Yar Ali squinted carefully down the blue barrel of his Lee-Enfield, called devoutly on Allah and sent a bullet through the brain of a flying rider.
The big Afghan shouted in glee, waving his weapon above his head, 'God is great! By Allah, sahib, I have sent another one of the dogs to Hell!'
His companion peered cautiously over the rim of the sand-pit they had scooped with their hands. He was a lean and wiry American, Steve Clarney by name.
'Good work, old horse,' said this person. 'Four left. Look—they're drawing off.'
The white-robed horsemen were indeed reining away, clustering together just out of accurate rifle-range, as if in council. There had been seven when they had first swooped down on the comrades, but the fire from the two rifles in the sand-pit had been deadly.
'Look, sahib—they abandon the fray!'
Yar Ali stood up boldly and shouted taunts at the departing riders, one of whom whirled and sent a bullet that kicked up sand thirty feet in front of the pit.
'They shoot like the sons of dogs,' said Yar Ali in complacent self- esteem. 'By Allah, did you see that rogue plunge from his saddle as my lead went home? Up, sahib; let us run after them and cut them down!'
The Fire of Asshurbanipal
Publication date: 09/10/2014
Steven Clarney along with his companion Yar Ali are off on an adventure to find
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