“Do you where the detained soldiers are currently staying?” I managed to ask. He responded positively and requested to lead me to the direction.
“They eliminated some and the rest are preparing to go to the war front” He said. I guess there was no space for rest for us. I had collected back my uniform and a new rifle was assigned to me. I was told who my new commander was and the unit I was assigned to. I quickly went to register my presence.
“Shun Sir” I greeted as I saluted with all vigor.
“Easy” He responded. I stood my position till he beckoned on me to take a seat. He requested for some little time to round up with the people he was having a discussion with first.
“No problems Sir” I said as I quickly adjusted my seat and stared my glance with nothing in view actually. They continued their discussion while I sat, hoped and prayed for everything to work out fine. I had barely finished the prayer when I heard my name.
“Sir” I shouted as I stood up in salute. He beckoned on me to come closer and take a seat directly in front of his table.
“Seems you were lost in thoughts” He asked me. I giggled a bit without knowing what exactly to say. I was actually lost in thought while thinking of what would be the outcome of this meeting.
“Not at all Sir, I was only admiring the accolades and plagues round your office.” I lied
“You like them?” He asked
“I wish I could achieve half of these before I retire from the military” I responded. He smiled and nodded his head in approval before rising up his head and staring at me.
“Listen son, you can achieve even more than I have achieved. All you need is to be the best of soldier you can ever be and watch the sky become your limit” He said. I continued to nod my head to all that he said.
“What is that your name again?” He asked. I told me my name and we entered into a very long conversation. We talked about my state of origin and he even reminded me of the Biafran war and genocide that happened at Asaba. I told him of how many family members I lost during the war and how my mother’s father was killed when the Nigerian soldiers invaded our town.
“You know nothing is fair in war” He asked
“Yes Sir!” I responded with a fake smile. He smiled and brought out a file right under his desk. He continued to scroll right through it, and after a while he paused…
“Before I forget, I heard the real version of what happened at the Bama Camp” He said. I became scared at the mention of Bama camp.
“Was he trying to cook up another story that never happened?” I asked myself. I remained calm and didn’t allow my nervous hand expose my true state.
“You fought like a true soldier, but it was unfortunate that you were with the wrong squad” He said.
“Thank you sir” I responded.
“That is the reason I decided to bring you into my team and put you on the path of greatness” He said with a smile.
“I am so grateful sir” I responded with my face all beaming with happiness.
“But you have to also know one thing” He chipped in while I was getting all joyous. I quickly adjusted myself and was already all ears.
“We are a special squad and we go where the fighting is highly intense. We conquer dangerous grounds and overcome terrorist’s strongholds” He said. My mood quickly shifted from “all smiles” to “all confused”.
“I hoped you are ready for the challenge?” He asked with a smile.
“Did I have a choice?” I questioned myself!
“Yes Sir; I am always ready for action” I assured him. He was filed with all joy as he quickly stood up and shook my hand vigorously.
“We will be having a briefing by 7pm tomorrow” He said. I nodded positively and turned round leaving the office. I quickly walked a distance and made sure I had no eyes on me.
“Jesus!! Why always me?” I shouted with my two hands on my head. I heard footsteps approaching and I quickly went back to my soldier state. I had been assigned a place to stay with, so I had to get arrange my sleeping materials. I quickly rushed to my camp to see if I would get a sleeping material. Meanwhile I wanted to find time and see where Bright was buried, so I could pay my last respect to him.
“What would I tell his Mum?” I wondered to myself. I decided to do that later, but I had to go find a sleeping space for the main time. I arrived the camp and was still staring at the whole place, when I heard someone scream my name so hard. I turned around and wondered where the voice was coming from.
The voice screamed my name again and I caught the direction but couldn’t believe what I saw. He told me to wait that he was coming. He ran down to where I was standing as I continued to gaze. I had an option to run away from the person approaching me, but decided to stand for a while. I pinched myself so hard to ascertain if I could feel pain. I actually did feel pain but couldn’t still believe who was running towards my direction.
He finally reached my position and hugged me so hard.
“Is this you?” I asked curiously?
“Yea it is me” he replied “Any probs?”. I didn’t know how to tell him that I thought I died..
“Yes…No…Yes” I replied confused
“What do you mean by that?” He asked seeming confused too
“I saw your name on the list of dead soldiers, why are you now alive?” I asked
“Hahahahahaha” he laughed out loud
“Is it funny?” I questioned
“errmmmm… no” He responded
“So what happened?” I asked again. He finally told me how everything played out. That was actually someone else who bore the same name like him. It was actually funny as I laughed and was shocked at the same time.
“Even when they called out the name, I thought I was even the person till the surname was called” He explained to me. We hugged each other so hard and he showed me a space he kept for me where I could always sleep.
I quickly found the space and relaxed a little bit. The relaxing developed into a full blown sleep. It was the sound of the beagle that sent me back into the world of the living. We were about to hear an announcement that would decide all our fate forever…
To Be Continued….