Unlucky #AtoZAprilChallenge

Tuareg2.JPG

Captain Le Guen was a Muslim, a faith he had inherited from his mother, who, as a young child, had been rescued by the Franj from her burning village in the Aurès, during that war. He had been born in Qimper in Brittany, where Le Guen père, an officer in the Navy, had wanted to respect his wife’s wishes to bring up the boy in the faith of the Prophet. His side of the bargain was to send young Le Guen to Saint-Cyr. His religion made Le Guen a rarity in his regiment, although not in the army. A veteran of Chad, Somalia and Afghanistan Le Guen spoke Arabic fluently, and moreover the dialects of the Tuareg. At Saint-Cyr, the Franj’s officers school, he had been a distinguished linguist.

He had stopped his column in the early evening, letting the men relax, and was consulting the old Tuareg who was his guide. Their advance had been rapid, perhaps too rapid, and they had met little resistance, and recovered few weapons. As they moved further North and to the East the maps had proven less accurate, and the satellites’ positioning coordinates at time unreliable, as if someone was warning him. They were now in the desert, having left the relative moisture of the Sahel hundreds of kilometres down South.

“Two kilometres from here, said the old man, you will see an expense of darker sands, towards the North.” He paused, and Le Guen was silent, knowing better than interrupt the old man’s story. His help had been invaluable, telling him when to steer his convoy away from mine fields and other vicious traps.

The indigenous troops – Southerners who suffered a lot in the searing heat – were afraid of the old Tuareg, and had begged Le Guen to disarm him: that is to take away the ornate and ancient knife he wore at the belt of his woollen robe. Le Guen had refused, explaining in sober words that the old man was his guest, God willing. The Southerners were Muslim too and they understood, keeping their disapproval to themselves.

“Those are moving sands, resumed the guide, make sure your men understand they must not approach them”. There was a long silence. The Tuareg’s deep blue eyes, the only part of his face visible through the blue headgear, were scanning the dunes.

Le Guen exchanged a few words with his NCO’s on the short range radio, and waited. He knew the story may be continuing. “Our tradition says that a Pharaoh’s army disappeared here, many years before the Prophet himself came here. They were swallowed by the sands, men, horses, chariots, all of them.” Le Guen was listening intently. Was the story a parable?

“At night, if one is very quiet, one can still hear the horses, and men shouting.” Images of ancient warriors haunting the dunes came to Le Guen’s mind. His father had told him similar stories, from the high plateaux of Laos. He waited. “You see, the track you are now following is very old, and my people know its history…” concluded the guide.

It would be much colder tonight, and the captain had warned the men from the start. As they moved deeper into the desert the nights would get to temperature thirty or forty degrees below those of daytime. Further North Saharian nights before dawn could reach Siberian temperatures of −30 or -40 degrees centigrade.

“You asked me why you haven’t found any weapons”, said the old man in a soft voice modulated by the wind, “but you see, the weapons are here, the raiders have no need to hide them.” The guide, Le Guen noted, had used the name for cattle thieves to describe the insurgents. The captain was now looking straight at the old man. The deep blue eyes held his stare: “If you are unlucky, God forbid, you will be bringing those weapons to them, mon capitaine”. The old man lifted his arm, and turning back pointed at the long convoy, behind them, bristling with the best Franj weaponry.

Image: Algerian Tuareg, By GarrondoOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4613636

Original post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑

Helena

The Protocol of Truth

networkpointzero

Le courage c'est de chercher la vérité et de la dire (Jaurès)

Tallis Steelyard

The jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard

heritagelandscapecreativity

Exploring Time Travel of Place

iksperimentalist

a collision of science and comedy

Stift und Schrift

Zeichnung Illustration Papier Buch

Words and Worlds

Real and Imagined - by Carl Bystrom

Light Motifs II

now with 27% more woo

mermaidcamp

Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

Redhead Reflections

Talking inside my head...

My Art & Me

Scribblings & Doodlings

Up Before Dawn

Kicking butt before the sun comes up!

Places Journal

Sisyphus47's writing blog

Mimo Khair Photography

"art is life, life is art"

Bill Hayes

Writer and Photographer in NYC

creartfuldodger

collage/mixed media artist

Islamic Methodologies Made Easy

“Have the people not travelled through the land to make their hearts understand and let their ears hear, verily it is not the eyes that go blind but the hearts inside chests.” [The Qur’an (22:46)].

The Last Refuge

Rag Tag Bunch of Conservative Misfits - Contact Info: TheLastRefuge@reagan.com

Opus bay

Pobres putas cuando reina la Santa hipocresía.

dymoonblog

A fine WordPress.com site

Kingsjester's Blog

Opinions from a Christian American Conservative

Whole, Hearty, Happy

Just a mom on a journey to wellness.

paigezine

"In the end it's not the dates on the tombstone that matter, it's the dash" - Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Dysfunctional Literacy

Just because you CAN read Moby Dick doesn't mean you should.

the secret keeper

"Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit." - W. Somerset Maugham

Dynaries Photography

Focus on what makes you happy

Debbie Gravett

Word painter and story slave

(Almost) Unsalvageable

Depression doesn't define me anymore. Now its all (mostly) about inspiration and adventure

Morbus ignorantia - Krankheit Unwissen

"Wer die Vergangenheit kontrolliert, kontrolliert die Zukunft und wer die Gegenwart kontrolliert, kontrolliert die Vergangenheit." - George Orwell

quiet time journal

Some things need to be shared

paradoxical vagabond

"Fate succumbs many a species; one alone jeopardizes itself." ~W.H. Auden

redstuffdan

ORIGINAL PICTURES FROM NOUVELLE AQUITAINE

Park Preview

A guide to Seattle area parks for the non-robust, lazy birders, and photographers.

Letters From The Ocean

"Stop running after the waves. Let the sea come to you." - Elif Shafak

riutski.wordpress.com/

what's on my mind?

And so it starts...

Personal poetry

MIDDLECLASS MESSENGER

An Advocate For Middle Class Justice

Relax--

God didn't go anywhere!

Love it Now

Love is ever-present within our own Being but we might not feel it until we live in the Now. "Love it Now" was created to share ideas about loving and being present in the here and now. Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: