Tip Of The Spear - 7

End.

Picture this:

The mountains on the edge of night, three thousand metres above sea level. Within and beyond it, an outcome is precipitated from the actions of many.

In New York, a woman and her puppet raise a mountain of bakelite and clay.

In the heights of the highest peak, a sniper duels a god among the heartbeats of the dead.

In the valley, the dead ascend up the ridge, and a village of twenty descend it, their belongings on their back. At the front, an old schoolteacher with conviction in his eyes, leading the village he’s sworn to protect; at the back, a boy limp on the back of his brother, who turns to look at the caves for one last time.

In the caves, a tall dark man readies a device. He prepares to speak a series of numbers into the mouthpiece—an action that begets further actions, from an uncovering of tarpaulins at the mountain’s base, to the warming up of American jets in Peshawar. Another man readies a gun. The shot that rings out from the caves is not a Kalashnikov or a Browning; it’s a concealed Colt. The scientist’s shot is precise. The numbers never leave the cave.

In their place, the engineer speaks a different set of numbers. A Soviet helicopter reconnoitring the pass diverts its flight path, mysteriously disappearing from radar. An army supply truck pulls off the main road with a lead-lined body bag in the passenger seat. In Kabul, a group of men and women douse their office in gasoline and prepare to burn.

Finally, the last of the numbers reaches the sniper. He grimaces—through the searing pain—and readies his shot.

At precisely the same time, the fakir opens his eyes, sees past the screen of the dead, and screams.

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