The cinema of my dreams – I never wanted to go to Africa – Episode 6

Locked up with nowhere to go

It looked like a military camp, but the soldiers were not like my captor. They were as I had expected, of foreign origin. The woman driving the pickup was American, and also the last person I’d expect to see in what was quite obviously a military camp.

The pickup stopped with the brakes squealing outside a large wooden building covered in camouflage netting. The man sitting next to me got up, jumped off the end of the vehicle. The woman got out, they exchanged words in quiet voices I could not hear properly, then she walked away.

He walked down the side of the vehicle hitting the metal side quite hard. To wake me up, perhaps.

“Get down Mr. James. I’m not buying the jelly legs anymore.”

I shrugged. I hadn’t been pretending when they picked me up but maybe he knew my condition better than I did. I didn’t think it was worth annoying him.

I slid to the end of the well and dangled my legs over the side then slipped slowly till my feet touched the ground. Aches and pains in my ankles and knees, but they would hold me up.

Time to move on.

He stood beside me. “This way.”

As I surmised, we went into the wooden building, down a narrow passageway for a distance, and, judging by the gentle downward slope and the temperature drop, we were either going into a cave or underground.

A minute, two, then he stopped and opened a door. “Inside.”

I took a deep breath and stepped into the room, expecting to be either shot or worse.

But it was nothing like that. It was just an empty room with a camp stretcher.

The man put his head in the doorway. “Get some rest, Mr. James.”

The door swung shut and I heard the key turn in the lock. This was not a room that could readily be escaped from.

© Charles Heath 2019-2021

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