’You’re welcome, gentlemen,’ Mariah greeted the five policemen seated in her living room. ‘I guess you have been told that my niece just lost her parents. I hope you will take it easy with her. She finds it very hard to adjust. As a result she has become quite difficult. Kindly bear with her if she seems rude.’
Musa, Sam, Mike, OZed and MaryJohn looked at one another and nodded. It was Sunday noon and they had all gathered at the Government Reserved Area as planned.
‘I know she is having a hard time,’ MaryJohn said to Mariah. ‘I would if I were her. We will take it easy with her, I assure you.’
‘She will be with you shortly,’ Mariah said and left them.
Nancy walked into the room fifteen minutes later with the longest face that they had ever seen. She looked so unfriendly that Sam was afraid her mood would snuff out the bright Sunday sun. He knew that she was a nasty girl to deal with, but he did not hold it against her. If that misfortune befell him, he knew he would be nastier than three Nancys put together.
‘Hello, Nancy, such a bright day,’ Sam greeted.
She smirked at him like he was dump. ‘The door is also bright. You can use it.’ She turned without greeting any of them and sat in the single chair that was very far from their seats.
They had no alternative but to take up the seats closer to her, knowing it would take a herculean effort for her to move her seat an inch nearer to them.
‘I can see you did not wake up well,’ the DPO stated, studying the young girl. ‘Don’t pass your bad mood to us. I have enough to last me a lifetime. We were hoping you would help us out with something.’
MaryJohn had no idea how to begin to reason with a grumpy teenager and he was not about to learn now. He just had to wait until his two kids reached their teens.
‘Do I have to help you?’ Nancy retorted, then lifting a hand as if to stop the DPO from making any sort of reply, she continued, ‘Don’t answer that. I am tired of this game. I am tired of being angry at the earth and I am tired of being angry at my mum and dad. Anger makes me very tired. I am done with it.’ She stood up from her seat and walked over to the flowerbed.
She battled within herself. She wanted to tell them what she knew but she also knew they would not believe her if she did. Her aunty did not even believe her, so why should they? She bit her lip so hard she winced. She did not want to be called a freak. It would break her. But she also knew that she would have to tell them if she wanted anything to be done about what was going on.
Summoning up courage, she took a deep breath and began to speak, ‘The only thing I understand is that earth is angry with some people on it. It does not agree with what is going on so she is kind of trying to get that across to humans. I think it is taking the people who did what she does not like.’ She shook her head despairingly. ‘Do not call me a freak, please, but I just know that. I think it won’t stop until she has done what she came to do.’
She finally turned and faced them, just to see them looking at her like she was a world-renowned freak. She recoiled from the expression on their faces. That was what she got for telling the truth. The only person that did not have that look was the very tall man whose name she did not know. She did not actually know any of their names.
‘Why do you think that is happening?’ the tall man asked.
They all looked at him like he was as mad as her. He looked like a sane man to her.
‘I don’t know. It is just a gut feeling. I also know that the earth is protesting. Call it psychic or something, but that is how I feel about it. I felt it before when we moved into that house. It doesn’t feel right.’ She walked back to her seat.
’Define what you mean by it doesn’t feel right, please.’
‘You might find this hard to believe but it looked like the earth moved beneath me. I don’t know how I understand my feelings, but I have this hunch that I am right.’
‘Do you have other things to show us to make us believe you more?’ MaryJohn asked. ‘I really want to believe you, but I can’t. Not with what you are saying. It is not possible,’ he stressed, then as though he needed a little backing, he turned to OZed, ‘Isn’t it?’
‘It is not according to my research,’ OZed answered truthfully, ‘but I have a reason to believe the young lady. This kind of thing can happen.’
Nancy looked sceptical. ‘Why do I get a feeling that you are patronizing me?’
‘I do so many things but I never patronize,’ OZed retorted. ‘And you don’t really need that. I am a scientist but I also believe in other things. Stranger things have happened. I just want to understand this one.’
Nancy shrugged. ‘I am only telling you what I think. Maybe you guys should check it out. I don’t know if I am right, but I have a feeling that another building is going to collapse in the next twenty hours. I just hope it doesn’t kill anybody.’
A grave silence settled on the room after her announcement.
‘How do you know that?’ Job asked, speaking for the first time.
‘Let us just call it gut feeling. I knew that the earth is making her move this very night. It will find evil and it will bring it down.’
‘Since you seem to be so connected to the ground that I am walking on,’ Sam began sarcastically, ‘can you tell us where the earth will do her death party?’
MaryJohn pulled a stick of cigar from his pocket and lit it. He took a puff and blew it out in a direction, away from the crowd.
‘Please, do not smoke in my presence, sir,’ Nancy reprimanded.
