Special Forces and white mercenaries ambushed them. The fighting was savage and pitiless. It took no prisoners. The Kariya who had been - positioned herself high atop a thick acacia tree. She picked off the tough commandos one by one. As the days stretched into nights, she vowed never to close her eyes.
"No dolls, white or brown sugar, palm wine or other shit for me."
Her rage kept her awake and alert. Out of love for her family, she had allowed Mobutu’s soldiers to turn her into an iconic sniper. She hated the mercenaries who constrained her to kill them, thus giving Mobutu’s commandos a better advantage. She shot at any human who moved or stirred. They could not triangulate her position, because she kept jumping from tree to tree. That was when she overheard an officer exclaim in French.
"Hey! You up there and every where. You are not human. You are a demon who has diamonds for a heart."
Kariya, who was no more, had at last found the name she was looking for. Diamanthe - Heart of Diamonds! It was a beautiful name. It conjured up images of hardness, for diamonds were the hardest substances on earth; of beauty, for diamonds dazzled you; of radiance for they protected you; of light for they surrounded you with it. That was enough in those dark times to keep the spark lit in her soul.
The motto of De Beers declared "Diamonds are forever" but she was unaware of that, deep in the jungles and rainforests of the Congo. She knew from her science class that diamonds were made of carbon minerals, which were millions of years old. Only a diamond could cut another. Thus, a diamond was eternal.
Heart of Diamonds was born!
“That will be my new birth date. My new Life,” she decided.
Henceforth all the people in the Congo would hear her name and cherish it for it represented their Pride and their Majesty. Most of all, it stood for their heart, the most vital organ in the human body. What was the Congo without a Heart of Diamonds figuratively and literally?
They had beaten back the onslaught of the mercenaries. She had time, at last, to recite the Our Father for her parents and her two dead brothers. After her prayers, she heard a familiar voice, the officer who had unwittingly inspired her name.
"Listen. My lady of the diamond heart! I need to talk to you. I have stayed behind with my men. I’ll come out into the clearing. You can remain unseen, wherever you are. Keep me within sight of your Kalashnikov, just give me your word you won’t kill me, and listen to what I have to say. Ca va."
She replied to his question with another question. "How come you know who I am and what I am doing? I know nothing about you or your men."
"Aaah," he sighed loudly. "You are Black Amazon. I think Heart of Diamonds suits you better. The Congo has many amazons and warriors. There is no one like you. We have been in skirmishes before. I know what I am talking about."
"Ca VA. I agree. It’s a deal,” she stated.
That was the first time she had set eyes on the most handsome and elegant Congolese she had ever seen. He was covered in grime, filth, sweat, and stank of urine and feces, as did she, as did they all. But this man stood tall and proud. She swung herself down.
His eyes were on fire at the sight of her.
"Heart of Diamonds," he murmured, acknowledging her presence with a slight bow of his head.
"I am Jacque de la Rue. A dilemma has developed. You see, most of your people, those hated soldiers of Mobutu - your captors, are all dead; I killed them. You, on the other hand, from your wooded tower up there have eliminated all of my masters. We are the only ones left, give or take a few of our followers."
He studied her reaction. She remained silent and impassive. Only her eyes glittered at the thought of calling the shots from now on.
"We can be stupid and exterminate one another. Why would we do that? I love my pitiful and pitiless country. So do you,” stated de la Rue
She made no attempt to repress neither a smile nor a series of chuckles. Not only had he given her a beautiful new name, Diamanthe, Heart of Diamonds, he was proposing an alliance.
"Who will be the boss?" she asked suddenly, gazing boldly into his dark eyes.
It was his turn to smile showing small even pearly white teeth.
"I won’t make a strategic or tactical decision without consulting you first, but this is still a patriarchal society and you will give me, at least the appearance and the lip service that I am in command."
She did not speak, but her eyes were smoldering embers. It was the best choice she had been offered since the night her father had vanished and her mama was murdered. That was fine with her. She would give him Face. All would be lost without it.
Let him appear to be the Boss, Le Patronne. Jacques is giving me a great deal of space in which to maneuver.
"One very important thing. I want you as my woman. You decide the time and the place, if ever. In that regard, you will rule over me,” he told her ardently.
"Let us wash and purify each other’s bodies in the stream nearby, then we can explore our bodies and pleasure ourselves,” suggested Diamanthe to seal their agreement.