“Crack”. The sound of shattering glass rent the air. The kids all stood still like they had been paused by a remote control and looked at each other’s faces. Different emotions washed over their little faces; fear, shock and regret.
“You caused it.” Eze, the oldest among them shouted as he pointed accusing fingers at Bode.
“It wasn’t me.” Bode screamed. “It was Ngozi’s turn to catch the ball.” He continued.
“How can it be my turn? Tola was supposed to catch the ball after you. He should have caught the ball.” Ngozi retorted.
“Why are you saying I should have caught the ball? Didn’t you ask me to leave the circle because I could not catch? Now, you want to blame it on me.” Tola cried.
“Let us run away. Mr. Alakori will not know who did it.” Eze said.
“But that will be unfair. My mummy said I should never be scared to own up if I commit a wrong.” Ngozi replied.
“Yes. I think we should go and apologize to him. We would tell him we are very sorry.” Bode said.
“Okay, Tola stay in front. You are the youngest. If he sees you, he may not be so angry.” Eze said as he dragged Tola by the shirt.
“Leave me alone.” Tola screamed. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Please Tola, follow us. Mr. Alakori may not be so upset if he sees you in front.” Ngozi pleaded.
“Pleaseeeeee.” Bode stresses; also lending his voice.
“Okay.” Tola agreed as he led the way to Mr. Alakori’s flat.
Mr. Alakori stared down at the boys before him. He wasn’t only angry that they broke the windscreen of his car, he was mad because they had the guts to come to his house to inform him about their offence.
He smiled as he asked them to come in. “We are okay here, sir. We just wanted to tell you we are very sorry.” Ngozi said as he held on to Tola, who was about stepping forward.
“Apology accepted but I still insist that you come in.”
“Let’s go in.” Eze said nudging the others.
“I want to go home.” Tola said as he held on to Ngozi’s hand.
“You are just a sissy. Leave!” Eze said shouting at him.
Tola burst into tears as Ngozi gives Eze an angry look.
Mr. Alakori walked back into his flat, leaving the door ajar.
Eze peeps inside then signals to Bode, who shakes his head and turns back to follow Ngozi and Tola.
Mr. Alakori is seated in front of the TV set watching a football match. Eze stands inside the living room taking the whole environment. He had never seen a house this beautiful. His parents lived in the slums on the other side of the street.
Mr. Alakori signals to him to sit down and as he does, he is passed a saucer with groundnuts in them.
Eze smiles as he collects the saucer. He scoops up some of the groundnuts and he is on the verge of throwing them into his mouth when they all turn into little maggots. He instinctively drops the saucer in his hands and shakes his right hand to throw away the groundnuts/maggots. Unfortunately, they have started burrowing into his skin.
He screams as he sees Mr. Alakori putting the maggots in his own saucer into his mouth. Mr. Alakori walks up to him and stretches his maggot-infested hand to touch his face. Another scream escapes his lips………”Eze, Eze, what’s wrong?” His mother asks as she places her hand on his face.
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