‘Girl,’ Sam breathed harshly, ‘I think something tragic happened to your head. You have the nastiest attitude that I have had the privilege of seeing. The man is old enough to be your father, for goodness’ sake!’
‘Well, he needs to quit smoking if he wants to live longer than my grandpa,’ Nancy said unrepentantly. ‘And I won’t have some man filling my lungs with smoke if I can help it. And lastly, I only have one dad and he is not dead yet.’ Nancy stood up to leave and they all stood with her.
‘How do you know that you dad is not dead?’ OZed asked.
‘The same way I know that the house of Ochin Henry is going to collapse tomorrow.’
‘What?’ MaryJohn cried, astonished. ‘How do you know that? Do you even know who the man is? You cannot say something like that and expect us to just let it go.’ MaryJohn was officially pissed.
‘I don’t know how to fight this,’ Nancy confessed, ‘but I suggest that you guys let nature do her work. All you need to do it get the real live sample of that thing that is pulling it down. That way, you’ll know what you are up against. And judging by my feeling right now, I think it is something very big. Bigger than life.’
‘How can you be sure?’ Musa asked in a frustrated tone.
‘Told you to call it gut feeling.’ She turned and left.
‘I have a gut feeling that you are messing with us right now,’ Musa screamed after her.
‘It is okay to have that kind of feeling,’ she said over her shoulder. ‘But don’t worry, I am not messing with you.’ And then she continued on her way to the stairs leading to her room.
‘Why do I have this hunch that Nancy is fooling us?’ Sam asked no one in particular. They were now walking to their cars, after saying goodbye to Mariah.
‘Because she is, stupid,’ Musa answered.
‘What would she gain from doing that?’ Sam returned. ‘There is nothing in it for her.’
‘I would say she will have a lot of fun watching us chase that tail at our behind. But I do believe her,’ OZed said.
Mike looked at him askance. It was not like OZed to believe that easily and what the girl said was next to impossible. How could he believe her? Who believed that the earth was breathing? That was plain crazy as OZed did not do crazy.
‘Why would you believe her? That thing is not even possible,’ Mike said.
OZed looked at him. ‘Do you want me to go into that now?’ He shook his head. ‘I am not really that sure but I have a feeling that she is telling the truth. Why would she lie? And she seemed like a really good twisted kid. I liked her. Besides, she has nothing to lose. She also said that her parents were still alive. Maybe she knows something that we don’t.’
Job and Mike’s mouths slacked. They looked at OZed like he was crazy, having never heard him say that he liked anybody. The only thing he liked was organisms, and Nancy was not as small as an organism.
‘You guys can close your mouth. I have the right to like whoever I want and I want to like her. If you ask me DPO, I would tell you to follow her lead. Something is there. I feel it in my bones.’
OZed could not say why but he was not himself today. Maybe it was because of the new organism that they were about to discover. He really believed the girl. He did not believe in the psychic but he knew somehow that she was right. The only thing he could base his belief on was the fact that she had nothing to lose or gain by lying to them, and she seemed like a really nice kid.
Later, he assured himself; he would try to find out how she managed to have that kind of connection with the earth. There had to be an explanation for that one.
‘The girl must have done something to you while we were not looking. You are now behaving strange,’ Sam observed. ‘Well, I have a feeling that we are wasting good time. I have a football match to watch. Tell me when you find something that you don’t have gut feelings about.’ With a mock salute, Sam made to enter his small car.
‘If you move an inch from that place you are standing on, know that you are so fired your ass will turn deep black,’ MaryJohn pronounced vehemently. ‘I say we follow this girl. Let us play her game. We will know if she is saying the truth when that house she talked about falls tomorrow. That is not a long time to wait. I say we do that. It is not as if we have any lead, and so far, her lead is showing us something.’ He returned his cigar to his mouth.
‘What if she is right? What do we do?’ Musa asked.
‘Then we will take her and see how she can help us,’ MaryJohn vowed. ‘If I have to go under the earth and yank out that thing that is playing God, I will so do it.’ He was tired, and was still smarting from the way the girl treated him. He was not mad at her but at himself. He was so used to people around him not complaining about his smoking that he thought that everybody appreciated smoke the way he did. He should have known better.
‘So what you are saying, sir, is that we should go to our homes and wait and see if the senator will have his home yanked out from under him?’ Sam asked.
‘I would have agreed with that but I want people to be posted in his house in case anything should come up, so that they can get them out before they are buried under the house. I think that will be a good thing. What do you say, OZed?’
‘I agree with you. That is a good plan.’
‘If nothing comes out of this venture, I am going to kill that girl and feed her to my fish, and I won’t even go for confession,’ Sam swore.