Greetings, Reading Friends and New Subscribers! We have David’s new “Militant of Mercy” short story for you today, which includes all three parts of “An ISIS Militant Receives Mercy.” Be sure to catch our news after the story. Enjoy!
Militant of Mercy – Part I
by D.I. Telbat
Alper Hanieyeh laid down his AK-47 and stared at the carnage his ISIS death squad had just wreaked. The Christians, whom they called Nazarenes, had died almost peacefully. A few of the older men had raised their heads proudly, and most of the women had clung to each other in tearful defiance. In the seconds before his fellow jihadists had pulled their triggers, Alper had noticed that one woman even smiled and nodded at him, as if she knew what she would face after death. Such bravery! Had that been love on her face?
Alper knew he wasn’t that brave, not when it came to dying. That’s why he killed, because he was afraid. The god he served made him fear. But this woman who had smiled—this was the last incident in a series of incidents that left Alper to wonder why he served a god of fear. Why not the God of mercy, like the Christians served?
As his militant companions piled into commandeered trucks and drove away, Alper remained standing next to his rifle. His friends would expect him back at base camp by dark. It wasn’t too rare for a soldier of Allah to remain behind to loot and rob—as long as he returned to fight the next day. But Alper knew he wouldn’t be fighting again, and he wouldn’t be seeing his militant friends again, either.
He knew most of the Koran by memory, so he mumbled Surah 9:5 as he stared at the heap of bodies before him:
“Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.”
Could this be a merciful, loving god who demanded such terror from him?
Walking over to the dead Christians, he plucked a book from one of the defiant dead men’s hands. Alper knew it was a Bible. He’d burned thousands of them over the years, so he recognized it instantly.
Turning from the bodies, he looked after his fellow militants, their trucks hidden by clouds of dust as they drove off to boast of their exploits for Allah. They would come for him next, he thought. They would know he’d abandoned them to join the Christians, and his commanders would want to catch him to make an example of him. Allah ruled by fear, so his commanders ruled by fear. But who was this God of Love?
Alper tucked the Bible inside his combat vest, picked up his pack, and started walking in the opposite direction. His rifle remained on the rocky ground behind him. He needed to find a Christian. And this time, he had questions, not bullets.
The End of Militant of Mercy, Part I
Militant of Mercy – Part II
by D.I. Telbat
Alper Hanieyeh avoided the gunfire of battling ISIS factions by hiding behind the last remaining wall of a bank building. He knew it had been a bank because the gigantic safe still stood amongst the collapsed rubble.
He passed the vault and ducked into an alley as a stray bullet bit at his heels. As he crouched in the alley, he found himself looking into the faces of a family of ten men, women, and children. The nearest man, about Alper’s age, wore a bandage on his cheek. Part of the wound was exposed. It looked like a ricochet had barely missed the man’s eye.
“I’m looking for Nazarenes,” Alper said.
“So are they.” The injured man gestured at the sound of gunfire. “When they aren’t fighting each other.”
“Papa!” A teenage girl tugged at her father’s shoulder. “It’s Alper the Merciless! The militant!”
Alper felt his heart sink. This was the third group of civilians he’d stumbled upon, and they probably wouldn’t help him, either—because they recognized him from his merciless life and public killing.
“Where’s your rifle, Alper the Merciless?” The man moved closer, away from his family’s whimpers. “We are Nazarenes.”
“I have this instead of a rifle.” Alper reached into his combat jacket and drew out a Bible he’d taken off a Christian he and his companions had killed. “I’m ready to know the God of love. And of . . . mercy.”
“Alper the Merciless wants mercy?” The man’s bottom lip trembled. “Our God has blessed me with being the one who will lead you to the Nazarene.”
The man held out his hand, tears in his eyes. Alper’s heart ached, feeling compassion from a man who owed him none. He reached out and grasped the Nazarene’s hand.
“And I will be the one who listens to your words.”
“We will call you Alper the Merciful from now on.” The man waved his hand. “Come. Have you eaten?”
“Not for two days, since I left my unit.”
“Then we will talk over bread, and we will read from your Bible about the Bread of Life!”
The End of Militant of Mercy, Part II
Militant of Mercy Part III
by D.I. Telbat
Alpar “The Merciful” Hanieyeh clung weakly to life as he looked down at his combat vest. He lay behind a burned-out vehicle. The stain of blood across his vest was spreading, the bullet having entered midway up his ribcage. Instead of fear at the thought of death, he considered what joy awaited him in the presence of Jesus, the True Merciful One.
For two weeks, Alper had been a Christian, or Nazarene, as they were called in Arabic. But for twenty years, he’d been Alper the Merciless, the killer of Christians. He’d lived by the gun, and now he would die by the gun. But unlike his past life of vanity, his death wouldn’t be in vain.
“Alper!” His spiritual father, a man with a scab on his cheek from a militant’s bullet, knelt at Alper’s side. “Is it bad? You’re losing blood!”
“It’s okay.” He glanced to his left where he still clutched a backpack. “Take the Bibles. You have to. The others need to know . . .”
“I can come back for you.” The man took the pack and pulled it over his shoulders.
“There won’t be time.” Alper smiled through the cold sensation. He knew what it meant. “Don’t be afraid for me. You showed me God’s mercy and love. He’s in my heart.”
“I don’t want to leave you alone.”
The sound of militants’ voices drew closer.
“Go, or the others will never get the Bibles!”
“Die well, Alper the Merciful. My family will remember you as a brother.”
He touched Alper’s cheek, then darted away. Alper was alone in his pain for only a moment. A shadow suddenly loomed over him.
“Hey, look, everyone! It’s Alper!” One of Alper’s old ISIS commanders handed his rifle to another militant. The hardened man drew a long knife. “You’re helping the Nazarenes against us now? Then you’ll die a Nazarene death!”
But Alper only smiled and closed his eyes. He felt his life drain away before the wicked man could torture him to death. In his last thought before eternity, he prayed his smile touched his commander’s heart as Alper had once been touched by another’s smile. After all, it had been a Christian’s smile that had sent him searching for God’s mercy!
The End of Militant of Mercy, Part III
D.I. Telbat’s new novel, Distant Contact, Book One in The COIL Legacy, made its debut this past week! Click the title to find the direct link to the eBook on Amazon. David is taking part in the Select Program where this novel will be available exclusively through Amazon for a time. Please leave your comment or review there when you finish the book. David wants to know if his book hit the mark. Thank you!
AWARD: David was notified that his eBook, Called To Gobi, is the GOLD WINNER in the 2016 eLit Book Awards under the Religious Fiction Category! 🙂 Click the link to see the listing. We also plan to have this novel in paperback later in 2016.
COMING UP: Join us next time for David’s book review on End of the Spear, an inspiring book by Steve Saint. And the following week, we have another short story for you, “Moved by Kindness” by D.I. Telbat. Thanks for reading!