The sky slowly darkened and the rain showered lightly at first, permitting the pedestrians to saunter carelessly under it, soon it intensified and the street flew into frenzy with people looking for shelter and hustling to their destination. The small stall wrapped their protruding wares under a sheet of rubber, a welder had suspended his overdue work for fear of being electrocuted and had gone to smoke under his shed. School children blessed the scene with their little tittering while scurrying out of the rain, among the little school children was 9 year old Angela.
Unlike most of the other kids who walked in groups of twos and threes, Angela walked alone and clutched her backpack tightly for its great value. Her class teacher and mistress’s friend had entrusted Angela with her mistress’s share of a completed sale, she was expected to carry it safely to her so it sat warmly in her bag as she hurried home.
Being in a hurry, little Angela opted to take a short cut through a sparse but paved road. She unsuspectingly jogged down this road as the rain intensified and plummeted down on the roof tops. The sound of the zinc sheet nearly clouded the sound of a violent revving of the engine of a motorcycle. It zoomed down the road with a speed that defied the weight of the two passengers sitting on it. Before people could fully understand that the mission was not solely for an escape from the rain, the passenger had peeled the bag off Angela’s back, lifting her a few meters in the air and throwing her hard to the ground.
She barely touched the ground before she got up again and was in hot pursuit of the thief. He headed for the busy road but catching him was a matter of life and death. Determined as she was, her tiny legs were no match for the wheels of the bike, it dived into the road and she blindly dived into with it too. A firm hand pulled her back just in time to avert a collision with an oncoming range rover jeep, it barely scrapped her shoulder.
Wriggling out of the arms of the fat man, Angela burst into tears and threw herself to the floor screaming and wailing. Sure enough, a crowd gathered and gazed at the hapless little child drenched in rain and covered in mud. Her cry was so piercing that sympathizers couldn’t resist helping her to her feet and finding a place for her to rest but the more they tried to pull her up, the more she cried out. It took a forever for her to be moved to a safer corner.
A few kilometers away, Mrs. Ejima sat on her ageless sofa bent over a tray of ugwu, she hummed as she skillfully severed the leaf from the petiole and threw the leaves in a basket. She paused to inspect the person running toward her door screaming. Adaobi, the maid of her market friend, came running and yelling, flinging her hands in the air as if they were on fire.
Mrs. Ejima emerged to the corridor, visibly wearing her confusion.
‘Adaobi? What is it?’ she asked
‘Angela!’ the little girl blurted out breathlessly, pointing in the direction she thought was the road
‘What happened to Angela’ her antennas had picked up danger and her face reflected it
‘Moto want to hit her on the road’ the little girl’s tone was alarming, overstressing the urgency of the accident.
Mrs. Ejima threw her hands on her head and let out a shrill. She ran back into the house and out again with a pair of slippers on her feet and wrapper on her shoulders. The two hurried out of the compound, half walking half running. The one worried about little Angela, the other her money.
Watch out for the next episode
An Orphan’s song is written by Kay Ugwuzor.