(Extract from a novel in progress)


The mouth of Aswa River is full, its stomach rising and falling against panting waves.

By its banks, an army of men, women and children stand in a line, their hearts beating loudly in their mouths.

Their eyes shift from the rope in Commander Ocan Bunia’s hands, to the expanse of water ahead of them.

Their legs tremble. Their eyes turn misty. They wait.

When the rope is securely latched from Tree A to Tree B on the other end of Aswa, everyone takes a deep breath. It could as well be their last. They wait.

“It’s time to go,” Commander Bunia bellows.

Holding onto the rope tightly, Commander takes the lead, wading through the water, balancing his weight against slaps by waves until he’s at the other end.

The rest follow, slowly, as they wonder what’s quaking more – their bodies, or the neck-high water around them.

Fifteen minutes later, everyone is on the other side, except Lapwony.

He grabs the rope, starts the walk, slowly until he’s in the middle of the water. Then the rope starts to give way. He can hear it crack, and then snap.

“He’s going! He’s going!”

He can hear the voices getting louder, then they begin to fade until what’s left are whispers from the waves.

His kicks to the stomach of Aswa yields little. It swallows him instead. And he swallows it back – the water.

By the time Commander Bunia drags Lapwony to the shore, his stomach is a river, bulging and drowning his breath, one minute at a time.

When he finally snaps out unconsciousness and sees the pairs of eyes scanning his body, he knows this journey will be as difficult as castrating a dog.

2 thoughts on “Teach Me How To Loot

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