TODAY’S BREW: Eggnog! It’s Thanksgiving weekend, fools! Oh, who am I kidding, it’s beer.
FLASH FICTION BLACK FRIDAY! MWAHAHAHAHA! I’ll force you to stand in horrendously long lines and read a short story you could have read tomorrow anyway!
No, seriously, though. I’m so pleased. My sweet, not so sweet friend Destructo Girl wrote this masterpiece for us. I can tell you in all sincerity, that just like her, this story is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Read first, then visit http://www.crowdrise.com/thrivegulu/fundraiser/dearsaima to donate to the rehabilitation of war children so they can get better physically and mentally and move on.
She rules for that link. And for so many other things. Follow S.K. Sophia on Twitter @sk_sophia) and visit her kick ass blog at http://t.co/FO0weuF9cd.
The Children Method
by S.K. Sophia
Tipu Maleng, the Holy Spirit, guided me. He revealed people’s bad intentions. He was my protector as much as he was my commander. That’s why I survived, and that’s why he’s in hiding.
“Diallo? Pst. Are you awake?” A frail hand touched my shoulder.
I turned to the small boy and frowned. “Don’tchu touch me, Chacha. If you touch me, I will hit you.”
“But I’m afraid,” his lips trembled. “I hear gunshots.”
“You hear gunshots every night.” But nobody ever came. “Now, leave me be.”
“But Diallo, what if he returns?” Chacha whispered.
I froze. Breathing was no longer worth the effort of expanding my lungs. My heart shriveled into a prune-like object; blood burned through my veins like acid. I rose to my feet, cold certainty fuelling my physical strength.
“What are you plotting?” The words escaped.
Chacha scrambled to his feet, terrified. “Nothing!”
“Lies,” I growled, grabbing the boy by his collar, lifting his feet off the ground. “You think you can walk away from me? Do you know what we do to traitors? We hack them with machetes and hang their bodies for everyone to see. You will be mocked for being such a weak fighter.”
Chacha struggled until I let go and ran straight for the door. I followed, my gaze piercing every surface it touched. I was consumed by an active thrill. My therapist called it ‘appetitive aggression,’ a side effect of a war criminal’s spiraling paranoia. What did he know? He wasn’t a fighter like me. He wasn’t chosen.
“Diallo,” a female voice projected, expertly radiating authority. Strong. Steady. Sure.
“Charlotte,” I said, reflecting her vocal attributes.
“You should be in bed.” She smiled as if I would obey like a powerless slave.
She would die first. “Of course, ma’am. Goodnight.”
I doubled-back whilst listening to the dying footsteps of my nurse. Once she was at an appropriate distance, I turned and sprinted along the corridor, entering the hall where the younger children slept. Chacha went pale when he saw me.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he said, pulling his duvet up to his cheeks.
“Wake the others,” I ordered. Time was of the essence.
Chacha shook his head, his wide-eyes filling with a tearful innocence I once had; a pathetic sight. I slipped my arm around the back of my shorts to pull out a Buck Mark pistol.
“Disobeying orders violates our army code,” I said, pointing the gun at his face. “Wake them. Quietly.”
He rushed around the room, shaking each child gently. They stirred and sat up, not afraid like children should be.
“Play is over. You are not children. You are soldiers.” I scanned the room, taking in each blank expression. These children did not scare easily. “Nobody will accept you. They want children back, but you will return as men.” I walked through the middle of the hall, turned on my heel and walked back to the front. “We will resume our mission. Overthrow Museveni’s rule. Once we do, you will all be rewarded with power and wealth. You will be high rank soldiers.”
The lights flickered on. Charlotte walked in. She looked at the doe-eyed children, and then she spotted the gun and fell back a few steps, eyes wide with terror.
“What are you doing with a gun? Where did you get that?” She trembled like a puppy in rain.
I turned to point it at her, eyes fixed on her pale expression. She held up her trembling hands in defense. The children watched in silence.
“It’s a shame. Men would pay top Sudanese pounds for you.”
“Diallo, put the gun down. These children have seen enough violence.”
“Bek!” I screamed. Fury bubbled under my skin, turning my bones to ash. “I killed my parents. We all did. What makes you think I will not kill you?”
“Because he’s not telling you to,” she said. “He can’t control you anymore. You’re mentally sick, Diallo. Let me help you.”
I straightened my back and furrowed my brow. “I answer to the code. This,” I nodded to the gun, “violates the army code if I don’t use it. You are nothing but a goffel.” I turned to Chacha who was watching through his fingers. “Kill this goffel for me.”
“I can’t,” he whimpered.
I glared at his tear-stricken face. “Are you not one of us? Please come forward and kill,” I said, holding the gun out to him.
The fragile boy approached me, watching the others as he passed. He took the gun into his shivering hands and pointed it at Charlotte.
“Chacha, don’t listen to him,” her voice shook. “He’s psychotic. Put the gun on the ground and kick it to me.”
I leaned down so my mouth was just inches from his ear. “The Holy Spirit told me she has bad intentions. Kill her or I will kill you, then I will kill her myself. Either way, she is going to die.”
Chacha’s grip tightened. He let out a blood-curdling scream and pulled the trigger, hitting Charlotte in the chest. Her back crashed into the wall behind with a loud thud and she collapsed into a heap on the floor, blood seeping from her wound. I pried the gun out of Chacha’s clutch and put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it to comfort him.
“You are a strong fighter,” I said, and turned to the rest of the children who were now huddled together, hugging and holding hands like a family. “We can make a difference once we overthrow the government. Power. Wealth. It will all be ours. They think of us as children, but the Holy Spirit chose us, just like he chose him. Let us escape this prison they call a haven and slaughter all evil.” I pointed the gun to the ceiling, my finger on the trigger. “Let us finish what Kony started.”