For Justice: A Fateful Reunion

....Continued from For Justice: Victims of War

It was not vengeance his reason for joining the rebel group. It was principle. It was apprehension that made Julio see the yearning and travail in them.  It was a felt obligation for they were his own kind. It was a matter of faith and blood.

“There’s a place for everyone,” Andres had said, “but there’s none for us.”

Indeed, it had been a new home for Julio. There were his family’s kin and trusted neighbors like Andres. They taught him how to use rifles, pistols and other firearms, grenades and other explosives, and knives and other blades. They trained him how to survive the perils of warfare. They roused in him the lion that had been sleeping for long.

“After five counts,” Ka Andres was saying. “Fire the gun after five counts.”

The moon was high up in the universe, still alone, quiet and vile. The metal shone in its light. Ka Julio took his aim, right in the man’s very head. The job would be finished in one blow. But he couldn’t concentrate; he was sweating despite the cold. The wind was torturous; it sapped, it stung, it tweaked.


The hostage, still tied up, was kneeling two feet or three away from Ka Julio, so near that the latter could hear his heavy breathing, that the former could make a dramatic move to escape but he did not. Since he was caught, the man had not spoken any word. But his eyes talked; thousands of questions were printed on his face. And at that moment, under the illumination of the lonely satellite, Ka Julio saw the answers running with the wind.


I am not a murderer, Ka Julio said to himself. He had shot many soldiers before, yet never had he taken the life of a helpless and defenseless man. He closed his eyes.


He remembered Tago, Susie, Lala and Tonton. They were all plain brown. They were great runners. In all their plays and chasings, never had he nor his childhood friend Harold caught up with those dogs.


It won’t be murder, he convinced himself. He opened his eyes and the dread came back. His hands were shaky. One pull of the trigger and everything would be ended.


Everything would be ended. But that was not easy for Ka Julio. To end the life of a friend would not be easy. That man was Harold. He could not kill him.


To be continued....

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