It was a mixture of emotions, anger and joy. He had probably just returned from doing his assignment, she wondered if he knew the identity of the people he murdered. And joy because she missed her friend, missed him terribly. Their eyes found each other and she realised he was crying too.
K sat at the back, hands tide together as he watched his Z walk down the aisle. He had overheard that the camp would be divided soon, some would be taken to neighbouring countries, information from the spy they placed in government said the government was planning an invasion, or aso this was basically the last major ceremony, and she wasn’t the only girl getting, a bunch of other girls, including children were being married out to various leaders. He quickly scanned to see if Milan was among them, wondering why she crossed his mind, it didn’t take long before his eyes went right back to Zara, she walked slowly, looking in his direction a couple of times. He wished she’d keep her eyes on him, there was so much he wanted to tell her, that he found her parents, that they are safe and they still love her so much, that he came back to the camp to ensure he gets her out, not minding his own penalty for failing in his assignment.
She walked to the front, and everyone stood as the leader approached.
He started in Arabic, but they knew exactly what he said, they had been taught Arabic for ten years.
“Alhamdulillah” Beginning with praises to their god, and everyone knelt with their faces to the ground.
K and Z didn’t pay any attention to what he was saying, their eyes met again and the pain they shared was so strong, they could almost touch. As Kazim looked into Zara’s eyes, it felt like she was asking him to do something, to help. What could he do with his hands tied and these men around him. He’d be damned if he made any public move. He had no weapon, no back up and he was weak as heck. The men all around were armed, with weapons he was sure the government didn’t have. He had seen the toys those men used in the stations, nothing compared to their ammunition. He wouldn’t dare go against these men unarmed and alone.
The time for the joining came and it felt like a knife in K’s heart as he watched Z and XC hold hands, CC stood beside XC looking pissed off as well, but not even up to a fraction of how angry K was. Z’s face was literally all covered in tears as she was made to recite some words, XC had no problems saying his, with a mischievous smile on his smirk face.
You wouldn’t even know it was a wedding, cuz a majority of the people were in tears. It was like a burial ceremony, the children cried so hard and as Zara looked over XC’s shoulders to see the line of children, something clicked in her, for the first time in her ten years of staying here, she cried not for herself. Yeah, she had once or twice helped some of the girls avoid being caught by the leaders but it had just been something she did at the spur of the moment. This was different, it was a deeper connection, like all those girls were her sisters.
“By the powers of Ballam Ruallah, god of the universe, I pronounce you man and wife” and that’s when Kazim felt he was dieing. How could he not have done anything? How could he just sit there and watch her marry that beast! Everyone got up and started dispersing and he wanted more than anything to go meet her.
Zara could not believe Kazim did nothing, he just sat there. Well, what was she expecting him to do. Jump up and shout “THIS MARRIAGE WILL NOT HOLD!” He’d be dead before he got to ‘will’.
“You’re mine forever fresh pawpaw” XC said grinning from ear to ear as he lifted his hands to caress her face.
Zara shifted her head to avoid his touch and he just giggled “In a few minutes we will know who’s boss”
He pulled her along with him as they got into one of the small cars and drove off to his house.
“Where do you think you’re moving to?” The guard dragged Kazim back as he made an attempt to move towards Zara, he couldn’t stand XC touching her, it wasn’t a thought he wanted to have
“I was just going to the restroom”
“There is a restroom in the room you came from”
“I know, okay can you just let me get one of my notepads from my room, I need it to answer the questions I’ll be asked. You can come with me if you want to be sure”
The guard stared at him for a few seconds “Move quickly then, you better hurry” He gave a signal to the other men and walked alone with Kazim.
AS they walked, Kazim had no clue why he said that, there was no notepad like that.
They moved to the room he had been allocated before moving out for his assignment
“This room is almost empty, where are your things” They walked
“You’ll see them soon” Kazim turned in swift succession and put his hands across the neck of the guard, choking him into unconsciousness before he could remove his gun from his back pocket. The fury of watching Zara marry someone else was enough for him to beat the strength of the guard. As the guard laid unconscious, Kazim took the gun from him, surveyed the environment before stepping out carefully, his hands were still tied as he held unto the gun with both hands.
“Hey what’s going on there, stop there!” Another guard siting him screamed, he shot 3 bullets into the air in the direction of the guard causing a frenzy in the surrounding area of the camp. Everybody around there began to run. They were all thinking the government invasion might have started.
