The bullet jacket fell to my feet, the sound of the gunshot echoing in the mountains. I could feel the five pairs of eyes staring at me, but my gaze was locked on the deer I had shot. I knew they were waiting for me to explain, I could’ve compromised our position by firing a gun without the hush puppy (aka silencer). “Dinner,” I mumbled my explanation and started walking downhill towards my target.

The truth was that if I hadn’t shot the deer, I would’ve shot Maleeha, we were fighting a war and all she cared about was how the humidity was messing her hair. Plus, Ali’s constant babying and pampering was making her think that her whining was justified. I didn’t understand how the chief permitted her to accompany us, she was slowing us down and I was sure that if she didn’t, the lovebug bitten Ali was sure to compromise our mission eventually.

The sound of crushing leaves doubled, it was clear someone was following me and I knew exactly who it was.

 “Hammad, why are you following me?” I snapped turning to face the closest thing I had to a best friend. I raised an eyebrow, waiting for him to speak, instead he burst out laughing. I could feel my expression change to my signature confused face.

“What?” I demanded over his loud, squeaky laugh. He still didn’t answer, anger levels rising I turned around and decided to continue walking.

“Aleesha stop,” he managed to choke in between giggles. I didn’t listen and continued walking.

 “You stubborn shithead stop!” he exclaimed sounding irked. I gritted my teeth and turned around. “What?”

“The single-shot you fired contained dummies, they were empty bullets, I had put them in to check its stopping power,” He grinned. As his words registered, I could feel my face turn red from embarrassment.

“You nitwit! What if we were under attack and I picked up that single-shot, huh? I thought we agreed to keep the dummy firearms aside!” I yelled. There was silence until her screams echoed everywhere. Hammad and I looked at each other, pulled our guns out and ran back uphill. Whilst running I emptied the single-shot and reloaded it with actual bullets. I knew this was going to happen, I knew she was going to cause trouble.

Panting, Hammad and I reached our campsite. There in the middle was a wailing Maleeha, Ali’s arms securely around her, a pissed off Haider and Shehryar sitting around the fire.

“What happened?” Hammad and I asked together. Haider looked up, shook his head “Maleeha thought she saw a snake.” He looked at me and I knew he was thinking the same thing I was.

“Maleeha, why don’t you go lie down in the tent,” Ali whispered to her. She nodded and disappeared under one of the army green clothes we called home. I rolled my eyes and sat in front of the fire.

“She’s just having trouble adjusting to the conditions,” Ali mumbled. “She is a girl after all.”

  I choked on the water I was drinking. I was laughing so hard, I spat some out.

“And what am I?” I mocked still laughing, the other three joined in.

“Hammad is more of a girl than you are,” Haider laughed patting my back. Hammad turned red and stuck his tongue out at Haider.

Before their usual argument on Hammad’s feminine ways could begin, there was a loud bang. Somewhere an explosive had gone off. Before we could decide how to react to that, it started raining bullets.

to be continued….


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