Billingsgate

19. Billingsgate

I hold Tosin’s hand as he leads me into the house. It’s dark and I can’t see anything. I hold him tighter, the way I used to do with Mummy when it’s dark. Tosin turns on the torch and points it down, it helps us know where to go.  

‘Shhhhhh. Be quiet. Don’t say anything.’

I nod in answer. Whatever he says, I have to obey. Daddy’s waiting for me in his car outside and I want to go home. Is this the kind of work daddy wants me to do before he gives me food? My stomach decides to make noise at that moment and Tosin turns to look at me.

‘Are you that hungry?’

‘No.’

I don’t know why his question made me feel angry. My tummy feels so empty. It’s almost like the potato daddy gave me earlier has disappeared. I thought that only happened after pooing. I haven’t even pooed yet and it’s already gone.

There’s no time to eat. Food comes after work. Daddy said so. Right now I have to work so that I can eat.

But Tosin doesn’t move, he keeps looking at me like there’s something on my face.

‘As soon as we get the watch, I’ll make something for you.’

I feel my eyes go wide.

‘Your daddy lets you cook?’

He looks away from me and scratches his head.

‘Not really, the chef does all the cooking but I can make noodles. That’s easy!’

I didn’t know my eyes could grow any wider than it already is but it does.

‘Noodles!’

‘Shhh! Be quiet.’

He covers my mouth with his hands just like he did when we were outside. When he’s sure I will be quiet, he slowly removes his hand from my mouth.

‘You’re lucky it’s just my father and I that live in the house.’

Then he smiles at me.

‘I’ll make the best noodles for you once we are done. It’s a promise. However you like it, it’ll be done.’

Tosin continues leading me through his house but my mind is on the noodles I’ll eat soon.

He said he can make it anyhow I like. Can he make it the way mummy does- used to? Mummy. I don’t know if I can ask Tosin to make Mummy’s kind of noodles. The thought of anyone else making that kind of noodle makes my chest hurt.

I’m still thinking of Mummy when I bump into Tosin. I look up and notice the light from the torch is off and Tosin isn’t moving anymore.

‘What…?’

‘This is my father’s room. He’s asleep so we’ll need to be very quiet not to wake him.’

I feel his eyes on me as if he’s waiting for me to say something.

‘Ok.’

‘I think I know where he kept the watch. If I’m right, then it should be at his bedside table. You’ll have to hold the torch for me while I search for it. Do you understand?’

I nod slowly and when I realise he can’t really see me, I say, ‘Ok.’

With the torch still turned off, Tosin grabs my hand once more and leads me into his daddy’s room. The room is colder than the rest of the house, I hope we don’t have to stay too long. Tosin is walking a lot slower than when we entered his house. I think it’s because the light is off so we can’t really see but he still seems to know his way around.

We stop suddenly and I can hear someone snoring to my right. It’s not as loud as daddy’s own but it still makes me chuckle a bit. The snoring gets louder and becomes soft again. Was he about to wake up? For some reason, the thought of being seen by Tosin’s Daddy gives me bumps like the ones daddy gives me. I must be more careful.

Tosin gives me the torchlight and I point it low. I don’t want the light from it to wake him.

Tosin moves from the first drawer, to the second then the third but he can’t find the watch.

‘I know it’s in this room. Did he move it?’

I think Tosin doesn’t know where the watch is. If he doesn’t know then what am I going to do and how will I find it? I’m so hungry.

Suddenly, the lights come on and I hear a loud voice.

‘What do you think you’re doing in my house?!’

Tosin and I turn to see a man holding a bottle in front of us. From the look on Tosin’s face, I can see it’s his daddy but I don’t know what he’s going to do. Seeing the bottle makes me stand still. The only thing running through my mind is mummy on the floor with a broken bottle beside the bed. Will that be me? Will I be on the floor like mummy?

Without thinking I run towards the door, I don’t care about food, I just don’t want to die like mummy. A strong pair of arms grab me before I reach the door and hold me tight.

‘You have ten seconds to tell me what you’re doing in my bedroom!’

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