That night, Chibuzo had a bad dream. In that dream, he had broken a gallon of water. The gallon had been too big for him, and he had told his uncle’s wife. The woman pursued him out of the compound with a stick and threatened to kill him if he didn’t come back with water. When coming back, he had tripped and fallen thereby breaking the gallon. His aunty had beaten him severely while Ifechukwu stood at a distance crying. He woke up with a start. Sweat was pouring down his body. This dream told him that worse was coming his way.
The next morning, a photographer came and snapped them. The man quickly developed it there and gave it to them. Chibuzo was given one to keep while they gave the photographer one to enlarge for them. They will be traveling with it. They didn’t know it then, but that enlarged picture was going to save Chibuzo in the future. Before they knew it, Christmas was over, and it was time to go. Samuel refused to go. He clung to Chibuzo and refused to let go. He had become so attached to Chibuzo that he couldn’t imagine living without him. Chibuzo who had cried the night before didn’t have any more tears to shed. He slowly and quietly entangled himself from the little boy. It was the hardest thing he had ever done. And it hurt him very much. He shook Hon. Igwe’s hands and hugged Mrs. Grace. When they left, the house suddenly became too quiet. It was only him. Madam Cecilia and the driver that was around. The school wouldn’t start until February the twelveth. What will I be doing till then, he wondered. He went up to his room and saw the picture. Fresh tears came to his eyes. They looked like a family. He was going to miss them badly. He folded it and put it inside his pocket. He lay down and fell into a dreamless sleep. He awakened when he heard someone pounding on his door. He was confused for a second. No one did that in that house, and then it came to him. They have gone. He opened the door and saw Madam Cecilia looking at him angrily.
“So you’ve been sleeping eh?, well I came to tell you that they have reached their destination and if you know what is good for you, start packing your things because we are leaving this house before they get here.”
“What is happening? Before who gets here?” Chibuzo asked. The woman went inside the room and slapped him hard across the cheeks.
“Am I the one you are asking stupid questions?” Her eyes were blazing. Chibuzo was sure he saw stars. He was blinded for a moment, and when he regained his sight, he quickly started packing his things. He knew he couldn’t trust the woman, but he had given his foster father his word that he will do as he was told. After thirty minutes, they were standing at the gate waiting for a taxi. He didn’t know where they were going, but it had to be far because the woman had told him to bring everything he had with him. He knew well enough not to ask the woman. His cheeks were still swollen. As if the woman read his mind, she said “we are going to Abakaliki. That’s my hometown. It will probably take us eight hours to reach there so sleep while you can”
Chibuzo was dismayed. He didn’t want to leave Abuja to the place she just called. It didn’t sound exciting. He kept quiet though. While inside the taxi, they passed his school. A single tear fell from his eyes. He didn’t get to say goodbye to his friend. It just wasn’t fair. He was always leaving his loved ones behind. Was he born to suffer? What kind of life is this, he asked himself. The woman saw this and smiled. This is just the beginning, she said to herself. Chibuzo fell asleep at intervals when they had boarded a bus. He was sore and hungry. He didn’t eat before they hurriedly left. Madam Cecilia was presently eating moi moi which she had bought when he was asleep. He was too scared to ask for some. He then decided to count the trees as they pass them maybe it will help remove his mind from his hunger. It didn’t work instead it provoked it more. At last, he decided to try his luck.
“Please ma, can I have some? Am hungry” he pleaded.
“Look at his mouth,” she said after looking him up and down for almost five minutes.
“Did you give me the money I used in buying it? I can’t believe that man trusted me enough to leave you in my care. What a foolish man. You remember that day you humiliated me in front of the Madam? Well, I will teach you a lesson for that. Well, you can have this, am not hungry anymore” She threw one wrap of moi moi to him. It fell down, but he picked it and dusted it. The moi moi was now full of sand, but he didn’t mind. He ate it that way. It did nothing to quench his hunger. Instead, it made it worse. The woman was full of hatred, and Chibuzo wondered if she had Children of her own. They had been on the road for five hours now, and it was already evening. The driver was an old man of about sixty. Chibuzo wondered if he could see well at night. He looked around and noticed that there were about twelve passengers inside the bus and he was the only youngster in it. He yawned and closed his eyes to sleep when the bus stopped with force thereby forcing him into wakefulness. People started shouting. They were at the back of the bus and couldn’t see what the commotion was all about. Three hooded men entered the bus and started demanding their money and valuables. People started complying fearfully. Chibuzo had no money on him, but he had the Rolex watch given to him by the Honourable. He removed it and put it inside the pocket of his briefs. Soon it was their turn and seeing nothing on him; they faced Madam Cecilia. She fearfully brought her purse and gave them. They opened it and whistled. Chibuzo became curious. The men took out the contents. It was a large bill of money. It was probably from the Honourable. What a stupid woman, Chibuzo thought. There are banks everywhere. She should have put them in the bank.
“Oh boy, this woman is loaded” He heard one of the robbers say. Madam Cecilia was now crying earnestly. It was everything she had with her. She had planned on buying some things for her children on their arrival.
“Madam e don finish? Stone search am well” One of them went to her and started searching her. Madan Cecilia was so humiliated. The man’s even touched her breast trying to check if she stashed some there. Other passengers were staring at her as if she was stupid. She felt stupid anyway. When they were through, the robbers left. The driver was so shaken that he couldn’t start the bus at a try. His hands kept shaking. All the money he got was taken from him but he was happy he was still alive.
“Madam you be mumu o” the young man in front of them turned and told Madam Cecilia.
“Imagine as you just give them your purse. You no get sense?”
“Na true you talk. Correct mumu” another person joined this time by an elderly woman
“You sure say na your money be that you work for that money?” The first person asked.
“Make una mind your business o. No, provoke me abeg. If e no be my money na your own? Tataafo!” Cecila sparked. At this, they faced their front. The woman looks like a trouble maker, they thought within themselves. Chibuzo didn’t say anything. He was embarrased. He knew the woman would take it out on him later. But what kind of woman goes around with that amount of money on her? He asked himself. The remaining part of the journey was done in silence. They had all lost one thing or the other so weren’t in the mood to talk. The bus stopped again, and everyone became apprehensive, but the driver told them that one of the tires had busted. He couldn’t change it and so asked if there was someone who could do it. The men were angry and refused to indicate. When the driver saw this, he entered the bus, sat down and closed his eyes. He needed rest so if they don’t knoe how to do it, then all of them will remain there.