LOVE AND JUSTICE
“Excuse me Sir, where can I find some vehicles to the city or boarder where the Zambian customs are?” I asked a man passing by, I had been standing on the tarred road for hours without any signs of a vehicles passing by. I realized I was in Congo seeing the flag hanging across the road at a small school.
“Hm. You see, this place is so far away from the city. Vehicles hardly pass around this place, unless the military vehicles, they at least pass here once in a week.” He explained in his scanty English.
“Military? Is there a base nearby?” I asked him.
“Yes, but not from our country, it’s on the Zambian side. A few meters down the road”
“Zambian, that makes a lot of sense, that bas***d is using those soldiers, I should have known “I said aloud forgetting the man was still standing.
“What are you saying?” he asked
“Um, no, I was speaking to myself, thank you Sir” I smiled at him and watched him walk away. I had to take my chances and see for myself what was going down at the base. I recalled one of the military bases was in the deep forest towards the boarder. It was used for further training and operations. For over an hour I trekked down the tarred road and another hour in the gravel road that was going further deep into the forest, I wished I had some boots on my feet. My shoes were barely holding me as I kept slipping on the stones in the ground.
I was almost stopping to rest when the base came into view. I stood on some hilly land watching the activities of the place. A few soldiers were moving about and I could see about 4 on guard.
“The only way is to use them” I thought to myself taking cover behind the bushes as one of the guards faced my direction his gun in his hands. I waited for another 20 minutes studying the place then I saw Mr. Benson talking to one of the soldiers. My eyes quickly went to his rank and I saw he was the commander, obviously station commander for the base. I saw them shaking hands as a vehicle pulled over.
“This is your chance Ackim” I told myself running down the hill to where the car just parked. I waited for it to stop. I was thinking of getting below it so they could lead me somewhere but I felt disappointed seeing Mr. Benson and the commander heading back inside and the driver of the range rover parking and turning off the engine.
“Just a few moments more, some guys from Lusaka are calling in and I have to talk to them” I heard Mr. Benson telling the commander.
“Take your time Sir” he responded and they walked away. I looked around still hiding. I wanted to hear them but it was too risky, I was going to expose myself. So I decided to get closer to the vehicle, slowly and steadily I went to the front and peeped to see the driver.
He was listening to some music, I could see him nod his head the phone in his hands. A few steps forward he still didn’t move until I opened the door to his seat, he looked at me startling but before he could shout I held his mouth and pulled him down twisting his neck and he fall on me silent.
I looked around to check if I had alerted anyone and satisfied, I pulled him to the bushes where I had been, taking off his uniform and wearing it leaving the poor guy completely nude a heap of the clothes I had on next to me, he was dead I was sure there was no need to dress him up.
I stood up to walk back to the car and before I could turn to go a voice shouted startling me.
“Hey! “ I froze in one place not knowing what to do.
“Hey! Go on the boss is coming, what are you standing there for? “The man spoke again and I sighed in relief.
“Yes sir!” I answered.
“I was relieving myself sir” I added before turning my face down.
“well, move it man” the sergeant ordered and I walked past him to the car settling in the driver`s seat and putting on the seat belt securely.
There was a barricade between the driver`s seat and the back seat the only way of communicating was either through the small open space or the intercom besides me. Before driving closer to the Mr. Benson who was bidding his good byes to the commander, I turned it on so I could hear whatever was going on in the back.
“Let’s move! Will be joined by others by the road, that bas***d has injured most of my men. Am sure these boys have picked them by now” he spoke and I sighed silently without saying a thing.
“Hey, did you get a thing I said?” he asked and I knew he needed my response. Worry creeped in when I realized I really didn’t know how the guy spoke.
sh*t!” I screamed in my heard.
“Yes sir!’ I tuned my voice and was relieved when my response was followed by silence.
I drove for almost half an hour towards the road and I started figuring out the way to go, I prayed in my heart, so that they could be only one way to wherever we were going and my debate ended when a wagon of vehicles came into view ahead of us.
One of the guys came to us as I stopped and straight away went to check on his boss who rolled down the windows.
“Let’s move, have you got all the injured men?” Mr. Benson asked.
“Yes Sir, they are driven ahead we were just waiting for you” the guy responded. I looked ahead seeing the vehicles moving ahead and two more behind us.
“Way to go” I spoke inside myself excitedly.
The drive back was tiring but I had to stay alert and drive at the same speed as all the vehicle to keep track.
“What is your status?” I heard Mr. Benson talk on the phone. I sat up paying attention making sure I kept my hands firm on the wheels.
“Okey, good. Make sure that mistake is not repeated” he added and cut the call.
“How far are we?” he asked me and I cleared my throat before making up a voice.
“Approaching Solwezi town Sir” I answered.
“Hey Tembo, you sound tired, are you okey?” he asked and I knew my voice was selling me out.
