Peter looked up in surprise. His father was not speaking in that angry voice that he usually used when he was upset. Instead, Peter heard disappointment in every word that his father spoke and the words seemed to pile up on his chest, making Peter feel like he needed air.

“We need to know what really happened … how this terrible thing happened. We left you here, trusted you to look after the home…” His mother was speaking. Her voice changed to a whisper and she shook her head as she looked at him.

“My friends came over yesterday afternoon,” Peter said. “We sat around for a little while before we… we decided to go to a party.” He rushed the last words out.

“You said you were going to study. That’s why we left you here.” She picked up his maths book and put it down again. “So you never even opened this.”

“Mmaagwe Peter. Please, give him a chance to speak,” said Thato’s grandfather.

“Then the accident happened. The van rolled and the next thing I know is when I opened my eyes. I came home. I can’t remember how I got home. I just remember running… running to get away from the place.”

“Who was driving?” asked his mother.

Busie’s mother shook her head. “I know it was not my child. She would never have done anything like this. I’ve told her to stay away from bad company.” Disdain sharpened her voice and face. She sat on the edge of the sofa like she could not wait to get away. “We’ve sent her to the most expensive schools all her life, to try and shield her from boys like these… and then, she comes home on holiday and meets these hooligans.”

“No, Mama. Please, don’t say that. No-one forced me to do anything.” Busie was speaking now. “That’s not how…”

“We thought we were coming together to try and resolve this matter, to hear what our children have done, but if this is the attitude you’re coming here with, Mma, it is better we stop…” said Peter’s father.

Then the phone started to ring, putting a full stop to the argument that had been brewing. Peter’s father got up to answer it, muttering to himself: “It must be the hospital…” He picked up the receiver. “Hello.” Silence. “Yes. Yes, it is.” Silence. He nodded. “Yes… I’m Peter’s father. Yes. We’re on our way.”


Tell us what you think: What has happened? Who is at the hospital?