CHAPTER 13 – UMMA AYAM SINSANA (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?)

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You may want to read CHAPTER 12, first.

As the night progressed, Benny was increasingly growing anxious. “You’ve got to get some sleep,” Julia reminded him.

But he could not!

He got up every hour to scout the
camp’s perimeter and talk to the men on guard.
He stood vigil with them in what seemed to be the longest night of his life.

In between this, he sat in the dark thinking of appropriate countermeasures that he could implement.

He had to act swiftly or everything would be lost forever.

He was endangering the lives of the people in his unit by staying longer in the camp.
The longer they stayed there, the more likelihood that they would be ordered “terminated” by their own rebel organization.

Surrender was not taken well by the higher-ups and Benny had now realized fully, that the real agenda of the top leaders were totally different from his own.

They wanted absolute and total control of the country. The military aid from foreign countries had started trickling in as evidenced by the new ammunitions arriving from foreign shores and this did not bode well with Benny.

Importing more guns and war ammunition denoted that the leaders had no plans of ending the “war”.

He wanted it to end. He wanted to believe that “his” government was sincere in its peace offering . He would rather be under a struggling government run by his own people than a prosperous one run by foreigners. All he wanted was justice for the poor and peace and quiet for his countrymen.

They have to leave camp as soon as possible! Tomorrow it was imperative that he establish anew the lines of communication between him and the General.

He was startled when a shadow detached itself from the darkness. It was Julia.
” Let’s get some sleep,” she had one loving hand in his.
Her touch never failed to excite him. Just her mere presence added so much felecity and vibrancy to his life. That night; however, he did not want her to see how worried he was, that was why he made an excuse of doing the rounds.
” Yes, let’s get some sleep. I have completed the rounds now,” he said, and warmly draped an arm around her shoulders.
They slept in each other’s arms dreaming of the peaceful, happy world their unborn child would soon have.
****
General Aman knew the danger that Benny was exposed to, so he camped not far from them and scouted the area for unusual activities.

For sure – that night – the media would be reporting the failed attempt of Ka Benny to surrender. He was now a marked man in the rebel organization.

The following day, General Aman was informed through the radio that there was a group of bandits who owned up the responsibility of disrupting the earlier attempt of Ka Benny’s surrender.

Although, it was more practical to communicate directly with Ka Benny, General Aman still sought the assistance of Fr. Belucci. He knew Benny trusted the priest absolutely.

The undercover, personal emissary of Fr. Belucci scurried from Talococ to Benny’s camp at least several times that day before a final arrangement was made.

The second surrender date was finally set the following morning.

There were no stones left unturned to ensure that the second attempt would proceed without snags.

There was a scouting party who double checked the area every hour and a soldier was stationed every 50 yards from each other to make sure that there were no third parties within the vicinity.

At exactly 9:47, both groups finally converged.

Once more Benny and General Aman started to walk to the center of the clearing. Everyone stood tensely and waited as the two men proceeded to meet. Cameras were whirling and there was a live feed on TV while the reporter made a commentary.

Ka Anton did not leave the responsibility to the army alone for making sure there were no instruders.

He and a small group of rebels were not watching the historical surrender; they were too busy scanning the nearby thick foliage for any sign of intruders.

There were none because outside the perimeter of the two groups, there was still another group of soldiers patrolling the area.

When General Aman and Kumander Benny finally shook hands, a loud cheer erupted from both camps.

“Kumander , welcome back,” General Aman was sincere in his solicitations.

“Thanks, general,” the handshake was warm and reassuring and Benny knew he could trust General Aman.
They spoke briefly but these were powerful sentences that marked a momentous event in the hearts of both rebels and soldiers.

Julia’s cheeks were wet and she kept blinking the trickle of warm rivulets from her eyes.

It’s just the forest wind, she thought and she walked on. She was a few steps away from Benny. Ka Dan was assigned to personally escort her.
Benny introduced her to the General when she came abreast them. It was evident the general liked Julia.

General Aman personally escorted them to the army camp and had never left their side until he was certain they were safe and sound.

It was a big , glorious victory for the government and they made sure this good news was aired in all Primtime TV programs and in the Late News. In the morning the event was in print in all newspapers around the country.

“Kumander Benny Surrenders! screamed all headlines in various native tongues.

After several days, when the government stayed true to their word, several small rebel units, followed suit after Benny’s surrender.

Except for the one-week debriefing of Benny’s unit in the army camp – they were set free afterwards, and were even given suitable livelihood projects to start their life anew.

The whole village of Taloctoc, was happy to have their most outstanding son back to their fold.

The families of the ex-rebels were the happiest of all, they held a celebration in honor of those who were finally in their midst.

Benny’s parents cried with joy when they finally embraced their son and daughter in law. Julia’s mother was a dotting grandmother soon-to-be, as she never left Julia’s side.

The festivity was like Benny and Julia’s nuptials all over again, except that this time, both army and former rebels stood shoulder to shoulder as comrades.

Even the circle of lookout guards outside the barrio’s perimeter was composed of both uniformed and plain-clothed men.

There was tight security because they were still wary of any possible retaliation from the NPA’s higher echelon of leaders.

The first thing Benny did as a freeman was to visit Fr. Belucci.

Ka Anton, now simply called Anton never left his side.

