On the weekend when she and Tendai were out taking Mickey for a walk, Zoey passed by the house on Makoro Drive so she could show her little brother the dog she’d told him about.
As soon as they were in front, Beemo came running out to Zoey like he was meeting a friend.
“He looks like he could be Mickey’s brother,” Tendai said, bending down to pet him. They watched Mickey and Beemo getting to know each other not noticing Kopano coming out the door.
“Hi Zoey, this must be Mickey,” Kopano said. But when he reached down to pet him Mickey growled and snapped at him.
“No! No, Mickey!” Zoey was embarrassed. “Sorry, he’s usually better mannered than that.”
“It’s fine. I’m sure he’ll warm up to me.” He looked at Tendai. “And who’s this?”
“He’s my brother, Tendai. We were just out for a walk and I wanted to show him Beemo.”
They both looked at Tendai playing with both dogs. “They seem to be getting along.”
“They really do.”
Tendai came up to where they were standing. “Can we take Beemo to our house for a while?” he asked Kopano.
Zoey pushed-in before he could answer. “Not today, Tendai. We’ve got to get home. Mum’s going to be back soon and we’re going to the cinema.”
“Next time, Tendai. I promise,” Kopano said.
Zoey noticed that he watched them walk down the road for a bit before turning back to his house. She thought he looked lonely. At least he had Beemo to keep him company.
That Wednesday, Reggie and Zoey arrived at her house and Lesego met them at the gate.
“Zoey, where’s Tendai?” she asked.
“Tendai?” Zoey was confused. “Didn’t the taxi collect him from the preschool?”
“No. He was gone when Monthe got there. The teacher said his sister collected him.”
“I didn’t. Did you call my mother?’ Zoey was getting worried now.
“I tried. Her phone is off and I didn’t want to call the switchboard in case it was nothing.”
“We need to call her now,” Zoey said.
“I passed by the school and nobody knows anything,” her mother told the police officer. When she finally arrived at the house, she told Lesego to wait in case Tendai made his way home. She and Zoey went to the school and then searched the neighbourhood around the school, but Tendai was nowhere. Zoey could see her mother was frantic inside though trying to stay calm. She was scared, Zoey was too.
“And how old is the boy?” the young police man said.
“And his father? Could he have picked the boy up at school?”
“His father is …dead.” Only Zoey could hear the slight catch in her mother’s voice. She tried not to imagine if something serious has happened to Tendai. Her mother was barely hanging on as it was.
“Okay. Let me send a car out to do a search and ask around. I think it’s best if you go home so we can find you,” the officer said.
Her mother was not a woman used to inaction, but she agreed and they drove towards home. When they arrived, they found a few neighbours already gathering at the gate. Zoey saw Kopano among them.
Before they got out of the car Zoey pointed him out to her mother. “That’s Kopano, the police officer from …the Makoro house.”
Her mother looked at him. “Since he’s a former police officer he might be able to help. Let’s ask him in.”
Zoey was surprised and pleased by her mother’s reaction. She knew Kopano was a good man and was happy that her mother seemed to think the same.
Her mother got out of the car to explain to the gathering what was going on. Some went inside with her, other straggled home. Zoey went to Kopano.
“I heard about your brother,” he said. “I wondered if there was anything I could do to help.”
“I think you can. My mother wondered if you might come in for a bit, she thought maybe your training as a police officer might help.”
Tell us: What do you think has happened to Tendai?