WAR: LOVE AND LIFE - Episode 4

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - coffin, van, revolutionary, her American citizenship, the coffin in which she lay, soldiers, AK 47 rifles hung across their shoulders, President, campaigning for the independence, The soldier , fingers had been badly bruised, General.

Kilwasi, Mbokutki Express Road, 3:45 am
Shirley was in a coffin at the back of a van. She had been unconscious for over an hour. The van was heading to Teneme, east of Kilwasi. At Teneme, General Masamba had a good number of soldiers ready to do dirty work for him. Unknown to Zuri, Julien Florian had called back General Masamba after she left him in the hotel and sent him a blue with which to invade Kilwasi. Someone else from Moscow had called President Imamu Kibwe and had told him about Kilwasi’s soon to be announced independence. Julien Florian and his group had not planned for that to happen and so they had to swing into action that same night. The plan having been designed months earlier, it was easy for General Masamba to execute it. Shirley was in danger for having married Solomon. It was thought by those who hired Masamba to get her out of the way because of her American citizenship and Solomon’s revolutionary disposition.

“Solomon! Help! Help! I am in here help me!” Shirley shouted. Her voice was muffled because of the coffin in which she lay. She punched and kicked the coffin but it wouldn’t open. She was breathing heavily and struggling to stay calm. From the moment she had the dream about war to that point, she had been on the edge. “Dear Lord please reveal to Solomon where I am,” she prayed. Then she recalled the dream she had about Solomon being killed in the war. Her heart almost jumped out of her mouth in fear. “God I hope they have not killed him,” she wondered aloud. “Help me. God help me,” she prayed once more.  Raising her knee forcefully from inside the coffin, she cracked the cover of the coffin. A few more attacks on the cover of the coffin broke it wide open. She sat up from the coffin only to see about five, fully armed, masked soldiers around her. The van was in high speed. She looked around to see if she could recognize where she was. It was too dark and there was nothing notable on that road to tell her where she was.

“Where are you taking me to?!” she asked. One of the soldiers moved his finger across his neck, indicating they were going to kill her. Fear surged through her and her feet shook. “Where is my husband?” she asked “Amekufa!” the soldier said in Swahili, meaning ‘he is dead’. Shirley understood Swahili and so knew what the soldier said. Slowly she stepped out of the coffin and sat down on the edge of it trembling, as hot tears ran down her face. She had no clue the soldier was lying. “Mbona sisi kuacha hapa na kuwa na furaha pamoja naye kabla ya sisi kuchukua yake kwa ujumla? (Why don't we stop here and have fun with her before we take her to the general?)” the same soldier suggested to his colleagues. “Ne la touchez pas, le général a donné des ordres clairs à son sujet. Je parie que vous ne voulez pas qu'il soit fou avec vous (Don't touch her, the general gave clear orders about her. I bet you don't want him to be mad with you),” one of the soldiers said, switching the conversation Swahili to French. Shirley understood everything they said but was too immobilized with fear to do anything. She just kept shedding tears, crying silently.

Kilwasi City, 3:55 am
“We have searched for her for over an hour now, there is no trace of her anywhere,” Solomon said over the phone. “She just can’t disappear like that. I am certain someone took her. She has nothing to do with her disappearance, believe me,” Rev. Kato said. “We are coming back to the church to decide our next move.” “Okay Solomon, I will be waiting for you people. Don’t be afraid, we will find Shirley. We will find her.” Without delay, Solomon and the men with him got in their vehicles and drove off to the church.

Kilwasi, The Cathedral, 6: 20 am
Rev. Kato was dressed in in priestly garb and was standing on the altar with a microphone in his hand. The church auditorium was crammed full, but the people inside were not worshipers. They were Kilwasi Revolutionary Force members. All of them had AK 47 rifles hung across their shoulders. “About six minutes after eleven, last night, I got a call from one of our own in Kuma. I was told about a plan by some Europeans and Americans to sponsor General Masamba to invade Kilwasi. Their plan is to kill President Imamu Kibwe and then make General Masamba the new military head of state. As we all already know, it has begun. We woke up this morning to hear that President Imamu Kibwe has been hospitalized without any information about what is wrong with him. All efforts by our agents in the presidential villa to reach the first lady failed. We think she has been moved away from the villa or worse, killed. You have been trained for this day. We knew it was coming! Now let us show them that Kilwasi our land!” Rev. Kato shouted.

