A chain of failures.

In school, Ali had been a poor student. Math had never been within his grasp and he struggled with nearly every other subject. He knew that he would be a farmer from an early age.

His father, a veteran of the war with Iraq and the first war with the Americans, had judged him too weak for soldiering and farming. A childhood was spent in torment under his father’s punishing hand.

No matter how hard he worked, he was no stronger. No matter how hard he tried, he could only fail. He was frail, poorly sighted, and sickly, said his father, best never to have been born. His mother’s nurturing had even turned to disgust during his teens.

His farm had been a terrible disgrace and his wife resented him. She resented the pitifully sick child they made together.

The farm was ruined now, the house collapsed, and Ali’s family dead. He wanted revenge for the life he lost and an end to his shame. He was too afraid to fight and too blind to shoot.

The explosives he wore would be his revenge. His faith was strong.

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