Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Yom Kippur (Finished)

  1. #1
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Yom Kippur (Finished)

    Yom Kippur

    Esau Goldhirsch smiled sadly at his tiny nephew as his brother ushered him out of the door. David picked up his solemn, grey overcoat and put in on, locking the door behind himself as he left. While many of the Jews in Bet She’an would cycle on this day, the synagogue was just around the corner, so the two brothers could walk. David’s wife picked up her son and they set off together, with bare feet taking them across the cobblestone.

    Hassan ibn Menahem checked his gun again, and for the twelfth time, made sure his parachute was in place. He carefully studied the plan of Mt. Hermon, a noteable Israeli stronghold, with a worried expression. The outside might not have changed much but there was no chance that his president could ever have learned that the armoury was still where it had been when it had been lost six years ago. He rolled up the plans and handed them to the next soldier, he asked his captain, a stocky man named Hasib Mohammed, ‘How did we find all this out.’
    Hasib answered with unveiled sarcasm, ‘Israeli soldiers yearning to escape oppression must have deserted and then informed us. By God,’ he continued with the same tone, ‘this act will astound the world.’

    Esau lowered his head in prayer as his nephew impatiently shuffled around. He reflected on the words of the psalm: ‘O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; Thy holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem on heaps.’ The words reverberated in his skull: ‘Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; And there was none to bury them’. His mind turned back sixteen years. The cracks of old gunfire deafened him, and he flinched as if struck. David put a hand on his shoulder and murmured ‘are you alright?’ Esau nodded as the last two verses came to an end ‘… Unto our neighbours sevenfold in their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord. So we, thy people and sheep of thy pasture, will give thee thanks forever; We will show forth thy praise for generations.

    Hassan covered his ears as the Syrian artillery fired, his squad of soldiers clustered together inside the helicopter, wishing each other luck and praying together for victory. He looked down to see the blossoming fires in Israeli positions. Syrian aircraft flew past, glinting in the sunlight; tanks rolled forwards. These innumerable iron machines of Assyria and Babylon, the power of Heliopolis and Damascus, of Kadesh and Chalep, had come to drive the Jews back into the Western Sea. The pilot, a Russian, shouted ‘Get ready!’ Hassan, as the only man who understood Russian, translated it. The Syrian paratroopers checked their Kalashnikovs for the last time, and raised their eyes to heaven.

    The thundering of a fist on the synagogue door ceased, and the officer entered. He glanced meekly at the rabbi for a moment and then at the congregation. Esau turned round as the lieutenant announced, ‘The reserves are being called up to ensure the national security of the State of Israel.’ The rabbi looked at him incredulously for a moment, before speaking, ‘On Yom Kippur? On a sacred holiday?’
    The officer nodded, ‘There are not nearly enough men on the borders, and the government has uncovered information that the Syrians plan to attack very soon. A decision has been made to mobilise everyone.’
    ‘I hope,’ the rabbi replied, ‘that this won’t be like the last time the Syrians planned to attack very soon?’
    The lieutenant lowered his head, silently pleading for cooperation. The Rabbi inclined his head slightly, and the officer smiled gratefully. David nudged Esau, ‘lucky we didn’t enlist. The Syrians are too terrified to really attack. Another bluff and another wasted holiday.’
    Esau wasn’t listening. He stood up. ‘Esau,’ hissed David. Esau began walking to the door.

    ---

    Hassan’s feet hit the roof of the Israeli stronghold, followed shortly by the rest of him. He struggled for a moment, desperately cutting the strings of his parachute and going into a crouch. Some idiot had gotten in his way as he left the aircraft, so he didn’t have a clue as to what was happening. How many of the Israelis were there? Were they ready? He heard the sound of gunfire. Hassan scanned the rooftop. There were three dead Israelis and one dead Syrian. Hasib ordered them to press on. Hassan ran forwards, carefully stepping over a bleeding and broken corpse. The other Syrians were ahead of him, already down the ladder into the complex, with their Russian AK-47s pointed forwards. A single Israeli guard was in the hallway. Hassan heard the burst of gunfire and quickly climbed down the rungs of the ladder. The unfortunate guard was dead. He had two holes in his head, and his blood was staining the floor. Hassan stepped past him, closed his eyes, and kept running.

    Esau got into the APC, while he and several of the soldiers were uneasy about using the vehicle on Yom Kippur, they didn’t argue. The officer got on his motorcycle and drove off, no doubt to call some other congregation to arms. The driver introduced himself as Moishe before politely asking ‘Where do you all live? You just need to get your uniforms and then we’ll be off.’
    Esau opened the door as he replied ‘Just around the corner.’ He sprinted to his house, unlocked the door and ran upstairs. Esau stood still for a moment, pondering about his actions, then opened the wardrobe to take out his late grandfather’s uniform. No doubt it had changed in the last few years – but that couldn’t be helped.

