“What?” Bright was the first to ask with his eyes widly openend.
“I just hope you are joking” He said. Others looked at him with a stern look.
“You be soldier at all?” One of them asked him
“Mesef, I just tire for this Lance corporal” another chipped in. Lance corporal was Bright’s rank in the military, just a rank below mine. I was promoted to the rank of a corporal after our battle at Bama. I and Bright were the two least soldiers among five sergeants, but in the battle of life and death, ranks counted as nothing.
“Why should you be scared of dying?” One of them questioned Bright to his face.
“Look at us, do we have anything worth living for again? They have surrounded us, and if we don’t act, we are gonna be killed like mere chickens” The guy spoke with tears coming out of his eyes. He quickly reached for his wallet and brought out a picture, before raising it up for us. I focused my looks on the picture to see exactly what he was trying to show.
That was the picture of a pregnant woman holding another baby on her arm.
“This is my wife. She gave birth the day I was coming to this God forsaken forest, just to kill those that they pay us to kill. To risk my life for people who don’t even know I exist. I don’t know anything else than being a soldier, and that is what they pay me to do.” He said as he held his wife’s picture on his chest and cried like a baby. I looked at Bright a second time and went straight to meet with the soldier.
“All will be fine” I whispered to him.
“Me no get family ooo…” Another of the soldiers interrupted the silence. “Ever since I come here, I don forget wetin be family. Na just me and my gun ooo… I don say my own finish” He said as he tucked his gun to the floor and danced round it in a funny way. Everybody was looking for someone to say something. Another soldier walk out and said that he left his wife pregnant, and he hopes to see his wife as soon as the battle is over. I looked at his name and saw Sgt Ali.
Bright quietly stood up from where he was and walked right into the center. He looked at everyone keenly before he continued his speech.
“I am very sorry for letting you all down. Just that I am the only son and my dad died while I was still a baby. My mother was chased out of the family inheritance because had nobody to speak for her. I decided to join the army as a youth, so that I can get what is mine back. I never knew that I would be sent on this Mission. My mother is very sick, and I don’t know how she is or who is even looking after her. The thought of dying and leaving her alone in this wicked world turns my belle and makes me scared even when I should be strong. Please forgive me, we are in this together and we will fight together. Whether in life or in death” He said as tears rolled down his eyes. I know I am a strong person and nothing moves me to tears easily. But after Bright’s speech, I could feel them as they wanted to burst off my eyes. I started to fight uncontrollable and when I looked at the other guys, they also stood speechless.
“Commander, you have anything to say?” One of the soldier’s asked me. I had to say something. It would be stingy of me listening to everyone and not dropping a word for them.
“I do this for my father, who I only see time to time in my dreams. I do this for my mother, whom I love so much and pray I ever get to see her again. I do this for my sister whom I love so much and might not see her cute smile again.” I said as I paused.
“But most importantly, I do this for my fiancée who always assured me that she would be waiting for me to back home into her arms. We were supposed to get married, but this mission cut is short. I know I will see her again, and we will live together forever” I said as I quickly took my weapon and went to sit behind a cover.
“So what next?” Sgt Ali asked. I quickly assembled all of them together and drew a sketchy plan of the forest we found ourselves.
“This is their main weapon. If we are able to disable this, we would have a level playing ground” I said to them. Their main weapon is a very sophisticated Machine gun that was mounted behind a bunker. It could spray long distances and could pierce even the strongest of metals with ease.
We couldn’t go face to face because that would amount to suicide, and all our plans of flanking them was proved abortive because they had strong defenses.
“So what should we do now?” Bright asked. Everyone turned around to stare at him, and it was so unbelievable that he asked such a question.
“I don’t know” I replied truthfully.
“Let us battle the flanks. If we gain hold of that, it will be easier fighting from the sides” Sgt Ahmed said. Sgt Ahmed was the man whose wife delivered the day we were heading to this our drop location.
“But what if as we wan battle for flank, they come reduce our man power nko, which wan we go use fight the main enemy?” Sgt Ejiro questioned. I guess he was from the South South part of Nigeria. He was the soldier who claimed he had no family to call his own. He was a very good and voracious soldier, who fought like it was his personal business. Young , agile, dedicated and aggressive were the adjectives I could use to qualify him.
“It is better that the suicide of going head to head with the Machine gun” Sgt Ali the quiet man chipped in.
“I think so” Bright added.
I was about to stand up and buttress exactly how we were gonna now attack them by the flanks, but we never knew that they were already 2 steps ahead of us.
“Speewwww” was the sound of the rifle bullet that flew past my head. It was a close shave with death, but it split the rock I was resting on formerly into various particles.
To Be Continued!!