Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 25

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This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Enemy Circles - Season Two

Jomo, a young nomadic man was betrothed to a fellow clan’s girl, Bonajo, and they were to be married during the merriment of reuniting at the designated reunion camp in mountains of central Africa. Unfortunately, a huge war campaign was to prevent that simple thing from happening until after more than three years.

THE LAST MINUTE DISCOVERY

Galah paced the dark alley nervously. She should have brought Abu Saleh along. The merchant returned this evening and was happy that she was well. But he was surprised to hear that she wasn’t going to follow him next morning as was planned, because she was not ready. She told him of the progress she made, but was careful not to tell him about Gassan’s greedy behaviour. She made everything sound easy and safe to the anxious Abu Saleh. This clandestine meeting was particularly not among what she told him.

Gassan met her soon after she left Moalama at the harem bazaar and whispered in her ears that he had the sample he promised, and he also knew where the larger bulk of the weapons were stored. He told her to come to this place at this nightly hour and bring more dinars to cover the new development. Galah believed that it was the most reckless thing upon every other recklessness she ever did, to agree to come to this place alone, to meet someone like Gassan. But here she was, curiosity having the better of her.

“Are you alone?” She heard the coarse voice pulsating from the shadows. Galah regretted coming in spite of her resolve. But she also knew that it would be fatal to show weakness.

“What took you so long?” She said, without bothering to look in the direction of the shadows – it was more out of fear.

Gassan came out of the shadows and came round to face Galah with a smile that further sent high doses of adrenaline into her blood stream. “Have you got the money?”

“Have you got what you promised?” She asked, glad her face was half hidden inside the hood of her cloak.

The brute laughed until Galah believed he was about to start stabbing her or something. “You know what? You are the bravest girl I have ever seen.”

Or the most foolish, she told herself her knees threatening to turn into jelly. “You haven’t answered my question.” She said instead.

Enemy Circles on Memorila
Enemy Circles on Memorila

Gassan’s intents, whatever they were, faltered. “Do you know why I wanted you to come here? It is because I found out that those kegs and boxes you are seeing stacked near that prison right there are the remnants of the war supplies. I thought perhaps we might find something interesting.” He finished with a wide grin.

“That was not all you told me. You told me that you have a sample of the weapon, where is it?”

“Look, don’t waste my time; I have a lot of things to do. Do you think I don’t know the risk I am putting myself into by agreeing to help you?”

“I paid you, so don’t tell me that.” Galah was not aware when she got carried away and raised her voice.

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Gassan looked at her murderously. “Where is the money then?” He asked trying hard not to jump at the girl and strangle her.

“I am not that fool. The money is somewhere buried within this perimeter. I know you would want to kill me, take the money and leave. Unlike you however, I wanted to fulfil the end of my bargain. You give me the weapon then I’ll reveal where I hid the money.” Galah said frighteningly.

Gassan laughed again. “And what is your leverage afterwards?”

Galah had no answer. Noise erupted from inside the prison. Gassan drew his sword instantly.

 

***

“I would never have succeeded this without your help, Jango.” Bonajo was ecstatic when she saw the two camels Jango tethered to a gum tree with luggage containing enough food and gold to see them across Bilad as Sudan continent.

“Let’s hope it works as we planned. We have until dawn to anticipate Jomo and his friend. If they didn’t show up by then we have to go without them, luckily for us the king will be entering the city by the port, so nobody will look here with the raucous of his arrival.”

“They will come.” Bonajo said, as she found a place to sit. What a wonderful turn of events. She has found Jomo! She never thought that finding him would be this easy, if possible at all. He was right in the city.

What if something went wrong with their escape? She asked herself.

“We will go back for them if they didn’t show up in two hours.” She said in response to her thought. “We risked our lives before knowing them, we can do more than that now knowing who they are, can’t we?

Jango’s mouth split into a sly smile.

When did he learn to be mischievous? Bonajo thought, but openly, she too smiled.

 

***

At the front of the gate Bonajo and Jango had been hiding behind a dead cart loaded with several kegs containing some pungent smelling black oil, and crates with a sharp acrid smell – the leftovers of the war which were yet to be stored for future use. They hid at the other side of the street, waiting to see the gate open and their two comrades come out. Since the gate opened and allowed some high ranking guards out not long after they arrived, they didn’t move again for the past twenty minutes and nobody came out.

Jango decided atop of Bonajo’s decision they couldn’t wait for their prison friends at the southern gate until dawn. They returned to the prison; if something went wrong they should be around to help, not wait until dawn, which will be too late for anything to be done. She didn’t know what to do, but she felt they needed to do something. That was all Jango was waiting for.

They hadn’t left the prison the first time more than half an hour when they returned, and it wasn’t up to half hour when they started hearing shouts from within the prison – something went contrary to plans. Jango looked at Bonajo, fear and excitement boldly showing in his diamond eyeballs.

Bonajo was scared. She knew that if they were caught it will be the end of their lives. “What do we do, Jango? We have to help them.” Bonajo said out vociferously, abandoning her calm.

“I don’t know.”

Jango moved about agitatedly as the shouts continued growing from the other side of the gate. “God, I hate the smell of these awful kegs.” He tried not to touch the keg in front of him. “I wish I am as strong as your man.”

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“What are these?” Bonajo asked pointing at the kegs and crates they were hiding behind.

“I don’t know. I am sure they were not here before the arrival of the soldiers. Perhaps they are leftover war materials.”

Bonajo inspect them closely, as Jango anxiously continued inspecting their surroundings, wanting to come up with an idea on what to do next. She remembered the smells. Suddenly the grotesque scene at Djenne Street flashed in her mind. The images of burning houses and dying people assaulted her mindscreen. The acrid smell that made the experience even sinister was coming from the kegs.

