I was arrested because Margaret was missing and she had told her parents that she was coming to meet me. This was one of the days I had the highest height of fear in my life.
I was detained. After a lot of pleadings, the police men allowed me to reach my parents. I wasn’t surprised when they said they were already on their way that the school principal informed them of the situation. I was in detention with other people, very well older. The cell stinked, I prayed that God would save me because I couldn’t imagine being there overnight.
It didn’t take my parents time before they got to the police station. My mother could not get a hold of herself, she was shouting and fussing. I could hear, tears trickled down my cheeks. I didn’t know how my mother would feel if she really found out that truly Margaret was with me the day before. I wiped off the tears and sighed deeply.
“At least, can we see him?” My father demanded.
Immediately I was brought out, my mother hugged me. It was as though she just found a lost son. My father kept looking at me, I didn’t care about him. The hatred brewing in me for him didn’t allow me to care about him.
“Michael, they said you were the person who the missing girl visited before she went missing.”
I looked down. Nothing came out of my mouth.
My mother looked at me, “tell me. It’s a lie, right? You were home yesterday, except that you went to Okon’s place.”
“It’s true, mum.” I could see my mother already crying. “Mum, trust me. I don’t know how she got missing. She left yesterday.” I cried.
“But, how did you guys meet?” My mother was confused. My father was unnecessarily silent, I could sense he was trying to control his anger. It was written all over his face.
“She came to Okon’s place.” I stammered.
“Okon? Your best friend?” She placed her hands on her forehead. “Okon? definitely is not a party to this. Is he?”
“This Okon you talk about, you’ll give us his information. We need to get his statement down and if necessary, we’ll have to detain him too.” The D.P.O said.
I wished my mother knew Okon for who he really was. It was not the right place to tell her that it was Okon who caused it all.
“Baba Michael, is this how you’ll stay silent?”
My father gave no reply, stood up and thanked the D.P.O. and left. My mother kept calling him but he wouldn’t answer.
“See yourself, Michael.” She sighed. “thanks so much sir. Please, we need to reach the parents of the missing girl. Can you please provide me their contact number?”
“I can’t assure that, ma. Let me put a call through to the father and get his permission.” He called the man and they talked for few minutes, after which he released the contact number to my mother.
“Stay calm, Michael. We’ll settle this. I promise you.” Mother said.
When my mother left, the D.P.O got Okon’s information from me. It didn’t take them up to an hour before he was brought in. Later, he was left to go home.
Hours flew by, there was no sign I would leave the police custody that night. I gave it up but the thought of how I would survive the night overwhelmed me. It was barely late before mosquitoes started singing into my ears. They feasted on my blood. The cell was as silent as grave yard, the only time we heard anything was when policemen discussed among themselves.
Probably I’d call it a miracle, how I found it easy to sleep that night.
“Michael! Give me your hands.” The voice screamed. I saw a hand stretched towards me but I couldn’t see the one stretching the hand. I paid little attention to it because I didn’t know who the person was but when I saw the danger at hand, I didn’t have a choice but to try. The voice kept shouting, my fears heightened.
I was at the brink of a huge rock, struggling with my two hands not to fall. If I failed to get hold of the hand stretching towards me, I would fall. I tried reaching but I didn’t get a firm hold of the rock well with my other hand. Pebbles fell into my eyes, I was losing my balance. I struggled to regain it and at the same time, continued trying to reach the hand stretched towards me. I finally lost balance but as I was almost falling, the hand got hold of mine and he pulled me.
I shouted from my dream, waking others in the cell up. I was breathing heavily. Many looked at me suspiciously, some hissed and went back to sleep.
When all was asleep, I couldn’t get to sleep. The dream kept coming to my mind. I didn’t know what it could mean. I also thought about the possibilities of me being freed and how I’d face my parents. I care about my mother more, I felt that I owe her but I felt just hatred towards my father.
I was brought out from the cell that morning. My school uniform was badly dirty, I was weak too. I had refused to eat. Nothing mattered to me, not food, nothing but freedom.
“Thanks so much sir!” My father thanked me as he signed.
“Let’s go.” He said as he turned to leave.
I was oblivious of what had happened. I stood there looking at the D.P.O, trying to fathom out what happened in my head. I ran to catch up with my father.
“What happened? Where’s mum?” I asked him but instead of answering my questions he waved me to enter the car.
“Will you just shut up?” He hit the steering wheel.
“You better thank God that you’re out. The girl was killed in an accident. It was reported to another division police station. They got the body back from the police. The father called me this morning that he’s got not holding anything against you.”
“What? Dead?” I screamed.
“She died on her way home.” He said.
“You’d better thank God.” All he said after, I didn’t hear. I was lost in shock hearing that Margaret died. It was too much to bear. Tears trickled down my cheek.
“You’re crying? If she had not come to see you, she’d still be alive, you know that?” He hissed loudly.
I hit the dashboard. “Shut up! Shut up!” I shouted at him, fear was not a thing at that point.
He hurriedly pulled over and said, “have you gone mad? Have you lost it?”
“I should be asking you that! A man who finds pleasure sleeping with his wife’s sister. Hope you’ve gone for a test? You know you might be having HPV.” I hissed.
He was gravely surprised, he didn’t utter a word till we got home. Mother was happy to see me home. She had helped me to retrieve my backpack and phone from school. After I had eaten, she discussed with me at length. I didn’t hide a thing about Margaret and I, but I kept the rest a secret.
She vehemently warned me to stay away from Okon. She told me she’d not allow him in the house again. This heavily broke the friendship between Okon and me.
“So, Margaret is dead?” Tears trickled down my cheeks. I could barely sleep that night.
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