    Hassan followed another pair of soldiers to the point labelled ‘armoury’ on the plans. The blaring of the alarm didn’t worry him at all, there were too few Israelis to pose a threat, if he was any judge. Their footsteps echoed along the hallways. As they passed each door, one of the soldiers would check inside. The first was empty, so was the second, and the third, and the fourth. All were plain bunkrooms, any men who’d been in there had sensibly cleared off. One of the soldiers casually pushed the fifth door open. A bullet tore into the Syrian’s thigh, a sound like thunder issued forth from the room. The injured Arab screamed as the second shot went over his head. Two more shots struck the walls. Hassan stepped forwards and swung his body and gun together into the room. He fired. God alone knows how many times. The storm of lead launched the Jew backwards. The Jew convulsed and then dropped. Blood flowed the black holes in his head, torso and legs. The wounded Syrian was gazing in horror and disbelief at the red puddle underneath him. Hassan turned away in disgust, he was a veteran of two wars and having fought in the war of 1967 and also “suppressed” Palestinians when they had tried to cause havoc in Homs a few years back wasn’t helping his conscience with this fighting. He ordered the other stunned soldier to tend to the wounded one. He walked on, alone in a steel maze.

    Esau got into the APC again ‘Welcome back, sir.’ Said one of the soldiers.
    ‘Sir?’ Esau looked at his sleeve. ‘I must have picked up my grandad’s uniform. Still, no time to waste.’
    ‘Your grandad’s? Military family?’
    ‘Not exactly, I was born in Port Said, in Egypt,’ He explained, ‘We’d lived there as a family for two hundred years. My granddad said it was a good life until the British left. He was a potter. It started turning dangerous as that lunatic “Grand Mufti of Jerusalem” sided with the Nazis. Still, we survived. In ’57, after the Suez War, we were “visited” by three Palestinians. They shot my parents dead. One of them put down his AK for a moment to loot the house. My granddad came in very quietly, picked up the gun and shot him. The other two came in to see what was happening. He shot both of them, too.’
    The next soldier got out to find his uniform.
    Esau continued, ‘My grandparents immediately moved, with us – my brother and me – to Israel. My granddad joined the IDF. Both of my grandparents died last year.
    The soldier let the subject drop and lent Esau a needle to remove the stripes.

    ---

    Hassan slowly pushed the door open. He walked into the empty cantina. He checked the kitchens quickly and then moved on into the corridor. He shuffled along, listening to the muffled gunfire from elsewhere in the complex. There were voices behind the door into the place labelled “armoury” on his printed map. Definitely Hebrew, but Hassan couldn’t make it out. Three voices? Or four? And maybe some not speaking? Soldiers or just cooks and cleaners? He closed his eyes, offering a silent prayer before re-opening them. He shouted in Russian, ordering the air to “stand back”, then, in thick accented Hebrew, ‘Surrender now, and you will not be harmed.’ Perhaps they would think a Russian more merciful than an Arab. Perhaps.

    He tried to listen to the discussion but the door and the speed of the conversations made that difficult. Finally there came an answer: ‘We surrender’. Hassan grimaced, his heart racing, ‘put down your weapons. Any man in there holding a weapon will be shot without further warning.’ He heard the clattering. A trick? He stepped closer to the door and flung it open. He stepped in, twisting his head left and right. Six Israelis, all soldiers, all disarmed. He spoke very deliberately in Hebrew, ‘Please do not pick up your guns. Gather together in the centre of the room.’ They would probably not have obeyed him if they weren’t so stunned. They looked at each other in shock and began moving to the centre of the room.

    Esau got out of the vehicle, following the driver into the camp. Another group pulled in on a truck. It seemed like Moishe had been working already that day, so their group had a ‘real vehicle’. A secretary scuttled to and fro, organising the men by unit. Esau smoothly lied, saying that he had been part of one of the Sinai divisions and that he’d come back home for the holiday. The secretary assigned him to tag along with an under-strength group of soldiers. Esau nodded and got into the APC. A man with a captain’s badge welcomed him, ‘Levi Berengeur’, he extended a hand and Esau shook it, ‘Esau Goldhirsch.’
    Levi grinned, ‘Not seen a real war before?’ Esau shook his head, ‘Don’t worry, I was there in sixty-seven. Six days. The air force just wiped them off the face of the earth. They don’t stand a chance.’ Esau smiled thankfully and kept quiet. ‘So,’ Levi began, ‘where have you fought?’
    ‘Counter-insurgency in the Sinai.’
    ‘Easy?’
    ‘Anything but. Their Fedayeen, “Freedom fighters” won’t stop. They are impossible to please. They hate all of us when the only people responsible for their condition are their ‘good friends’ the other Arab countries.’
    ‘You just don’t understand them. They got hit too had in the first place. The other Arab countries haven’t done anything to help, but they didn’t kick them out of their homeland.’
    ‘And why did they kill my parents? Egyptian Jews, who’d lived there since birth, who’d never harmed a soul in their lives.’
    ‘They aren’t all like that. They’ve been misled.’
    ‘Perhaps.’
    Esau looked around, and was quiet again.

