TITLE: Accidental Victim EPISODE: 33
Please don’t tell me you have thanatophobia’, Damien
whispered to Mustapha as he saw him looking as scared
as hell. ‘No talk!’, the man behind Damien said as he
nudged his rifle into his back. Damien grunted and
They were both walking with their hands tied in front of
them with four Taliban terrorists walking behind them,
pointing their guns at them.
Some hours earlier, they had been in their tents lying down
on their cots relaxing after preparing for the mission when
they heard the call for all the men to gear up and
Damien got up from his cot and realized that Mustapha
was still asleep. He poked his side and Mustapha jumped
“Dude!! What’s the matter?”, Mustapha asked.
“It’s show time”, Damien replied.
Mustapha stumbled off the cot and began dressing and
gearing up. They both quickened their pace as a second
call went out for all the men to assemble.
As Damien and Mustapha got into the tent, they saw the
General on a podium, flanked by two of his lieutenants. He
looked at them as they walked in, but his face was
The General cleared his throat and began speaking as the
last of the soldiers walked in. He praised the soldiers for
their gallant strides in the past and enjoined them to put in
more effort in order to obliterate the Taliban group from
the face of the earth.
“This guys are not aliens”, the General boomed, “they are
not well trained like us. We have to end this menace. It’s
becoming embarrassing to us and to the country at large
that these guys are winning. Do we let them continue??”
“No sir!”, the soldiers chanted.
The General continued speaking, motivating the soldiers to
bring out their best. Damien was awed. ‘If only battles
were won through word of mouth…’, he thought.
After several minutes, the soldiers we dismissed. They all
geared up and loaded themselves into trucks.
Damien and Mustapha were in the first truck, with
Mustapha giving directions to the soldier in command,
who in turn gave directions to the soldier driving.
“You sure you are ready for this?”, Mustapha asked as he
looked at Damien.
“No… You?”Mustapha shook his head. Damien smiled.
“Take a left here”, Mustapha said to the commander. After
more than an hour, they were at the end of the road.
“What now?”, the Commander asked Mustapha.
“We walk from here”, he replied.
The trucks were parked behind each other – Four trucks in
all. The soldiers quickly disembarked from the trucks,
taking defensive positions.
Mustapha looked around, studying the geography of the
area, trying to remember the path he was to lead them
through. Seconds later, it all came back to him.
“We take this path”, he said to the commander. The
commander relayed the progress of the mission via radio
communication to the General back at the base. Their
mission was a Go.
They began walking through the bush path, with Mustapha
and Damien at the head of the pile, weapons at the ready.
They walked as quietly as possible, but for the sound of
twigs and shrubs they stepped on.
After walking for several minutes, they heard a shrilly
sound. The commander held up his palm in a fist and the
soldiers halted. They all looked around, trying to decipher
where the sound came from, but it was all quiet once
“What the hell was that?”, Damien whispered at Mustapha.
“I have no idea, maybe monkeys”, he replied.
The commander gave the signal that they continue. Some
seconds later, they all heard a sound shattering through
“Guns!!”, the commander screamed. The soldiers
immediately took defensive positions. Damien looked
beside him and saw that Mustapha was down. The first
shot took him down.
Damien quickly dragged him away as the sound of
gunshots and screams of dying men ripped through the
silence of the forest.
Damien was now very tensed up. He set Mustapha down
beside a tree and quickly ripped open his shirt and found a
bullet neatly lodged in the bullet-proof vest he wore.
“Son of a biitch”, Damien muttered. He poked Mustapha in
the face and he opened his eyes.
“I thought I was dead”, Mustapha said slowly.
“You are not that easy to kill my friend”, Damien replied.
“Where are the others?”, he asked.
Damien turned and looked into the distance. Some of the
soldiers were dead on the ground. The others were fleeing.
The sounds of gunshots was receding.
The entire encounter lasted less than fifteen minutes, like
they were ambushed. Damien wondered how that might
have been.”How the hell did they know we were coming?”, Damien
asked Mustapha who already sat up, resting his back on
the bark of the tree, with Damien squatting beside him.
“I have no idea”, Mustapha replied, “maybe they found the
path and expected us to use it. We just fell right into their
“Don’t beat yourself up over it, we still have to complete
the mission”, Damien said.
Mustapha shook his head. “Don’t you see”, Mustapha
said, “we can’t anymore. If we go any further we would
die. And for what? In fact, we have to leave now, if not
we’ll get stuck here.”
Mustapha tried getting up, but he contorted his face as he
felt some sharp pain on his chest.
“Are you ok?”, Damien asked him.
“I’ll live”, he replied. “So what do you say, we retreat, or
we forge ahead”, he asked Damien.
“I say we rescue Funmi and get out of this god forsaken
forest for good”, Damien replied.
Mustapha nodded, and massaged his chest. The pain
subsided a little. He was about picking up his gun when
they both heard a voice.
“Drop it!”, the voice said.
Damien and Mustapha froze. Damien slowly looked behind
him and saw about four Taliban terrorists, pointing their
guns at them. There was no point making any move, he
would definitely get shot at least by one of them. Except of
course if it was a movie. But this wasn’t. They were
caught for real, with no possible means of escape.
Damien slowly bent down and dropped his rifle. He got
back up and raised his hands. Mustapha followed suit.
One of the terrorists came around them and placed rubber
cuffs on their wrists. Another shoved his rifle into their
backs, pushing them forward.
“Move it!”, the voice said.
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