THE GLOOMY CORRIDORS (Episode 2) – Olumide Fatunsin

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at the Madrid airport. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you.”

Immediately the announcement was made, Lisa, an elegant and a no-nonsense woman tapped her son to wake up. While she was fastening her seat belt, Charlie grunted as if they should remain air borne. He was a bit fat and loved eating junk foods.

His mother tapped him again to fasten his belt. He woke up with one eye opened.

“Mum, where is my cake?” He asked pointing to the folding tray that had been placed in full upright position.

“Charlie, will you wake up and fasten your seat belt?” His mother said angrily.

By the time she had finished scolding him, a flight attendant was already by his side to help him with the seat belt.

After a while, he looked at his mother who was still visibly angry.

“Mum, are we still in Barbados?”

“No, we are in Afghanistan.”

“Mum, Afghanistan?”

“Yes! We will then travel to Iraq!”

“But we are travelling to Madrid…” Charlie said looking at his mother.

“Oh…Oh…So, you knew we are going back home. We are already in Madrid and the plane is descending.”

Charlie turned his head to look at the old woman who had earlier asked after his studies. The old Spanish woman smiled in return. Typical of old white people, especially the women she had asked about his favourite food, subject and the like. They bonded quickly when the old woman bought a chocolate for him. The old woman had gone to visit her daughter who worked there.

The holiday was coming to an end and charlie began to think about his classmates and his teachers. Suddenly, he jerked forward when the thought of Carlos crossed his mind. Carlos used to bully him and call him all sorts of names. “Charlie piggy piggy” was one of the pet names and it infuriated him most of the time. He had reported him to his teacher but Carlos still found his way to taunt him because of his academic excellence.

His mother thought the turbulence caused him to jerk forward but Charlie had a way of dramatising his responses which sometimes wearied his mother. When she asked him, he shook his head sideways and told her he had learnt some Jackie Chan’s styles of fighting to be used against Carlos.

The plane landed, the security protocol was followed and they picked their luggage. As soon as they got to the taxi park, her phone beeped. While she was reading the text message, the taxi driver helped her with the luggage.

She entered the taxi and turned to ask Charlie to come in.

“Charlie…Charlie…” She called but there was no answer.

The taxi driver asked for the address but Lisa was so worried to hear what he was asking for.

“¡Hola! ¿Has visto a mi hijo? (Hello, did you see my son?)” Lisa asked the driver desperately.

The driver answered in the negative and they both came out of the taxi.

Lisa looked up and saw some people running towards the opposite direction. However, the driver stood by the taxi to wait for her.

She became agitated and ran in their direction. She didn’t mind leaving her luggage with the driver. However, when she got there…

To be continued in Episode 3.

Olumide Fatunsin

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