THE MISSED TARGET
It was a bright Sunday morning. Having showered all night, the clouds swept down the horizon giving way to bright sunshine. I woke up feeling weakness as if my sleep was insufficiently done. I draped myself with a large white towel; by then a mere shadow of the snow white colour it initially used to enjoy. I proceeded out of my room.
The house was still. The children had already left for church. However, it was unusual that they did not disturb my sleep, as they always did, to ask for money for church offering, though I had amassed enough proof that that money was fundraised from me for after-church shopping escapades at a nearby small market. In charge of this scheme was my youngest daughter. She could walk into my bedroom with guiltily hesitation and start the bargaining process by pretending to remind me that I would be late for the morning English service. Then in a slow toned voice, she would make the request with the wringing of her tiny fingers incorporated to blur all ill-intentions. Though the amount requested was suspiciously increasing weekly, I would give it to her unreservedly much to the joy of the other children who would be waiting with impatience just near my bedroom door.
I looked at my wall clock. It told me that the time was just after nine. I went into the bathroom to take a cold shower hoping to be vitalised. Halfway into my shower, I heard a knock at the main door. The intensity of the knock told me that the knocker had little time to waste. But who could that be? I chose to ignore it by continuing with my bathing. The knocking continued before the door clicked open and banged closed a moment later. Then I heard whispering voices right inside the house. They couldn’t be my daughters. Having gone for church, I expected them back just before noon because from church, they usually went to the nearby market to squander the money they disguisedly raised from me as church offering.
“I feel a presence inside here, probably in hiding. Come on!” one of the whisperers urged the rest. I couldn’t tell how many they were but from the look of things, it was a good number of them.
I still could not figure out the identity of the speaker nor the intention. Another order was spat to the outside, urging everyone into full alert. That is when I sensed that what was unfolding was something very serious. I wrapped myself with the towel and tiptoed to the tinted window of the lavatory. I saw few men in military gear carrying what looked like guns. Or were they bats?
I tightened the towel around my waist, and rushed into my bedroom to get into proper clothes. I couldn’t remember the recent time I had stepped on the wrong side of the law to warrant such a weighty military operation. My search for a possible reason was futile. I was one hundred percent innocent. But this did little to keep me in calm. The prospect of receiving a torrent of questions disturbed me. I heard that the military were very rich in interrogation expertise such that it is always hard to prove your innocence in their face. One would always be entangled in self-contradictions and ambiguities which are reason enough for you to be taken ‘for further questioning.’ This is what terrified me most because you are taken to prison where you are remanded amongst serving prisoners where, I also heard, unforgettable lessons are dropped on you by the long servers. You would spend ages before your further questioning would resume and complete. Besides that, my children were at church. Where will they say am I if my fears are vindicated?
As I finished buttoning my shirt, a sound of forceful opening of the room’s door almost chocked me. Sounds of boots scattered into different compartments of my house. I was told to kneel and keep my both hands raised. As I complied with hesitation, a firmly pressed stick over my head quickened me into the demanded position. One man, probably the leader of the team, briefly spat some words on his black radio.
“Target found! Repeat-Repeat, target found! Keep on your feet!”
I heard a vehicle ignite before a number of uniformed personnel flocked towards my bedroom. I was briefly manhandled to discipline me because of my call for proper explanation for the unwarranted invasion of my place. That left me in an unconscious condition of some sort because it was after some moments that I realised my blindfolded and handcuffed state. I was lying down in what seemed to be a very fast moving car. My mouth was stacked with a cloth that kept me from shouting any resistance or call for help. With the scattered neighbourhood, I knew there was nobody to battle on my side.
My captors did not ask me any questions but they seemed ready to use any force to win my compliance. I avoided the brutality by complying with their every need. I found myself in a dimly lit house. Looking around I could not spot the door nor illumination windows. The flow was a steel rig. I was sitting on a simple table chair in front of a very fat black man whom was beyond my recognition. My hands were still handcuffed.
Upon examining my face, my back and my face again, the huge man summoned one of my captors. A man quickly presented himself in front of the huge man doing all the ritualistic salute of respect. It was clear that the huge man was dissatisfied with something. From the huge man’s fuming words, I could tell that I was a mistaken target. Relief started to sink in me.
The huge man was still fuming in front of now the whole team that went to get me with his eyes on the blink of popping out. How could they do that costly mistake? In a split second, he withdrew a short gun from his combat pocket and eradicated the leader of the operation. For a minute, my heart beat irregularly. What was unfolding before me was terrible. The rest seemed not even unphased by the incident. Two of my captors dragged the blooding body from the sight of the huge man, as a fresh order of immediate replay of the operation was announced.
A new leader was installed and was quick to promise to deliver. It was then that I discovered that I was not in the hands of a lawful military unit. I waited patiently for the huge man to proclaim my freedom. It never came. I found myself locked in a dark room alongside three comrades who were languishing with frailty.