about the author

Joseph E. Lerner’s stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as 100 Word Story, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Eunoia Review, Feathered Flounder, Gargoyle, Pif, PoetsWest, Rage Machine, Untoward, and elsewhere. He blogs/edits at furiousfictions.com.

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Joseph E. Lerner

The boy appears atop the hill, his AK-47 leveled at me. He looks about twelve. I just left the aid station where my wife, who’s with Doctors Without Borders, is caring for victims of the latest atrocities. Though a truce had been declared, she’d warned me not to wander off.

He approaches, his rifle still drawn. Two bandoliers cross his chest and a KA-BAR knife flashes from his belt. Suddenly he fires—but the tree trunk I lean against absorbs the blast.

Trembling, I offer half my cheese-and-bologna sandwich. He grimaces and sits down. “You got Hershey’s? M&M’s? Reese’s Pieces?”

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