Knock knock! Knock knock! Captain Achor reluctantly rose to his feet to get the door. He would not smile to his intruder. He had snatched him out of his house in Kuruma where he had his daughter in his arms and Ngolo, his wife, sang his favourite song sonorously as she prepared pepper soup with the bush meat he brought home from hunting. He hadn’t dreamt in a long time. The unceasing knocks he had first ignored wouldn’t let him dream further or sleep no matter how he ignored. He slung his door open with more of something that was like aggression and battled the forceful entrance of light into his eyes. He saw no one, until he heard a voice that rose from below his waist.
‘Good morning sir.’ It was a very young boy of 6 that helped his father at the military camp’s post office. He was on a green cap and his voice resonated like metal. He saluted the captain in some style, stamping his feet hard and almost tripping before reeling out his message in high notes, ‘A letter for you sir!’ and held out an envelope, his hand high and body stiffened, waiting for Achor to respond. He’d make a good soldier. Achor smiled, but was too serious to flow with a joke. These men never tired in giving instructions. He didn’t read the address but just tore the envelope. His eyes caught ‘Dear love’ and his head inflated. She knew he had been moved to Boro which was a bit closer than the former camp, but they were forbidden to visit because Major Richard had said so. It would have been better if he didn’t attribute it to the bible. He would repeat the rule and then add something like ‘Second Timothy Two, verse Four; No soldier should entangle himself in the affairs of this life…’ and Sgt Phillip often completed it harmoniously with him. Rubbish. Of course seeing family relatives posed distraction from the main target – winning the war. Does he have to make it a sermon? That was why Ngolo had quickly sent a letter. The rest of the content was sweeter than the bush meat peppersoup he had missed in dream, and he felt as though she spoke those words to him sitting by his bedside. Elo, his first daughter just turned 5. It’s been a year plus since he set his eyes on her.
Two days burnt out like lit candle and they had been deployed to Lumpur, the commercial centre of Rockville. A few men didn’t make the list – mostly injured men. They needed the best to advance to Lumpur and prevent the capturing of the state. They were given three additional experienced soldiers – Lucius, Mbika and Lotanna – all sergeants. Phillip had been the only sergeant on the team, but now he had three more and they were forming a more organized platoon. The now twenty six man team was split into four squads, six men under the command of each of the four sergeants, while Captain Achor and Lieutenant Rikan remained above the squad members. The whole country had to trust Captain Achor’s success record. He enjoyed the feel – the trusted man of war that always got results. Even the Salamandine Army requested reinforcement because Achor had been deployed to Libertine. More machine guns, armoured tanks and another jet fighter had been sent. Not that they didn’t already have more ammunition than any Rockvillian army could possess, but Achor was becoming more of a fictional super hero than human. Some had begun to rumour that bullets didn’t pierce through his skin. He had recovered three major cities in the West – Kisolo, Adoja and Kouyate, with the very inferior weaponry, when he forced the Salamandine forces that were looting their gold and diamond rich state, Kumali, outside their borders and protected it.
How the Salamandine forces got to know about Achor’s new deployment didn’t bother Achor until the offensives had begun and eight men in only Achor’s squad were lost in first offensive and Genesis was one of them. They had taken them by surprise. On the first night of arrival, a jet fighter had flown in and showered missiles, before infantry men badged in rattling their AKs and firing down anything that moved in the smoke covered camp. The men deserted the camp and hid in the trenches inside the thick bushes that surrounded the camp and had barely left with their weapons. At best every soldier had his gun with very limited supply of bullets, much of which was left in the deserted camp. The enemy made a mistake. They stayed back at the camp to loot weapons and ammunitions while they allowed for the Rockvillain soldiers to recuperate. An immediate message had been sent for reinforcement and Lt Colonel Akampi, Chief of Army staff, understood the urgency. Immediately one jet fighter was promised and some twenty soldiers and that was enough morale-boost for Captain Achor and his boys. That night would not pass them by. Revenge wringed Achor’s heart like hot knife was stuck in it and not removed. Other captains had thought of retreat but not him. Not even his boys. His eight men must be avenged so that they could rest in peace. They pleaded with Achor to wait for the reinforcement which was to land the next morning but Achor refused. His boys must be avenged tonight. If he died in the process so be it.
2am was the set time and they were on the attack. It was going to be a stealth one. He had told his fellow captains to stay behind to slay those that tried to escape, or come in just in case they needed reinforcement. He never planned involving them. He just wanted to make them feel a little important and part of the offensive. They were women.
Episode Seven comes up next…