Mystery and Crime Fiction posted October 20, 2018 Chapters:  ...7 8 -9- 10... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Banner discovers something horrible.

A chapter in the book The Wind of God


by Thomas Bowling

Banner had been with his host for over two weeks. Still, His Holiness had expressed no interest in any conversation other than the usual chitchat and repetitive questions like what it's like to fly on an airplane. Eventually, Banner came to the realization the old man wasn't capable of deeper conversation. So, the question remains, where did his sermons come from?

Clearly not from the man sitting before him, repeatedly asking the same questions while traveling across the desert, reciting long, rambling speeches to blood-thirsty Afghans.  This man was incapable of putting more than a couple of sentences together. My theory, there must be another source. Now, it was just a matter of finding out who the author was. Abdul's hands were cut off and the error of his ways was pointed out to him, but confession, made under duress could be recanted. He could still dictate. He was the prime suspect. Banner thought he could bear watching, but that was impossible. He rarely saw him after the first day.

Banner wasn't allowed any contact with The Voice's daughter. Like a fool, he didn't ask her name during their time together. It was driving him mad. One day, he got the idea to just walk through the palace calling out for her, but he quickly dismissed it. This wasn't the movies and he wasn't Dustin Hoffman.

At dinner that night, it was just The Voice and Banner. By now, 
Banner's taste for lamb was dwindling. What started out as one of the best meals he had eaten was now glorified leftovers. There was little conversation at dinner. The old man asked him again about his flight. He never seemed to get tired of hearing about it. Each time, it was as if it were the first time he had heard it. Banner guessed it was. That night, the girl came to Banner's room again. This time Banner asked her name.


“Alisha. Beautiful. We have to be more careful. We were almost caught the other night.”

“Yes, I heard about the guard. We must be careful. To be found out would mean death for both of us.”

At least Alisha knew what she was getting herself into.

They made love. The girl gave herself completely. She was full of passion. Years of emotion all released at once. She had never been with a man before. She had never even touched a man's hand before. Now she wanted to explore every inch of Banner's body. She wanted him to discover hers.

Banner wondered if she was a virgin. Quite an accomplishment for an Afghan princess educated in America, he thought. Banner knew he could never make it through four years at Stanford and come out a virgin. Who could? Maybe an Afghan Princess. She went back to her room and Banner followed her. She protested, but not too much.

After she fell asleep, Banner turned on her computer. He felt dirty, like a jealous boyfriend, searching through a girlfriend's purse. He found the usual files, emails from college friends, vacation pictures, and children, lots of photos of children. Then, Banner found what he was looking for. A recently completed sermon, ready to be published. The same hate-filled vitriol as The Voice's sermon, In fact, it was The Voice's sermon. Banner discovered the horrible truth he suspected, but refused to let come to the surface, Alisha was The Voice of God. A woman could not teach under Sharia law. Her father had become her vessel. He couldn't deliver coherent speeches, but her writings sent out under his name could be distributed. 

Banner realized the implications of his discovery. The mission took a detour. A new target was acquired and it seemed impossible. Surely, Batista would not ask him to kill her, but he knew he would. As he made his way quietly through dark and back to his room, he wished the darkness would engulf him, spare him the inevitable. This was terrible. Banner was devastated. That night, he didn't sleep. He thought of Jesus in the garden. Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But it was his cup. It may be bitter, Though bitter, this cup was fixed. He would have to drink it.

When Banner and Alisha were together, she ignored him like an unwanted schoolboy. He was amazed. She was a master of deceit. Her secret was no longer hidden. He knew exactly who she was.

To be continued . . .

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