Diary of a caged teenager (Chapter Six) by Hassan Pelumi
The fifth turn.
The sun had vanished from the sky at 7:05,only its rays gave light. And like every other twilight, Sunshine estate was gradually illuminating with street lights. Toni never missed an evening to sightsee the estate, but today was no day for an hobby. Toni was worried and scared,four hours gone and still no calls or news from the fivesome that went to get Peju. Toni looked around and saw that just a neighbour and Okeke Family were left of the earlier crowd,he sighed.”I should go to the police station now. It’s been four hour,and no news. I can’t stay here and do nothing.” Toni said as he walked out of the house. Jasmine and Amaka ran after him.”We’re coming with you”,They chorused,”I will drive”Amaka declared and he shrugged. They left the house with Mrs Okeke and Bose.
Simpson street has always been quiet and empty, save today. Peju groaned with pain, everything seemed to be against her. She had sustained injury from her jump. She landed on stone, but she was in luck it affected her ankle alone. She didn’t waste a minute to nurse her pain, she sprung up and hopped out of the building, with one hand she held her diary and with the other she held a stick for support. Cursing terribly as she limped, She felt a sharp pain at the side of her stomach, she knew it was hunger. Since that morning, she hadn’t had water. “I can do it. You can do it girl!! Just keep moving forward”, she told herself. Hitting her good foot against a stone, she collapsed, she couldn’t take it anymore,not minding if anyone was around,she screamed rolling on the floor for about ten minutes. “God why? why?”, she whimpered. “Why is this happening to me? Dauda is gone,and I am so lost.”, she sniffed and with anger she shouted “Is this what you want?! For me to be so miserable and tired of living?!”, throwing stones into the sky, she broke down again hugging herself. ” I’m caged, even on an open goddamn street”, She said picking her diary up,”Keep moving girl!”,She yelled at herself again,but this time she replied with an innocent voice,”Okay! I’m moving. Just help me up, please.”,”Grab the stick girl!” she replied herself harshly again. She gasped surprised at herself, but took the stick and her diary,she recited “I’m not crazy,not yet” as she limped.
“Okay!! I can’t go any further,my feet hurts.”Mrs Adegbesan staggered down. Uncle Thomas ran towards her,”A woman of 79 shouldn’t be engaged in this.”,he said smiling. ” We’ve made three turns,if we walk faster, we can reach the remaining three turns of Simpson street. “, Akani calculated, “And find Peju.”, Folake added. “You people should go immediately. I’m fine.”, Mrs Adegbesan advised. Uncle Thomas disagreed,” I’d carry you if I have to,we are not leaving anyone behind ” he dictated,Mrs Adegbesan laughed. Luckily, she had a very small stature so uncle Thomas gave her a piggyback.
It wasn’t until it was completely dark,that they got to the fourth turn. “That was a pretty long road!”, uncle Thomas complained breathing heavily and put his mother down. ” I think we should rest a bit.” Folake too was breathing like she had just ran a marathon . “We can’t rest here,its very dark and we only have that little phone to brighten our way”, Akani replied. “Bode, what’s the time?”, Mrs Adegbesan asked. Bode looked at Jasmine phone and shouted for joy,forgetting that they were weary,they gathered around him waiting for the good news. “There is signal! Network signal!”, disappointedly, they all chorused; “Then Call Toni!!”
“Calm down?! I’ve been waiting for two hours to report the same case I reported this afternoon, now my parents, my uncle,my grandma and my sister is missing!!! it’s 9:55!”, Toni argued with the police officers who kept telling him to calm down. He was frustrated, “Bros,I say make you calm down ojere,we will attend to you,calm down!” an officer replied. Toni turned his back at them furiously with a sharp cry of;”My God.”. His cellphone vibrated in his pockets he checked the caller id,it was an unknown number “Network! don’t try shit with me!”,he exclaimed and rejected the call. It vibrated again, he rejected it again, before he could put it back in his pocket,it vibrated again,”Come on!!!”,he yelled. Amaka took the phone from him before he could smash it, “Network don’t call as frequent as this”,she said and picked. “Toni! bri… t.. car t. Sim..on street! ..mspon str..t! Go t. the police station. No g… sig..l. Be fast!!” and the line went off. “Simpson street? Its your dad!”,she said running towards the officers. ” Please, you have to drive us to Simpson street, its an emergency!!. They nodded and within five minutes, they were set to leave. Toni began to wonder how Amaka did it…
At 10:56, the front lights of the police car shone on the fivesome. Toni alighted from the vehicle before it stopped,he ran towards them like a little child,hugging them, “Mum! Dad! uncle Thomas, Akani! Grandma!!” he looked around, “where’s Peju?”, no one replied. ” Mum,where’s she?”, “The search continues, we haven’t found her, we will find her”,uncle Thomas answered. “How are you sure she’s alive?” the first officer asked. “She’s alive!”, Bode almost shouted. “She should be alive, but alive or not,we must find her we’ve checked all four turns in Simpson street,we hope to find her on the fifth turn”, uncle Thomas replied. The policemen nodded and they all got into the car. The ride to the fifth turn was a very moody one,no one said anything, everyone was scared. Jasmine eyes were misty, ‘Peju could be dead?’, she tried to imagine the world without her best friend. “Oh God!”, she whispered turning to face Amaka;”Peju’s alive,right?”, Amaka didn’t know how to answer, she held her sister; “Its alright Jasmine,it fine.”, she whispered. The thought that Peju might be dead was very disturbing, even uncle Thomas wasn’t as cool as always.
However, the policemen were determined to have fun with their job. “So, what can be the worst scenario of this case?”, the second officer asked the first in a very low voice. “We find the child’s corpse and take lots of ladies to the hospital or a psychiatrist.”, he joked and they both laughed. “Stop the car!!! Stop!”, Toni shouted. Jumping out of the car, he ran towards a little rock,or rather that’s what they saw. Folake let out a cry of; “TONI!”, “What is wrong with that boy?!”, the policemen wondered. Anyone could have mistaken the body on the side of the road for a rock, but Toni had good eyes. They stopped the car. Slowly,Toni observed the body, “Peju!! its Peju!!” he screamed as he carried his sister. Everyone alighted running towards him. “My baby!!”, Folake cried,”She’s alive, right? Tell me she’s alive!!”,she was going crazy. Bode got to Toni first, he grabbed her from him,trembling with fear he tried to check her pulse.”Relax dad!” Toni voice shook, he was crying. Soon everyone was around Bode,he took a deep breath and checked her pulse again, he felt slight movement, “Her heart is beating…”, he whispered. “she’s alive! SHE IS ALIVE!!”, everyone jumped for joy,even the policemen. Folake and Mrs Adegbesan broke down, shedding tears of joy, Amaka, Toni and Jasmine were laughing and crying, thanking Jesus,while Bode carried Peju to the car.
At 11:58, they were out of Simpson street. And Peju was taken to the hospital.