“Sit down,” ordered the policeman, “write down what happened last night. Everything.”
Peter sat down and stared at the A-4 sized sheet of paper and pen that was on the table in front of him. He felt like he was writing an exam for which he had not studied. He remembered Tshepo saying he should say nothing. He took the pen and filled out the information at the top of the lined form. Name. Date of Birth. Address.
Think, Peter. Think. What happened last night?
He heard a noise as a man and woman walked into the Charge Office. A cell phone rang. It was his favourite song. At that moment he remembered. He remembered everything, like it was just happening.
It was Saturday night again. They were leaving the party. He got into the car with Busie. David had got into a fight and they all had to leave. David pushed him and grabbed the car keys from him so Peter got into the backseat of the car. Busie sat next to him. They started moving. His phone rang then.
“What a whack ring tone,” Busie said and laughed.
He felt embarrassed.
“Here. Let me find you something better.” She took his cellphone and pressed the keys quickly, then she pressed it to his ear. She was singing. That was when the car began to race off the road, into the bush.
“David, slow down,” Peter shouted.
“Shut up, I know what I’m doing.”
“Please slow down,” Tshepo shouted too.
And then the car was skidding and sliding and ripping through grass and bushes as it spun off the road. When Peter opened his eyes, he was lying in the bush. The car lay upside down.
Tshepo had been flung out of the car, like him. “Tshepo. Tshepo.”
Tshepo groaned. “It’s my leg, man.”
“You’ll be fine. Don’t move. I’m going to look for the others.” He crawled to the car slowly, looked inside. “Busie. Busie,” Peter called. He stretched out his hand and gently touched Busie’s shoulder. She was still strapped into the back seat at the back, but she was alive. He could see her breathing. David sat in the driver’s seat with his head slumped to his chest.
“David. Talk to me… David. Are you okay?”
In the background, he heard sounds of the party. Over the music a siren was getting louder. Peter thought of his mother and father and knew he had to get home before his parents got back. Maybe, just maybe they would never find out what he had done. He started to run. He ran across the highway, weaving in between the cars. He found the kitchen door key under the welcome mat on the front stoep and tiptoed to his room.
The voice of the policeman snapped Peter out of the daydream, back into the police station. “Hey. Mosimane, Boy.”
“Write,” said the policeman sitting opposite him. “We’re not here to play games.”
“Ee, rra. Yes sir,” said Peter. He began to write. Why hadn’t he gone for help? Had he been too scared? He filled the page like he was writing an English composition. He put down everything that happened, in the correct order. When he was done he handed his statement to the policeman who was on the phone
“Hello, sir. Yes, sir! We still need to talk to the driver.”
Peter stopped writing. It no longer mattered that he was in trouble. He had to know. When the policeman finished on his phone, Peter blurted out. “Sir, please. How are my friends?”
The policeman shrugged and shook his head.
“They are alive.”
Peter felt the fear in his stomach again. He should have felt relieved because he was not the one driving. The policeman finished reading Peter’s statement and nodded. “He can go,” he said to Peter’s father.
His mother’s phone rang as they were driving home. “Yes. I know. I’m so, so sorry. Bana ba… These children… Yes. I understand. Yes. We must have hope.”
Peter watched his mother’s every move. “What is it, Mama?”
“That was Tshepo’s mother.”
“Where? Where is he?”
“Peter. Stop. There is nothing you can do now. We’re all meeting at home.”
There were cars parked outside his home. Peter watched his friends arriving. Busie was dragging her left leg a little. Thato walked next to Busie. She was fine. There were four adults he had never seen… and Tshepo’s parents. Tshepo was limping behind them, on crutches.
David was not with them.
[Want to know happened to David? And what will happen between Peter and Busie. We’ll be publishing a sequel to this story soon!]
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