It's supposed to be Blue Monday today, the dreariest day on the annual calendar.
So I've got a stunning photograph of Lake Oulu in Finland to cheer you up.
I also have the next instalment from His Captive Princess. Enjoy.
CHAPTER TWO Part Two
By the time they completed the search and counted the bodies, the death toll reached twenty-four from gunshots and machete cuts. Many of the town's people had run away and hidden in the bushes to avoid the massacre.
Zain and his team sent the injured they could find to the hospital in Boma after administering emergency care.
The local police showed up about two hours after the attack, and the military eventually turned up, four hours after them.
Zain did not hide his dissatisfaction at the uselessness of local law enforcement personnel when the police inspector, the army unit commander, and the governor eventually showed up.
The hands of the wall clock read as one-thirty-five in the morning when he walked into his private residence. Exhaustion weighed down his body. But sleep was the last thing on his mind. He couldn’t go to sleep after what he had witnessed today.
He had summoned an emergency meeting of his closest allies at his house.
That had been the fifth spate of unprovoked attacks targeting villages and towns in the Ganuri region over the past year. On each occasion, innocent lives had been lost, and the military and government had done nothing to protect the citizens by catching the culprits.
Many people from the villages and towns that had been attacked had not returned to their homes for fear of being attacked again. There were currently over five hundred thousand internally displaced people in the region living in camps.
Adrenaline surged through him as he paced his living room. Samuel and Solomon had returned with him and were currently nibbling on some late snacks provided by the domestic staff. Probably the first thing they had eaten since they’d gotten news of the attack.
There was a knock on the door, and then it opened, and Latifah walked in. Her eyes were blazing, her hands balled into fists.
“Have you seen this?” She pulled her phone out of her pocket.
“What is it?” Zain asked as she came close.
“It’s been in the news.” She swiped the screen and tapped to play a video. “The day that tens of people are slaughtered, our president holds a party to announce the engagement of son.”
The screen showed a newsreel of the president and his family and then switched to the president’s son with a woman.
Blood drained from Zain’s head.
He registered Latifah’s angry words, but it was the young woman standing next to Kweku Doona that had his mind reeling.
Princess Isha Saene.
“But that’s not the worst thing of all. Do you realise what that marriage means? King Ibrahim Saene is one of the most respected and most powerful African leaders, certainly in West Africa.”
“His daughter’s marriage to Doona’s son will mean that Doona has the backing of one of the most powerful nations in Africa, which means he gets a license to behave any way he likes.”
“Kind of like France backing Cameroon while it commits human rights violations against the regional separatists.”
“Or the USA backing Saudi Arabia even after it was proven that they killed Khashoggi.”
“Okay, I get it. The Ganuri people will not get their freedom if Doona marries the Saene princess.”
Zain scrubbed his palms over his face and puffed out a breath.
“And our people will continue to be killed without recourse for justice. We can’t let that continue,” Latifah said. “I have a plan.”