Becoming A Man

I was privileged enough to partake in a creative writing course, although I didn’t feel like that initially. You may be wondering why I even had to do it, well I am a medical student (and there will probably be a post on that at some point), and the idea was to get us to do a course in something outside of medicine.  If I’m honest, really it was upon discovering my love for creative writing that this blog was born. I wanted a platform and ultimately a reason to write, even though no one will probably read this, the idea that someone somewhere will read the words I put together and have some sort of reaction to it fascinates me. Without knowing the reader we make a connection. As you can tell I am an overly sentimental being. Anyway here is my story, you can decide what it means for yourself:

John could hear his heart trying to escape his chest. He prayed for it to slow down, to shut up, because surely they could hear it too.

“You see this,” the commander kicked the carcass one more time to prove he was dead. “This is what happens when you try to escape. This is the only way you will leave, so please join your friend.”

John looked at leaves stained red. If it wasn’t for the fact that he had seen Stephen murdered, he wouldn’t have known it was him. He had always felt jealous of how handsome he was. Not that Stephen noticed. Not that it even mattered anymore.

He became fixated by the pearls of claret that painted the commander’s face. He stood panting yet, despite the sweat, made no attempt to wipe the marks of Stephen’s final encounter.

“From today, we will make you men, we will make you soldiers. Now up! Everybody up!”

“We need to head home, I am hungry.”
“Guma, Barigo, Mpanga.”The words left his mouth swiftly.

“Yes, sah”.

“Walk with them, I will join you later. Eyy, we were supposed to get firewood, Koma go with the boy.” The commander pushed John towards Koma and began to walk away before stopping abruptly to face Koma. “If he runs, kill him.”

As the sound of feet became more distant, John’s discomfort grew. For a moment he thought of his mother, nothing angered mama more than when he was late for supper. Koma broke their silence. “The boy. He was your friend.”

“Um, yes, he, was, my friend.” John almost choked on the word “was, “on how foreign it felt.

“Sometimes, it needs to be done to, to show you. I remember my friend.” He paused for a moment. “Do you like football?”


“Ey! Which team?”

“I like Manchester united, um sah”

“Manchester? Manchester they are a good team. But I don’t like Ferguson. Beckham is a star player! Who throws a boot at a star player? No that is not how you keep a team together… Eyy, come on. I know you have an opinion on this.” He prompted John by poking him with his Kalashnikov. Upon sensing John’s fear he began to chuckle.

“Don’t worry I won’t shoot you”

“Beckham…Beckham deserved it, he needs to remember that he is a footballer, not a woman. Who do you, who do you support, sah?”

“Please I am not sah, not yet anyway, call me Koma. And me, me I support only the best team, Arsenal!”

John’s sense of unease began to dissipate.  “Arsenal the best team? I would rather be dea… I would rather support West Ham united than support them.”

The sting of Koma’s palm on John’s back was almost as intense as his laughter. “I like you, you are funny.”

Koma brought them to a halt when he noticed their voices weren’t the only ones present. He gestured to John to wait as he walked slowly to peek beyond the trees.

“Is this where we get the firewood?”

“No, my friend, even better, follow me.” Koma fired a few rounds of his rifle into the air and launched forwards. It was then that John saw the girl. She was fast, but not fast enough. John didn’t see how, but she had ended up on the ground in her attempt to escape. He forced his eyelids together in an effort to tune out her whimpering.

“My friend,” Koma had finished and looked down at his trousers, visibly struggling to do up his buttons… “That slut, I showed her now she is all yours. Eyy my friend do not look so worried.” He pushed John towards the girl “go slow, she will enjoy it”

John felt his breaths become heavier, deeper and more laboured but he knew he could not cry. Once again his heart assaulted its cage, but prayers were useless. God could not show him mercy.

“Come on my friend,” Koma cheered from the side lines.  His legs carried him forward and he instantly regretted catching a glimpse of her face. He knew those eyes would haunt him a lifetime.