The warm balmy days in Madagascar became thick with humidity and blazing hot temperatures. The rainy season would soon be upon them, and the weather was becoming increasingly uncomfortable to live in. The luxurious home that Jacques had built was at least cool, and most rooms were fitted with an air conditioner. Edward had given William his own room, next to his brother Charles. Despite the fact that they were all adults, William was still scared and very wary of Charles. He’d always been cruel and wanted nothing but to please their father and live his dream. As a result, Edward trusted Charles implicitly.
As William got dressed into his running clothes, he wondered if Charles was in fact a clone of Edward. He imitated everything their father did and was the one who looked the most like him, except for their mother’s green eyes. Since William had joined his father and Charles in their Libertalia home, Charles had taken great pleasure in taunting William in any way he could, trying to trip him up. But William was steadfast and single-minded.
Harrison, their eldest brother was in America and ran the family business there. Edward had instructed him to come and join
them at the end of the year for some sort of a family reunion. William liked Harrison and looked forward to seeing him next month. He looked most like their mother, just taller, and unlike Charles he wasn’t cruel for fun.
William pushed his hot feet into his trainers, tied the laces and made his way out of his cool room and downstairs to the patio. The wall of humidity grew with each step he took. He wished he could go running barefoot, but the trail he planned on taking would go up a rocky pathway.
‘Where you going?’ came Charles’ voice from behind William, as he walked across the patio.
‘Going for a run…if that’s OK with you?’ said William, raising his eyebrows at Charles.
‘What phone is that?’ demanded Charles, pointing to the mobile in William’s hand. William walked towards Charles, his hand outstretched, holding the phone out for inspection. Charles snatched the phone and looked at it.
‘Dad gave it to me Charles. As I’m sure you are aware,’ said William, flicking the hair out of his eye. ‘I’m just using it to play some music,’ said William, pointing to the earphones hanging around his neck.
‘You’ve always had terrible taste in music William,’ Charles said dismissively, throwing the phone back at him. ‘Be back by eight. Dad wants us to have dinner together when he gets back. Which way you running?’ demanded Charles
‘Down the beach towards that hill. Looks like a good view. Can I go now?’ asked William, tired of Charles’ interrogation.
‘Go. But I’m keeping an eye on you brother. You’re still the weakest link,’ sneered Charles as he looked his brother up and down disapprovingly. William simply chuckled at Charles’ remark. ‘Feeling the love brother,’ he said, brushing past him and jogging downstairs to the beach. The humidity felt as if it had reached one hundred percent. He turned up the volume on the phone until the music shut down his mind; as he ran faster, the sweat poured down his shirt.
He knew that Charles would be watching him on the cameras that covered every inch of the private estate. As William ran up the hill that created the natural harbour, the heavy scent of vanilla wafted through the air; an image of Karabo on that first night of the music festival appeared in his mind’s eye. She was smiling at him, excited to be going to the festival — with the heady scent of vanilla filling the stuffy taxi. He shook his head and ran harder. Not far to go now. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and looked at the sun, which was starting to set. Large grey clouds were rolling in quickly from the west, signalling the start of rain, and hopefully a break in humidity.
As he reached the top of the mountain, he stopped to look back at the beach and palatial home. Its manicured gardens appeared in stark contrast to the wild forest trying to reclaim it from every angle. He turned and looked back out to sea, feeling the cool breeze lift up the rock face from the crashing waters below. He could feel Charles’ eyes through the cameras behind him, boring into his back. Slowly, he climbed down the edge of the mountain towards the sea, leaning his hand against the warm black volcanic rock, that had been baking in the day’s sun. He didn’t need to climb down far. He just needed to escape Charles’ view. Finding a ledge, he sat down heavily before leaning back and watching the colours of the sky change. He switched his music off and pulled the earphones out of his ears. Carefully he pulled up his baggy shorts to reveal something taped to his thigh. Slowly he started to pull at the duct tape, before deciding that it would be a lot less painful if he just yanked the tape off quickly. He stifled a yelp of pain as he pulled his leg hairs out, swearing as he did. After scrunching the tape into a ball, he threw it into the sea. His old phone was wrapped in the waterproof bag he had strapped to his leg.
With hands trembling, he opened the bag and took it out and turned it on.
It began to ping incessantly. William quickly switched off the sound, waiting for someone to come down to the rocks and catch him. He held the phone to his chest and listened. No one came. Slowly he went through his messages. Ten messages and various voice mails from Mzi; one long message from his mother. Each message tightened his chest. What was he doing? The fear began to eat at him and he hung his head. No, he reminded himself, he was doing the right thing. He lifted his head and found Karabo’s number. Typing quickly, he wrote her a message, then read and reread it, before pressing send.
Waiting to confirm the message had been sent, he watched the tick on the message change colour. He switched the phone off and placed it back inside the waterproof bag. This phone was the only thing he owned that wasn’t monitored by Charles.
Moving a small rock to the side, he carefully placed the phone behind it before pushing it back into place. He waited for the panic to subside, before slowly climbing up the rock face to the top of the hill. He was tempted to wave at Charles but decided to play stupid for a little while longer. He bent over and stretched, then looked back at the house. He could play their game, he knew he could. Putting his earphones back on, he turned up the volume and sprinted back to the mansion, his mission clear.
Question: Why does William have to hide his cellphone from his brother?