(David Schenfeld [CC / Flickr])

The monitor lizards have been at the kayak again. The smell of the food I’d stolen must linger in there, because they keep pulling the palm fronds apart to get at it. A bright orange kayak wouldn’t have been my first choice of escape craft, but it was lying on the beach when ran out of dry land. With the dust plume of the militia Land Rover drawing closer, I had to take what I could get.

I hear the outboard just in time to duck behind a rock. If the patrol skiff had come round the side of the island five minutes earlier, the flash of orange in the scrub would have been as good as a neon sign flashing ‘here I am!’

A man stands upright in the boat, scanning my island refuge through his binoculars. Three days they’ve been hunting me now. They must be getting as tired of it as I am. I thought they’d give up after the first day, but I must be higher up the new government’s priorities than I thought.

I pray they don’t come ashore to search for me. They’re probably fishermen drafted into the militia in the last week, but even they can’t miss me on an island smaller than a football field.

The engine noise deepens as the skiff powers away. They’ve granted me another reprieve, it’s still a question of what will run out first, my luck or my food.

I can’t put it off any longer. I’ll have to launch tonight and race the dawn for the refuge of the eastern shore. By day, the horizon is nothing but blue water but the glow of electric lights reaches over the horizon every night. It must be a manageable distance. I’ll make it as long as none of the patrol boats appear in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If one of them pans their searchlight over me, I’ll face a fury I shudder to think of. If I make the far shore, my gift to the world will be my story and its moral: never tell your wife you want a divorce the day before she leads a coup d’état to make herself the president of the republic.

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

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