Mercenary Black Mamba - Chapter 28
“Fine. Just leave my body intact.”
The prisoner quelled his resistance. Ombuti was disgusted by the dual attitude of the captive. A man who borrowed the name of Allah to do all sorts of evil things was attempting to cross the threshold of heaven after reincarnation.
“Let’s do this again.”
Burimer tilted his head. The captive’s attitude had changed suddenly, and Ombuti had said only a few words. He wasn’t someone whose attitude would change by a cut finger. With their cultural differences, the situation only became tenser.
“What do you want to ask?” The prisoner instead hurried him.
“Where did you find us?”
“What are you saying? This is our camp. We were gathering ourselves.” The old guerrilla made a surprised face.
Burimer listened to Ombuti’s translation and found the situation ironic. They had not followed their trail or come to attack. It was a coincidence that had led to their camps overlapping.
“How many of you are there?”
“147 in all. We have four units. My friends will come to kill you all.”
The prisoner responded very sincerely. There was one frightening piece of information in the prisoner’s reply: the Habib army was roaming around northern Chad’s middle regions to track down the French special forces. Burimer’s mind blanked out.
How did the FROLINAT gain information about Team Ratel not on the level of a spy’s testimony but as factual information? This was a serious problem.
There wasn’t much that a mere soldier knew. Burimer nodded towards Ombuti. Ombuti placed his Beretta’s barrel on the back of the captive’s head and pulled the trigger.
The sound of a baseball bat’s impact on a mattress resounded.
Black Mamba’s sensitive ears captured that sound, and the sight of the captive falling to the ground was captured in his eyes like a slow-motion video.
Emil and Jang Shin carried the old guerrilla’s body towards a pit and threw it in. Other teammates were also carrying the other guerrillas’ bodies towards the pit. Nothing resembled human dignity. It was simply throwing out trash.
Half of the corpses were small children. They were around the age that he had been when he had run from his uncle’s house. They were children who were forced to pick up a gun.
The 43 dead guerrillas were 43 people’s worth of stories to tell.
What was their belief?
What did they die for?
Did their team have the authority to kill them?
There was only one answer. They had killed to live. Whether it was animals or plants, they all had instincts to become the winner of the survival of the fittest. Most humans were controlled by the desires and greed of others. There were times when individual greed became nothing in the face of a group’s greed. That was the fate of the dead guerrillas.
If he wished to stop being a mercenary, all he would need to do is terminate his contract. He would have monetary losses and a smear on his honor, but, if there was a better opportunity out there, it wasn’t an impossible idea. But there wasn’t one for them. They were “les miserables” who couldn’t escape the wheel of death. He had wished to live like a decent human being but had become a murderer.
The sad memories of his youth flooded back to him. His life had been controlled by others, and the days had passed filled with starvation and violence. The violence that made him crave for freedom was the evilest form of violence.
The children couldn’t have wanted to take up the rifle for a military leader they didn’t know. They weren’t driven by religious beliefs to run towards the French special forces.
The children had lived in domes made of cow dung and mud-filled walls. These children were forced to go to hell with guns in their hands. The children weren’t his countrymen nor his ethnicity, but hatred towards such fundamental evil rose in his chest.
The smell of gunpowder and blood stuck in his nose. The dense smell woke up the beast inside of him. The words “kill”, “rip”, and “destroy” echoed in his head. The blood started to smell sweet.
He was reminded of the small room in the house he had stayed at. He longed for Hae Young’s small and plump lips. He was desperate for her body that had electrified him. The instinct for murder and lust both reared its ugly head. His head felt like it was going to explode. The drums ringing in his head started to get louder. He saw red. This was the result of Parathropus’s cruel attack that drove itself into his subconscious.
“Go! However strong your body gets if your mind gets weak, what use will it be?”
His teacher’s words rang in his head. He snapped back to his senses.
Disgusting. The sweet smell of blood suddenly became disgusting. Compared to Hae Young’s refreshing scent, this was the filthy scent of the devil.
The times he had spent with her flashed before him. It had been a happy time. He had been so happy that it scared him. Her clear, lingering soul called out to him. He missed it dearly.
He, who had ripped apart tens of men, was lusting over Hae Young’s naked body. His resentment of himself intensified.
He raised his hands. They were rough, hard hands dyed with the blood of many men. They could no longer hold onto Hae Young. His grief rained down on him like hail.
He felt like a hypocrite in feeling remorse for not being able to return to Hae Young because he felt guilty for having killed countless child soldiers. The mirage of Hae Young that had been in front of his eyes shattered and disappeared.
“Goodbye, my love!”
His hope to become a scholar was a lost dream. He was now the blood-soaked monster, Black Mamba. He didn’t know how many lives he would have to destroy in the future. He didn’t think his blood-soaked hands deserved to embrace Hae Young. A single tear fell down his cheek.
How selfish and arrogant humans are!
Black Mamba yelled with all his frustrated emotions. The wretchedness of his shattered life, his shame at having to forget the woman he loved, the vengeance he felt at the humans who used him as their filthy white knight, and his disappointment in himself for his greed and selfishness all tangled together within him.
A scream that sounded like a wounded elephant rang through the red valley. The immense echoes caused rocks to break apart and roll down the hill. The team members covered their ears frightened by the noise.
He calmed his emotions. This was a place where you either kill or be killed. It was war. If he wanted to live as a human, he will have to kill the enemy. Whether he stayed living as a human being or something else, he would think about later.
“Namo Amitābhāya, show me the way to paradise.”
He prayed with all his heart.