“A little bit sir” I responded.
“It’s understood given the work you boys have been doing, no worries though, you will be highly compensated for this” he chuckled.
“Yes sir, thank you” I responded
The second phone call came in just as we were about to join the road to his house.
“Yes daddy!” I could hear Paula`s voice as he had put the phone on loud speaker.
“Yes my baby, how is it going there?” he asked.
“Daddy, what the hell is going on there?” she screamed.
“What do you mean Paula?” he asked after a deep sigh.
“Ackim is behaving funny, is there something I should know? Is there any military calls for him again and he is hiding it from me, am worried daddy, please tell me what is going on, I miss my husband but for the past 2 days he has not bothered to call me or anything, his line is off. Where is he daddy? You must know something or someone who knows what is going on right?” she asked, I could hear her sounding upset. I felt sad at the moment, realizing I had been so much into the issue of helping Steve get Justice and I had barely thought of my wife and kids.
“What are you doing Ackim?” I asked myself.
“If I hear anything I will let you know but I think its best you stay in Australia for a while baby” He continued.
“What? You want me to stay this far apart from my husband daddy? You know I can’t do that. Am getting on a plane first thing tomorrow morning, I cannot live on like this”
“No, no, listen to me baby” Mr. Benson cut her.
“let me find Ackim and talk to him, I will try find out what is going on, you know him, if he insists you stay there for while it means it is not quiet safe here. He is obviously trying to protect you all. Please stay for a few more days longer I will get in touch” he convinced her and I heard her sigh in relief.
“A couple of days daddy” she warned and cut the line I heard Mr. Benson whisper something to himself.
“Any problem sir?” I asked him.
“That son of a b***h has to die, I cannot have him around my daughter any more. He has outlived his stay and I need him out. I don’t want my daughter and grandchildren to get hurt. The minute I get those recordings he will go down too. Let’s hope these idiots’ finds him soon” he spit and I shook my head almost scolding him for being such a hypocrite. But I held myself in and sighed.
“You will pay dearly for this father in law” I screamed inside and looked ahead the road as the vehicles in front of me slowed down.
The serious faces of the men standing before me, their valor looks, made me feel great, I realized the reason why I joined the army in the first place. Even though I was the only soldier in the crew, I made sure the men Scar brought in where brought to speed on what to expect. I spent three days training them, I was impressed on how well they were able to grasp things, they already had the physical strength all they needed was a positive impression that would keep them fighting.
“They are ready” I smiled talking to Scar standing next to me as I watched the boys pack up some arms in the trucks.
“Yeah. My men have spent half their lives on the streets, fighting for survival” he giggled.
“Yeah, am giving them a good reason to fight, this is not about making money but a genuine war that will mark them for life. See, you all are going to come out different from all this, you will live to remember this noble act” I sighed
“Hahaha, are you scared?” Scar asked in his horse voice with a dry laugh putting the cigar between his lips and I could bet I saw him smile, only it lasted for a couple of seconds
“Why do you think that?” I looked at him
“Well, my mother told me a man about to die or scared rants a lot” he shook his head walking away
“Don’t worry though am not dying today” he added sitting on the stool and spitting out some smoke.
I shook my head at him, he seemed fearless exactly what I was looking for. I had some intel from the only guy inside, the guy I had inside Tatila`s circle. My hope was he remained loyal and the last time I talked to him I made sure I put him under serious interrogation making sure he was clean. He gave me something that could lead me to Queen.
“I overhead them talking about a tower. I don’t know where it is but I think you can check it out to be sure” he informed me and that day I took my time going to the tower I was suspecting they were keeping her and I discovered it was heavily guarded confirming the theory.
“Can you get me the details of the building plans” I asked him.
“I know of a guy that works at the council who might have access to the blue prints for many places. Let me get his line and I will give you a call” he explained.
“That’s good. Actually am not leaving any stone unturned, am coming with you” I insisted and we went round town trying to find the guy. After trying a few people around they directed us to the guy. A tall slander guy with small slim hands that suited his entire body.
“Hey, am Steve” I introduced myself the moment he sat in the passenger seat of my truck.
“Hey man! Am Logan. What can I do for you?” he asked with a weird smile which I quickly ignored wanting to pay attention to the right things.
“Heard you the guy with maps and blue prints for most of the government buildings?” I asked him straight up.
“Depends on which buildings man” he sighed. I knew what he wanted so I bent forward and grabbed some stacked cash lifting them up.
“The small tower in this location” I handed him the picture and the guy widely grinned. He extended his hand to grab the money but I pulled it back.
“When can I have it?” I asked seriously
“I need time man, those thing are not easy to find. It can take a week or two”
“I don’t have a week, I need it by tomorrow morning can you get it for 2Ks?”
