“Don't shoot! Don't shoot!” Junior screamed in his sleep.
His brother tapped him lightly on his shoulder, bringing him back to reality. He had had that same dream for two weeks in a row and he always woke up with tears streaming down his face. He remembered that fateful day vividly.
He was in school; lectures for the day just finished when some members of the ruling political party in the state drove into school. They were looking for loyalists that would campaign for the party in a remote village.
At an agreed price, Junior rallied some of his friends and course mates. He was made the campaign manager and a date was fixed for the journey. On the D-Day, their bus left amidst animated chattering. In all, they were eighteen, save for the driver of the bus.
They were ambushed on the way by thugs sent by members of the opposition and made to kneel on the tarred road. As they conversed in low tunes, Junior overheard their leader telling the other men to shoot them all, in a local dialect. That was when he started shouting, “don't shoot.” That was when the shooting began. That was all he could remember.
Passersby had found him with a bullet lodged between his ribs. Apparently, he passed out, which was why the killers left him for dead. He spent a month in intensive care. On inquiry, he learnt that he was the only survivor of the attack.
It was a close shave with death, but he was a survivor.