Yusuf tried his best to avert the commander’s eyes. At only 14 he had signed up with commander’s troops pledging his life and loyalty to fighting their cause. Allahu akbar. People might argue that Allah had nothing to do with it, they may say revenge- revenge for the soul of his mother and siblings killed during the raid on their village, but he didn’t care. He could feel Allah’s hand on him when he signed up. One look at his 14-year-old tear-stained eyes laden with anger was enough to let anyone know that he would be a gallant soldier. He was still wearing the blue shirt from last week, It always gave him luck. He would never forget the look of jealousy his brother had thrown his way when his mum handed him the shirt the United Nations volunteers had given her, But that was a long time ago and the only piece of her he had left.
“You were absent from training yesterday. Allah would be disappointed.” Commander finally said toying with the gun flung across his shoulders.
“Health fails me,” Yusuf replied with the best English he could muster, still averting his eyes. He could swear that commander could hear the heavy throbbing of his heart. He would die today. Commander will kill him.
“You are joining the troops today,” the commander said raising Yusuf’s face to meet his gaze. “You are a step closer to your reward.”
This had gone on for 2 years. They moved in groups, killing the infidels and taking what they could as they progressed. He could not count how many soldiers of Allah had died. And everyday it got worse until the soldiers could not tell the purpose for which they where fighting. They had lost their way and under commanders directives had drifted from purpose. He had his plan. He was desserting them today. Not another innocent soul created by Allah would die at his hands again.
“Which faction are you?” Bello said, pulling Yusuf from his thoughts. He had joined the troops dispersing to their various locations. The plan for today is big. It’s going to be the talk of the media by the evening news.
“Me be detonator,” he replied with a shrug.
Yusuf didn’t have to ask him questions. He knew Bello had agreed to be blown into pieces. It would be the last day he would see Bello on earth. They had celebrated the reward he would receive in heaven. Luckily for him, today he was a detonator. He would be the one to press the button that sends another soldier to meet Allah right at the center of the crowded market. The death count would give the President a heart attack. There had been numerous cases of suicide bombers changing their minds and fleeing the scene at the last minute, so commander had come up with the idea of the ‘detonator’- appointed men in charge of hitting the switch once the bomber is in the right location. Even if security operatives find the suicide bomber, it would still be detonated by someone hiding within the crowd. Today he would be the one fleeing. He already mapped out his route. There was no going back. Many had died for Allah, today he would live for Allah.
A bright smile was plastered on Yusuf’s face as he tactfully moved away from position, loosing himself in the crowd. Nobody had seen him. After walking a safe distance he ran into the abandoned kiosk he had planned to spend the evening. Night would provide a better cover for him to dissaper. After ensuring no one was following, he closed his eyes and slept
“Get up! ” A harsh voice said. Yusuf thought he was dreaming until he felt the cold end of the gun pressed against his temples jotting him awake. Commander stood before him in all his glory.
“Nayi barci… Sleep … won’t happen again…” Yusuf stammered.
“I know the signs when I see it. That’s why I placed you on trial today. Congratulations, you failed. Allah would be ashamed.” And that’s when Yusuf knew- today he would die. Not for the cause, not for Allah but for nothing. END