    Hassan looked around for the first time in what felt like half an hour. It was probably much less. The two men he’d left behind walked forwards, the uninjured one supporting his comrade. ‘How on earth did you capture so many?’
    ‘I speak Hebrew and Russian. Guile over strength.’
    ‘Do you want us to watch them?’
    ‘Thanks. I’ve been here too long.’ The sweat dripping from his clothes confirmed him. The two other Syrians sat down, backed against the walls, AKs pointed at the prisoners. Hassan began talking to one of the Israelis. Well, his group had nothing else to do.
    ‘Why are there so few of you today?’ he asked. The Jew didn’t answer. ‘And why are some of you barefoot?’
    Another of the captives spoke grudgingly, ‘It’s Yom Kippur, mobilisation was only announced a few hours ago.’
    Hassan didn’t let his surprise or ignorance show. ‘Of course. You won’t be ready for weeks.’
    The captive stared straight at him, ‘Israel is strong. We’ll have won within a fortnight.’
    A buzz came from the radio. Hassan didn’t catch it. One of the soldiers clapped the other on the back. ‘What’s happened?’
    The soldier ignored his question and replied, ‘Our target is taken, Mount Hermon has been secured.’


    Esau watched carefully as another soldier checked and readied his carbine. He was a quick learner, and copied convincingly enough not to raise a remark. One of the men complained that the carbines were 'about as much use as knives'. Another carried an AK-47 instead; a sergeant favoured an American M-16. The radio buzzed. 'Mt. Hermon lost to the Syrians. Syrian armoured vehicles advancing everywhere.' The communicator indulged Esau's curiosity, 'Nothing good. We're losing this war. Hermon's fallen to paratroopers...'
    The radio cut him off, 'Twelve planes lost.' The exhausted soldier continued, 'our planes can't touch them because of these damn Soviet missiles they have.'
    Again the radio chirped in: 'The Suez Canal has fallen.'
    Captain Levi announced, 'We're moving.'

    Hassan drained another cup of coffeee, a luxury Syrian troops normally lacked, and wondered aloud, 'Where the bloody hell are our reinforcements?'
    His officer replied, 'I don't know. Something's holding up our...'
    'What could hold them up? They haven't had time...'
    'Blame their officers, not me.'
    'What in God's name are they playing at?' Hassan realised he was yelling at his superior, and lowered his voice. 'Why aren't they here?'
    'Blame their officers.'
    'Sir.'

    Esau crouched next to the carrier, mimicking Captain Levi. The tanks that had been called up rolled into the distance, into the furious gunfire of the Syrians. They waited for a few minutes before receiving orders to move to Mt. Hermon, to retake it. They got back into the transports, relayed the instructions to the drivers, and settled down. Levi muttered to himself 'Twenty-six APCs. Eleven men in each. Two hundred and eighty or so.'
    'Two hundred and eighty six.'
    Levi turned to face Esau, 'Enough, maybe.'
    'Do you think so?'
    'I have no idea, Esau. If half of the Syrians close enough to the border to get here today cited “religious reasons” as an excuse not to fight or even to get into a carrier, we'll stand a fighting chance.'
    'They really believe that...'
    'It's right? Lazy bastards. That's wonderful. In two weeks' time Jerusalem could be in the hands of these psychopaths because they believe that “it's right” not to fight now. Then you have the idiots who won't wear boots.'
    'Better than not turning up at all.'
    'This is a war, not a picnic. What use is a man to us if he can't walk because he's burnt or cut his foot during guard duty or a fight?'
    Esau nodded. Arguing wasn't worth the effort. The vehicles drove on, and the distant firefight seemed to die down for a while.

    Hassan and three other Syrians were going through the armoury, finding the better Israeli weapons and roughly translating the arms manuals and any other notes from Hebrew or English. Hassan had been very busy. He was one of only two soldiers who spoke Hebrew well. He'd been working everywhere, interrogating, reading even the smallest scrap of paper saying who was supposed to be doing the washing up on Fridays to the commander's satisfaction. Thirty minutes ago, the commander announced that a “large-ish” group of Israeli mechanised infantry were heading this way. Hassan doubted it. They hadn't had time to organise a counter-attack. And there was no way they could have got enough tanks to cover them. But another soldier rushed in and made a great noise about the Israelis arriving. Hassan vented his frustration on the man, 'Stop babbling, imbecile, where are we supposed to be?'
    'Thirty or forty carriers. Approaching. Get to the doors.'
    'Which doors?'
    'Any doors.'
    Hassan fastened on a bullet-proof vest he'd found and picked up a few choice weapons, and ran to the western entrance to see what the all the fuss was about.

    Esau looked up at the forbidding modern fortress. Syrian faces stared from every window and every doorway, and the metal barrel of a gun accompanied each face. Levi's cursing finally stopped. 'How did they get so many here? They must have the entire building if they've got so many sentinels. They must have our weapons.'
    'What should we do sir?'
    'We've been refused armour or aircraft assistance. If we go in and they get tank backup, then we're all dead.'
    'What should we do sir?' repeated Esau.
    'Shut up and let me think!'

    Hassan gazed out, 'Not a pleasant situation, sir. They outnumber us vastly. If they attack, we might hold. We might not.'
    The commander nodded, 'We need to scare them off. They don't know we've been refused assistance.'
    'Sir?'
    'Get a sniper here. I want him to put a bullet through that Captain's head.'
    'If their captain dies, they might turn this wa...'
    'Forget it then.' The commander put the binoculars to his eyes. 'See that young man next to him?'
    'Yes sir, can't be more than twenty or twenty-one. Brown hair. Holding a rifle oddly?'
    'Right. Get a sniper.'
    Hassan lifted up the sniper rifle he had taken from the Israeli armoury. He'd had some practise with one of these just before the '67 war. The sniper who had trained him had been blown to bits just days after. 'Sir, I can try.'
    'Are you a professional? Last thing we need is a cock-up to hint that they're green.'
    'We don't have any professionals, sir.'
    'Very well.'
    He lifted the sight to his eye and steadied the gun. The head of the young Israeli was right within the sights. He couldn't kill someone that young. Not that young. Not this personally. No. Just a warning shot. He twisted the rifle a few degrees and fired into the air between the young man's head and the APC. He dropped the gun.

