(Tale of a Survivor).
I saw all of them running helter shelter trying to revive me as I opened my eyes slowly and noticed I was already drenched with the excess water they continued to pour on me. I coughed out loud and it quickly attracted their attention.
“The mumu don wake up sef!!” One of the said with laughter. The other bent down a bit and slapped the side of my face.
“You don finally wake?” He asked with a mean face. I kept calm because I had no strength in me to talk at all.
“Let’s go tie am back for the seat” One of the soldier suggested. I was dragged up and carried back to my seat with my hands tied back to the chair, likewise my feet. They left and I was all alone in the room abandoned to my own fate.
It wasn’t few hours they left that I saw something that scared the living hell out of me. A scorpion was moving towards my direction and I prayed it never came close. It crawled and crawled up my body through my legs as I continued to shout. I guess nobody could hear my shouting because my mouth was tied with a piece of cloth. After a while, it finally rested on my laps. I watched it as it positioned itself so well on my laps as it sent a devastating sting! I almost leaped out the chair out of pains and the little moster insect quickly found its way out of my body. I fell alongside the chair as I wriggled in severe pains. I tried shouting but my shout couldn’t get past my own mouth. I continued to wriggle till the venoms overtook me and I laid down helplessly.
Few hours or days later, I wasn’t in possession of any clock; so I had no idea what time they came in. The soldiers quickly rushed into the guard room and I guess they found me lieing helplessly on the ground. One of them quickly came around and kicked me in the butt as I slowly manage to get myself together. My bones and body were so heavy due to the venom.
“You wanted to escape?” One of the soldiers asked.
“No need for long questions, just pack him up and let’s move out” Another intercepted
The junior officer quickly stood me up and untied me and I was given cloth to wear. I was still feeling dizzy and weak, so one of the soldiers helped me dress up. I was matched straight to the military hospital in the barracks where I was immediately assigned to see a doctor. I was given a very special attention as I continued to wonder what was wrong. I guess I would soon get to know.
I spent two days at the hospital before I was declared ready and fit. I still felt pains in my ribs, but I couldn’t reject the doctor’s decision.
After I was discharged from the hospital, I was taken to the supplies unit where I was given new pair of uniforms and other logistics. I was demoted and I was totally back to square one as a private soldier.
“Morn Sir!!” I said while at attention.
“Easy” He said as he stretched out his hands towards me and demanded for a handshake. I officially shook him before asking my question. He was just a level above me, and in the military, that is a huge gap.
“Sorry sir, what about the deserters that were captured from Bama town?”
“Awww…” He exclaimed lightly
“Some were court martialled and found guilty, while some were placed on probation” He said
“Wow… That is pathetic” I chipped in
“Yea…” He confirmed!
“So what happened to the ones that were found guilty?” I asked with a fretting voice
“They were killed!” He replied with mixed emotions.
“Jesus!!” I shouted not minding I was in a quiet place. He quickly dragged me to a corner and showed me something won his phone. I stretched my eyes clearly to catch a glimpse of what he wanted to show me.
“They were killed illegally” He said to me. My heart nearly jumped out of my mouth.
“What do you mean Sir?” I asked curiously. He looked at me and smiled.
“The court found them guilty, but human right activists protested and they promised that they were not gonna face the firing squad”
“So what happened?” I asked. He looked at me again, this time with a firm look.
“Hope this discussion would end between us?” He asked
“Sure Sir!!” I said “My best friend is among those that were court martialed” I explained to him
“What is the name of your friend?” He asked me.
“Bright something, I can’t really recollect” I said to him. He immediately went to his gallery and scrolled through the names of those that faced the firing squad.
“Let’s continue, I will check later” He said.
“Ok sir” I said.
“They faced the firing squad and they published in the newspapers that they were killed by the terrorists.” He said
“Holy God!!” I muttered “Why would they do that?” I asked.
“Well I think it was a way to warn other soldiers that they shouldn’t flee from the war zone again” He said. “Right now we are even lacking soldiers and they are transferring soldiers from the other parts of the country to Borno state” He added
“I was among the deserters” I said to him
“You don’t mean it!!” He almost screamed
“How did you do it?” He asked. “I heard you were supposed to be killed but your commander said you were the only brave one among the others”
“Don’t worry Sir, I believe his testimony is the final” I said to him. “Please show me the names of those that were killed” I begged.
He took me back to his gallery again and scrolled through the list again. “Did you snap it or what?” I asked while he was still searching for the picture
“No, I was just lucky to see it and I snapped it immediately” He explained
“Hope you don’t leak the information, because they will just kill you” I joked
“I am not so mad bro” He chipped in. He finally saw the names of the executed soldiers and brought it closer to my sight. I scanned the paper faster than a scanner would do and as soon as I saw the letter B, I paused as the heartbeat of my heart increased drastically. I looked carefully towards the name that had the letter B. Lo and Behold I saw his name “Bright” on the list.
My eyes were spinning round, my legs were wobbling, it was as if an insect flew straight into my eyes so I tried so hard to open my eyes and allow air flow inside of it. I blinked my eyes in rapid succession and headache overtook me with severity.
“What happened?” He asked as he bent low to stare deep into my face. I guess I couldn’t hide it for long as tears flowed right out of my eyes.
“Was your friend among those they killed?” He asked with sympathy.
I wanted to say something but the words were not coming forth. Tears had already overtaken my eyes.
“Are you sure he is the one?” He asked me once again. I pointed to the name I saw on the list.
“Is his name Bright?” The soldier asked me
“Yes…” I managed to say as I continued to battle with the tears coming out of my eyes…
To Be Continued…
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