It was the first time Sbu and Mfundo had slept over at K8’s house. She normally gave them a lift home, even when they’d worked late on some complex piece of graffiti. They sneaked in so they wouldn’t wake up K8’s parents, and K8 showed them to her brother’s room. Mfundo slept on the bed, and Sbu got a thin camping mattress on the floor. He drifted off to sleep, still thinking of Adelle.
He woke up to the sound of the phone beeping. He yawned deeply, took out the phone and slid it open. The screen lit up: “1 new message” from a withheld number. He opened the message. It said, “YOU WON’T ESCAPE.” It beeped again, and a new message came in. “I KNOW YOU BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.” And a third beep. “YOU CAN’T ESCAPE ME, ADELLE.”
There were footsteps in the corridor, and the door opened. Sbu looked up at a woman, who gasped, and slammed the door shut.
“George!” she screamed. “There are men in Ben’s room!”
Mfundo was waking up groggily just as a middle-aged bald man burst into the room holding a steel poker.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Get out of my house!”
“Whoa! Calm down!” said Mfundo, putting up his hands.
They grabbed all their stuff and made for the door. K8 came out of her door just as they were being herded down the corridor.
“Dad!” she said. “What are you doing? They’re my friends!”
“Well, how were we meant to know that?” said K8’s mother. “We thought they were robbers! And what have we told you about having boys over?”
“You’re in a lot of trouble, Catherine!” said K8’s dad, and slammed the front door behind them.
Sbu and Mfundo stood outside, not knowing what to do. Sbu felt humiliated and angry, and Mfundo just seemed shocked. Without anything else to do, they went to the taxi rank and got a ride home. It was a long journey, wedged between a stubbled man in a wrinkled suit and a woman with a baby on her lap, which kept on trying to poke Mfundo in the ear.
He said goodbye to Mfundo outside his house, which looked so small after K8 and Bulana’s places. The lime-green paint on the outside was peeling, revealing patches of old brown bricks. It was much bigger than the shacks just a few blocks away, though. Sbu sighed, and went inside.
He had sent an SMS to his mother to tell her he was spending the night away, so he didn’t get into too much trouble, but she still made him clean up the house as punishment for coming back so late.
After he finished, he lay in bed and went on MXit.
K8 was on, and she was very apologetic.
“Sry abt my parnts,” she wrote. “Thyr crzy.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What do you think was up with K8’s parents?