As this is our first experiment with the publication of fiction, we would like to draw our readers' attention to our future plan of opening our pages to contributions in various genres.
The editors, Prague Watchdog
By Khasukha Magomadov, Chechen Republic
“ Damn it, I’m thirsty!” Yusup wiped his perspiring forehead with the back of the hand and picked up his assault rifle again.
“Well, go and buy some mineral water,” Vakha replied.
“Oh yeah?” Yusup retorted. “If I go down to the kiosk the suicide bombers will come and blow everyone up.”
“Then sit still and stop whingeing,” Wakha said angrily. “You should have thought about the water this morning. Now you’ll just have to wait till we go off duty.”
Yusup and Vakha belonged to a Chechen interior ministry regiment special purpose unit. They had been sitting in ambush for over an hour now. As part of “Operation Anti-Suicide" all fixed and mobile police checkpoints throughout Chechnya were being guarded by soldiers hiding nearby. The plan was to “catch” the suicide bombers by using the police as live bait.
This was the original method the Chechen interior ministry had decided to employ in order to combat the epidemic of terrorist attacks that had swept Chechnya in recent years. The suicide bombers used every opportunity to trick the policemen’s vigilance take them with them to heaven.
Their most unusual tactic so far was to organize terrorist attacks using cyclists. When a young man on a bike approached the unsuspecting police it was hard to guess that he might be a suicide bomber with a lethal load. Several ministry troops had already been killed that way.
This was why Vakha and Yusup now sat behind a concrete fence near the crossroads where the “cubicle” checkpoint was, trying to scrutinize everyone who approached and work out if they were suspicious or not.
“Vakha, who do we think are suspicious? Guys riding bicycles?” Yusup could not resist asking at last.
“Bicycles, roller skates, skateboards,” Wakha reeled off, remembering the short briefing they had received from the section commander. “Got it?”
“OK,” Yusupov said. And then, after a pause: “What are skateboards?”
“Don’t worry,” Vaka sighed. “Just do what I do.”
“OK,” Yusup agreed, and then suddenly bawled: “Bicycle!”
True enough, from round the bend a man on a bicycle came darting at full speed. His head was covered by a helmet, and there was a black object attached to the frame.
"A bomb!" flashed through Vakha’s brain. And, setting his rifle on full automatic, he fired a burst at the approaching kamikaze.
The cyclist fell. Instantly, the body slumped to the ground, and the bicycle rolled toward a police car. "It’s going to explode!" Vakha decided, crouching down.
But instead of an explosion came the nearby sound of automatic fire. Vakha looked up to see what his partner was doing. Standing tall as Rambo, Yusupov was letting off long bursts of fire into the unknown.
Vakha peered over the fence and was stunned. The whole of the area at the road intersection, which a moment ago had been completely deserted, was now filled with bicycles and bodies in agony. And from round the bend more and more cyclists appeared.
The policeman grabbed his walkie-talkie.
"Base, Base, this is Pilot, we’ve got a suicide attack with bombers on bicycles,” he shouted into the mouthpiece. “Requesting reinforcements!”
"Pilot, Pilot, pay no attention. It’s just a stage of an international cycle race,” a voice said over the radio. “Be sure not to fire at them.”
Vakha lowered his arm. On the other side of the fence dying cycling stars writhed on the asphalt, screaming in pain. Nearby, Yusup was excitedly loading another round.
(Translation by DM)