Thirsty Warlords: Episode 8
Probably, the tyranny of the army was everywhere in the nation and had caused the revolution. She knew Major had lied about the albino boy being a rebel informant, the boy had never gone out of the town before the battalion arrived. Intense torture could even make the boys confess to what they never did. Ube wished she could shoot Major herself, only that she’d die too, her family and even Agbo’d not be spared.
She watched him open a fresh pack of cigarettes to chain-smoke as he stared absently into the gathering night through the window. Ube knew she’d have been progressing in her studies if not for these brutes in uniform. Her mind recollected Nweke’s memory, remembering always their last time together. She wondered where and what he was doing.
The roar of a jeep’s engine driving into the village interrupted the night, then outburst of chuckles followed as the jeep stopped. It was the patrol unit.
The patrol-leader came in. “Evening, sir.”
Major ignored the salute. “Anything around?”
“Absolute peace for miles, Major.”
“Those sneaky rogues, all a bunch of cowardly guerillas.”
“For hours, sir, nothing but vegetation. Everyday’s the same.”
“You know how I feel, Johnny?” Major smiled bleakly. “Like the sheriff of Nottingham and them – Robin Hood and friends.”
“Sure, Major, and they can’t win this war. We got everything, they don’t.”
Major ran his hand through his bushy hair, letting out an exasperated sigh. This wasn’t the kind of war he liked; he hated guerilla warfare. Guerillas were more like shadows that could spring up anywhere and fade out as quickly as they’d come, while the government troops had to shadow-box. There were no tactics, no rules, but hitting and running. This had prolonged the war without any side making a headway. The uncertainty of the guerillas’ hit-and-run skirmishes had made Major impose stringent conditions on every village or town he occupied with his troops. He didn’t want any informant sneaking around the town to feed the rebels information for a surprise attack that could be unpredictable as well as destructive, staining his stainless career.
“Imagine, we’ve only had an encounter with the rebels since over six months.”
“It’s all a matter of time, Major.”
Ube quickly interjected. “The curfew’s started and my parents will be worried.”
Though she knew she could walk home anytime – curfew or not. The Major had given her enough immunity. Yet she’d still need a soldier to guard her home, for the trigger-happy soldiers would shoot at anything not in uniform.
The Major’s supper was served and he ordered Ube to be fed too. He called the shots there and she could go home anytime. Ube hurriedly ate her food, sipping at the cold water before her too. She was eager to go home; there was no food in the house. “I’m leaving.”
Major went into his sleeping room, then returned with a bag of grains and canned items, with five currency notes for her too. “Let me paint you a picture. Warn your brother not to get caught by my boys. I have no remorse.” Then he called for his sergeant. “Johnny, see her off right to her doorstep.”
“You heard me, right?”
“I’d kill him, and then my boys know how to make you all wish you’re dead.”
Ube could understand him, but she’d not understand why he’s particular about Agbo. “But why – ”
“Take her out, sarge.”
“Hey, tomorrow is my birthday, show up,” Major said without looking up.
“Alright,” she said gloomily.
“Take her out now, sarge,” he repeated.
“And there’s something else,” Major said.
“What else?” she asked, slightly irked.
“Tomorrow, come with the names of Agbo’s closest friends.”
“But why don’t you – ”
“I am the police here, remember? Take her out now, sarge.”
“Take her home, sarge,” Major repeated with cool indifference.
“I’m not leaving ’till there’s an explanation,” she blurted suddenly.
Major looked up slowly. “What explanation?”
“The names. I don’t want to feel guilty for whatever you do to them.”
“Let’s go…..,” urged the sergeant, pushing her gently.
“Take her home,” he said again with collected calmness. “She’s tired.”
——>>>To be continued
Watch out for Episode 9
Posted from Apostle of Change