The Battle for Jerusalem

The clever man had a proposal. He cut the design in the dirt with his knife.

We, the zealous forty one, were in a cave above the holy city. Below the sandstone tumble an eagle standard glinted. A silver moss of breastplates and spear points crept up the path. We would be overrun, the blue and white star trampled under dusty sandals.

The boy had the count. ‘Ten abreast, twenty deep’. It was hopeless.

‘How do we begin the count?’ I asked the clever man.

‘We shall begin with you, my doubting comrade.’

‘I die first?’

‘No, death shall pass you at the first instance. The man to your left shall kill the man to his left. The man to that man’s left shall be spared that unpleasant duty, the next man shall kill and so on around the circle until each man has died by another’s blade.’

The clever man stood two spaces to my right. We dutifully slew our comrades until around half were dead. It came to my turn. I counted quickly.

‘You treacherous bastard. You’ll be the last alive.’

He smiled and cut me down.

View this story's 4 comments.