Jango had the unexpected yelp from Bonajo.

He turned and was greeted with the unwholesome sight; a guard put a sharp sword on Bonajo’s neck. Jango covered his mouth shockingly.

 

***

“Yes, if you move I will kill her.” Gassan threatened. “You have no idea the trouble I went looking for you, what have you been doing?” Gassan whispered inside Bonajo’s ears.

“Don’t kill her.” Galah told Gassan. She recognized the girl from the music event and was glad she came here, whatever was about to be revealed. The greedy guard claimed he was looking for her. This was a welcome coincidence.

“It is none of your business. Pray to God that you too leave this place alive.” Gassan barked at Galah.

To Bonajo again, he said. “You are not as lucky as I thought you were, because a few hours ago you escaped me in your room, but here you are back in my hands. I had been wondering where you must have been, not knowing that you are slutting around with your kind.” He spat at Jango’s feet.  “So far I killed two women and was about to kill the third all because of you.”

Bonajo didn’t move.

“The Queen was right to want you dead. You’re a filthy black slut; you don’t deserve the king’s bed chambers or anything good.” Gassan chided on. “Tell me, I heard these eunuchs have no dicks, is it true? Then what have you two been doing in the…”

His insults were cut short by Galah’s sharp blade. It went adroitly inside the brute’s spine. He collapsed spilling gold and money from his pockets like he was a sack of treasure.

Bonajo gasped. Jango pulled her to his side.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.” Galah returned the slim blade inside her cloak. “He is a brute, he deserved it.”

As Jango was about to start asking her questions the noise from the prison nearly doubled. Bonajo looked at the gate before returning to the kegs – pulling at the covers. “We don’t have much time.”

“What are you doing?” Galah asked interested. “Be careful with those things. They are deadly weapons.”

“We have people inside that prison that need our help.  We got to use these somehow to breach the gate. Help me take the keg to the gate before it is too late.” Bonajo said when she found the covers impossible to open. Galah didn’t hesitate to do as she was asked, and so was Jango.

“These things I heard are very dangerous. Could that be right?” Galah asked inquisitively.

“Ask me how dangerous they are and I can draw you a vivid picture that will haunt your dreams for the rest of your life.” Bonajo told Galah, with smouldering fire of anger that made Jango flinch. Bonajo lowered her voice. “I watched cities burn from their fires. This stuff catches fire like nothing else I have ever seen. It is evil itself. So I intend to burn the gate through somehow. It is our only chance.”

“How?” was all Jango could ask, the sly smile returning.

“Fetch me a torch or any fire of some sort. It feeds on that.”

Galah liked the idea instantly. Gassan was more interested in his payment, there was no question asking him for a demonstration or even to ask him if he intended giving her anything as he promised. The weapon he called harquebus and promised in exchange for the five hundred dinar was nowhere to be found. Curiously, he was carrying a lot of gold and even more curious a crown of some sort. But what the black girl was proposing was more than all that; she was about to witness what Bonajo claimed happened during the war first hand.

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“OK let’s pop this gate open. But how are you going to do it?” Galah asked expectantly.

“I was at the war zone; I saw how this evil worked in front of my eyes.” Bonajo started lifting a crate whose weight surprised her. Jango, seeing her straining against the weight, lent her a helping hand. He was not sure if the girl knew what she was doing, but it will gladden him to see this goddamn gate blown up. Galah joined in transporting the crates to the gate, the closer they came to the gate the louder the sounds of men and steel and pain.

They succeeded in planting two wooden boxes and two other oily kegs near the gate. Panting and gasping for breath, Jango produced a match box from a small pouch hanging from his waist sash.

“Have you always taught about everything?” Bonajo was stupefied.

Jango felt triumph of having this unexpected part of their escape plan also being taken care of. “We are going out in the night and planned to camp outside town; it is only practical to have a match available for more than a couple of reasons.”

A man let out a loud shout of agony from across the gate. Bonajo was startled back to reality from the death screams. She quickly removed her head scarp and mopped some oil dripping from the keg.

“We have to run to as far away from here as we can the moment I strike the match. And let’s hope our friends across the gate are not near also, these things are lethal.”

Jango nodded, terror registering on in his face. Galah moved closer, thrill building up as she watched Bonajo struck the match and torch the oil scarp now lying on the oil barrels with the crates arranged around them.

“Run!”

Bonajo and Jango dashed across the street from where they brought the warring items minutes ago. Galah took the other direction.

Nothing happened at the beginning as the fire started building around the wooden boxes. It was only the oil that was keeping the flame alive. At the rate at which it developed, the dawn will arrive with it consuming only the smallest of logs. Bonajo was disappointed and was beginning to start considering another option which she knew she was running out to. She felt disheartened and a large drop of tear started rolling down her cheeks, it half froze from the Mediterranean cool night air.

Almost at the same time a loud deafening explosion with white fire lit up the night. The sound was so loud that Bonajo could not hear anything long after it occurred. There was debris with high momentum reaching their hiding place.

When Bonajo could focus her eyes again, the prison gates were breached by the explosion. Beyond she couldn’t see anything due to the thick black smoke that began building. Since she couldn’t hear a sound, everything seemed to stop, not even Jango was making any moves by her side. She was trying to sit properly, to focus her vision through the breached gate when another explosion blasted the remaining consciousness out of her.

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Series Navigation<< Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 24Enemy Circles – Season Two, Episode 26 – Finale >>

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Bashir Kabir

Born, raised and studied in Kano State, Bashir Kabir has a degree in Physics and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Physics, all in Bayero University, Kano. He is married with a kid and currently works at Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Kano.

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