Flash Fiction #126
This is the second part of the story. The first part can be found here.
Tiki had two partners in his mission to bomb the dam. Their first attempt at a moonless midnight was a failure since the Zaville people were quite vigilant. Guards and sentries were placed on different parts of the dam, who watched the surface of the lake all night long.
The three of them chose 4AM several days later, since they believed that people tend to be more sleepy in early morning hours. Just as they had expected, they got much closer to the dam this time. Tiki fastened the bomb onto the dam, but unfortunately the surface of the lake became quite foggy and hazy at the time, and Tiki couldn’t light the fuse of the homemade bomb due to the moisture in the air. Just as Tiki and his teammates tried to figure out what to do, one of the guards from on top of the dam heard them and raised alarm. Since it’s a dark night of new moon with misty fog hanging around–This was way before electricity became a common thing in this part of the world–they couldn’t really see where their boat was located. So they ended up shooting randomly towards the water. They still had all the WWII weapon left by the invading army, and they made good use of them. One of the bullets hit the bomb and a big explosion ensued, leaving a big hole in the hastily built dam. Water rushed out immediately.
None of the three men returned to Waville, but their successful mission helped their fellow villagers to live a normal life again. Their northern neighbor was enraged, but they couldn’t do anything. There’s no point to mend the dam right now since the water was already gone to the southern part of the lake. They needed to wait for the autumn when the raining season came, but by then, a dam would not be necessary.
The three men were presumed dead and their funerals were held by Waville people–each was pronounced a martyr and each was immortalized on a shrine by the lake–they had sacrificed their life for the village’s common good.
Five years had passed. Tiki’s wife married Tiki’s cousin who never drank and never gambled; their house had a new roof; their new baby was on the way. The village’s economy finally came out of the post-war depression and their relationship with their northern brothers had been mended, so much so that the two villages agreed to share the lake like before.
In the autumn, the village usually had a country fair to celebrate their harvest. On such an occasion, ten Buddhist monks would be hired from the nearby temple to sing religious songs for three days. And they had food for whoever happened to drop by.
There’s a beggar coming for food and the villagers happily fed him. The beggar looked at the shrine by the lake and screamed.
He’s Tiki. Five years ago, he was blasted into the river by the force of the explosion, but miraculously he was uninjured. When he woke up the following morning, he was floating on one of the rivulets where the lake drains into at a nearby village. When he’s dragged out of the river, he couldn’t remember who he was–he had an amnesia. For the ensuing five years, he walked around as a mad beggar. Sometimes a Buddhist temple would feed him and sometimes he would do some odd jobs for a villager somewhere.
Now, coming back to his own village and staring at the shrine and other familiar scenes, he suddenly regained his memory. He recognized the village elder and his own wife.
“I want my life back. You took my life away from me five years ago, but now I want everything that belongs to me.” He shouted as mad as he could.
Everybody stared at him speechlessly–it would be so convenient if he had died, but that’s not what destiny had in mind. And what’s the best way to resolve this? The villagers wondered.
(The third part of the story is here.)