    Esau heard the click as the door was opened. The driver, a cheerful sergeant, stepped towards him. And the bullet struck. His neck was torn open. Blood sprayed in all directions. The force of the shot brought the poor man down, slamming him to the sand. Levi was shouting behind Esau, 'Esau, move.' The captain lost patience and gripped Esau and threw him to the side, running to see the injury. 'It's bad! Get a medic. They have snipers, we can't stay here. We're leaving!'
    Esau stared at the bloody sand and the remnants of the man's neck. He probably wouldn't have gotten into the APC if Levi hadn't picked him up and carried him. Levi's shouts and reprimands were drowned out by the blood of David Cross.

    Hassan stared and lowered his eyes. The commander clapped him on the back, 'A hell of a shot. You got the man just as he was leaving. They must think we have an expert. They aren't coming back in a while. Well done man! Can you hit another as they're leaving?'
    Hassan grimaced, and stood up, 'No, I'd never make that shot.'
    'You'll go far. You'll go far.'
    'I hope so, sir.'
    The young soldier next to him was looking at him admiringly.
    'That was easy.'
    'There weren't enough of them, kid.'
    'There were far more than we had.'
    'Yes, but they don't know that we don't have.'
    'Have what?'
    'Never mind. Anyhow, we'd have been in trouble if they'd checked another side.'
    'They didn't?'
    'No. Their captain was rushing. I guess they didn't have any support.'
    The commander tapped him on the shoulder, 'Hassan, good news. The reinforcements are on their way. I reported your actions to them. Their chief officer, Hasib Mohammed, seems most impressed. I'd clean yourself up a little, they arrive in the morning.'
    'Very good sir. Thank you sir.'
    'Don't mention it.'

    Esau shifted on his chair as Levi miserably dictated a report. More than once the captain had to refrain from saying something in front of Esau, and after a few minutes asked him to go fetch a coffee. Esau nodded and left to gaze up at the unnatural stars. An air battle. Levi would brighten up when he saw that. He always had great confidence in the IAF, 'Unparalleled. Unbeatable.'
    Esau hoped he was right, nothing else was going well in this war. He lazily lifted a hand to salute another officer entering the camp, 'Where's Captain Levi?'
    'At the command tent, writing his report. May I ask a question?'
    'Go on. If it's about whether we're going to win, then it's “yes”.'
    'Why are you here?'
    'Because I was sent here.'
    'No, I mean, why did you enlist?'
    'Excuse me?'
    'Why did you enlist?'
    'Because it pays well enough and I don't like the idea of living in New Syria.'
    'Ah.'

    Hassan stretched after a good night's sleep. His officer had informed him that the Israelis wouldn't dare to attack again for a while, and he wanted everyone to be in top form when they did. He immediately turned on the radio to the information channel. It informed him that, 'The vile Jew is being pushed back... in the mountains, over the canal...the Arabic villages have been freed from the oppressive grasp of the violent Israelis. All targets are being met, and the schedule is being achieved.'
    The Israelis were still reeling from the shock. Mossad had failed. Meir had failed. Could they even defend themselves when their air force was unable to make any headway against the Arabs. Another report simply gave higher estimates for Israeli casualties. He went to breakfast, to thrive off the Israeli provisions. The fortress had been much better stocked than it had been defended. A little after lunch, the reinforcements arrived, and Hasib Mohammed wanted to introduce his new soldiers to the paratroopers. There was no fear of some Jewish trick now, and cordial conversations were springing up everywhere. Hasib greeted Hassan with a nod, 'What did you do in the fighting? I went in with those two,' here he indicated them, 'and took the armoury.'
    'Excellent work, and how many of the enemy did you face?'
    'Seven, sir.'
    'Seven? How did three fight seven? Is this true?' He turned to the injured man.
    'What?' answered the soldier.
    'That the three of you fought seven Jews?'
    'Actually, Hassan captured six of them alone.'
    'How on earth did you accomplish that?' He returned his gaze to Hassan.
    'When you have the approval of God and intelligence, fighting alone against fifty is no difficulty.'
    Hasib broadly smiled, 'You are a very wise man. I shall recommend you for promotion as soon as this is over.'
    'Thank you, sir.'
    'Who was the sniper who drove off the Israelis?'
    'It was a lucky shot.'
    'Such resentment is inappropriate in the ranks of our army. Who fired this “lucky shot”?'
    'I did.'
    'Really? What happened?'

