Amidu was a nine-year-old boy that lived with his parent at Downy Street, in Freetown. Like all nine-year-olds, Amidu liked to play outside his house, and because most of the houses in the area were clustered and not fenced, they mostly ended up playing on the streets. Downy street can sometimes be busy depending on the traffic on the highway. These boys will play whether it is busy or not.
On a normal day, you would see Amidu and his friends running around in groups. Sometimes in groups of five, other times there would be more, as other boys from the neighbouring streets would come and join in the games. They’d all have fun together.
They would dance under the rain during the rainy season and play street football, chase after cars, push and chase after old car tyres, or play local golf game with empty tins during the dry season. They enjoyed playing these games. Periodically, they would play hide and seek under the moonlight.
On several occasions, Amidu’s parents warned him about the dangers of playing out on the streets and how risky that could be. As cars and trucks plied these routes on a daily basis but being the kid he was, he never listened, especially since his parents were away most times. He would join his friends out on the streets and play after school. He knew the time his parents would be home. So whenever his parents were away, he would play for long hours; and shortly before his parents returned home, he would quickly wash up, get dressed, sit down quietly with his books – all the while acting as though never left the house.
One Saturday morning his father left for town and he was left alone with his mother. His mother told him to go indoors to study and finish up his school assignments for the weekend. She left for the backyard kitchen so she could fix lunch for the family before her husband returned from his half-day work. It was that moment that Amidu sneaked out of the house leaving his books on the dining table, to go join his friends. They were busy playing street football with no care in the world.
A cab driver who was coming down the street from the opposite direction noticed his brake had stopped working. He tried his best to manoeuvre the car but it became uncontrollable. The fact he was going down the hill just worsened his fears of a slippery slope, as the car picked up speed from that point. Amidu was busy playing and had his back to the cab driver – so much so that even the shouting of his friends to get out of the way was not heeded by him. By the time he noticed that something was wrong behind him, it was too late. The car knocked him down and hit a nearby pole as the engine came to a halt.
The outcry by the kids and neighbours was thunderous. Amidu’s mom was still cooking at the back of the house. She had no idea of what had just happened on their street. Suddenly, she heard the cries and ran outside. To her greatest shock, she found her beloved son, her only son, in a pool of his own blood. She tried to wake his lifeless body, as she shook him and started pushing and pulling on her son. Amidu was not breathing but she would not accept It. Her son would not die and leave her. It was not supposed to be this way. It should have been the other way round. Her Amidu should bury her, so no! She won’t accept it, her son could not be dead. Abruptly, she became still and looked paralysed. She was crying inside; you could see the tears flowing down her face but she was not giving out any sound. She was in a trance. She stayed in that position for a brief while when an on-looker noticed that something was not right with her. She was gasping for breath as she clutched her chest while, still, firmly holding her son. She had no plan to let go. Amidu’s mother was having a heart attack. Some onlookers ran towards her and held her back as they tried to get her grips off her dead son. She was reluctant to let go, as she stretched her hand towards her son. All of a sudden she went numb and slowly became heavy and cold.
Amidu’s father came and no sooner he grasped what had happened to his wife and son, he lost his mind. The taxi came a minute too late, Amidu and his mom were both dead. They were covered and taken to the mortuary leaving the pool of blood behind, as a reminder of what had happened to the people of Downy street that evening. The children never went out to play from that day; they lost their innocence ever since, their once blissful childhood gone up in smokes due to the events of that fateful day.
Indeed, when the sun went down it never really did come up again on Downy street.
©️By Rahima Vandy Kargbo known as Dasalonetiti Rahima