Kenny jumps down from the bucket of a police van, wild and sweating copiously. Up till then, I had totally forgotten about him. Ah, here he is with police. Thank God someone at least is willing to book the criminals.
His clothes is torn, and dirty, and he is barefooted. Pastor meets up with him.
“I went to the police and took them back to Abagboro but everyone said they were brought here.” His lips tremble. “How are they?”
“Toro is out of the worst situation for now,” Pastor says. “We lost Steve.”
Kenny’s head drops to his chest. When he looks up, his eyes are awash but they connect with Bisi’s.
“What is she doing here?” Kenny yells. “This is the girl who brought them! Why is she here?”
I glance at Bisi, and she’s on her feet. I’m confused again. She seems petrified. How was she the one who brought them? Had she lied to me? But if she was one of them, why would she insist on following us? Maybe guilt. Maybe she wanted Toro punished but not killed.
Kenny is on the verge of hysteria. He grabs the policemen with him. “Arrest her. She’s one of them.”
I jump in front of Bisi. What am I doing? “No, she’s not, Kenny. You are mistaken.”
“I know what I am talking about, I was there, you were not.” Kenny gripped the shirt of one of the policemen, and pushed him to me. “Arrest her.”
“Calm down, Brother Kenny,” Pastor says. “What happened? Thank God you were there.”
Kenny heaves. “We were drinking. Toro was getting a little tipsy, and wanted to leave. These boys walk into the compound. Immediately, some people carry their bottles and leave. Iya Elemu ask the boys to sit. Told them they could have drinks on the house.”
Kenny points at Bisi. “Then this girl step forward and says they didn’t come for drinks. She was wearing this same dress.” Kenny sucks in his breath. “She asked Toro to follow them.” He can’t hold it anymore, and sobs. “We suspected it can’t be for good. The girl said, Tisha Toro you flogged me. Today, you will pay. An eye for a life.”
My mouth drops open. I turn to Bisi, and she just stares. “That’s not true.” I blurt.
“Tell her to deny it!” Kenny cries. “Steve stood up. He was drunk. He told them to get out.” Kenny sobs hard. “One of the boys. He’s not even so much taller than me. He strikes Steve and Steve drops. Everybody ran at that time. I ran too. I was so far gone, close to the school before I remembered Toro.
“I ran back but she was gone. They were all gone. I didn’t know what to do. I ran to the police station at the next village but they didn’t have staff and vehicle. I started coming here.”
I pity Kenny. I pity all of us.
Pastor frowns. “To Ife?”
Kenny nods. “It’s only here I could get policemen and a vehicle. When we got back to Abagboro, I was told what happened, and that we should come here. To the hospital.” He turns to me. “Abbey, let them take the girl.”
“Is it true, Bisi? Is that what happened?”
The girl I fell for looks different for a moment. Her eyes are still blood-shot and puffy, but the quiet way she looks through me sends shudders through my bones. Have I mistaken something? She’s no longer crying, and seems removed from everything around her.
Bisi meets me eye to eye. “Yes, it’s true.”