    David climbed out of his bed, leaving his wife cosy between the sheets. He got dressed quickly and checked the alarm clock. ‘Damn,’ he muttered, and ran. The Rabbi was waiting patiently at the synagogue doors as David scrambled into his sight, ‘So good of you to be so punctual.’
    ‘I’m sorry, Rabbi.’
    The Rabbi smiled, ‘No need to be. None of us are perfect.’
    ‘I wished to pray with you for my brother and the lives of all those on the front.’
    Very well, out of interest, how is your son?’
    ‘He’s growing well. Always healthy and enthusiastic.’
    ‘Excellent, shall we begin? I’d always assumed you were secular?’
    ‘I was, but I do not believe that my dear brother could live and die by chance.’
    ‘A wise outlook.’ The Rabbi began the prayer, ‘Lord, we thank you for Esau’s bravery and willingness to defend us, and we pray that he, and all the others on the front may be victorious against the evil Syrians.’
    David sighed. He knew he’d been right, but now he no longer knew the right thing to do.

    Esau woke suddenly, ‘what?’ Levi was standing over him. ‘We need to move again, get out of here. Next time, do a better job with the tent. Don’t let the pressure interfere with your duties.’
    ‘Sir.’ Esau nodded his assent, ‘I thought it was safe here?’
    ‘So did I. More reinforcements should arrive later today. Then we can make a stand.’
    Esau stood and pulled on his boots. He’d slept in his uniform, expecting this. Other men around him dressed hurriedly. They were desperately trying to repack the camp, but Levi ordered them not to bother. ‘Just dress, get your weapons and the fuel and get into the transports.’ So they did. As they sped away from the camp, they were all on edge. Suddenly there was a roaring from above. Bullets sprayed down, scything through the roves of the APCs. Esau ducked instinctively, and a crimson spray from the man at his side splashed onto his shoulder. Smoke was coming from another transport, and he saw the men in the back desperately trying to replace the driver. More bullets drove into it, and at last they stopped. The Syrian aircraft accelerated, turning around once they were in front of the APCs, ready for another run. Then the miracle happened. One of the planes began to fall from the sky, finally plummeting into the sand. The other aircraft sped forwards, pursued by Israeli fighters. ‘OK’, came the voice over the radio, ‘Who’s still here?’

    ‘So, lads, the Israelis have left a camp behind here, and clearly intend to return to it. Do you think that you, the invincible conquerors of Mount Hermon can deal with a small camp of unfortified Jews?’
    ‘Sir?’ Hassan asked,
    ‘Go ahead.’
    ‘Would it not be safer to send in the tanks?’
    ‘Afraid?’
    ‘No sir, I simply felt that tanks would be more effective.’
    ‘Perhaps, but unfortunately we cannot get air cover out there yet, and a mechanised force would be at greater risk.’
    Hassan inclined his head. ‘So, Hassan,’ continued Hasib, ‘do you think we can defeat these same foes you scattered single-handedly earlier?’
    ‘Of course, sir, nothing would give me more pleasure.’
    ‘Good. We’re going tonight. Hassan will have to command you in the operation, as we both,’ here he indicated the officer and himself, ‘must stay here to keep a bigger picture.’
    ‘Me?’
    ‘It seems proper that our bravest soldier should lead the way into the fighting.’
    ‘I have no experience of command.’
    ‘Bravery is leadership. You will do fine.’
    ‘Is there noone else?’
    ‘Noone more suited.’
    ‘Thank you sir, I will try to do my duty.’
    ‘I’m sure you will. Get ready. How many men do you need?’
    ‘Forty if we can surprise them, probably twice that number if not. They seem to be fairly green recruits.’
    ‘We can spare forty, that’ll have to do.’

    ‘We can’t contribute now, we’ve lost too many and we need to check the APCs and help the injured.’
    ‘Very well, Levi, return to your camp.’
    ‘Thank you.’
    Levi nodded to the driver and communicator. Esau held the bandage firmly around the shoulder of an injured man, while another man was cleaning up the body, wiping up the blood. There had been over twenty killed, and twice as many injured, and at least three of the APCs would need considerable repairs to become functional again. They were abandoned in the desert, and the camp welcomed them back. There were no reinforcements there, and Levi was concerned. He immediately contacted his superiors, ‘The reinforcements you were due to receive have been sent directly to battle, as you were unable to make it.’
    ‘Oh God! We can’t deal with armour without our reinforcements, and we can’t leave with so many wounded.’
    ‘Sorry, Levi. Some risks had to be taken.’
    ‘Yes.’
    'Double the number of men on duty, put the wounded onto the APCs: we can’t slow down for them if we’re attacked. Put the spare guns into one of the APCs too.’
    Esau ran to the eastern side of the camp to convey these orders. Torch on, he ran.
    Hassan lay down in the darkness and the sand, whispering on occasion to the red-haired soldier next to him. He murmured, 'Pass the binoculars,' and they were passed to him. Guns and Israelis were unmasked by the device. He placed the binoculars on the ground and nodded, 'They seem to be packing everything into their vehicles, I doubt they'd resist. We're moving.' He crouched and motioned for the others to be silent. After the small-scale chatter ceased, he edged slowly forwards, sometimes stopping to spit out a mouthful of the granules of sand. His soldiers followed, placing their trust entirely in him. 'Stop.' They stopped. Hassan took a second look at the guard, sitting on a truck's bonnet with a flask of water in his hand. Getting up, startled, taking a second look. 'Open fire!' The bullets pierced the night and the uniform. Hassan took careful aim as a second man rushed to the side of the first, and pulled the trigger mercilessly, spraying bullets into the poor soldier. The sound of the Syrian guns grew, majestic and gleeful.

