The short story, A Killing in the Sun was shortlisted by the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2013. This is the title story of the debut collection by storyteller, Dilman Dila.
A Killing in the Sun: As a soldier faces the firing squad, a Sunday school lesson, and memories of his childhood, turn his execution into a horror.
A Killing in the Sun
The trial ended, but the firing squad could not proceed. The doctor was missing. After thirty minutes without word of his whereabouts, the sun became furious. It suspected the soldiers were only putting on a show and would release Mande when public interest in the case evaporated, so it tried to execute him.
In defiance to the sun, Mande did not sweat. Even after standing for three hours in the heat, the only sign that it troubled him was the frown on his face. You could mistake it for fear, especially when he eyed the prosecutor who stood directly opposite him.
He loathed the prosecutor’s uniform, that plain green shirt of educated officers. The symbol of girly soldiers who spoke English instead of Swahili. The mark of cowards who had no experience in battle. Of fools who returned from exile to assume powerful military positions. Idiots who owed their existence to the President’s insane plan of ‘professionalizing’ the army.
He liked the three judges. They sat to his right, at a desk borrowed from the primary school; the court martial was hosted on its playground. The three giant potbellied frogs squeezed into a tiny desk built for children. Still, they were real men. They were brave fighters. They brushed off the irritations of the terrible sun and appeared to be relaxed. Though they had sentenced him to death, Mande hoped they would let him go. They were true soldiers. Like he was. They wore battle gear, not plain shirts. They also hated the prosecutor and they despised their new roles as judges even more. Mande could see it on their faces, hear it in their voices, smell it in their sweat. Each minute that passed without sign of the doctor increased his hope that it was a trick to save him.
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