So What’s Next, Jihadi John?

Flash fiction by Tina Konstant

Jihadi John

“What? Come on! This wasn’t the deal!”

John searches the horizon, spins around, looks one way, looks the other way, then scratches an itch under his chin. For as far as he can see, there’s nothing but desert. Miles of over-heated, steaming sand. Mountains of the stuff reaching up to the heavens.

“Seriously, guys. Where are the girls? You said there’d be heaps of them up here. You promised! Crap.” John bends down and rubs his shin. Sand whips around his ankles, burrowing into his skin. “This is unbelievable.”

He stands still and listens. Silence. Except for the wind, there’s nothing.

“Hello? Is anyone out there? You can’t just leave me here! Where are my bros? You said they’d be here. All of them. Where’s the frickin’ party?”

John stares up to the sky and scours the endless blue.

“I followed the instructions!” he yells. “I did everything I was told to do.” He picks up a handful of hot sand and tosses it into the wind. “What the hell is this?”

A rumble behind him. John turns. The horizon morphs from blue to amber to red to black. Not normal. The black is dense. Somehow solid. No sunset he’s ever seen. Thick. Almost tangible.

Thunder. It has to be thunder. The ground vibrates. Sand bounces like atoms fighting for space.

“Ahhh…” John glances around him. “I… ahh. Come on, guys, this isn’t funny anymore. Where’s the food and the wine and the awesome nakedness you promised?”

Black leaches into the sky, curling back the blue like a rotting scab. The sand shifts. Hot. Getting too hot to stand.

“We had a deal. This isn’t fair!” He screams above the wind. Someone has to be listening.

The black shrouds the last speck of blue.

“What are you doing? This isn’t what comes next. I read the book. I read it a hundred… a thousand times.”

For a moment the wind dies down. A voice booms through the air breaking John’s bones. A hand reaches into his body, it grips his soul, wrenches it from his flesh, crushes it, shreds it and grinds it until there is nothing but grains of sand left for the wind to scatter.

“John.” The voice fades as the black sky pales to blue. “You read it wrong.”