All Eps

Where’s My Little Boy? Pt 1

So in a few days, season 2 of Meet The Dolphynes will arrive. And it is going to be pretty dramatic this time around. Definitely looking forward to 6th December to see what’s gonna be happening with Dabar’s favourite family for the next few months.

In the meantime, though, here’s a mini-series from the Original M & D library, set to run for the next 7 days. The title says a lot, I’m sure, but stick around and enjoy the ride…

Robert lay prostrate on the floor, absolutely stressed out.

Sixty hours now. Nothing good had come through.

His brain was an absolute mess of confusion and bewilderment. Terrifying thoughts. Scary thoughts. Nightmarish thoughts. Hopeful thoughts. All these thoughts muddled up his brain, and as he lay there on the floor of his living room, thinking straight was a straight impossibility.

Where is he? Has somebody cut his head off? Has he been shipped off to another country? Has he been used for rituals? How do I live without him? What am I going to do? How do I swallow yet another loss?

Even with the madness going on in his brain, his ears remained alert as he remained prostrate, somehow hoping to hear the excited, ever-enthusiastic shouts of a little six year old boy who resembled him so much.

Not a sound.

Thursday morning had been the last time the walls had heard anything close to such a sound. Little Benjamin was following his father out the door as another day of school beckoned. Robert had done the usual: bought the newspapers from the vendor right around their junction, bought the usual Kalyppo and Jack & Jill biscuits from the shop just a few metres away from the school, given his son the usual hug as he let him out of the car and reminded him, “Study hard and don’t get into any trouble!” before driving off.

It was one-thirty when the receptionist at the BUSAQ office in which he worked informed him of an urgent call from the school authorities.

After second break, Benjamin had not returned to his class, and he was nowhere to be found.

Upon arrival at the school’s premises, it took every ounce of self-control in him to not break out into a rage and verbally assault the teaching staff for their negligence. His calm countenance as the headmistress and other teachers walked and talked with him was an absolute betrayal of the boiling cauldron within.

Eventually, the police were called, and they sent out a search party to begin rigorously seeking the whereabouts of the young child. Night came, and there was no clue of where he was.

The next day was an absolute nightmare for Robert. If there was a word stronger than ‘distracted’, it would definitely be a good word to describe his state of mind. Try as he might, he just could not concentrate on the tasks handed out to him for the day. At eleven-thirty, he decided enough was enough. Walking to his boss’ office, he informed him of the unfortunate happenings of the previous day. His boss was not the soft type, but being a father of five children, his skin definitely crawled at the idea of having one of his children missing. Granting him permission to leave, he grabbed Robert’s hands and prayed with him and encouraged him before letting him out of the office.

By evening, most of his friends and other relatives had caught wind of the news, and a plethora of calls came flooding. Some came through with words of encouragement. Some annoying relatives were practically enacting the boy’s ‘funeral’ as they wailed uncontrollably. Robert was obviously ticked off by that, and either told them to shut up or just made use of the reject button.

Nothing got him angrier, though, than the call that came from an acquaintance, whom was known to the guys as T.K. This guy was a rather carefree spirit, loving the life of no responsibility, and that attitude somehow didn’t regard this occurrence as a big deal. Not that it was mandatory for him to feel that way, but calling to say ‘it’s not that big a deal’ and playing the ‘hard guy’ card was nowhere near wise. And Robert did not hesitate in offloading a barrel of fury upon T.K’s ears.

“It’s not a big deal??!! We be tough guys?? My friend, what kind of stupid drivel is this?” he snapped. “You expect me to just behave like nothing is wrong when my only child is nowhere to be found? You want me to pretend as if I don’t care that my little boy is out there, confused and scared? You think I’m more concerned about looking like a hard guy than my baby boy? Such rubbish! Listen, I’m so freaking scared right now! This is my son we’re talking about. I lost the love of my life three years ago, and the last thing I need is this! If you can’t say anything that has a hint of sense in it, then don’t even bother touching your phone with the intent of calling me! Keep your fragile, myopic, dim-witted crap to yourself!”

He tossed the phone aside. He’d delete the guy’s number later. No time for such clowns in his life.

Saturday morning, and there was no desire to take up his usual seating position in the living room while listening to the political discussions of Joy FM. He remained sprawled out on the floor, praying, hoping, despairing and panicking all at the same time.