“For Kilwasi!!!” the revolutionary force members echoed. When they all had calmed down, Rev. Kato continued. “They have not only taken the wife of the president who is from Kilwasi, they have also taken Shirley Robinson Dejen Solomon…” There was silence when Rev. Kato said that. “…yes they have abducted Shirley, who a few hours ago was on a honeymoon with her husband. I believe they took Shirley for two reasons. One! They took her to destabilize Solomon Jelani. Two! They took her to make sure we don’t get help from America. Reverend Robinson Dejen, Shirley’s father, who is from Kilwasi, served in the US army and has been campaigning for the independence of Kilwasi. Do not fear, he is already aware of what has begun in Kilwasi and will send help. I spoke with him two hours ago. Exactly 45 minutes ago, we got intelligence report that there has been some clandestine military movement in Teneme; some of our colleagues have already been stationed there,” Rev. Kato concluded.

Kilwasi, Teneme Military Barracks, 7: 35 am
Shirley was on the floor bleeding from her face and shoulders. Soldiers had beaten her up and threatened to kill her. It was a ploy to get her to help them. “Shirley Dejen, you will work for us or you die!” A soldier shouted at her “I will rather die here than help you! I am Kilwasi and will never betray my land!” she spat angrily. The soldier stepped closer and crushed her fingers with his heavy boot. “Aah! Aaah!! Aaah!!!” she screamed in pain as the soldier pressed his boot down on her fingers. “Stop!” The soldiers torturing Shirley turned to see General Masamba standing by the door. “Don’t lay a finger on that woman again! Get doctors to treat her wound,” General Masamba said. He hurried over to where Shirley lay on the floor and picked her up. “I am sorry they did this to you. I swear, I did not give them orders to this,” he lied. Shirley spewed blood from her mouth and wiped blood off her face with her fingers but ended up leaving more blood on her face. Her fingers had been badly bruised.

Two doctors rushed into the torture chamber and began to attend to Shirley. “Which of you did this to her?” General Masamba asked. The soldiers pointed at their colleague in charge of the torture. “I sir!” shouted the soldier as he stepped forward. General Masamba pulled out his gun and fired a shot at him. The soldier dropped to the floor and lay cold. “Take him away!” shouted the General. Soldiers rushed forward, picked up their dead colleague and left with his body. “Doctors, when you are done nursing her wounds, get her something to eat and bring her to my office,” Masamba ordered. “Yes sir!” responded the doctors. About an hour later, Shirley was led into General Masamba’s office. “Please sit down,” the General said, motioning Shirley to a seat. Slowly she sat down, studying the office. “I am deeply sorry for what my boys did to you. But the man who did this to you is with his ancestors right now. Please accept my apologies,” Masamba said. Shirley nodded, saying nothing, she was not sure if she should trust the General. On the van she had heard the soldiers mention he was the one who sent them to abduct her.

“Shirley, the Republic of Congo needs you,” General Masamba began. “What does the Republic of Congo need me for?” she asked. “Russia wants to divide our great nation and has armed a separatist group in Kilwasi to destabilize our country. Their interest is oil. They want the oil in Kilwasi. As I speak they have poisoned President Imamu Kibwe and kidnapped his wife. Our nation is at the brink of war. Shirley, you know what war is like, especially in Africa. We need you to help us stop this looming war.” The General paused. Shirley moved uneasily on her seat wondering what to make of the General’s words. “How can a preacher’s daughter like me be able to stop a war?” “We want you to infiltrate the Kilwasi Revolutionary Force and feed us with goes on in there.” “So you are asking me to betray my people?” “They are not your people. You are an American and these people are not who they say they are. I know your husband is with them and that you are likely to believe him more than us. Look at this…” Masamba said turning on the screen on the wall.

“The video of President Imamu Kibwe fighting for his life in a hospital bed began to play. After that another video began, showing KRF (Kilwasi Revolutionary Force) members burning down a village, beheading men and children and raping women. Shirley was shocked when she saw her husband, Solomon, amongst KRF members committing such heinous crimes. “Turn it off! Turn it off!’ Shirley screamed. “Now you know what KRF can do.” “That was not my husband! That was not Solomon!” “I am sorry Shirley, that was Solomon. Now you know who he is. The clip you saw earlier was the President. I hear he has gone into coma. He may never recover. I want you to imagine what KFR can do with Russia backing them.” Shirley bent her head and began to cry.


                                         CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 3

Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: WAR: LOVE AND LIFE - Episode 4
WAR: LOVE AND LIFE - Episode 4
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - coffin, van, revolutionary, her American citizenship, the coffin in which she lay, soldiers, AK 47 rifles hung across their shoulders, President, campaigning for the independence, The soldier , fingers had been badly bruised, General.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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