Two more seconds and poor Umar would have soiled his clothes with the watery mess of bad beans he had eaten for lunch. He dashed across the grass fields of Atyap, away from where his brothers sat to find a more secluded to let out the watery woes threatening to break out any second.
He found a lonely spot behind an abandoned to relieve himself. After wiping himself with the unfortunate Leaves he plucked from a banana tree, he made his way back to Baaba and his brothers.
Baaba sat across the early fire they had made to chase the insects and shared stories of his various conquests with his three older sons.
“they say an infidel slashed him across the eye in self-defense” Umar heard Baaba say to his brothers as he approached them.
As he found a good spot to sit, he made a mental note to throw out what was left of the beans he had eaten for lunch and then settled down to tales about “Aamid the dog” who had led countless murderous conquests in the name of “The holy cleansing”. Umar had a different philosophy about the wickedness with which his religion expressed dominance over other religions. He didn’t think the fight was fair as they launched attacks on unsuspecting people who were either butchered in the streets or shot dead in their sleep of which the latter was a better fate. But he wouldn’t have dared to voice out these philosophies for the sake of his own safety.
Baaba, who himself, like Aamid had led his sons on similar wicked attacks wouldn’t have hesitated to kill any of his children who dared oppose the cause.
Burdened with confusion and sadness in his heart, Umar watched Baaba and his brothers, sharpen their swords, service their riffles and gloat with animalistic triumph about how they had murdered and dismembered their victims.
Week after week they went and week after week the carnage continued.
Umar had never been on any of their wicked adventures in the past but as they broke fast that morning, Baaba decided that it was time fourteen-year-old Umar became a Man. All Baaba sons were trained to handle a riffle. They were trained with sticks and other makeshifts till they were old enough to handle one. Akbar, Umar’s brother was instructed to teach him to use the riffle.
The people of Atyap were peace-loving devout Christians and that made them a target for the holy cleansing. Umar’s commission at breakfast was not the only thing that tore Umar to pieces but Baaba’s brief. Atyap would be the next point of carnage.
A devastated Umar, walked down to the river after his training with Akbar. He wanted a way out. He needed a way out. Hours of pondering over the cruel life he was about to be initiated into brought him no alternatives. He had seen Akbar walk this path too. He was initiated two years before. Akbar, the kindest of his brothers had now become a cold blooded killer just like the rest of them.
Umar lifted his face to the skies and closed his eyes. He didn’t know how the people of Atyap prayed to their God but he did it how best he knew.
“if truly you are the God of these people. If truly you are real, you need to save them now.”
“I don’t want to kill anybody. Please save them” he prayed
“……and perhaps, help me too” he added.
As he said this prayer, right there and then, Umar hatched a plan in his head.
The morning set to cleanse Atyap came fast. Faster than Umar had hoped. He had prepared alright, but not the way Baaba and his brothers would have hoped he would. He had prepared every night since he prayed at the river bank. Every night leading up to the cleanse, Umar had sneaked out of his father’s camp, Off into the night by a hidden trail leading up to Atyap.
Baaba and Umar’s brothers ate dinner as they did any other day but food was the last thing a torn Umar could think about.
Sharpening their swords and daggers, they chanted
“today we destroy these infidels!”
“today we possess the land!”
Off they went into the streets of Atyap.
the moon shown with exceptional brilliance that night as though it knew that history was about to be made. Baaba divided his men across the first few houses at the edge of the town. Charging in, they broke down the doors to find empty beds. They found not a soul in any of the homes.
Further on they went into the town, charging into the houses, finding yet, not a soul. As they approached the center of the town. Umar slinked into the shadows behind his father’s men. He knew what they didn’t . But they were about to find out.
“pow!” went a gun. But wasn’t Baaba’s or his men. a man dropped dead beside Baaba.
“pow!” “pow!” “pow!” the gunshots went with men dropping all around Baaba before he could realize that they had been ambushed.
As three more of Baaba’s men fell to their deaths, Baaba and his men retreated the way they came by. But the men of Atyap were hot in their pursuit. Baaba lost two son’s in the fight that night and return home with only a handful of men. as they sat around the fire to mourn their dead and lick their wounds, they wondered to themselves how the people of Atyap knew they were coming.
What they didn’t know was that nights leading up to the attack, a little angel had warned every household in atyap of the coming terror.
As Umar lay to sleep that night, he thanked the God of the Atyap people. He had given them a fair fight.