Viashima heard the voice again. What was that song she was singing? He smiled. No I shouldn’t be smiling. I should stay put. He rushed to the window and saw her pass by. It was the beginning of the traditional tale of a man looking at a lady’s buttocks and swallowing. He had read much of it, had even been a victim in some time past. What is it in those butts? Well, whatever it was, it sure sent adrenaline rushing. But this time it was different. He wasn’t meant to be looking. Take your eyes jor. Kai. She must be fifteen. No, he couldn’t do that. That was the same age as the other girl. But she’s been in my brain since forever. No, he couldn’t. He wished he was a drinker. Maybe this would be the time to start. Which kind of temptation is this? Natural one. Take your eyes Viashima. But she looked edible. Edible? Damn!
He had promised to be different in Mbanor. Why was this being difficult? Why was Kano pursuing him?
Flee the Devil and he would flee from thee.
Viashima thought about it and in the end decided that the best way to conquer evil was to face it squarely. Whatever one runs from comes back. After all, one of the laws of engagement was direct challenge. Challenge then conquest. He had been in a few situations to know that. Why else was he in the army? Yup, he would.
The song heralded her passage. He was out in a moment.
‘Hey!’ He called in as calm a voice as he could.
It took six days to get a reply. IT was worth it. They were in his room now. She was a bit older than he thought. Seventeen. They had been talking for a full month now and he knew a lot about her. He always looked forward to their meetings. It was fortunate that the country was a bit peaceful. At least, there was time. She was a worthy companion and his views of her improved. From a pastime, she became an aspect of the day he looked forward to. She was talking at the moment:
‘That is why I am always alone. It is also why I sing. I get sickly sometimes too. So, it would seem I am denied most of the pleasures of life.’
That seemed to click something in his thoughts. He looked at her and the first thoughts came rushing in torrents all the way.
‘There is a certain pleasure you sure wouldn’t want to miss.’
It was a year. He still thought they should wait. She didn’t:
‘Promise it wouldn’t hurt.’
Who usually taught them that phrase? It seemed all of them usually said something of that like or similar. He had heard several people say they had heard something like that on their first.
‘Maybe, we should wait.’
‘You are a very different type of soldier. Come on, this is your last night but one. Who knows what would happen next?’
‘I would come back.’
‘If you don’t, I would come and take something of yours.’
Take something of yours. His mind wandered to a few other things, to different people and different stories. It went mainly to Kano and he winced.
‘Maybe we should wait.’
She looked at him and in her eyes he saw pools of love. Pools of trust. It seemed no hex could stop them that night.
‘Viashima.’ She always got the pronunciation perfectly – Vi-a-shi-ma. Like most times, he became weak.
She stooped, he conquered… and time stopped.
(‘Conquest’ is an excerpt from a work in progress by Su’eddie Vershima Agema. ‘Conquest’ is published here for the first time and appears in February in a new collection edited by Su’eddie Vershima Agema)