Afghan Artemis

From a collection of 100-word stories & wonders

An American soldier in Afghanistan glimpses a moonlit vision of bewitching beauty and peril. Photo of Diana sculpture by Paul Manship, 1924, by JR P, via Flickr.


MacMasters couldn’t take his eyes off the girl. Maybe 16; maybe beautiful. Hard to tell in moonlight. Bow slung across her naked back, she knelt beside the quicksilver stream, playfully nuzzling an Afghan wolfhound. MacMasters crouched, inched closer. The girl whirled, eyes flashing; the hound bayed. MacMasters shuddered, blinked. Both gone. At dawn, he told the Afghan interpreter, who said, “Others have seen this vision.” “Who is she?” The Afghani shrugged. “Some say she followed Alexander here and came to love these rugged mountains. Maybe it was a trick of moonlight.” “No, I saw her!” “Then be very careful, soldier.”

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