A monster has visited earth, its being talked of all over the world. It is deadly, they say. The way they describe it would send one’s bowls running. The world is on a race running away from this unseen monster. I now hate watching TV because it’s all breaking news and everyone is talking about the monster. Walking in the street you feel like you are going to meet it walking to you. 

“Hello Jane,” the monster would say. 

At this moment I would run, run and run for dear life. Week in, week out we have been told about this monster but I haven’t seen it. My friends and I refused to be frightened by this invisible monster.

“It’s a fairy tale,” Jeff would always say. 

We have come to believe Jeff’s theory and it felt like we were starring in a global movie where everyone was running away from this giant monster that has fallen from another planet, maybe from Mars or Pluto who knows.

My friends and I have created our own world where the monster would never come near us. We had plans for spring and had vowed that nothing would stop us not even this giant unseen monster. 

My father had emphasized on the importance of staying indoors on one of these family meetings. My father being a retired army officer would never let anyone go against his decisions. This has been normal through the years but I have got sick and tired of this military type of fatherhood, I want to enjoy my freedom. My mother who was a nurse and resigned because of some heart problems behaved like she is a scientist and knew all about the virus that came years after she had left her job. She was there nodding and putting emphasis when her husband was giving us orders. We have spent most of our time indoors in the winter season and we could not stand more time indoors. 

I stood there looking at my bed, with clothes scattered on the bed and an empty back pack there beside me. I walked to the door to check if it was locked. It was indeed locked. I started packing. “I have to go today, I have to,” I kept on telling myself as I pack my clothes. I could not stand the fact that I was going to spend more time in doors it made me sick. My friends and I have named this indoor lockdown “second winter”. Two winters in a row that wasn’t possible. 

I hold my new beach cover I have just bought. Summer City being in a fine weather country could give us a beach day. I have been praying for this wonder to happen during my intended stay there. I was last on a beach when I was a small kid. My father is not that type that would you take you for holidays as and when you want one. He is always complaining of his lean savings and how he wanted us to go to school which he believe was the best investment for us.

My friends and I were walking along the beautiful streets with blossoming flowers on both sides. We were wearing bright shorts and crop tops with Jeff leading the way. I picked a flower to smell, laughed and followed my friends.

 I was startled when I heard a hard knock on the door. After all I was just day dreaming. I quickly put my clothes in the bag and stashed under my bed. My mother was calling me from outside, possibly for another lesson on the new monster. It has become a routine that whenever y parents got new information they would call us for a lesson. I was sick and tired of the lessons and really wanted to get away. 

I was the last to get to the table for breakfast. Susan was standing next to the kitchen door with a small dish and jug for washing hands. I washed my hands with my father looking sternly at me. I knew from the look that he was counting the seconds; I had to wash like I was not rushing anywhere. My dad had added another old table to our usual dining table to ensure we are a safe distance from each other. I ate my breakfast quietly, my heart pouncing within me. The idea of leaving home has made life uncomfortable for me the past days.

My dad finally broke the good news to us all, a smile was on everyone’s face when my father announced that we were going out for a picnic. We have been in doors three weeks in a row. It was a golden opportunity to see the outside world. My mother thanked my father from her heart. I looked at the window for some time my thoughts running around, I have to make a plan to excuse myself from going out to the family picnic and when everyone is gone I would have a chance to leave the house.

“What’s wrong Jane?” my mother asked. “You have been looking out like you have something on your mind, your breakfast is getting cold,” she continued.

“Nothing,” I lied and proceeded with my breakfast.

I wanted to excuse myself from going out, but I knew my father would never allow that. I decided to go out with other family members; I decided to give my father another chance. We usually had our picnics in the local gardens, possibly this time he would find somewhere new to take us. I would take the evening train, which was probably the safest anyway. I would run away when everyone is asleep and no one stops me.

My family and I took a walk into the usual park close to our home. I have been to this park a thousand times, I have enjoyed the swings when I was young but now they make me sick. I wanted something different and interesting. My parents took turns on the swings, this too used to be fun but not now. 

Susan sat on a bench with baskets of food on her side. She used to put me on the swings when I was young, now that I have grown up and I’m no longer interested in swings she has nothing to do. I spent the afternoon on my phone chatting with friends. Life was far much better with my phone. My brothers Joel and Thomas are no swing lovers they always carry their soccer ball when we go out and they play on their own. Our father tried to join them once and he was told he wasn’t welcome they didn’t want adults to interfere in their affairs. Thomas was always rude and my father was even afraid of him.

The lunch was turkey meat, spaghetti and some salads. My father carried his favorite whisky, he shared with mum we were never allowed to take whisky. Mum had made us orange juice, I have had this juice from childhood and I always pray that a recipe god would bring something new for my mother. “Oranges are rich in vitamin C” she would always say. I wanted Vitamin F now, vitamin freedom that’s all I wanted and the vitamin C got me sick now.

 My father cracked his dry jokes over the meal, we used to laugh at them when we were young but not now they are no longer fun.  

Soon after dinner I retreated to my room, this time I have to pack and pack fast no more excuses. I threw my clothes into my back pack, I had no time to fold them. I looked for my passport and put it nicely in the inner pocket of the jacket I was wearing. I reached out for my wallet and counted my money. I had a few hundred dollars, it was not enough for the trip but I had to go anyway.

Finally everyone went to sleep. I walked along the passage to ensure everyone was asleep for sure. I tip toed to my bedroom and sent a message to Jeff, we had agreed he will pick me up from our home. 

We took off in a Toyota Corolla Jeff had stolen from his father. The driver was nervous and was sweaty all the way to the railway station, Jeff kept assuring him that everything was going to be fine. He dropped us at the railway station and left. 

We walked along the deserted railway platforms. There was no sign of any train that was to leave soon. Several wagons parked along the tracks, the tickets office was closed. We looked at each for sometime without saying anything, after all it was going to happen. This was a final nail to the coffin of our happiness. I looked at Jeff, he was sweaty. I have known my friend to be a resilient someone, surely Jeff would always come with plan B. 

We sat at the benches on the railway station waiting for Jeff to come up with plan B, which seemed to be taking ages, this time. “Come on Jeff, do something we have to go!” these words kept running on my mind but Jeff was far in his mind and he looked into the sky as if that’s where plans were going to rain from.

Jeff walked to the rail track and soon disappeared behind cargo trains parked along the tracks. I looked at the direction Jeff had gone, my heart beating within me, saying a little prayer that nothing bad would happen to me before Jeff comes back. He came back after thirty minutes with his hood dirty. He gave me a piece of charcoal, I made my jacket and jeans equally dirty and we walk along the rail tracks. We walked from one cargo train to another, Jeff leading the way, I followed closely not sure what Jeff was planning to do, he hate being questioned so I followed quietly. 

We came to the last coach of one of the cargo trains where the train crew normally work from. Jeff tried the door and it opened, he jumped in and motioned me to follow. We sat behind the benches, I was sweating now. I really wanted to go but not this way. Where was this train bound, my heart was bouncing in me.

“Where are we going?” I asked Jeff 

“This train will take us where we are going, trust me,” Jeff answered.

“We only have to be careful that no one notice we are here, you are safe don’t worry.”

The train began to move. Something choked us we tried by all means not to cough but failed. We coughed.

“There is someone here!” one member of the train crew said.

“You street urchins!” said a giant man looking at us in the eyes.

We were dragged out from behind the bench and thrown out of the moving train. We landed hard on the stones, I cried out of pain. Jeff came to my rescue. We were there again our trip to freedom has failed. 

April 03, 2020 14:54

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