He pretended to be thinking through it for a couple of seconds and nodded his head. “I will need to ask a guy who knows exactly where they are” he uttered looking at me this time no smile.
“Here, Get this 1000, upon completion of the job I will add a 1500” I told him. I warned him before he left how I would not tolerate him talking about our deal.
“The way I found you for this, that’s how I will find you if you decide to bullsh*t me” my finger was pointing at him as he stood outside the vehicle.
“He is not joking man, get the blue prints and if you know what is good for you bring them tomorrow morning” Scar who was seated silently all this while spoke up and the man looked at his stern face once quickly looking away. I am not sure it was fear of his scar or the fact that the guy (Scar) was dressed in a black hood and his eyes where red from the dope he just had.
“I get it. Will give you a call” he added and walked away putting the money in his pockets and patting it securely. We watched him walk away for a reasonable distance before starting off. As promised, the following morning he called around 7 am, earlier than I had anticipated.
We spend the rest of that morning discussing the plans and making sure everyone was up to date with the plan of going in.
“I can bet they are keeping Jim and Chama at the same place, I need my guys and woman back in one peace. No mistakes guys, master this piece and stick to the plan. Those men that we are to face this evening are not only trained soldiers, most of them are rogue and angry, they are so pissed and fearless, they will do anything to protect the interests of those they save. That is what soldiers do, they follow orders to their death, they will fight to death and so should you” I stood to talk as everyone listened in.
“I need anyone who feels they are not up to the task to speak up now and leave before it’s too late” I added looking at each one of them.
“The cut is good and let’s make it worth it” Scar spoke up too and they smiled murmuring amongst themselves. I could bet that was the kind of motivation they needed, a monetary reward and not the sh*t of fighting for a good cause. I watched in silence as Scar went on telling them how to stick together and protect each other as brothers they were, I felt myself laughing at how poetic that sounded, the guys actually thought they were family and I could see the respect and loyalty they had for Scar, it was evident they would die for him.
“We are leaving the moment the sky gets dark, make sure everyone is in the vehicle at the first signal” I concluded and the men went to do various things, others trying on some last shots, others seated to smoke, and a few stayed inside our newly acquired house silently lost in thoughts.
“That one is Joe, my greatest friend of all times, he made me join the league. The guy can go to any war with me a good and fast shooter I could bet.” Scar broke the silence between us as we stood leaning on the truck outside. His hands where deep in his pockets and his muscle t-shirt outlined his perfect muscles, I wondered what happened to his face for him to get the scar, it was the only thing that made him look like a criminal he was, otherwise the guy would pass for a handsome contest.
“Hm, I see, so why did you start?” I asked carelessly, I was not genuinely interested in knowing his past but I thought I could use some small talk to pass time and cage my nerves a little bit.
“I did well at grade 12 and my widowed mother couldn’t afford the fees to further my education, your bullsh*t government couldn’t even accord me a place in the university, only the rich felas got their bursaries. I had to survive” he sighed shrugging.
“Hm. Never thought of such a lame excuse to start stealing” I found myself uttering without caution.
“Are you always this straight?” he chuckled looking at me.
“Mostly” I smiled
“Hm. You will never understand man, you probably grew up in the barracks with a family and father to look after you”
“Far from it” I answered dismissingly
“My father died when I was still a little boy, 2 maybe. I never knew my mother”
Scar looked at me and shook his head.
“What?” I asked scoffing
“That was a sh*t life there, that’s why you so sad man” he teased
“look who’s talking” I hit his shoulder unconsciously and I realized we both were giggling like little boys.
“Time up!” I sighed looking at my watch. “Load your men now, too much chit chats for one night” I walked to my truck and we called all the men to board the cars.
I got about 10 in my truck, two in the cab and others in the trailer. 10 other guys were riding with Aaron. I looked at the road stretched in front of me and sighed inwardly.
“Am coming for you my woman” I whispered inside determined to have success. I extended my hand to get a cigarette but withdrew wanting to be sober. You would want to fasten the seat belts” I looked at the guys next to me as I increased the speed.
About an hour later, we were parked in front of the small tower in deep silence one would hear an insects crawl. The dark sky giving us the advantage of staying out of sight.
“What now?” Scar asked walking closer to me.
“You will lead your men in the back and I will go up front, stick to the plan” I signaled and gestured for everyone to be ready as we walked on feet from meters away where we parked the cars.
The stomping feet reminding me of the days in training, only this time I knew I was in a company of thugs that had no sense of war except fighting for money and survival on the streets. I deeply wished that would hold them in that night`s fight. We stood a few yards away from the entrance and I could see the small lights from the small gate. Another touch was showing high up the tallest part of the tower.
“Well guys this is it” I sighed looking at the guys around me and they murmured their readiness and he took positions to wait for the sniper to take out the night watch guy.
To be continued…