Air swifts through my lungs while I place my head on the trunk of a tree. I begin to blink away at the sight of the bright sun, staring into the forest, my mind gazes upon the thought of how beautiful nature can be but humans; not so much. It has been three days since we have taken over this area. My mind goes back to the thought of my slender fingers effortlessly pulling a trigger as I watch the bullets connect to the skulls of those I target, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The joy that dances throughout my body derives from seeing the souls of those rebels I do not even consider humans leave their fleshly bodies. I simply repay those who deserve it.
Soon, it will be time to leave, we can’t stay in one area for too long, it is too dangerous for Commandant, and the rest of the boys. The weight of the gun across my chest weighs my miniature body down. My gun and I have gotten quite the history. I have done things with my gun that I cannot let depart from my lips. I do this for the family I once had. Those rebels are the reason I am here. Living with my family and playing football was more than a faint memory; it was an actuality. I push the voices of my mother away because it is hard to concentrate on shooting when your mother is soothing you with the words she once spoke. I still ease into her words at times though, I find comfort in her words, even when my body is filled with drugs with names I can’t even spell.
A vivid memory of my life is getting initiated into the Milice Mortelle, Deadly Militia. During my initiation, white powder was dusted onto my face and across my body with the hands of a voodoo priest. In doing so, I am protected by my ancestors and the evil spirits will keep away. I became fearless once I joined Milice Mortelle because I knew for sure that death couldn’t touch me anymore, believe me, I have escaped it more than a dozen times. Those stories are soon to come.
As a young girl in the Milice Mortelle, I have been looked down upon, pushed around, and worst of all, almost taken advantage of. I have come to the realization that no one is coming to rescue me. I will never get married, have children, finish school, or even touch the cheekbones of my mother and hear her say “Mireille, I am glad I have a beautiful daughter like you.”
My thoughts are soon interrupted by Commandant, “Mireille, get ready we’re going out, we need to look for more food and ammunition”
I nodded as I got up and adjusted the camouflage-patterned hat on my low cut hair. My nods make up for my lack of words, the most that ever comes out of my mouth are screams that force their way out during the nightmares of me reliving the time my people were slashed by the rebels.
Commandant is a tall dark man from Congo, with a shiny reflective head a scar on the right side of his abdomen that I see every time he takes off his shirt to do push-ups. I never knew Commandant’s real name, it never was something that was needed to be brought up. What I did know was that he cares for me, just like he does with the others that are part of Milice Mortelle. Commandant is mysterious though. Sometimes I want to ask him questions about the life he has lived. Why does your stomach have such a large scar? Why are you so ruthless? Or even what happened to your family? I fear him, and the thought of what he might say or do to me if I asked him such personal questions makes me keep my mouth shut. Trust me, I have seen what he has done to others.
As I march behind Commandant, my gun now behind my back and my knife buried in my cargo pants, a lady appears behind the bushes, her face flushed with fear and her once colorful wrapper is covered in blood. Commandant noticed her and proceeded to make his way towards her.
“Hey! What are you doing here” His brownish eyes examined her like a piece of raw meat, he was ready to pounce on her. That was his personality, he loved to pounce on any and everything that moved like a woman.
Her legs began to shake as she stepped back, as if she was getting ready to run, then she stopped abruptly and stood strangely still, eyeing me.
Her cheekbones, as defined as my mother’s, with skin as dark as the midnight sky. If I was stupid enough I would have thought that was my mother.
“Mireille, my baby” she spoke softly, a tear running down her cheekbone.