Part 12 (Final)

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Tehran's Old Ghosts

A short story set during the Iranian Revolution in 1978. Eight westerners find themselves trapped in their hotel. Little do they realise that the trouble on the streets is the least of their problems.

 (Part 12)

                                            Π

He kept the ten floor tower of the Wilkinson behind him, using it to keep him going in the right direction. There were roads to cross though and every one of them came with its own horrors. Civilian dead in large numbers, some riddled with bullets. Women and children too, some looking as though they'd been shot while running away. The dead children affected him badly, causing him to stop and throw up in exposed locations. Not that his stomach had much left in it to throw up.

"This is a worse hell than the hotel." He muttered.

The noise of the vehicles warned him about the approaching soldiers. There was something about the shouting which told him the noise was the Iranian army and not many civilians owned large armoured vehicles. He hid just inside the open door of an already wrecked house, watching the patrol go past. They all looked so young and scared.

Just two blocks away he found dead young men in the same uniforms, wiped out by the people's revolution, their bodies left to rot on the street. Not quite left in peace though. Harrison heard a door open and hid as best he could, crouched behind a dumpster.

"Bastards !" Shouted the old lady.

She looked so tiny and frail, yet she'd just kicked one of the dead soldiers. She kicked him hard again, right in the centre of his ribs. She moved on, kicking another dead young soldier. Seemingly satisfied with her efforts, she slowly walked back into her house and closed the door. A small act of rebellion in a very nasty war. Something came back to Harrison, an incident with Anna and her daughter. Emma had become trapped in barbed wire, panicking and getting herself completely tangled up. He'd calmed the child, slowly and carefully freeing her, right in front of a guard post. He still had a few deep scars in his hands from that wire. Had that been it ? The incident that made him in some way worthy ? Not worthy enough for his soul to be taken to paradise, or wherever the phantoms took it, but worthy enough not to be ripped apart ?

"Over here, I saw him."

Crap ! A man with wild eyes pointing at him and shouting. They'd think he was American of course, all people with western feature were thought to be Americans. There was the sound of running feet, two of them his. Harrison ran through several gardens, clambering over fences and trampling people's price plants. He was fit, thanks to a lot of hiking and walking in Wales and Cumbria. Soon there was only one face still clambering over fences behind him, the wild man with his glaring eyes.

"You're going to die."

Yeah, yeah, he'd heard many similar shouts while being driven through and around Tehran. He doubted if the gaunt wild man was a match for the Angels of Death and he'd survived their attentions. Harrison climbed over a six foot fences and hid in the bushes just the other side.

"Crazy guy, you fucked with the wrong man tonight." He mumbled.

As that terrible hate filled face appeared over the top of the fence, Harrison aimed his gun and fired. He saw a hole appear in the man's forehead, as his would be attacker fell backwards. There was a temptation to cheer, but he resisted it. His gunshot was just one among thousands that night, but someone might come to investigate. Harrison ran between the houses and found a road leading towards the Wilkinson. He could still see its ten storeys, the helipad lights flashing their welcome.

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