As he watched Black Mamba organizing his equipment and traveling down the hill, a white line fell across the captain’s face.
“It looks like everything’s been handled. Your mentality is strong.”
“It is great. They say that there is a skilled lioness of martial arts in the East, but I didn’t think I would directly hear of her. It’s a relief that the valley has not been penetrated.”
Burimer responded to the captain.
“A monster is born. The world will be turned upside down.”
The captain’s eyes followed Black Mamba. Black Mamba was a strategic soldier with an immensely trained body, an acute instinct for war, and his most intimidating skill as a sniper. He was the perfect human soldier that a commander dreamed of.
The one thing he lacked was experience. It was a handicap that could render all other skills useless, especially in war. There was no practicing for death. The only person who had been able to practice death was Jesus.
A human’s worth was directly related to their experiences. It was more so as a soldier. A battle could turn 180 degrees because of it. There is a reason that they say that an army wouldn’t trade 10 new soldiers for 1 experienced one.
After getting over the shock of his first murder, Black Mamba consoled himself. Black Mamba’s unbelievable strength made him a hidden ace. A wide smile spread across the captain’s face.
It was the first time for Black Mamba. The 43 corpses of the guerrilla soldiers were the trade-off for the francs that he had been receiving for the last year. It meant that he had now paid off the debt to the army that had fed him.
He was a mercenary, one whose reward grew larger the more he killed. In war, you only fought greed with greed, evil with evil. He, too, was now an evil monster full of greed. He had to accept that truth.
Whether the end would be bright or bleak didn’t matter because there was no way to return. Whether it paid off or not, the reality of his situation was that he had no choice; he had to continue walking this path.
Humans were contradictory beings. They contemplated their need for survival with their desire to figure out the reason for their sad existence. He was unable to relieve his mixed-up emotions. They could only persuade themselves by their given knowledge, but humans were limited.
Black Mamba left his comrades behind, as they packed up their belongings, and headed down the hill. Nobody blamed him. Black Mamba was not in a position to do such menial tasks.
After going down to the valley, Black Mamba washed his blood-soaked body in the stream. He rubbed so hard that his skin became raw. The smell of blood on his body made his nose flinch as if it was rotten.
It was time to return to normal life. He was astonished to find that murdering other people had become part of normal life for him. Somehow, the hand that had once held a Buddhist moktak was now wielding a murderous weapon. What can I do? Fate had already taken him too far to return to his old life.
He opened up a tarp and started to disassemble the Dragunov. To a sniper, his gun was his life. He needed to take care of it so that it would always function at its greatest efficiency. Every part had to react at the user’s slightest touch, without fail, for the bullet to hit the exact spot at which it was aimed.
He turned the gun backward and looked into it. The potent smell of gunpowder hit his nose. There was a lot of residue inside the pistol. It was an after effect of the uranium that they had used.
The basic parts and functions of the gun were similar even though there were so many different varieties. The small gun had a reverse switch, bullets, bolts, safety, magazine, pistol, and gas bow.
He took apart his gun by removing the screws and taking out the bolts. He diligently oiled the piston and cleaned the rest of the parts with a cloth dipped in LSA.
He checked it thoroughly to see if there were any scratches, residue that would affect its function, or if there were rusted parts. He finished examining and assembling it. He put the shiny piece together with great care as if it was a ritual.
While taking apart the gun and putting it back together, his consciousness and senses began to concentrate solely on his work. His heart was at peace. It felt as if he was hearing his teacher’s chants in solitude. The moktak and a gun were items that would not usually be categorized together, but now, they strangely intermingled.
After screwing in the last bolt, he stood up abruptly. It was time to pay his dues. He didn’t come all this way to be a pathetic loser that his comrades would have to worry about.
“Black Mamba, congratulations.”
Captain Paul massaged his shoulders.
His group of comrades cheered. They had been waiting for a rookie to rise from their ranks. Black Mamba felt awkward. They thought that he felt that way due to shock over the killings, but that was not the reason. It was just that his instincts had taken over his desires.
“Yes. Your comrades will always remain behind you for protection.”
That sentiment warmed his heart.
The captain smiled.
“Black Mamba, this task must be worth over 50,000 francs.”
“We killed 43 of them and looted those 2 large containers. There were a lot of firearms, too.”
Captain Paul shook the battle report. Foreign units received payment for participating in a battle. The amount they were paid depended on their unit’s result, and individuals could be paid more upon evaluation of their performance. The 50,000 francs that Paul mentioned was a payment to the unit. Individual payments had to be calculated separately.
Burimer spoke loudly so that everyone could hear.
“These men were part of the Habib who had been spreading evil in FROLINAT. The first target who Black Mamba destroyed was Lieutenant Colonel Musta. He is a psychopath who boils and eats native children. I had wanted to kill him myself but Black Mamba intercepted him. He had committed many other filthy crimes that had not been revealed.”
Black Mamba flinched. He had heard the story of someone boiling and eating children, but he didn’t believe it. Such a thing just didn’t make sense in the 20th century.
“He ate a child?”
“It’s true. There were aggressive clans that had fantastical ideas. Many clans thought that eating pygmies could allow them to harness the power of the gods. In the Congo or Gabon, many filthy beings have ingested these pygmies. There were no pygmy clans here. The pygmy clans usually preferred to eat children. You didn’t kill a human; you killed the devil. They are savages not worthy of your sympathy.”
“Until I see it with my own eyes, I can’t believe it.”
Burimer smiled slyly.
“You will have a chance to see it yourself. How’s your condition?”