There was some kind of movement in the camp, and by the looks of it, the actions didn't look very encouraging. All ten of us were tied up in the middle of the camp by the fire. The rebels spoke in a foreign language I hardly understood, but their expression and body language told me, that the negotiation had collapsed. The government had not bowed down to their demand of freeing their leader from the jail.
A very young looking man came near me; he stood there looking towards the main tent. The tent where some of the senior rebel members were having a meeting. I tried to lift my head and look at him, he stood at almost 6 feet and about 7 inches, on the slimmer side, looked to me like a guy in his early twenties. His gun lay on his shoulder; he kept tapping it and as he stood there, waiting for a command.
I couldn't stop my mind from thinking, what would their next move be? Were they planning to let one of us go or were they planning to hurt one of us? I bent my head down and looked at the earth; there was a dead bug on the ground and several ants around it. A minute later the ants had all come together to lift the bug and move forward. I closed my eyes to conceal myself from the fact that the smallest of the smallest kind lived with unity and in harmony.
I felt someone pulling me up, holding my shoulder. I opened my eyes to see two rebels on each side of me, and in front stood a short old man. He stroked his thick grey beard as he ordered the rebels to lift me, his brown eyes tried to burn me with the fire in them. There were a few rebels standing behind him, they looked to be his body guards, he carried no gun on his shoulder, but held a revolver in his hand.
They untied me from the rest and ordered me to walk, with my hands still tied together and with no energy to move, I needed help to walk. One rebel on each side held my shoulder and pushed me forward. I walked slowly; the old man with his guards led the pack, with some more rebels behind us.
As we left the camp and entered the forest, there were several questions in my head. Were they letting me go? Were they taking me to get medical help? Were they shifting camp? Questions kept bouncing around as we moved forward. I turned to my left to see the rebel holding me smile, was he smiling because they decided to free me? Was he smiling because they decided to move the camp site?
We walked for almost ten minutes, and still there were no signs of stopping. I was physically tired. I had not eaten for almost 2 days; they fed us only one meal every alternate day. Their motive was to keep us alive, and also make sure we have no energy to even think of escaping. The only thing that kept me going was the memories of all the time I had spent with my daughter Soha. Every night I spent in the camp, I dreamed of holding my daughter in my arms watch her smile; see her run around the garden shouting "Papa look at this. Papa come here"
See the sparkle in her eyes every time she laughed.
Almost twenty minutes had passed when we reached a clear area in the middle of the forest. They pushed me forward; I looked around to see a truck parked at a distance.
I let a shout and fell on knees to see a crude coffin like shaped wooden box on the ground. I tried to move backwards, I shouted out loud pleading to let me go. I had no energy to run, I could hardly stand up. The rebels pulled me up on my knees. I sat up on my knees, with my head held low. Tears rolled down my cheek, I shouted for mercy.
I lifted my head to see the old man holding a revolver straight at my head. With watery eyes and folded hands I asked the old man "What will you get by killing me?"
"Please let me go, I have a daughter and a wife, who need me"
His eyes were fixed on me and he spoke with a stern expression on his face "All of us have daughters and wife, but we have all sacrificed for the war"
I shouted with anger "I am not part of this war. This is not my war."
"Now you are a part of it" he replied as he took step towards me.
Before I could respond, the trigger was pressed. I felt the hot lead kiss my forehead. The force of the bullet pushed me onto the ground. My world came to a standstill, the trees, the birds, the people around me stopped moving.
My mind was flooded with images of my daughter smiling, running walking, talking. My wife holding my hand, the evenings we spent holding each other. The promises I had made to take care of them forever.
Both of them standing with tears in their eyes and shouting for me to come back, as I walked away from them.
My vision got blur, my brain burnt with pain. I reached into my back pocket and pulled out my wallet. I held my wife and daughter's photo close to my eyes, gave it one final kiss and whispered
"Daddy Loves you Sweetie"