There were three army men assigned momentarily as bodyguards to ensure Benny’s safety, but Anton was the best friend Benny never had in school.

Fr. Belucci had aged a lot the last time he had seen him. But he still had the same spunk and gay spirit that he so admired in him. Benny hugged the priest and he was speechless from emotion. Fr. Belucci had been a father, a confidante, a friend, a teacher and everything Benny could ask for. He remembered when he was still a young boy and how the priest had painstakingly taught him the moral values that a good person should possess.

” Back to school for you, Benny,” Fr. Belucci’s voice quivered when he finally spoke.

“I’ve got a family now to feed, Father” Benny gently reminded the good priest.

” I’ll take care of that. You can pay me up to the last centavo after you have graduated and have landed a decent job.”

“But….” Benny started to protest.

The priest lay a gnarled hand on Benny’s arm, “This is what your people want. Each has already contributed a share. They know you have the needed qualifications to pursue a higher degree. I would have gladly shouldered all your expenses but they insisted and wanted to be part of your education. Don’t let them down.”

(TO BE CONTINUED)
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17 thoughts on “CHAPTER 13 – UMMA AYAM SINSANA (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?)

  1. Hi! Jena Isle!

    I can’t say anything more except bravo! You write with such flair and mastery of the fiction genre (except that I don’t know if this is fiction, he he he!).

    Maybe a suspenseful event or two should be inserted in the next few chapters to avoid predictability. But as it is, where it stands, the story is unfolding so well.

    Kudos!

    Mathe

  2. Hi, Jena. I followed the link you left for the music meme on my blog, but can’t find where you posted the meme.

    Interesting story!

  3. Dear jena, I like the scene were benny is thinking about the future, being not able to sleep. It is realistic.

    That Benny should have a second chance to start over – I like that too.

    So what is going on between Julia and Benny. Their feelings, did they change during the hardships?

    Thank you for an amazing sequel. I am looking forward for the next part.

  4. Hi Kirhat
    Thanks, yes I wrote them. They are still not proofread to perfection. Thanks for dropping by.

    Hi HotMomma, this is fiction..he he he…make no mistake….I’m wracking my brains to think about what you suggested…Benny becoming Jumong??? Thanks for the visit and suggestion.

    Hi Carol

    Thanks for the visit. I’ll try to look into that.

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I should focus too on the emotions and feelings of each character. I know I’ve been neglecting this.

    Happy blogging to all of you.

  5. Hi Jena,
    Your writing always flows so beautifully, that I’m carried along effortlessly with the story. I’m glad Benny made it home safe.

  6. Hi Francis, coming from you, I’m flattered with your kind words. Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it very much.

    Happy blogging.

  7. Hello Ray,

    I inserted a paragraph about Julia and Benny. I hope it gives credibility to the story.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  8. Finally, a bit of peace. I wonder for how long, what fanciful adventure awaits Benny and Julia. I really hope Benny can complete his higher education. That will make him such a well rounded individual. Unusual life experience coupled with education, what possibilities await him?

    I guess I’ll just have to keep coming back o find out.

  9. Yahoo!!! This is in celebration for both myself and for Benny! I say it’s for me also because I finally caught up with your writing. I patiently read every chapter and worked my way up to this. I’m completely elated that Benny’s surrender and freedom were finally achieved, peacefully and successfully. And it’s such a good feeling to see Benny free and happy with his life and family again. I wasn’t sure whether this is suppose to be the ending. It feels as though that this chapter should be the ending of this story?

  10. Wow, Tasha, you’re here at last. Thanks so much for patiently reading through the chapters. Part II will be coming out soon. Thanks again for the visit.

  11. Hi JenaIsle,

    I’ve read from the chapter I last viewed (the 8th)up to the 13th and the fast paced developments have evolved very well and very engagingly.

    I especially liked the scenes where Julia announced news of the baby,and the scene where he could not rest well, worrying about the fate of his men and the righteousness of the path their struggle has taken. These scenes could be mined for emotions and character that would lend more drama to the events.

    I suspect you may have subjects from which you have derived some patterns for the characters you have created, or are very well versed in the aspirations of the indigenous people or both – since the stories and circumstances read so real. I know some people who would fit into the shoes of your protagonists and I have had the opportunity of moving about in the area during those martial law years.

    Everyone of your commenters are hopeful of the outcome. Of course, everyone wants a happy ending, but it does not always turn out that way. In those days, hardly. Even today, their struggle continues…that should give an idea of where this is going.

    But hope is not lost as far as reality is concerned. From what I understand, Gov. Baguilat is a progressive politician but is an indigenous activist first and foremost. I know a segment of his family quite well and the struggle of his father during those years under Marcos.

    Congratulations for a riveting story that’s well thought out and professionally executed. A great read. 🙂 –Durano. done!

  12. Wow, coming from a great writer like yourself Durano, I’m flattered by your kind words. They give inspiration and motivation for me to go on. I would like to acquire your proficiency in writing. You’re a widely read author. I laud you for that. Happy blogging!

  13. Durano, thanks a lot for the visit. I’ve been looking forward to your visit, as I know you’re very well acquainted with that era in our history. I do hope I could depict those years of glory for some and misery for some. All the best.

  14. I am greatly interested in how you will continue the story I will keep up with the reading. Keep up the top notch work, you have big fan now.

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