Derby was very sad after hearing the story of the young man who sat in front of her. She was moved with compassion towards William and the baby. “I am sorry to hear that Sir. Do you have any specific place you are going to?” Derby asked. “No madam, I don’t have any place in mind. I just want to seek asylum in a peaceful place,” William answered.
“Then you can stay in my house. Your son would need a motherly presence. I think I can help,” said Derby. This sounded well to William. He accepted what Derby said and she led the way to her house.
Back at the rebel camp, Zaza was still sitting on the ground crying with her hands tied behind her back. Her baby was still crying because he was hungry. Zaza couldn’t feed her hungry baby because of the situation she found herself in.
The cry of the baby became so intense that it caught the attention of the rebel leader. He became irritated by the loud cry of the baby. He came out to check where the cry was coming from. When he got to where Zaza was being held, he became very furious.
“What is the meaning of this? We fight men and not women. How can you tie the hands of a breast-feeding mother? Don’t you know that the baby will die,” the rebel leader lambasted the soldiers who kept watch over the captives. “Quickly! Untie her so she can feed her baby,” he instructed.
The soldiers obeyed the instruction from the rebel leader and untied Zaza. Zaza quickly breast-fed her baby. She was given food to eat. “Let her see me when she is done,” the rebel leader instructed his soldiers before entering his tent.
When Zaza finished breast-feeding the baby, one soldier escorted her to see the rebel leader. “Sit down please,” the rebel leader said when Zaza entered the tent and asked the soldier to excuse them which he obliged. “My name is Colonel Kaboko. I am the leader of this group of freedom fighters. We have had enough of President Dan and his cruel way of governing. He has amassed wealth in the white mans’ country and ignored our people. As if that was not enough, he has allowed his tribe to kill our tribes’ men with no consequences. Enough is enough!! We will not sit idle and watch him get away with this. Therefore, I organized courageous young men who want to see justice to help me overthrow his cruel and heartless rule. We will be victorious by the grace of the One up there,” Colonel Kaboko said while Zaza looked at him with a confused face.
Zaza didn’t know what to say to contribute to what Colonel Kaboko was saying. She was oblivious to what was happening. She was just escaping with her husband to a safer region before the tragic incident occurred. Out of fear for her life, she just gave a wry smile and nodded to everything Colonel Kaboko said.
“Enough of my ranting. What is your name and why were you brought here? Is your husband dead?” Colonel Kaboko asked.
“My name is Zaza. I was captured on a boat by your soldiers en route to a safer region. Your soldiers caught up with us when we got to the middle of the river. My husband fell into the river with my younger son, Albert. That was the last time I set my eyes on them. I don’t even know if they are alive,” Zaza said while sobbing.
Colonel Kaboko was moved by what Zaza said. He felt pity for her. “This is a tragic story,” he thought. “There is no need to be afraid woman. Nothing bad will happen to you here as long as I am the leader of this movement. You and your surviving baby will be safe under my care,” Colonel Kaboko added.
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Derby and William got to the house after ten minutes of brisk walking. William realized the house was silent except the cry of a baby that could be heard coming from the house. Derby upon hearing the cry of the baby dashed into the house leaving William and young Alan in his bosom standing in front of the house. She later came out with a baby in her arms.
“William, this is my baby girl. The one I told you about,” Derby said.
“Wow! She is very beautiful,” William complimented. With those words, Derby took William inside the house.
William realized Derby was alone in the house. “Where is your husband? I can see no one in the house,” William asked. Derby sobbed when she heard the question from William. Memories of what happened to her husband replayed in her mind. William was surprised and moved towards Derby. “Derby, what is wrong? Did I say something to hurt you? Please talk to me. Please!” William asked with lot of concern in his voice.
“It is my husband,” Derby replied.
“Yes, what about you husband?” William asked again.
“Hmm. I don’t think I know you well enough to trust you with personal things about myself,” Derby replied.
“Come on Derby! I have virtually told you all about myself and you still don’t trust me?” William lamented.
“Humph!! When I was seven months into my pregnancy, my husband told me he wanted to trade in Sierra Leone. I was greatly troubled, but I didn’t know what fueled my troubled heart. I tried everything possible to dissuade him from going but all to no avail. He journeyed from this town and entered Sierra Leone. Two days after his departure, the civil war started in the country. I was very scared. Hmmm…”
“Please continue, what happened?” William asked with anxiousness. Derby paused for a while and continued. “I had sleepless nights. I mostly had nightmares seeing my husband butchered. I prayed day and night and hoped to see my lovely husband return home safely. I waited for two weeks, but my husband didn’t show up. I was in the house one afternoon trying my best to rest my tired eyes when I heard a knock on my door. I ambled towards the door. Hmmm….”
“Please don’t stop. I want to know what happened when you came out,” William said. Before another word could come out of Derby’s mouth, she started crying again. William quickly comforted her and encouraged her to continue the story.
Meanwhile, most of the soldiers at the rebel camp had realized how Colonel Kaboko treated Zaza and Alan. He treated them more nicely than even them-the soldiers. They were filled with jealousy. “I don’t understand why Colonel should treat that woman and her bastard baby differently from the other captives,” one soldier said bitterly.
“Yes, that is a superb analysis soldier. I have even realized he treats her better than us who risk our lives for his vision. Why should it be so? I don’t understand. We must do something about this before we start taking orders from the woman. And I tell you my friends, if we don’t act fast, this will be a reality,” another soldier said and the other nodded in unison to agree with his point.
“What do you think should solve this problem?” another soldier stood up and asked.
“I think we should kill her and her bastard baby,” another soldier suggested.
“Yes!! That is what we will do. Kill the woman and her bastard child!!!! Kill the woman and her bastard child!!!! Kill the woman and her bastard child!!!!” They all chanted in unison. So with that, some of the soldiers plotted to kill Zaza and her baby, Alan.
What will Derby see when she opens her door? Will the soldiers be successful with their plot.
To be continued….