“Is this the boy you speak so highly of, General?” Nour Ad-Din asked.

“Yes it is.”

Shirkuh’s response to the sultan was stern yet respectful. His recent campaign to help Nur Ad-Din consolidate power had been a success. Alliances were made throughout the Fatimid Caliphate, expanding the sultan’s territorial reign and uniting the Arab tribes under one flag, and against a common enemy: the western crusaders.

Taking back Jerusalem was already a whisper among some, but Nur Ad-Din knew better than to raise the issue prematurely.

“Bring him closer,” Nour’s voice was forceful, but with a gentle undertone that seemed…

I remember the way the dry desert air felt against my face, how everything smelled slightly different due to the lack of humidity. As I got off the plane I noticed the distinct absence of color, there were shades of beige and white everywhere, as if the landscape wanted nothing else, content in the simplicity of the pale beauty that the sun and the sand provided.

It was the summer and I’d just graduated from college. I was taking some time off from graduate school and it was the first summer where I didn’t have to work shifts to help…

The wind blew across the city landscape, spreading the white powder across rooftops and fire escapes, eventually landing on the cold concrete. Phillip thought nothing of it. Just another overblown and exaggerated winter storm that came with too much warning and would soon be leaving center stage, like all other stories in this minute-by-minute world overloaded with information.

“What about the zombies?”


“Hey Phil, are you daydreaming again? What are we saying about the zombies?”

“Fuck Frank, I don’t know. Just write the usual shit. No one is going to read it anyway.”

“You’re a real optimist, aren’t you?”

It was the rain. It was always the rain — it gave him a feeling of despair that he didn’t know what to do with it. But only for the first few minutes. After that, he opened his heart to the possibility that everything washes away with water. The feeling was gone. In its place was the boredom of still life. It wasn’t quiet and peaceful, it was restless and frantic. It was also foreign. …

I was sitting at the bar, minding my own business, trying to put behind me the memories of all those assholes I had to talk to at work by surrounding myself with assholes I could rightfully ignore. In other words, a regular Tuesday night at the watering hole.

I was three Bourbons to the wind when in walked this tall lanky man and sat next to me. He turned to Richard behind the bar and asked him for a drink with alcohol in it. Richard was not amused. He pointed to the shelf behind him without saying a damn word…

Helios was angry. He was angry at his family for taking him across the sea to this foreign land. He was angry at the way they all struggled to make a new life for themselves among strangers. He was angry at the temptations this new world offered — the saloons, the opium dens, the poker games, and the whores. He was angry at his father for not having the fortitude to stay away from those trappings. …

“We danced at night under the stars to worship what was below our feet. Our bodies covered with the dirt that surrounded us. When the sun would rise, we would spit into our hands and breath across our palms, and then hold them up high, welcoming the dawn. This was the chant of the soil. This was our way.”

My great-grandmother taught me the chant and told me stories of her village in Africa, how they lived in harmony with their surroundings and in turn, everything else took care of itself.

I was a slave. My father was a slave…

“You have to flow man. Listen to those cats. They flow — bird, and dizzy, and satchmo, they just turn it on and let it all come out.”

Albert walked up to cafe Bohemia’s unassuming storefront. It was a club, like all the rest. A stage, some seats, a bar, and dim lighting. They all had dim fucking lighting. ln the dark lived the sound of bop and swing, side by side with the cool and moody. It was bright and aggressive and softer than a mother’s caress. It existed only in a world where dichotomy made sense. Only the…

“I don’t think it’s ever rained on New Years day before.”

Lawrence turned to her for a moment and then turned away, continuing to stare out the window, trying to see past the falling water to where the horizon held stars that weren’t obstructed by the the subtle violence of the storm. …

Galal Chater

Short stories only… but really short

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