The Clarion Call (Episode 16)

Bade did his best to make himself invisible. The fat man had forced the Christians back to their knees, paying no attention to the Muslims that were behind him. Bade hoped he would stay that way. They stood at the back of the Muslims, and he had hunched his shoulders so that while he could still see what was going on, the odds of being seen himself were slim.

The fat man walked to farthest Christian who was kneeling on his right and pulled out his handgun. Aiming it at the Christian Corper’s head, who had bowed his head in prayer, the fat man pulled the trigger.

‘May Allah have mercy on your soul.’ There was an explosion of sound, thunder in the ear, and where there had been a kneeling living man, now lay a dead man.

‘No, No,’ a voice wailed out of the midst of the kneeling Corpers. ‘Why are you doing this? We have never done anything to hurt you, for God’s sake.’

‘Who said that?’ The fat man asked swinging his arm around to cover everybody where they knelt. There was a scuffle among the kneeling Christians, as one of them forced herself to her feet, despite those that were trying to shut her up. She was a tall slender Easterner, looked slim enough to be broken in two, but at that moment, there was fire in her eyes. She turned angrily on them. ‘Leave me. If I am to die, then I would rather die standing on my feet, not cowering before a mad man.’

‘You wish to know why we are doing this?’ The fat man’s broad chest was expanding and contracting as he forced air through his nostrils, whether because of rage or agitation, Bade didn’t know.

‘Yes, I sincerely wish to know what is going on in that mind of yours.’ She replied, coolly. One of the other fanatics crossed into the circle again, ‘Sir, we do not have time for this,’ he whispered, Bade heard him clearly that time. ‘Tell the men to stay on their guard.’ The fat man retorted, not even looking at him as he shoved his lieutenant away.

‘Do you have any idea who I am? I am Colonel Ahmed Salau, formerly of the Nigerian Army, fourth Battalion. It was I who broke the rebels in Kenya and ended the revolution in Chad. I have served in all parts of this continent, and I have seen the truth. You Christians are a stain on this world. You have no morals, you have no laws, and you believe all will end well once you confess your horrendous sins and so you commit these sins with impunity. There’s only one God, his Prophet Mohammed, and the law of Sharia, where every man pays for his sins, not the pitiful excuse of laws that you have. Laws that have no punishment. My country has degraded to the point where there is no morality, no decency, fornication and adultery are rampant and it is your religion that has done all this. I will bring sanity to my country, even if I have to do it on the bones of all the Christians. Then and then only will Nigeria reach its full potential. Stealing is punishable by the loss of a hand, how many ministers do you feel will be eager to lose a hand? Finally, there will be sanity and corruption will be a thing of the past.’ The fat man, Colonel Salau, said, breathing heavily.

The pretty Corper who was still standing, looked at him with contempt. ‘You really are a mad man.’

The fat man smiled grimly as he got his rage under control, ‘Indeed, I might be mad, who knows, but be assured that I am the mad man, with all the guns, and I will see my vision of a just world realised.’ He gestured at the lady. ‘Take her first.’ Two of his men moved into the crowd of Christian Corpers, while the other fanatics threatened them with their guns. Bade watched it all unfold, and in his mind, he argued with himself. He and Lola were safe where they were, if all went their way, they might be the only Christians that would walk out of the camp alive, but was he willing to let all the other Christian Corpers die without even trying to help them? He was no hero, but such passivity to save himself just felt wrong somehow, and instinctively, Bade knew he would never be able to live with himself if he did nothing, so he turned to Lola and said, ‘I have to help them.’ She nodded with weary acceptance, as if she already knew that’s what he was going to do. ‘Be careful.’ She whispered. Bade smiled at her and then made his way to the edge of the Muslim crowd, as the pretty Eastern Corper was finally brought out and forced to her knees in front of the Colonel. All eyes were on both of them, the Corpers, both Christian and Muslim, as well as all the guards. Bade breathed in deeply, and as the Colonel raised his gun hand up, Bade yelled at the top of his voice and ran forward.

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