Kazim began to run, he knew he shouldn’t have set off such an alarm shot especially with the leader around, but everything that had happened in one day had messed with his thinking.
He realised he was running in the direction of XC’s house. The car they entered was not outside the house. He wondered if they came here. He had two thoughts in that moment, maybe XC had seen him at the ceremony and decided to take Zara to another place or, they were inside already and had just sent the car away. He fought hard to stop his brain from thinking about what might be happening if they were inside. He heard a gun shot and turned back to realised he was chased by more than one guard this time. He had to keep going, forcing Zara out of his mind for a few minutes.
Zara entered XC’s house worried about so many things, if Milan and her friend were still in there, where Kazim was, what they would tell the leader about UG’s death, or what XC planned to do with her right now. She hadn’t even stepped in fully when XC planted a kiss on her shoulder, spinning her around in a haste and planted a lot more kisses on her as her back shut the door. She sighted Milan behind the couch before she saw the other little boy. She didn’t know if it was shame she felt or disgust at herself, but when she saw the tears that fell from the childrens eyes, she knew they weren’t judging her, they felt for her and this brought back that feeling she had earlier in the ceremony, she bursted into tears, willing herself not to kill XC infront of these children. He knew she would always resist him, so he held both her hands firmly and pressed himself so hard against her she could barely move. She looked at the children again, the same way she had looked at Kazim at the ceremony, asking for help.
“Come on take it off, you don’t need all these weapons to do what we want to do.”
He was like a drunk man, it was obvious his junior man was doing the thinking. She helped him remove the jacket that housed the guns and threw it right behind the couch were Milan and the little boy hid.
As he continued his caress all over her body, she let him move her over to the couch and push her unto it, Milan and the little boy hid themselves more. In a few seconds, Zara heard a loud scream coming from XC. She looked down and saw blood splashes on her gown that was almost ripped open completely.
XC held unto his thigh and sprawled on the ground in pain. She looked up to see Milan and the little boy with a gun and a pocket knife respectively. The boy had stabbed XC on his thigh and Milan looked so afraid holding on to the gun.
She jumped quickly from the couch and grabbed the gun from Milan, pointing it directly at XC.
“Go children, go, the door isn’t locked”
“We want to go with you”
“Hide somewhere outside, I promise I’m coming for you”
XC began to laugh from where he sat
“You and your little pets”
“If you don’t shut up, I will blow your empty brains off”
“Everyone knows you’re with me, there’ll be no second guessing who the murderer is”
“I’d be long gone by then”
“Like you know the way out”
“I know it” The little boy spoke, walking back into the room.
Zara and XC looked at him in shock
“Who are you?” XC asked, utterly stunned by the boldness he saw
“Z let’s go, now that he can barely walk” The boy said, not paying any attention to XC’s question.
Zara moved out of the house slowly not letting her eyes leave XC and not shifting the gun from pointing at him. On a second thought, she shot both of his legs again.
“Just to be sure it’s harder for you to move dear husband. You know as your wife I want you to rest. Chimpanzee.” As they got out, she locked the door from outside and held unto Milans hand and the little boys as they ran in the direction of the forest behind XC’s house. They kept on running, the gown was getting hooked up by the trees and she hated that it slowed her down. After the last struggle with one of the trees, she got fed up and took the gown off wearing only her tight and bra.
“Have my shirt” The little boy offered graciously.
“Thanks” It fit perfectly.
They began to hear gunshots behind them and wondered if XC had already notified the rest of the group.
They ran even faster, she trying her best to make sure Milan catches up.
“Aunty I’m tired”
“Baby girl, not now o, we have to keep running, or else we are dead meat, can’t you hear the gunshots”
“But my legs hurt so much”
Almost frustrated, Zara, picked her up and carried her on her back as the kept running. The forest seemed to have no end. And it was useless turning back, everywhere looked the same, left, right, front, back, and she realised, they were lost.
The gunshot sound faded little by little and they found a huge tree to rest.
“Are we out of the camp?” Milan asked as Z dropped her to the ground, breathless
“I don’t know. We are in the middle of nowhere”
As soon as they sat they heard noises in the forest and jumped back up to start running when Zara bumped into him, her face went pale and her throat dried up, no word was forming in her brain, it was Kazim….
To be continued…..
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