    Esau heard the bullets and fell to the floor of the tent, raising his carbine at some imagined foe. He crawled to the tent's entrance, and saw the torn forms of the guards and the jeep, covered by holes. The tent's cloth was torn apart by another burst, and bullets raced over Esau's head. After a few seconds, the bullets ceased, and Esau lay on the floor, concealing himself by the tent's entrance. He saw a Syrian running past, and remained silent. He fixed his eyes on a man whose features and uniform could not be seen beneath the blood and the vehicle. He heard an APC's engine starting and frantic shouts in a dialect he didn't understand. Probably Hebrew. He had to move. He rose up onto his feet and simply ran, as fast as he could, across the sand. His foot snagged on a body, but still he ran, twisting his head in the direction of the APCs' hum. They were leaving. Levi lay on the ground, bleeding from his shoulder, and beside him knelt a man in Syrian uniform, maybe in his forties, dark-haired, holding Levi's gun. He gave a shouted order, 'Check the camp for any others. Be careful. If you find an injured Jew, apprehend him.'

    Hassan looked at the captain's wound. Not too serious, though serious enough to ensure that he wouldn't resist. 'Please surrender.'
    'Please? No word for the brave soldiers of God, surely?'
    Almost involuntarily, Hassan's arm shot out, seizing the Jew's other arm. Hassan placed his knee on the man's stomach and drove his other fist into the captain's face.
    As he heard the crack, Hassan spoke, quietly, but with anger. 'I don't want to kill you. Or your teenagers and 'militia'. For God's sake, surrender.'
    'What? So they can die by a firing squad instead?' The captain was rasping, blood flowed from his nose.
    'Please.'
    The captain started shaking his head, facing to the side. Alarmed. Hassan turned his head back round so that the Israeli had to face him. He picked up the gun again, and placed it against his prisoner's head. He fired. He heard another shot, and spun around, pain seared across his left arm, and the sand around him scattered. The same boy he'd left alive was firing at him, so close that Hassan's life was only kept by some miracle. The bullets crashed into his shoulder, and then his arm, and one of his feet was bleeding, and Hassan lifted, in desperation his gun, took aim briefly, ignoring the stabbing pains in his chest and arms.

    Esau watched as the Syrian leader, bleeding in twenty places, finally dropped his gun. Esau ran forwards to check on Levi, lying blood-soaked by the man's feet, uniform scarred by a few new bullet holes. Esau knelt on the sand incarnadine. Levi was dead. But the Syrian wasn't. He turned to the man, lying on the ground, weeping. No fear in his eyes, just sadness. Esau turned to him. The Syrian spoke, a thick, accented Hebrew. The words were drowned by gunfire, but his lips formed, 'Go.' The burst of gunfire ceased, and the words became more audible, 'I'm sorry.' And then everything became less audible. The Syrian's words were submerged in lead.

    David! There you are. Haven't you heard? We've... The Egyptians are offering a surrend... we've... Have you heard... No? That's a shame... don't worry, I'm sure he's...The Syrians have...we've... Esau? Have you... No? I'm sure he's...don't worry yourself... he'll be home... David? You seem tense...Are you sure you're...The government is going to... They'll be home on Friday, did you... Please, look at me...Don't dwell on... Are you listen... me?

    'Esau Goldhirsch. Posthumously recommended for a medal of honour for a brave attempt to save the life of his commanding officer. Killed in action.'

    At least he...Yes. I heard...He did the right...I'm sure he's in a... He wouldn't have wanted... I know... Shouldn't...Look to the future, he died to keep you, and your wife and son safe. He wouldn't have wanted you to spend this long grieving, calm down. It's time you snapped out of this. Listen to me, look at me when I'm speaking to you, where are you going? Please, don't...

    'Forgive me, teacher, but I have been spending too long remembering my brother. I wish to visit the place where he fell, and to remember him, and light a candle for him, and pray for him. I think that then I will be able to continue with my life.'
    'Yes, that seems like the perfect way to remember him. I am sure that God will approve of your devotion. Esau's bravery, and that of men like him, kept us safe from the Arabs, and I will always remember him for that.' The rabbi absent-mindedly fiddled with his beard.
    'Teacher, I understand that this request is a little strange, but I think that an old battlefield is no place for my family to go. I would like for you to go with me, as a man of god.'
    The rabbi hesitated for a moment, 'I am very busy. I have many services to hold, funerals, remembrances, and...'
    'Please, I would really...'
    'Alright, how far away is this battlefield.'
    The Rabbi estimated that he had time now, after a few glances at his calendar. On Saturday, the speech, commendation, but now? He had time.
    'Shall we go?'

