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Drama Mystery Adventure

“Where?”

 

Abigail’s caramel fingers hovered above the screen. Undecided, she looked at her addresser. The man had a snaggle-tooth. 

 

“Eh?”

 

“No de look me like fish. Where you de go, madam?”

 

The lady in question sighed, shoving her phone in her back pocket. “Sorry, sir,” she entered the bus. “Anywhere.” Anywhere that’s not there.

 

“Oya, get out, lemme go home. I be like say you wan waste time. See this pikin o. Anywhere,” he mocked. “Na 8 o’clock curfew we get. No time to misbehave. Oya,” he pointed to the street. 

 

With another sigh, she stepped out.

 

Bringing a sweaty palm to her forehead, Abigail bent forward in apology. The driver hissed and mumbled something in pidgin before speeding off. She moved away from a yellow streetlight, took out her phone and stared at the blank screen. Seconds later, she pressed the power button.

 

Jamie’s contact caught her eye, but she hesitated on seeing the number below his. She didn’t want to bother anyone. It was her fault after a—

 

HURL. HURL. HURL! 

 

Abigail retched. 

 

It was 7:40; people rushed to beat the curfew, so almost no one paid her any mind. The ones who did only stared in disgust for a few seconds before dashing off. She righted herself, swatting short curls out of her face. Irritated, she hit “Call” on Okudo’s number. As it rang, she wiped her mouth with the back of her free hand.

 

Thrice. He didn’t pick. No surprise there. Ever since she told him, he’d ignored her very existence. She went back to staring at Jamie’s number, her mouth a foreign taste.

 

Jamie didn’t know of her situation, so appearing on his doorstep by this time of the night would surprise—if not startle—him. Abigail would have to explain her case. She didn’t want to.

 

HURL! HURL! 

 

“My dear, are you alright?” a woman approached her. Abigail noted the basket of oranges the lady balanced on her hip. Her nose wrinkled in disgust.

 

“I’m fine,” she spat. 

 

“Ah. Sorry o,” the woman spun on her heels. “Don’t be angry.” She walked away. Abigail sighed in relief, then again in rue. 

 

Maybe she should wait for the task force to detain her. At least, they’d give her a place to sleep. Who cares if it’s a cell? 

 

Decided, she put off her phone and trudged to a nearby shop. The owner had closed in haste, abandoning a stool outside. Abigail sat on it, her phone a silent companion. 

 

 

 

 

It started two weeks ago, with Abigail neglecting her morning routine. 

 

Mrs. Tsuru disliked “changes”.

 

“How did you forget to sweep the house today? Eh, Abby? Something is wrong with you, abi?”

 

“No, Ma. I’m dizzy, that’s all.”

 

“By this time, you’re ‘dizzy’?” she held up air quotes. “You don’t know you’re a woman. Common, pick broom!”

 

A week later, Abby couldn’t raise the broom. In the living room that morning, her mother towered over her, gripping her wrapper like the worn-out material was the object of her rage. 

 

“So you think this coronavirus lockdown gives you the excuse to be lazy. Let me tell you. Even now, wives are still cooking and cleaning for their husbands. You have no excuse!” 

 

Mrs. Tsuru ordered her daughter to clean the centre table afterwards. Abby vomited on the glass. It didn’t take long for Mrs. Tsuru to put two and two together.

 

The same night, Abigail found herself yearning to be anywhere that wasn’t her parent’s house. 

 

“Heiii. What are we going to do? My friends can’t hear this. How can this stupid girl be pregnant? Eh? She didn’t wait for university to find a respectable husband. She went and ruined her chances with this…,” she pointed at her daughter's stomach, “…this nonsense! Heiii…,” she collapsed beside her husband, a sobbing mess. 

Mr. Tsuru gazed at his only child, a glacier in his eyes. 

 

Abigail’s head hung low, full lips opening and closing. Say something, Abigail, she thought.

 

“Get out.”

 

The finality in his tone was unmistakable. There was no reasoning with the man. 

 

Still, Abby tried, finding a small voice. “Papa, please. I’m sorry. Please,” she rose her head. “Ple—"

 

“You’re raising your head, abi?” He swung into the adjacent storeroom. Mrs. Tsuru rolled on the floor, besting widows with her lamenting.

 

Bang! 

 

Abby jumped.

 

Bang!

 

The centre table shattered. 

 

Abigail’s father emerged, a gun fixed on his daughter's stomach. “You’re still here, ABI?”

 

Abby bolted. A cheetah chased by bullets.

