The Clarion Call (Episode 17)

The fat man turned, surprised at the sound of the yell. The instinct of a soldier was still in him, as he automatically raised his gun towards Bade, but before he could pull the trigger, Bade thudded into him. They were both thrown to the ground, Bade keeping an eye on the gun.

‘Fight them.’ He yelled at the Christian Corpers. A primal instinct had taken over, an instinct built into him by five thousand years of evolution, the pure, animal instinct of survival. The fat man was stunned from the fall, as he had cracked his head solidly against the hard ground, and Bade used that opportunity to go for his gun, but try as he might, despite the Colonel’s grogginess, Bade could not pry his hands open. There were shouts all around him as the not just the other Christian Corpers, but even the Muslim Corpers finally joined the fray. They had the advantage of numbers, and the fanatics could not shoot in such close quarters for fear of hitting an ally. Bade gave up on the gun as soon as he saw the life returning to the eyes of the Colonel, lifting up his head, he cracked it against the floor, once, twice, thrice, the head making a thudding sound each time. This time, the Colonel went out like a light. Bade finally pried the gun loose and rose to his feet. But he was also hampered from using it as the fanatics were, he wasn’t even sure he could kill anyone if he tried, so he tossed the gun as far away from him as possible, before he even hurt himself. He looked around at the carnage he had caused.

More than a few Corpers were writhing on the floor, though at first glance, Bade could not determine the source of their discomfort. A few of the fanatics were also down as well, brought down by the sheer weight of numbers. Bade could see the remaining fanatics were armed with short stabbing knives that they were now using in preference to their guns. There were at least four standing Corpers for every fanatic, so the match was quite even. At that point, Bade couldn’t tell the difference between the Christian Corpers and the Muslim Corpers. All had joined the fight. He immediately looked for Lola as soon as he found the room to manoeuvre. She was doing as they had done earlier, trying to stay out of the thick of the fight. As Bade started to go towards her, one of the fanatics who had lost his mask somewhere, fought his way out of the Corpers who had surrounded him, leaving them clutching different parts of their bodies from what he felt were knife wounds. The fanatic looked around, seeking his next target, and his eyes alighted upon the lone female who was away from the crowd and any possible defence, and he made his way towards Lola, a maniacal grin on his face.

‘Lola, run.’ Bade shouted. The fanatic was much closer to her than he was, he would not get to her in time. Lola also seemed to see the danger she was in, and she did as he said, running towards the dormitory. The fanatic paused for a second, unsure as to whether to follow, but no hunter has ever been able to resist the allure of fleeing prey. The fanatic set off after her, his long strides eating up the distance rapidly. Behind him, Bade set off as well, hot on his heels, anger and fear propelling him. Lola looked behind her as she ran, and seeing the fanatic almost on her, she changed direction, heading away from the dark dormitory and giving Bade enough time to close the distance, then all of a sudden, she stopped and faced the fanatic. The fanatic, who had no idea of what was behind him stopped as well, wondering why she had stopped and what she was up to. Something must have given Bade away, probably his footfalls, as the fanatic dived out of the way, avoiding Bade’s flying tackle. Bade interposed himself between Lola and the fanatic, his chest heaving from the exertion. The fanatic got to his feet and pulled out his knife from its sheath at his ankle. With the same murderous, mad gleam in his eyes, he inched forward, his knife arm extended, his other arm close to his body. The fanatic made quick darting thrusts with the knife, like a snake striking, and Bade danced with him, pushing Lola back and staying just out of the reach of the blade. The fanatic suddenly gave a loud yell and rushed forward, covering the distance in two bounds. Bade pushed Lola to the floor out of the way and met him head on.

Bade ducked under the first slash, hitting the fanatic in the midriff with a right hook that had all his weight behind it. The fanatic grunted and stepped back. He came forward again, feinting with the knife. Bade was drawn in with the feints and he didn’t see the left jab coming until it was too late. He managed to get his head moving, but the punch still grazed his jaw. Now he stepped back. It would not pay for him to underestimate his opponent. The fanatic threw out a left jab again, and Bade threw his head backwards, throwing himself off balance. As he staggered, the fanatic followed him with quick thrusts and slashes, one caught on his arm, the other slashed the skin around his rib cage. Bade almost cried out from the pain. He wasn’t built for this. His arm and side felt like they were on fire, he knew he could not take anymore, so instinctively, he started backing away. The fanatic shuffled after him and then suddenly paused as his eyes rolled up in his head and he fell to the ground, unconscious. Behind him stood Lola, a rock in her hands, as they had been moving around, they had passed where she was, and she had stepped in.

‘Oh my God, you are bleeding.’ She said, rushing to Bade who had sat on the floor. The cut on his arm was a bit deep, and blood oozed out of it, neither too fast, nor too slow. Lola took off her jacket and wrapped it around his arm, trying to stop the bleeding. She helped Bade pull of his jacket, wincing at the pain he was obviously in, and she tied that around his side.

‘Come on,’ she said, helping him to his feet, ‘we have to get you to a hospital.’ She tried to take his weight on her shoulders, but he shrugged her off. ‘I’m fine, it’s not that bad. Let’s go.’

The fanatics who had been guarding the gate had been drawn in to the fight and so the gate was unguarded. Bade and Lola made their escape into the night without anyone being the wiser.

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