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Jul 2014
You can get used to anything--merciless debt, infidelity, death--anything, the photojournalist thinks as he stares out his open hotel window to the beach where two boys lay covered with white sheets.

The bombs fell an hour earlier. Upon impact they didn't so much make a sound as absorb it, syphoning off laughter over mimosas in the first floor cafe, blurring the start-stop of traffic into a shapeless background hiss. He was out there when it happened, on the beach, walking his morning walk.

From one hundred yards he took in the flash, the upheaval of sand, reaching for heaven and then, all at once, subject to gravity's retreat. He knew there would be a second bomb, like when you're cutting a tomato, and you look at your finger then to the knife, and think, I'm going to cut myself, and a couple slices later fulfill the prophecy.

He didn't rush to the boys. He got his camera out of the bag, grabbed the lens, adjusted for distance, for the wane morning light. Boys screamed and ran. He wasn't sure how many, four, five. The second bomb hit. One boy, smaller than the others, rode the sand upwards and back down. The photojournalist thought he tried to get up, but he wasn't sure.

He knew better than to rush over. An unidentified person pointing a vague object at the children on a satellite feed would garner backlash. So he waited, surveying the slight waves break, the gulls continuing flight.

Parents, people he assumed to be parents, moaned in an unfamiliar language. Their sounds though, both guttural and sharp, said all. He approached. A man picked up the smallest boy, his lifeless limbs, doll-like and pierced with shrapnel, hung off to the side.

He took twenty-five shots from behind the lifeguard's post, using the telephoto zoom. He lowered the camera and made eye contact with the father.

Now, in his hotel room, there's an urgent knock at the door. A voice shouts. The email sends. He drops his laptop in the bag with the rest of the gear. A taxi pulls into the roundabout outside.

When he lands he's not sure if he's fractured his ankle or just sprained it. He limps to the door, climbs in, says, "Airport."

"Maa?" the driver says.

The photojournalist punches the seat. The father of the boy, along with three other men, approach.

JJ Hutton
Written by
JJ Hutton  Colorado Springs, CO, USA
(Colorado Springs, CO, USA)   
     Westley Barnes, victoria, Wanderer, ---, Roy and 3 others
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