He was yet to make an absolutely full recovery from the tragic, evocative memories of that tipper truck smashing into the black and yellow Kia taxi that had his wife, Samira, sitting in it right before his eyes. Despite numerous attempts, getting out there and dating was too difficult a task for him. He had given up at a point and decided he would just stay single for the time being. As to whether that would change with time, he didn’t know.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of his phone ringing. In a crazied frenzy, he rushed to the table where it was, and upon seeing the number of the Chief Superintendent, he answered quickly, “Hello? Have you found him? Any good news yet?”

Considering the state of mind he was in, keeping a calm front was not an option. He needed answers ASAP.

The superintendent seemingly wasn’t too surprised by the onslaught of questions. Taking a deep breath, though, was already a signal to the distraught father that whatever was going to be said was not of an affirmative nature.

“Mr. Bart-Plange… not yet. We’re still searching…”

“Still searching??! Then why did you call me? What do you have to tell me?”

“Sir, please, I know you’re anxious and all, but please, calm down,” the superintendent calmly pleaded. “We’re working around the clock to find him. We haven’t given up and there’s absolutely no way we’re doing so. I wanted to assure you that there’s no bad news, and keep praying. We’re moving out of town to the other regions, because at this rate, the abductor may well have moved out of Accra…”

Robert was ready to vent, but the calmness and empathy in the officer’s voice convinced him to hold back the ether on his tongue. He didn’t hear the rest of the statement, but just placed his hand over his forehead and murmured, more to himself than to the superintendent.

“Oh God, please, please, don’t let my son die. I’ve already lost Samira, I don’t know what I would do if I lost Benjy. Please, please bring him home safe.”

The officer sighed over the line. This was no new case to him. He had handled so many of these missing children cases, and each case brought with it the emotions of panic, anxiety and thin hope. He had seen parents reunited with their lost children and felt that beautiful rush of relief pour over him like a pail full of cold water after hard work in the sun. He had seen mothers and fathers inconsolable as they discovered the bodies of their little ones, and the anvil of despondency dropping deep into his bowels. Thirty-two years into the job, and desensitization was not even an option. He still felt the pain when the lost child was found dead, and the joy when they were found alive.

“Sir, there’s not much I can do at the moment, but I think you should get yourself in good company right now. Family and friends that can hold your hand and pray with you through this.”

Silence.

“We’re still working. Rest assured of that. His picture is on social media as well, so that should help our cause even more. I’m confident there will be good news. I’ll talk to you later, Mr. Bart-Plange.” The line went dead.

He placed the phone back on the table. The superintendent was right.

And he knew where to go…

***

“All is well, Robert,” Nana Kyereme said soothingly as he patted him on the back. “I am confident that the God we serve will help the police find Benjamin and bring him back home. This won’t be a negative end.”

He nodded. The tension hadn’t totally subsided, but the superintendent had spoken absolute wisdom when he told him to find himself among people who would hold him up. None could do that better than Nana and Godfred.

He had known them for a short period of time, not long after Samira’s passing, but they had already proven to be friends that stuck closer than brothers. Massive encouragers who knew how to get him to laugh, awesome uncles to the little one… they were God-sent friends. What he loved the most about them was the clear lack of haughtiness and stoic attitude in their character. It was rather unfortunate that most believers he knew tended to be so ‘highly spiritual’, being transparent was Lucifer-esque in their sight. These guys, though, were clearly so heavenly-minded that they were of earthly good. He knew that in meeting up with these brothers, they wouldn’t just leave the situation at some short, religious prayer, but would seek to lift his spirits as much as possible. They had done just that.

“Chale, thank God for the way the police make wild on this case,” Godfred said as he emerged from the kitchen with a steaming mug of coffee for Robert. “If I go be very honest, I no dey trust GH police. After some trend bi I see for Twitter, the stories make I lose vim in them. But I go give them plaudits this time round.”

Robert cracked a slight smile and nodded as he took the mug. He had seen that trend, and some of the stories had been startling.

“Aside that, Benjy’s picture is pretty viral right now,” Nana Kyereme remarked as he looked at his phone. After a little bit of screen-touching, he announced, “1,786 retweets so far. And it looks like people are really talking about it. The news has gone far, ma guy. I’m confident. Wherever he is, he’ll be found.”

“I really pray so. Because it’s bad enough that the memory of my queen Samira’s demise is permanently engraved in my brain. If I lost Benjy too, I’d…” Robert drifted off, too pained at the thought of such an occurrence.

Placing the mug in front of him, Godfred rubbed his shoulders comfortingly. “Easy, Rob. It won’t happen that way. You’ve been afflicted enough; it’s not gonna happen a second time. You’re not gonna lose Benjamin. He will be found. I’m confident about that.”

Part 2 tomorrow!

© Qwamenah 2019

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