    David stared at the spectral remains of the camp, the reddened sand, and occasional limb or partially sand-covered body. 'I hear they were victorious. One of our APCs, against orders, turned around and launched an attack into the camp. Seven of the nine men in it were killed, as were all the captives they'd sought to free. Esau was found dead here, by the Syrian leader, not even a man of rank, but so vital to their courage.'
    'Yes,' added the rabbi, 'and once Esau had slain their new “sorceror”, the Arabs fled.'
    'The Syrian captives said that the man had been newly promoted, and had not fired at Esau when he had the chance to...'
    'Lies. No Arab would do something like that.'
    'He, they said, remembered his sons, who had both been killed in the six-day war, and couldn't kill a man so young.'
    'God granted Esau a victory over this man, and he granted Israel a victory over these lying Heathen.'
    'Look around you, “teacher”, at this sand incarnadine. Look at the body parts of sons and fathers lying on this field and look at all those fucking hills and fucking mountains in the distance. The “Golan heights”, our conquests. God's present. Look at this medal I found lying in the sand over there. It's the one they were going to give Esau's shredded corpse.'
    ...
    David's mouth twisted up into a sarcastic smile, and he raised a pistol and pointed it directly at the Rabbi. 'O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; Thy holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem on heaps.'
    ....
    David fired.
    ‘Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; And there was none to bury them'
    David walked away from the teacher incarnadine. The red sand. And the chaotic movements of his mind. He fired again.
    ...

    ...Two men...a rabbi and the brother of war hero Esau Goldhirsch, David...shot by Syrian survivors in the Golan heights... same place as his brother... We should... Syria should pay for such an...

    And David's wife and son wept bitterly. And he was too dead to comfort them. And Menahem wept to see his line extinguished by war and by the psychopathic ramblings of the dictator. And two families, so similar in both loss and substance, continued to blame the other for their loss.

    Someone is fool enough.
    Last edited by Orb; 08-23-2007 at 01:00.


    'My intelligence is not just insulted, it's looking for revenge with a gun and no mercy. ' - Frogbeastegg

    SERA NIMIS VITA EST CRASTINA VIVE HODIE

    The life of tomorrow is too late - live today!

  2. #2
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    Notes:

    Disclaimer: This is basically entirely fiction. It is based on the Yom Kippur war of 1973 between Israel and several Arabic states (primarily Syria, Egypt and Iraq). The characters are not based on real people, and the historical accuracy is limited to a very general picture. Any specific details will probably be historically incorrect.

    Request to Ludens: Please delete the old thread, for this is the new thread, keeping in one neat post the Yom Kippur story I have so sparsely and slowly updated, together with about four pages of new material.

    Author's rant, please ignore: Unfortunately my capacity for writing isn't near that of the greats here, and the story was never meant to last too long. At times this was fun to write, at others very difficult. I recognise several problems with the story, and am considering that it *might* be the right thing to increase the length, and add some background text describing certain past events (particularly Hassan and his roots, as his father was a Jew who converted to Islam) but I could not find a place to add this without overextending the story. Anyway, I think it's one of my better efforts and am intending to plague you all with another short (though probably longer than this) story soon.

    Last line: An allusion to Herodotus 'Noone is fool enough to choose war instead of peace - in peace sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons'.
    Unusual concluding format: Tell me what you think.

    Criticism and comments: All welcome, please comment on any flaw, individual lines, weak moments, inconsistencies, synthetic additions, points where characters should have been developed more. Definitely CC 5.
    Last edited by Orb; 08-23-2007 at 00:57.


    'My intelligence is not just insulted, it's looking for revenge with a gun and no mercy. ' - Frogbeastegg

    SERA NIMIS VITA EST CRASTINA VIVE HODIE

    The life of tomorrow is too late - live today!

  3. #3
    Mafia Hunter Member Kommodus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    In a top-secret lab planning world domination
    Posts
    1,286

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)



    Very good story, Orb! The characters were well fleshed-out and very human. The ending was splendidly tragic and poignant... very well done!
    If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward. -Jack Handey

  4. #4
    Just your average Senior Member Warmaster Horus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Besancon, France: a stepping stone to greatness. I hope.
    Posts
    2,940

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)



    Congratulations! Very good story.
    The Throne Room: "Less a forum, more a way of life." Econ21
    Don't hesitate to visit the Mead Hall! A little more reading, a little less shouting, please.
    Join the latest greatest installement of mafia games: Capo di Tutti Capi!
    Check out the Gahzette!
    By the by, are you interested in helping out the Gahzette? Think you could be a writer, reporting on the TW or Org community? Then check the Gahzette Thread or drop me a PM!


    Back.

  5. #5
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    Thank you for the comments


    'My intelligence is not just insulted, it's looking for revenge with a gun and no mercy. ' - Frogbeastegg

    SERA NIMIS VITA EST CRASTINA VIVE HODIE

    The life of tomorrow is too late - live today!

  6. #6
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    9,003
    Blog Entries
    1

    Lightbulb Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    It certainly one of the best-written stories in the Mead Hall. Well done indeed! . Don't see the point in deleting this, though, but when the Library is updated this thread will replace the old entry.
    Looking for a good read? Visit the Library!

  7. #7
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)



    :embarrassed:

    Glowing praise from Ludens, this calls for a

    What did people not like about the story (since this will help me improve it when I finally get around to re-writing bits of it)?


    'My intelligence is not just insulted, it's looking for revenge with a gun and no mercy. ' - Frogbeastegg

    SERA NIMIS VITA EST CRASTINA VIVE HODIE

    The life of tomorrow is too late - live today!

