Man In Black Episode 30


Chuks walked on, panting heavily, his own bag slung over his shoulders. His legs felt like they were filled with lead. Segun walked by his side too, and he wasn’t faring any better. In fact, it was the whole Intermediate Experts class walking through the trail in the thick forest.

They had finally been promoted to Intermediate Experts, and it was time for some hardcore training, for which their field instructor had told them they would require their remote training grounds located in Ogun State. A luxury bus had conveyed them from the range to a spot on the express from where this nightmare hike had begun.

Chuks looked at the field instructor walking up ahead carrying a bag containing the parts of a javelin missile launcher at least twice the size of theirs as though he was ten pounds lighter. He still couldn’t get the point of the trek and so he decided to speak up.

“Excuse me sir.”

The man grunted. That was like the only thing he usually heard from their field instructor’s mouth aside from complaints, so Chuks took it as an invitation to continue.

“Is this the only way to get to the training ground? Because I don’t see how our class instructor can handle this.”

“No, it isn’t.”

The whole procession stopped.

“We could have chosen to take a chopper straight from the range and be here in under thirty minutes.”

Chuks was dumbfounded. The instructor walked on while he hurried to catch up.

“If we can take a helicopter instead, then why are we trekking?” he asked, which was like a no-brainer. “I opted for this instead.”

Chuks saw himself in his mind’s eye dropping the weapon and giving up on this nonsense.

“All instructors have the responsibility to put trainees through the worst of situations. “And one more thing.” He stopped again and turned around. “Don’t underestimate your class instructor, none of you. She’s tougher than she looks.”

And with that last statement, he turned and resumed walking with an air of finality, signalling the end of the discussion.

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Segun fell into step with Chuks.

“So we had the option of taking a helicopter. I can’t believe he chose this shit over air transport.”

“You no hear wetin e talk? He want make we dey tough.”

Segun rolled his eyes. “Oh, right. You still speak pidgin.”

“Wey Belinda, self?” Chuks asked, looking around the group for the half-caste. “Ehen, see am.” 

The girl looked like she was having a harder time lugging her own weapon than the both of them. Chuks looked at his friend, saw him looking at her as well. No surprise there. Belinda had a pained expression on her face that showed just how much of a hard time she was having with the weight on her shoulders, and Chuks was sure his friend would have tried to carry it for her if he didn’t already have his to contend with.

And the strange thing was, the girl was holding her phone. Walking hunched forward, huffing and puffing and sweating, and still pressing her phone.

“Shey she dey browse abi wetin?” he wondered aloud. “Me wey no even get any network for phone.”

“No, she can’t possibly be online. My network coverage is. . . ” Segun brought out his phone and clicked on the screen. “Blank. Poor girl. I’m sure she’s just looking for a way to escape from this whole thing.”

Chuks huffed. Segun and Belinda again. “Dey there dey pity person pikin— ”

“Here we are. Welcome to Star Ranges remote headquarters of field operations.”

They looked up at the sound of their field instructor’s voice and saw that they were at the end of the forest. The trees surrounding them just ended abruptly, and from there, sandy ground and harsh sunlight as far as the eye could see.

Just as they walked out of the canopy of trees, Chuks’ phone began to beep. He frowned. That was his notification tone, which was supposed to be normal because his data had been on since when they were on the bus. The fact that it could be sounding now could only mean that. . . He brought it out and looked at it.

“O-boy, you no go believe am. . . Network done come!”

His exclamation got the attention of the rest, and one by one, everyone else brought out their phones, and joyful shouts gradually rented the air. The network really was back.