“Listen carefully,” he said, “this won’t be easy for you to hear.”
Young Lamba raised her eyes to her father, Dagar.
Dagar choked, “Allah willing, you are to die for your blasphemy.”
And yet even now Lamba could not refuse the divine revelation binding her; binding her like the hide straps on her legs.
The angel had appeared to Lamba as she gathered fire wood on the steep hillside above her village. The angel was like an eagle and it shone a light upon her. Lamba fell backwards and she then felt the wind of its voice speaking in her language, “Lamba, Oh Beloved, do not be afraid. I am Ariael. I bring to you a new Commandment. Tell the women of your tribe that they are no longer a field for their men to plough. Tell the women that they are not the enemies of men. Tell the women that they are no longer worth one-half of a man; they are of equal worth in the eyes of Allah. And, Beloved Lamba, tell the women they shall not go to Hell with their unrighteous husbands.”
And then Ariael had whirred away into the heavens. Lamba arose in fear and wonder. She stumbled down the steep hill considering all that had been revealed to her. When she arrived in her village she had immediately opened her mouth and had begun to speak the new Commandment to all of the women. The woman had listened in astonishment at her words and had begun to whisper among themselves, some heads nodding, one head shaking.
The men soon found out what was being said among the women. One of the women had betrayed Lamba to them. The men immediately went together before Lamba’s father Dagar, their Warlord, and demanded that Lamba be tried for blasphemy by the Tribal Court. The Elders of the village sat in judgment.
Dagar pleaded with Lamba, “You do not recant. You do not ask the Elders for forgiveness.”
Lamba’s punishment was unanimously agreed upon: death by crucifixion. And as an extra measure she was to be crucified by the women of the village as a cautionary lesson for all of them.
The women had to watch together as Lamba was beaten by the men of the village for three days. Lamba’s father Dagar hid his face in his tent and wept with shame. On the third day Dagar was called out by the Elders to beat Lamba. When Dagar saw his daughter’s face it was as if knives struck his eyes. He bled tears of fire.
Lamba was able to raise her head to him and with all her soul she smiled into his eyes, “Do not be afraid, Father. I forgive you,” and she closed her eyes and lowered her head unto his shame. Dagar struck Lamba where his blows would hurt Lamba the least and the Elders turned a blind eye out of their respect for their Warlord.
At last Lamba was stripped of her clothing by the men who each tore a handful from her and threw it into a fire. Her naked bruised and soiled body was laid down upon the cross made of sacred Deodar Cedar. In the center of the village the women bound Lamba to the cross and their tears stained the wood.
Lamba spoke comfort to each of the women as they wept, saying, “I have come to this willingly. I am chosen of Ariael. You have no guilt.”
The women raised up the cross with Lamba bound upon it.
For three nights and three days the women of the village were to be forced to watch Lamba suffer. If she would not die by the sundown of the third day she was to be stoned to death by the women.
Though Lamba was suffering she spoke down unto the women, saying “Those who believe in that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter, these depend on guidance from their Lord. As for the Disbelievers, in their hearts is a disease that sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering.”
The women watched, prayed, and listened all night and all the next day as Lamba grew delirious and alternately quoted from the Quran as it had been taught to her, spoke in tongues, and then recited the new Commandment, as the men called out insults and tried to interrupt her soft voice as she blasphemed. Dagar was obliged to cast at least a half-hearted epithet.
The women of the village listened all the harder.
On sundown of that second day Ariael suddenly appeared from the heavens above Lamba’s feverish head and shone a light upon her. The women fell back with a gasp from their hearts. The men hollered to each other in fear. Lamba rolled her head back and said to Ariael, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Ariael hovered and with a lamenting voice cried, “Lamba, Lamba, Oh, God, Lamba, I am so sorry, you must believe me: this was not the plan!”
[CLOUD NINE COMMAND. THIS IS ARCHANGEL. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON THERE? WHY IS THE ARIAEL DRONE DEPLOYED?]
[ARCHANGEL, THIS IS CLOUD NINE COMMAND. DR. ORISON HAS BARRICADED HIMSELF INSIDE THE PSY-OP DRONE CONTROL. SHE’S GONE ROGUE]
Ariael fluttered up and down as if studying Lamba’s broken body, shouting in a distorted, weeping voice, “No, no, no. I’m going to save you, Lamba! I will save you!”
[CLOUD NINE COMMAND, THE BITCH IS TRYING TO SAVE HER GODDAMN CAREER, GODAMMIT. SHIT: ORISON WANTED TO FIGHT THE JIHADISTS BY FREEING THEIR WOMEN. I OPPOSED THAT IDIOTIC BLEEDING-HEART PLAN FROM THE BEGINNING.]
Dagar had grabbed his long rifle and now raised it at the flitting Ariael. It would be like shooting an eagle.
[ARCHANGEL TO DR. ORISON, GODAMMIT, THIS IS TREASON. THIS MISSION IS TERMINATED!]
[NOT TREASON, ARCHANGEL. A COURT-MARTIAL OFFENSE, FOR SURE. ROBERT, I DON’T CARE. WE HAVE GOT TO SAVE HER OR WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE JIHADISTS.]
Dagar fired his long rifle. The bullet struck Ariael and ricocheted down into Lamba’s side. She gasped and her chin dropped to her chest. Ariael spiraled around Lamba’s head, faster and faster.
[GODDAMIT, DIANE, YOU’RE LOSING THE DRONE TO THEM!! SCUTTLE IT!! SCUTTLE THE DRONE!!]
[GOD FORGIVE ME, LAMBA…]
Suddenly Ariael burst into a halo of blinding phosphorescent light over Lamba’s head as the self-destruction mechanism activated. White hot embers of liquid metal rained upon the men and the women of the village. Dagar shielded his face with his hand and it was burned. He saw then Lamba and he fell to his knees wailing.
Lamba’s entire body was rising to the heavens in white flame.
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