

“Do not be afraid. You are a very beautiful woman. Your journey is almost over. We will sit together while we wait.” He directed her to a wooden bench along the wall. From a large satchel he carried, he removed a Koran wrapped in sacred cloth, opened it and read her a passage.

 

 

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