Violets fro the Bride

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Frederick Philander

Captain Danger instantly returns to threaten the prisoners out of their wits.
“I have to seriously warn you all. Should any of you try to escape this day, you will be shot on sight.’ Those two escapees will be severely punished when brought back here. An example will be made of them,” he says.

The chief guard pulls Danger out of earshot to one side. “But, sir, Captain Danger. You have told the Camp commander that the escapees have been recaptured,” the guard reminds him.

“What the heck.’ I was forced to tell him something to save our buds.’ I messed up things being drunk on duty and the rest of you took part in an illegal sex-orgy. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. However, for all our sakes, I hope the escapees will be caught, otherwise we are all in deep trouble,” he says hot under the collar.

“I see what you mean, sir.”

“Good. At last you are seeing the shit we all are in,” he says turning to the other guards. “Now guards.’ Let the prisoners do their daily exercises. I have always believed that a healthy body harbours a healthy soul.’ Get on with it. I’m going to check the guard-room,” he says marching off…

*

A guard shouts instructions to the prisoners.

“On the spot, run,” he tells the prisoners, who all react positively.
Jakop, running on spot, to a fellow inmate.

“I am sure our friends have made it to freedom.”

“Don’t be too optimistic.’ These bastards are now very dangerous to save their own skins.’ They won’t hesitate to kill if need be,” the man replies.
“Stop.’ Push-ups.’ Fifty.”

The pastor doing push-ups on the ground.

“We should all have faith in God, my son.”

In admiration.

“I wish I could be like you, pastor. Many of our people in captivity have already lost faith. They are asking whether there still is a God and if this is not our punishment for sins committed?” the captive responds.
“Sit-ups.'”

“Until our friends’ daring escape I have also believed that the only way out from here was death,” Jakop observes.

“Just don’t ever forget, our Lord Jesus Christ, has also suffered on the Cross of Calvary for our sins. He will never abandon His children,” the pastor asserts.

“Stop.’ Dismiss and do your daily work. Go get the tools,” the guard orders the men and women, who move in different directions to get buckets to carry water, sweep the grounds, filling up sandbags, carrying wood from outside the camp and cleaning the roofs of the dungeons. They are led on in singing by the pastor.

“Onwards Christian Soldiers. Marching on to war. In the name of Jesus, going to the Cross.”

The prisoners keep on singing as well as working for some time and see how two big Party-flags are raised onto the roofs of the two buildings.
A guard instructs two female prisoners.

“You two.’ Go get the food in the kitchen,” he orders the two, who instantly disappear behind the office.

Captive Jakop working in company of the pastor and another man, cleaning the roofs of the dungeons.

“Did you notice the official Party flags on the roofs, pastor?”

“Who hasn’t?” the pastor wants to know.

“Does it have any meaning?” the other man inquires.

“To tell you the honest truth, I haven’t seen the flags up since my arrival here, five years ago,” the pastor observes.

“Then it has to have some meaning. Maybe a big shot visitor from overseas,” Jakop guesses.

“Yes, maybe the Red Cross,” the other man gives his opinion.

“Who knows? Maybe the Supreme Commander of the Party?” the pastor says at the very moment a commotion erupts when an angry Camp Commander starts indiscriminately throwing out congas from the office.

“Guards.’ Get someone to remove these beer drums. The place stinks like a location pigsty.’ Bloody Captain Danger. Drinking in the office is no more allowed,” he shouts and disappears back into the office.

A guard notices the two female prisoners returning with buckets and orders.
“Down tools.’ Food is on the table.’ Go line up.”

The prisoners form two rows to receive food.
“Dish up.'”

Two females dish the food and hand it out to the prisoners, who take up seats in groups eating.

A male prisoner next to Jakop and the pastor expresses surprise in what he sees in his iron plate.

“Hey, what is this, fish and rice? Is it someone’s birthday today?”
“Just eat,” the pastor advises.

“Yes, eat and be thankful,” says Jakop.

“But I haven’t eaten fish or meat here in eight years, only dead cockroaches,”
“This food is the miracle I have been praying for, like in the Bible where Jesus shared and handed out the five fishes and bread to five thousand worshippers,” the pastor says surprised at his own biblical knowledge.

“Now I am convinced something big is going to happen in this camp,” Jakop says calculatedly.

“What makes you think that?” the other captives want to know.
“All the signs are there; de-lousing of the prisoners, cleaning of the camp, clean uniforms for the guards, flags on the rooftops and now this, fish and rice for the prisoners. There must be something good or evil brewing,” Jakop observes.

“You may be right,” the pastor says.

“Anyway, this food tastes like manna from Heaven,” the third man expresses his feelings about the tasty food.

Everyone’s attention is suddenly focused at the gate from where a guard makes an announcement.

“They are here, the escaped prisoners.’

Most of the prisoners drop their plates in disbelief and disappointment. The guards move in on them.

With a prayer gesture the pastor responds to what everyone sees.
“Lord have mercy on their souls.”

“Pastor is this the something BIG you were expecting to happen, huh?” the second prisoner asks.

In response to the guard’s announcement, Captain Danger rushes from the guardroom and the Camp Commander from the office. The two escapees are dragged into the square by the sergeant and his men.

Captain Danger welcomes back the guards excitedly with a smile.
“Well done, sergeant.’ You have saved us all from the firing squad. Thank you,” a pleased Danger says.

In a humble tone of voice the sergeant reacts.

“I only did my Party and patriotic duty, sir.”

The Camp Commander now also joins the party.

“Well, well, well.’ You have succeeded apprehending them, sergeant. Congratulations,” he says shaking the sergeant’s hand.

“Where exactly did you find them, sergeant?” Danger inquires.
“Some five kilometres from here, hiding behind a banana tree, sir. The local villagers helped us to track them down.’ It wasn’t an easy task,” the sergeant reports.

“Good work, sergeant,” the Camp Commander ventures.
“Good. Now everybody, except them, can have peace of mind again,” Captain Danger says.

“For your outstanding work recapturing these two banana-eating monkeys, I will personally see to it that you and your men be considered for a medallion of valour and honour from the Military High Command,” the Camp Commander officially announces.

“Thank you, sir Camp commander,” says a pleased sergeant.
The Camp Commander turns viciously onto the escapees.

“And what have you two got to say for yourselves?

The men do not react in any way.

“Come on, speak up,” Danger orders.

“It is obvious that they won’t talk.’ There are twenty bush-jails of the Party scattered around this country and you two chose to escape from my jail?” the Camp Commander says, turning to his second in command. “Captain, loosen up their tongues.’ I want to know how they escaped and who helped them. They could not have done it alone,” the commander expresses his view on the incident.

“It will be my pleasure to do just that, sir. I have a personal score to settle with both of them,” Danger replies with a satanic smile on his face.

“Do as you see fit.’ I will be in the office if you need me,” the commander says walking away.

“I guarantee you they will sing like little forest birds in no time when I am finished with them,” the Captain says wringing his wrists. “Now, are we going to do it the hard way or are you going to tell me right now how you have escaped? You obviously prefer the hard way,” the Captain says punching one of the prisoners in his stomach.
The others all look on in horror.

To be continued next week.

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