  8. #8
    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    I liked the original twist where the “evil empire” trained Syrian commando does the heroic things, like sparing lives, taking prisoners, using his wits, etc. It would have been easy to have him act as a bloodthirsty Syrian Spetsnaz. The other twist, where he is killed by the man he had spared, was also very ironic. However, the part where Esau’s death drives his brother to murder and suicidal madness…hmmm. People who feel that killing is stupid and war is foolish usually don’t kill other people to prove their point. You might do this, instead. David receives a summons for training in the IDF. He goes to the spot where his brother died, tears up the summons and scatters the pieces into the wind.
    Now for some military stuff that shouldn’t be too hard to work into the story. I’m almost certain that the Syrian Mi-8 helicopters landed the commandos on Mt. Hermon. A parachute drop at 1 A.M. is okay, but at 1 P.M. (when the attack happened), is suicide. The copters would have done a “hard landing” or the commandos might have rappelled down ropes from a few meters up. So Hassan doesn’t need to check his parachute. Normally, before a mission, you jump up and down a couple times to make sure that your gear is secure and that you are not going to make a lot of noise when you move around, so you might have him do this. Also, the “check your weapon” thing consists of lining your squad up and test firing into a berm before you mount up. You might have them switch their weapons off “safe” or something instead. The part where Hassan jumps in the doorway and sprays the room with automatic fire is total Hollywood. Clearing rooms in bunkers is the reason that God made hand grenades. Finally, have the Russian actually say “Gotovii!” and Hassan translate it into “Get ready!”. All of this will add to the realism.
    Good job!
    Last edited by Agent Miles; 08-28-2007 at 18:10.
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

  9. #9
    Imperialist Brit Member Orb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,751

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    However, the part where Esau’s death drives his brother to murder and suicidal madness…hmmm. People who feel that killing is stupid and war is foolish usually don’t kill other people to prove their point.
    Not actually his motivation (his dislike of war is rather a preference of a quiet and safe life). Esau and David have been extremely close since they left from Egypt, and David loses all sense of logical reasoning. He is incredibly angry that the Rabbi whipped up Esau into a frenzy and genuinely didn't care beyond self-publicising that Esau had suffered as a result of that.

    I admit, though, that I wasn't quite sure whether his suicide was excessive. I had two alternative ideas (one being he walks away and lets the Syrians take the blame, two is that he is taken out by a Syrian survivor who had been lurking there ever since the attack).

    You might do this, instead. David receives a summons for training in the IDF. He goes to the spot where his brother died, tears up the summons and scatters the pieces into the wind.
    Interesting alternative.

    Now for some military stuff that shouldn’t be too hard to work into the story. I’m almost certain that the Syrian Mi-8 helicopters landed the commandos on Mt. Hermon. A parachute drop at 1 A.M. is okay, but at 1 P.M. (when the attack happened), is suicide. The copters would have done a “hard landing” or the commandos might have rappelled down ropes from a few meters up. So Hassan doesn’t need to check his parachute. Normally, before a mission, you jump up and down a couple times to make sure that your gear is secure and that you are not going to make a lot of noise when you move around, so you might have him do this. Also, the “check your weapon” thing consists of lining your squad up and test firing into a berm before you mount up. You might have them switch their weapons off “safe” or something instead. The part where Hassan jumps in the doorway and sprays the room with automatic fire is total Hollywood. Clearing rooms in bunkers is the reason that God made hand grenades.
    See disclaimer :p. I'll try to work it in. I wrote the opening, at least, when I was stuck in Italy with no internet to counteract my desperate lack of knowledge. I believe David only turned up by the law of 'known Jewish name'. Esau was substituted in later.

    Finally, have the Russian actually say “Gotovii!” and Hassan translate it into “Get ready!”. All of this will add to the realism.
    Hell yes!

    Good job!'
    Thanks for the feedback
    Last edited by Orb; 08-31-2007 at 23:06.


    'My intelligence is not just insulted, it's looking for revenge with a gun and no mercy. ' - Frogbeastegg

    SERA NIMIS VITA EST CRASTINA VIVE HODIE

    The life of tomorrow is too late - live today!

  10. #10
    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    467

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    My pleasure. If you don't kill David, you could continuen the story with him. A story about an Israeli who wants to make peace with the Arabs might be interesting. No one wins in war. Wars start and through great tragedy they end. What we win is the peace.
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

  11. #11
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Eye of the Hurricane (FL)
    Posts
    3,372

    Default Re: Yom Kippur (Finished)

    I think...
    1. You should open with Hassan at the beginning to the drop-off. It leaves you hanging (literally). Then when you switch to Esau and David, it slows down the pace, gets you into place.

    2. To get a sense for a hard-landing, I suggest Black Hawk Down to get either the visuals for a drop (movie) or read it (book) for how to describe it.
    3. Add times
    ex.
    February 12th,
    21:23 GMT

    It settles the reader into where they are, and makes it more...professional in my humble opinion.

    I have to say that I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I have ordered the Osprey books on the IDF to get some visuals in my imagination.
    Good job.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

    "I agree, although I support China I support anyone discovering things for Science and humanity." - lenin96

    Re: Pursuit of happiness
    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO