“What is he saying?” she asked herself, as confused as ever. This was her only chance to tell him exactly what she had to do today. But she watched them take him away, and yeah, she could guess where he was going.
“Why did he look at me like that, what did I do?” The other members of the camp were trickling out in number by this time and she had to find a way to follow Kazim. In this place, you never know if you’ll see anyone again.
Following him through the bush path, she kept her distance from the guards, Kazim wasn’t struggling with any of them, he wasn’t even saying anything.
“Why isn’t he speaking?” She had no clue what was going on. Kazim would never hurt that girl, her major concern was that last look, why did he give her that look, she tried reading his lips and it looked like he said “What have you done” or “where have you gone” or “What are you…” she couldn’t even guess anymore.
As she watched the guards take him into a building, she knew it wasn’t a good sign. It was the central commandants’ block, and he had his personal interrogatory room in there.
“This is not good”
She could go no further, there was no way she could enter that building unnoticed. She tried to stretch to see through some of the high windows around the building, hoping Kazim would show up in one of the visible ones.
Kazim was speechless all through his journey to the central commandants’ block. He struggled to believe Zara had anything to do with this. But his confusion first of all was that this was even happening. Like nobody caught him naked with the girl or anything and even if he wanted to do anything nasty with an eight year old girl, would he be by a tree in open space?
They got to the building and the guards dragged him in. Walking down a long corridor, he was taken into the last room on the right. It had just one table at the centre and two seats across each other.
“Sit here and wait”
He was as curious as ever to know exactly what was going on, so he sat as both guards left the room. He placed his head on the table and was about drifting back into his thoughts when he felt someone walk in. Quickly his head was raised and he saw the central commandant sitting across the table, everybody called him the CC.
“Good morning sir”
Paying no attention to his greetings, the CC bent forward, placing his elbows on the table between them.
“Do you know why you are here?”
“I was taken by the guards because I was found with a girl, but before you think anything, she’s eight, and I wasn’t doing anyth….”
“Shhhh, take it easy, I just asked you a question” The CC cut him halfway through his rant.
“I’m not sure sir, I’m not sure why I’m here”
“Okay let me make it easy”
He was getting really nervous, the central commandant was not one to be joked with.
“Do you like her?”
“Ehn? Who? Zara?”
Why would the CC be asking him if he liked Zara, how did he even know her, there were thousands of members in the camp.
“Who is Zara? I’m talking about the new girl that came to you, Milan”
“Uhn? Excuse me sir?”
He swallowed down hard, feeling like he would throw up right there on that table…
Zara couldn’t see too well from where she stood behind a tree by the CC’s window. She was grateful to atleast be able to see the room Kazim was taken to. What were they asking him? Her patience almost vanished when she saw Kazim’s facial expression, he looked irritated. The CC was known to bring out the worst in people.
“Calm down boy, you don’t want to annoy this man” she whispered like he was listening to her.
Kazim looked at the CC, shock written all over his face
“What? Sir how?”
“Don’t act all ignorant. I have news for you. First, you have been here for years and you have surpassed all the others in the way you adapted and became committed to our ways, so it’s only proper that we swear you into a position today as the newest squad leader, and as a gift, we are giving you some young blood to wait on you”
His head was spinning at what he couldn’t believe he was hearing in that moment.
“Thank you sir for the new position. But about the young blood, I’m so sorry sir, I’m not interested, I mean, how? Like how?” He said trying to hide his irritation at the offer.
“Well, you will have to give your reply to the leader when he comes today, because we have sent over that information to him. He likes to be aware of everything happening.”
“Is that why I was brought here sir?”
“Hahahaha, yes, we also made her come to you by the tree, to see your reaction, and you seemed to like it”
“No, no, no sir. It’s not what it looked like, I was just helping her, I mean, she said she was lost and I couldn’t go to her squad by myself so I decided to wait for…” He paused when he realized he almost implicated Zara
“Decided to wait for?”
“Uhmm, for light sir, for light, so she can see well and go”
“Just know I am showing her mercy by giving her to you, but if you don’t take it, well, she will be given to someone by 9pm tonight, and you know how the others are, she may just die on the first night”
Kazim had no more words left to say. He couldn’t believe it, he didn’t know what to call it, a threat, or a sympathy blackmail.
“By the way I believe congratulations are in order, welcome to the family our newest squad leader, you have shown that you are capable and we can trust you”
Kazim just nodded, he didn’t know if this was good news or bad. He would be leaving the main camp to the squad leaders’ quarters; he had worked hard for that position, it would be less manual labour and all, he had been showing everyone daily how serious he was, but now that it had arrived, it dawned on him, he would be further away from Zara. His only friend in this place.
“Sorry sir, just one more question”
“Yes, what is it”
“Why was I told my friend had something to do with the guards arresting me?”
“Well, absolutely nothing boy. Just messing with you before I told you the news”
He could punch this man in the face for making him think all sorts on the way there. He walked out of CC’s block and down the pathway leading to his room in the main camp.
“K!………K!” He heard a call from the bush on his right, only one person called him that
He sighted Zara waving from a corner in the bush that lined the pathway. He quickly checked around him and hopped into the bush.
“Z, what are you doing here?”
“Why would you even ask that, of course I had to know what was going on”
“And I need to know what happened to you too”
“I may be in trouble K”
“What kind of trouble? Wait, no, no, no,don’t tell me, the traitor announcement, the paper XC was holding, was that yours?”
“I don’t know K, I don’t know, I tried to steal it from him, but…”
“Z don’t keep me worried, but what?!”
“He said he wants to marry me”
“What? That’s disgusting!”
“Yeah, same thought on my mind”
“Well, that’s good though”
“Atleast that means he doesn’t know you might be the one he is looking for”
“I know, but that doesn’t make it better, it all means I can’t postpone my plans.
“What do you mean?”
“I have to find my way out of here today and I have to do everything in my heart to pay back three men that have been my worst nightmares in this place?”
“Today?! And you have never mentioned anything about three men before, who are they?!”
“Yes K, I was planning to tell you today, and I also haven’t asked you before, but will you come with me?”
“Wherever, out of here?”
“I have nothing to look forward to”
“Don’t say that”
Kazim sat on the ground with his palm to his forehead
“Z, I haven’t told you what happened in that room”
“Does it have anything to do with our leaving here?”
“Everything Z, everything”
“What happened?!” She said, getting really scared
“I was just made squad leader”
He took a deep breath, turned to her and looked into her eyes
“It’s now my duty to stop you”….
To be continued, 17th December 2017
Should she trust him now to tell him the details of her plans? Is her best friend now on the other side of the battle?
Wow, you made it to the third week, looking forward to your comments below.?