 

 

 

 

She wouldn’t cry. 

 

It was 7:50. The street was almost deserted. Abigail held a forefinger to her nose, irritated by an unfamiliar scent. Sweaty and woozy, she didn’t notice a yellow-skinned boy approach her.

 

“Baby girl, this one you’re here. It’s,” he checked his phone, “7:51 o. You want to be arrested?”

 

Abby’s eyes bulged. She knew that baritone.

 

Ms. Tsuru’s green state didn’t escape her guest. “My dear, you’re not okay. I can take—”

 

Tears. 

 

Unconcealed and uncontrolled, Abby cried the dam of emotions she’d been withholding.

 

“Ja-Jamie, p-p-please he-help m-m-me. I-I-I was s-sss-ssstupid eeee-nough to-to-to get pr-pregnant,” she sniffled. “Idon’tknowwhattodoIjust—”

 

HURL! She puked again and again, certain she’d scared her best friend.

 

Behind the vomit, tears and snot coating the lady’s face, Jamie recognized Abigail Tsuru. Stunned silent, he carried his best friend bridal style, fitting her trembling self against his frame. It was 7:54.

 

“You should have called me, Abby,” he whispered, having overcome his shock. “What exactly were you planning to do, staying out here?”

 

Abby had relatively calmed down. “I…I don’t know. Okudo wasn’t…wasn’t p-picking my calls, and my p-pa-pa-pare—”

 

“Shh. You’re tearing up. That boyfriend of yours doesn’t deserve it. Forget your parents too. For now,” he ran his fingers through her hair. “Rest. We’d be home soon.”

 

Abby’s eyes fluttered close. She loved how he said “home”.

 

“I was pregnant for a while and didn’t tell you. Aren’t you angry?” 

 

He narrowed his eyes at a flickering streetlight. “Oh, I am. But I understand. Being friends doesn’t mean we’d share every single piece of ourselves. And I'm sure you would've told me eventually, so it's chill.” A two-storey building came into view. “I can’t use my phone now. Check the time.”

 

Abby’s screen burned her eyes. 7:57.

 

“Almost there. You’re lucky my parents like you.”

 

She laughed; it echoed down the lonely street. “They won’t when they find out. Oh God, I’m such a disappoi—”

 

“Don’t start that self-deprecating nonsense. And they won’t find out.” Jamie quickened his steps. “Hopefully.”

 

Abigail sniffled. “I’m so sorry.”

 

They reached a double gate, where he let her down, rolling his eyes. “Ah. It’s fine, dear.” Jamming a key into some camouflaged lock, Jamie opened the gate a crack. “I’ll make you an energy drink. It’s supposed to be healthy.”

 

His guest narrowed her eyes at him as she entered the wide compound. “You’re talking as if I’m keeping the child.”

 

He stilled behind her. 7:59. “Are you?”

 

She faced him, brown eyes tinged with confusion. “I don’t know.”

 

Sighing, he closed the distance between them. Jamie searched her face, his obsidian gaze radiating a clarity that unnerved Abigail.

 

“Whatever you choose, I’ll support you,” he finally said. 

 

Spellbound, Abby didn’t respond immediately. When she did, she did with a breathless chuckle. “Cliché.”

 

It was 8pm. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 06, 2020 23:17

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8 comments

A. Y. R
09:58 May 16, 2020

You have an interesting writing style - somewhat cinematic

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18:02 May 16, 2020

Oh, why, thank you for the feedback!

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Gip Roberts
18:59 May 14, 2020

What I like about this is how deep the story is despite all the brief paragraphs. Some stories are this well-written, but have paragraphs that seem to go on for pages. It's all a matter of style preference, but the ones with meaty paragraphs tend to give me eye strain; whereas the ones like yours give me "room to breathe", I guess you could say, as I read. Good job here.

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20:18 May 14, 2020

Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliment!

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20:53 Aug 27, 2020

This was so cool. I loved the mix of futuristic, current and old fashioned. You have a great writing style.

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19:04 Sep 25, 2020

Thank you so much. Your feedback is very much appreciated. I do experiment a lot with my writing, and so I possess a very dynamic style. Glad you like it.

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Roland Aucoin
22:40 May 14, 2020

"the goodness of one's heart is the warmth of a true friend". A new phrase for your story. It lept from my mind to here. That is how your story made me feel. Her desperation, his love as a friend. Beautiful.

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07:06 May 15, 2020

Thank you so much! I've never heard that quote so thanks for that information! I'm glad my work is good enough to remind you of that.

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