The Clarion Call (Episode 13)

Bade had watched enough movies to know that to remain unseen, he had to move quickly and unobtrusively. He looked up at the moon, wishing the night was darker, but there was no cloud in sight and the moon shown down brightly. Speed would be his best ally now. He ran towards the dining hall, his tennis shoes making little sound on the floor. The dining hall was empty, the left-over food and scattered benches showing the haste with which the Corpers had fled.

Crouching, he moved towards the end of the corridor where he had an unobstructed view of the path down to the gate but where he still had the cover of the wall if needed.

The gate was locked, as expected, and this time, Bade was happy for the moonlight as it allowed him to see what was going on clearly. The camp soldiers were in the compound, shooting through the bars of the gate at those on the other side. Bade could see an Armoured Personnel Carrier on the other side which the fanatics must have arrived in. But the glass of the carrier had shattered under the continuous barrage of gunfire from the soldiers who seemed to be holding their own well. There was a scream as one of the men cowering behind the APC fell over and lay still, dropping his weapon. He could still see five or six flashes of gunfire from the other side of the gate, and this set his mind wondering. It was either the soldiers had been very accurate in their shooting or the fanatics had underestimated the resistance they would face and come with a smaller force, either way, the fanatics either had to retreat soon or die to the last man. They were fanatics, his money was on them dying to the last man.

After a few moments, Bade reached the conclusion that their side would win, so he decided to get back to Lola, to reassure her. He had only taken a few steps away from the dining hall when there was a loud bang, the earth rocking with the force of it. Bade immediately threw himself to the ground, turning back, he saw a plume of smoke rising towards the heavens from behind the dining hall. He quickly crawled back to where he had just left, and peeking around the dining hall, he saw the source of the bang and the smoke. There was a gaping hole in the fence directly behind the dining hall, dust and smoke mixing in the air while the grass around the hole burnt in the flames, and the fanatics’ plan suddenly became clear to him. The attack on the gate had been a distraction, a sleight of hand, while the fanatics had been planting a bomb to get through the fence knowing that the soldiers would have concentrated at the gate. It was brilliant. As soon as Bade saw the men in black masks rushing through the space into the compound, he turned and fled towards the girls’ hostel.

The compound had been breached.

Bade barged into the hostel.
‘Lola, Lola?’ He called out, searching frantically and ignoring the looks around him from frightened to annoyed.

‘Hey, you are not supposed to be in here?’ a female corper said, blocking his path.
‘Get out of my way.’ He shouted in her face. ‘The fanatics have entered the compound. The soldiers have been overrun.’

There was a collective gasp in the whole room, and then everybody started talking at the same time.
‘Are they coming here?’ a scared voice asked, somewhere around him.

‘What do you think?’ He replied. He finally found Lola at the other end of the room also throwing her things together into a backpack.
‘Didn’t you hear me calling you? We have to get out of here.’ Bade shouted, grabbing her hands.
‘Just let me finish packing my bags.’ She replied, struggling with him.

Bade pulled her around to face him. ‘There’s no time, they will be here at any minute. We need to move. Leave the bags, they will only slow us down.’
‘Why isn’t anyone saying anything? Where’s the Commandant?’ a short corper asked from beside Bade.

‘I don’t know, maybe he’s leading the defence, or maybe he’s saving his own skin, the fact is, we have to take care of ourselves.’

He turned to Lola. ‘Let’s go.’ This time, she nodded, and they rushed out of the hostel without her bags.

‘Where are we going?’ She asked.
‘There should be a place where we can climb the fence and get out from here. At least all the exercise would have been good for something.’ Bade replied. They stepped into the compound and started walking along the fence. The fence was just about six feet in height with broken bottles on it, Bade was looking for a space where the bottles had fallen off, giving himself and Lola the way to get over without hurting themselves. They found such a place behind the girls’ hostel, and Bade quickly readied himself to climb first, and then help Lola climb too. As he crouched to jump, a rough male voice said behind him.

‘Going somewhere?’

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