I am the bringer of life and a warrior for God.
God sent me to kill you.
You think you know God. You think God is on your side.
I know the mind of God. He has plans.
I will blow you up, as many of you as possible, and you will be killed. The carpenter’s nails and ball bearings will pierce your skin and organs with the speed of bullets. Sacred nails. Sacred ball bearings. Sacred bomb.
There won’t be much of my body left either. But I will go to God. I will cleanse my soul with your blood.
That will be God’s revenge for your crimes against our people. God wants our tribe to rise again. That’s why I’m here, at your doorstep. The filthy gates of your temple. Your money, your books, your very thoughts—all excrement. You’re all just dirty little pigs to God.
My father taught me that.
And so the war will begin.
The Dry Run
The Manhattan heat pushed me down on the sidewalk until there was nowhere else to go but against the wall of a bank branch. Even at nine o’clock at night, sweat poured out of me. My shirt was soaked, my pants blotched. My black frame glasses slid down my nose.
Across 79th Street, the temple rose up, a stone wall four stories high. The wall had no decoration on it. There was small lettering near the entrance that told you the building’s purpose. It didn’t matter that the marquee said “Upper East Side Kawidtodian Center.” To me, every word meant death.
A man and a woman walked by me sitting on the sidewalk, next to the bank. The woman, black-haired, leggy in a short red skirt, tittered as she passed, clung to her companion. I didn’t notice what the man was wearing.
“Is he drunk?”
“I don’t know. Just walk faster.”
“Why is he wearing a blue and white windbreaker? In this heat?”
Wasn’t it just like a woman to notice the details that don’t matter? I was wearing a blue windbreaker with white stripes to match the favored colors of God’s enemies.
“Don’t know, hon. Let’s keep moving.”
They swept by. I hated the two, especially the girl, wished I could kill them also, right there.
I could have. Underneath the windbreaker was enough bomb to take out a good chunk of a city block. But the temple was empty and killing just two people who were clearly not my target would be an empty, pathetic gesture. The moment was not right.
My name is Akeyde. For a time, I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want to face up to what I was.
My namesake is inscribed in our tribe’s holy book. I am the beginning and the end.
Or so I thought.
Book of Heylik Shetyn, Chapter XXXII:
A gray mountain stood over Akeyde. Clouds surrounded the sky, yet there was no rain. Most of the ground was like sand. God looked down.
Huts smoked with cooking fires coming through holes in the roofs. Animal hides were beaten into roofs for the huts.
Akeyde was walking in sandals. He was seven years old. Akeyde’s father was ahead on the path.
“Akeyde, come now,” he said, speaking the sacred language of the forefathers. His name was Zan, but Akeyde did not dare call him that. He was an elder of the tribe. Akeyde followed him on a path up the mountain.
“Where are we going?” Akeyde asked his father.
“Up the Heylik Shetyn Mountain.”
“It is a holy place.”
“What will we do there?”
“God will let me know.”
Akeyde and Zan walked for many hours. The sunlight grew strong. The clouds went away. The heat from the sun was like that of God Himself.
“Father, I am tired.”
Father carried Akeyde for a time. He found a cave on the path. There he set Akeyde down, in the cool of the dark place.
Akeyde drank water from his pouch. He slept in the cave. Zan went away. He found a lamb in a thicket. He drew a knife from the folds of his robe. With it, he cut the throat of the lamb and carried the dead beast to the cave.
A wolf came to the cave. It was a giant wolf. The animal was hungry. Akeyde awoke and hurried to the back of the cave.
Zan talked to the wolf.
“I offer you a lamb I have killed,” Zan said. “We were to eat this lamb, but I give it to you.”
Zan removed the lamb from the cooking place in the cave. He set it down before the wolf.
The wolf ate the lamb. Zan said that was good.
“This is the way of things,” he said.
The next day, Zan and Akeyde came out of the cave. The wolf was there. He followed the two, Father and Son, as they walked up the stone path.
Akeyde did not want the wolf to be with them. Zan said “You walk ahead. I will walk between you and the wolf.”
The heat of the sun fell on their faces. There were no trees on the mountain.
“There is no place to hide from God,” Zan said.
They walked until the end of the day. Akeyde fell down on the path of rock.
Zan picked Akeyde up. He took the boy to a high place on the mountain. Then the son was set down on a plain of grass. There was a single tree in the middle of the grass.
The wolf was with them. Akeyde was afraid.
Akeyde’s father said, “Do not worry. The wolf will not hurt you. God is with me.”
In the evening, Zan stood up. From the sky came a point of light. The night was black, yet the point of light grew into a knife. The knife grew down and touched Father in the chest.
Then the knife withdrew back into the sky.
“I will do as you say,” Zan said. Then the man and the boy slept.
The next day, the wolf knocked over the tree in the middle of the grass. Zan cut the tree into strips of wood.
“Why are you cutting the tree?” Akeyde asked.
Zan did not look at Akeyde. “We are going to make an offering to God.”
“Should it please Father that I help?”
“No. You can rest, Akeyde.”
Zan cut the wood into four cubits of beams, two for the arms, two for the legs. He bound Akeyde to the beams with rope on the wood. Then Zan drew a long knife out of the folds of his garment. The blood from the lamb was still on it.
“Father, why are you doing this?”
“God said we must honor His Word.”
“I do not understand.”
“God said that just as we gave the lamb to the wolf, so must we give ourselves to Him. He asked for a sign that I have faith in Him. You are the sign, Akeyde.”
Akeyde looked at the wolf. It had sad eyes.
“Will it please God that I die?”
“Yes, son. It will please God.”
Then Akeyde saw a tear come to his father.
“Do not be sad, Father. If God wants this, I will do it, with great gladness in my heart.”
With hands clasped as one over the handle, Zan raised the knifeover his head.
“You are truly pure, Akeyde. I hope God is pleased with my gift to him.”
Akeyde looked at his Father. “You are a great man, Father. You will be a great leader of our people.”
“It will be quick and merciful, Akeyde.”
The knife came swiftly into the boy’s chest. Akeyde went to God. And Zan and his people were blessed by their faith in Him.
* * *
A bitter conflict fought for nearly three millennia between two ancient religions reaches a critical turning point in modern day New York City as the exiled devotees of each way of life embark on desperate missions of vengeance fueled by a hatred spanning a hundred generations.
Driven from their homeland and mercilessly hunted down, the Zans believe that Akeyde Kletser is the sixth incarnation of the Sacrificial Son, who has returned again to lead them to victory over the Kawidtodians. A reluctant savior, Akeyde walks into battle wearing a wind breaker and a suicide vest, hoping that his ultimate sacrifice will be the catalyst his people need to win the war and return triumphantly to Zandria.
Akeyde's former student Razvarr Abatut and his parents escaped from Kawidtodia with their lives and little else, intensely grateful to be free from the crushing fist of the Pumn's regime. After graduating from college, Razvarr just wants to make a difference, and how better to avenge his tortured father than to strike at the very heart of Kawidtodia and destroy the Blue and White Temple in Shalhak?
From the barren desert plains of Kawidtodia to the dizzying skyscrapers of Manhattan, the intertwining stories of Akeyde and Razvarr, two young men who would give their own lives to see their people to victory, could be torn from today's headlines.
Suicide Sons by Michael Gold, available now for pre-order from Silverthought Press, is a savage indictment of those who would kill the innocent in the name of their gods.