In Fiction on November 25, 2013 at 11:14 am



As I wheeled through the streets of Luxor in the bullet-eaten Mahindra—my brother covered in blood and brooding like a lunatic—the crowds stared but kept their distance. At the hotel, I parked down an alley and walked my brother through the back.

“Stay here,” I said, opening the door to my room and nudging him inside. I limped down to the front desk to find Panya hiding behind the office door.

“Father has gone out, Dr. Rosen,” she said meekly.

“That’s alright; you can help me.”

The girl gripped the door like a shield, her thick eyebrows working. She was Oxford educated, and smarter than her father by half, but she was also extraordinarily traditional. It was improper for a man to speak to her alone.

“I’m hurt, Panya,” I said. I held up my bloody hands for her to see. “Please.”

It took another moment, but at last she relented and led me to the back. She bade me sit on a butcher’s block, where she rinsed my wound with hot water and patted it dry with a cotton towel. I could tell she was uncomfortable.

“Your father would tell you this was alright,” I said. “Where is he?”

“You suture poorly,” was Panya’s only reply.

She pulled my clumsy stitching, dabbing carefully where the blood began to run. Her hands were shaking.

“Panya…” I pressed. “Where is your father?”

Slowly, as if heavy chains had been wound about her neck, Panya raised her face to meet my gaze. Her eyes were black wells, overflowing with tears.

“Yesterday morning,” she began, shuddering. “They came for him. They…” She covered her mouth to stifle a sob, and the tears began to run. “They said your name and they took him.”

She fell back and began to cry, but I pulled her to her feet. My enemies had grown bold indeed if they would pluck a man from his home in daylight.

“We need to run,” I whispered.

This story is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge, for which the prompt word was pluck. It was a challenge being limited to that specific form of the word, but hopefully I didn’t work it in too awkwardly.

If you’re interested, this story is also a continuation of my earlier Trifecta award-winning series, The Treatment. Click the link to start from the beginning.

As always, constructive criticism is welcome – so let me know what you think!

  1. A dangerous game…………..

  2. Another story of yours that grabs the heart and the imagination. Beautifully told, and I definitely want to know more. :))

  3. Well Brian, first things first. You are quite the handsome man. I like your picture. If I were even twenty, oh heck, thirty years younger –
    This prompt led you to the start of quite an adventure. Such a good start. I can’t wait to read more.

  4. Nice writing as always, Brian. The emotion seethes. The use of the word is not awkward at all. It fits perfectly.

  5. Compelling story – I, too, want to know more. And I agree, the use of the word was great, not awkward in the least.

  6. gah, so good. I want to hug it.

  7. Excellent flow, pacing an dialogue. You know, the usual:)

  8. Beautiful and haunting. I love the feel of impending doom in this piece. Excellent writing.

  9. They took her father. No wonder she was cold to him. Well written piece.

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