Area: FATA, Pakistan.
The fifteen year old boy makes it home, sweating, grunting, bruises over his body, climbing rocks, falling, flailing. The explosions, echoing in his ears.
His house is not where it should be; in it's place is a rubble of bricks. His father, mother, sister and brothers lie dead.
He isn't alone. Other houses in his village are razed to the ground.
He hears the drone of a plane overhead. Still in grief, the bomb hits not far from where he sits. He is thrown into the air, sails like a feather, and finds his arm broken, blood over his face.
He struggles to join the steady stream of people rushing from their homes; the bootmaker, the vegetable seller, the farmer and their families, his cousins and aunts. He doesn't know who and when, but someone lifts him before he falls unconscious.
He makes it to a refugee camp bereft of real support.
I ask him, days later, his vacant eyes staring at the sky: What happened?
He tells me his story.
I ask him, who did it, whose plane was it, who killed his family? I feel sympathy, sorrow at his loss.
He doesn't know. It could be the American drones, or the Pakistan Army. Both have been bombing the area. This was the first time they hit their village.
What will he do? A writer's mind always teasing, always searching a for a glimpse of a story.
He says: Revenge.
I ask from whom? I am a sadist, I shall learn later.
From the Americans, from the Pakistanis who killed his family -- Then he pauses, thinks and says, --America, is too far. But I can reach Islamabad -- it's only a few hours.
I stay quiet. I have just met my first suicide bomber. And he is targeting my home.