Khalil Muhammad stood on the precipice of greatness under the hot African sun.
His prisoners knelt in front of him and murmured prayers. “There is no mercy for you infidels. Prayer won’t save you.”
He motioned to his soldiers, the gunners on the crew-serve weapons spun the barrels to face them. With the drop of his hand, his soldiers sent the prisoners to their reward in the eternal bliss of their god. Bisa, mother of Bethanie and Adah, twin sisters aged three, heard Muhammad’s voice in the distance. She had taken her daughters to the well which supplied water from a nearby wadi.
Bisa took her daughters and moved to a nearby wall. Through a crack in the wall, she watched her parents along with her neighbors die. Bethanie and Adah’s cries drowned in the hammering of machine guns. She hugged her children close and tried to quieten their cries. Unbeknown to Bisa, a child-soldier noticed her watching through the crack. Behind her, she heard the clack of a bolt ridden forward in a rifle. She tensed. The soldier escorted Bethanie and Adah to Muhammad, along with Bisa.
“Why were you hiding?”
Bisa could think of nothing to say in her defense. Muhammad stepped closer to Bisa and whispered:“Why were you hiding? Answer me, or your children will die first.”
“I am scared.”
Muhammad drew his sidearm and shot Bisa in the head. The twins cried out in fear, Muhammad raised his hands and gave thanks for his victory over his enemies. Hidden on a dune a quarter of a mile away, a team of military members watched the massacre. The team consisted of a multi-national group of soldiers.
The team leader, code named Ghost, directed the 3-man teams on the situation.“Muhammad shot a mother in the head. Team Alpha will engage the front. Bravo will block off the rear, team Charlie will sweep left, Delta sweeps right. There are innocent children in there, watch your sectors of fire. Let’s get this done.”
Charlie Williams, head communications guru for all teams waved Ghost over. “What’s up Charlie?” Charlie motioned to his laptop.“ This freaking animal is burning people. He’s making kids burn their parents alive.”
“Yeah. He’s an deranged freak for sure. Have you got eyes on the kids that watched their mother get murdered by this savage?”
“As of right now, no.”
“Alright, stay here in the nest. You have our blindsides. Talk to you soon.”
Ghost walked to where alpha element prepared to assault the village. He took a seat in the rear of the Humvee. They moved toward what appeared to be the gates of hell on earth.As they drew near to the hellish landscape the radio squawked.
“Bravo, in place.”
“Charlie, in place.”
“Delta, in place.”
Ghost gave the driver the go ahead. They sped toward the village as the .50 caliber heavy machine gun began firing.“All teams, go.”
It was over in a few short moments. Rapid gunfire resounded throughout the village as all teams converged. Muhammad’s soldiers fought back but soon surrendered. Charlie Company’s top enlisted member, Menace called Ghost over. “We found these two young’uns sitting in the ashes.”
He motioned to Bethanie and Adah. Ghost knelt in the ashes beside them.
Adah reached for him, and Ghost picked her up. He took Bethanie by the hand. Everyone walked back to the vehicles. Charlie Williams stood by the lead vehicle speaking on the radio.
“Listen, douche canoe. There were children involved here. We have two of them, and we are in a terrorist state. We are not leaving them here.”
“What about Muhammad? Did you guys get him?”
“Negative. Muhammad bugged out.”
“Get back here, asap. We will figure out to do with the kids.”
“Roger, Alpha out.”
Hours later, the team pulled into a NATO air base located in Chad. General Thad Krieger, Commander of the Multi-National Task Force, stood in the hanger.
“We got here as fast as we could, sir.”
“I have spoken with your government abou the kids. They have decided that you should bring them back to the states.”
“I understand that there are cultural differences in a multinational force,” said Sonja,”but kids are baby goats. These are children.”
Sonja Alarie was a French national and had little patience for stupidity. She especially hated anyone who seemed to not like children.
The team loaded into the C-130 Hercules, with Adah and Bethanie. It took fourteen hours for the team to make it to Camp Baldwin. Adah and Bethanie stared in awe at the going-ons of the base.
“Alright guys,” Ghost began, “we have a debriefing to get to, and then you will return to your home units. It was great working with you all again.”
The debriefing took half an hour. Rachel Winterborne met Ghost in the parking lot with Adah and Bethanie.
“Hi, Ghost. Why did you bring these children back with you?”
“Excuse me? Krieger said he cleared it with the government.”
“Well, he lied.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Yeah. It’s going to take some time to get this sorted out. You could take them home with you until it’s sorted. How does that grab you?”
“I live alone.”
“How long would they stay, Rachel?”
“No more than two weeks. We have got to reach out to Tripoli. Then they would debate what would be best for the children. A couple of days to install the plan, and you would be single once again.”
“I have no idea how to parent two girls. Can’t Child Services take them?”
“At midnight? No, they would say to hold them until Monday.”
“You guys had 14 hours to sort this out. Did you forget that two children were one the plane?”
“I know you’re frustrated, Ghost. I’ll come over in the morning and help. Okay. You have to survive for a few hours. Surely, a big, burly man like yourself aren’t afraid of two little girls.”
“Afraid, no. Tired, you bet.”
“Come on, Ghost. I’ll go home with you, and I’ll keep you safe from these dastardly little cuties.”