Nedim knew the worth of things. He also knew that not all virgins were beautiful. His sister was outright ugly. He suspected that would be the pool from which the virgins were drawn. He also suspected that was the very reason women were required to wear a niqab or burkha. Ugly women could have beautiful eyes.
There was one thing about martyrdom Nedim didn’t know and it bothered him a great deal. Would he have a fully functional body in paradise? He had seen what was left of martyrs on the news. Logic told him that unless you got a new body in paradise, the quantity of women (virgin or otherwise) didn’t matter. Then again, did you even qualify as a martyr if the police (or whatever these men were) simply beheaded you in public and you never claimed any infidel lives?
The interrogator and Nedim sat staring at one another, each waiting for the other to blink. To an onlooker, it would have looked like two children having a staring contest at school. The simple truth was that the other men were waiting for Nedim to crack. One of them would have certainly hit him again if they had realized his mind had left the room and become completely tangled up in the virgin problem.
When Nedim’s mind finally came back to the room, he noticed the other man had picked up a silver pen and had been doodling on the pad. Nedim didn’t take his eyes off the man, but his field of vision revealed there was now a lot of ink on the once clean white pad. None of it stood out as words, so it must have been doodles.
A little voice in the back of Nedim’s mind said he should be asking for a trial. The big voice of logic told him these men had never shown him badges, didn’t wear uniforms, and made no claims to any government affiliation. A public trial was not going to be an option. That big voice said his body was going to be found on a street near his mosque with a proclamation pinned on it and his head a few feet away. There was only one way out of this, and that was not to blink. The first point of yielding had to come from the other side of the table, or this was over.
Without taking his eyes off him, the other man placed the confession in front of him and laid the Cross pen on top of it. A blow to the back of Nedim’s head came with the words “sign it.” Thus ended the staring contest, with a cheat.
His hands were roughly untied, he right hand brought to the pen while the left was held behind him. “Sign it,” said the man calmly from across the table.
“I am a good Muslim, nothing more,” responded Nedim.
The man reached in his suit jacket and pulled out a folded newspaper page. He unfolded it and laid it before Nedim. “Good Muslims don’t kill other Muslims,” was the man’s quiet reply. “You are not a martyr and you will not be welcomed into paradise. How could you possibly atone for this in the few short hours you have to live?”
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