(Sunday morning)

“Switch it off, please. Too loud!”

Peter wanted to say these words, but his tongue filled his mouth and refused to move. His favourite song was playing: “Her status says she’s playing my song…” Usually the beat made him want to move his arms and legs, but he felt like he was nailed to the ground. His head felt like it was on fire. All he wanted was silence. At last the song stopped playing and Peter felt himself sinking back into that safe place where good dreams are born. But just when he thought he could sleep it started again. “Playing my song, playing my song, her status says, she’s playing my song…”. It got louder and louder.

“Shhhhhhhh….” Peter covered his ears with his hands. When he shifted he realised he was lying on a cold floor. He forced his eyes open, but the sunlight shining through his curtains closed them again, and he had to squint to see anything. His surroundings gradually came into focus. He recognised his posters of T.I. and Lil Wayne, achievement certificates, and his final exam timetable that were pasted on the blue walls. He saw his trophies and pictures displayed on his bookshelf. He was in his bedroom, but the song that was playing confused him. There it was again. It was coming from the jeans he was wearing. He slid his hand into the pocket and pulled out his phone. He didn’t remember changing the ring tone.


Ke nna. It’s me, Tshepo. Outi, go sleg. Guy, it’s bad.

“What now?”

“The police were here, now, now. Don’t talk.”

“About what?” Tshepo’s words made him sit up. Tshepo went silent, then he whispered, “…’bout last night.”

“What about last night?”

Silence again.

“Tshepo. What happened last night?”

Peter held his phone up, stared at screen of his phone. It had gone dark, dead. Finally, there was silence. But questions replaced the music.

What happened last night? Think, Peter. Think.

He ran his hand over his face and felt a cut across his forehead. His finger came back specked with dried blood. He lifted himself up to stand in front of the mirror. Eyes streaked with red looked back at him. He stumbled to his bed, walking like he was older than his grandfather. Lying still, Peter struggled to remember.

What happened last night? Think, Peter. Think.

He was trying to string the pieces together when he heard a car door slam shut, then another. The front gate squeaked open. There was a loud knock on the front door. Strange men’s voices, mixed in with his father’s. The walls swallowed the words, but a few slipped through.


“In hospital.”

His mother’s cry, “Ijooooo. No. E seng, Peter. E seng ngwanake. Not my child.” Peter strained to make sense of what he could hear.

“…to the station.”

Then a loud voice silenced the others.


Peter heard anger in the way his father called his name. It made the banging in his head get wilder. As he sat with his head resting in his hands, the pieces of Saturday night started to form. He looked around the room, frantic. He wanted to get up and run, and keep running.

Tell us what you think: What happened the night before?