“Pet! Pet!” Gerald realised the call had actually gone off. Screaming her name into the phone was not going to bring Petrina back on the line. He immediately tried calling back but just as he had expected, her phone was off just as it happened the day she called her mum.
The tears that he had been holding back for the past week finally dropped. He couldn’t tell why a call from Petrina herself stating that she was fine was rather triggering the tears. He wondered whether he was better off knowing nothing rather than knowing simply that she was okay without any additional information. He wiped the tears and right away set off for the Bannerman home. He could not even refer to it as Petrina’s anymore.
He arrived there in no time. He stayed at the door for at least five minutes as had become the norm; the depressed family took forever to open the door.
“Hi Gerald,” Laudina said without looking at him. She walked sluggishly to the porch where Mrs. Bannerman was seated, her eyes swollen from so much crying.
Gerald locked the door behind him and walked slowly himself. He wondered whether the news he had was good or bad. He wondered what kind of emotion it would trigger in the already gloomy women. He just knew he had to tell them anyway.
“Good evening, Mrs. Bannerman. Good evening Laudina.” He said when he finally got to the porch. They barely nodded in response.
“Petrina called me some minutes ago,” Gerald said straightforwardly.
That got the women moving. “She called?” they both asked at the same time.
“What did she say?” Laudina continued.
“Is she okay?” her mum added.
Gerald did not even know what to say. “She didn’t say much. She simply said she was okay.”
“Why didn’t she say much?” Mrs. Bannerman screamed. “You should have asked her something. Why did you let her go like that?”
Gerald knew he had to be very calm. He had realised over the last few days that he must always come there with a bucketful of patience.
“I couldn’t, mum…”
“You couldn’t? What do you mean by that?” she interrupted.
Laudina held onto her mum at that moment. “Please let’s listen to what he has to say.” She turned to Gerald, “Tell us everything that happened. Please leave nothing out.”
Gerald took a deep breath. “Well, like I stated. She called. With her number. The call lasted just about a minute. All she said was she is okay and we should not worry about her. When I asked further questions and mentioned the police, the line went off. I can’t really say whether she cut it or not.”
“My Petrina doesn’t do that…” Mrs. Bannerman barely managed to utter before she burst into uncontrollable tears. Laudina patted her back, obviously doing her best to hold back her own tears.
Gerald stood by the rails of the porch, feeling very clueless about what to do.
Mrs. Bannerman suddenly got up and wiped her eyes. “I’m certain it’s the kidnappers! They want us to think she is in good shape so they forced her to call us and tell us so. Before long, they would be asking for a ransom. Oh, my daughter!” She turned to Laudina. “We have to go to the police station immediately! These kidnappers would not win!”
Gerald was uncertain about where Petrina was and what had happened to her. But he was certain of one thing: she didn’t sound like she had been forced to make that call. He was about to speak when he saw Laudina shake her head at him. She probably felt the same way as he did but she knew better than to say anything to her distressed mother.
“Laudina, let’s go,” her mother said with a firmer tone of determination. “Those kidnappers would not keep my daughter any longer! Lock the door and let’s go.”
Laudina reluctantly locked the door to the main house and the trio headed for the gate. They opened the door to meet Benjamin who appeared poised to knock.
“Hey everyone!” he said in his usual cheer. He turned to Laudina. “I felt today is a perfect night to grab a bite outside and then choose our ring for the wedding. Shall we?”
Mrs. Bannerman, determined as ever was already far ahead of them, so she probably didn’t hear Benjamin’s request. Both Gerald and Laudina looked at him with a very surprised expression.
“What did I say wrong?” Benjamin asked
What did you say wrong? Gerald thought and shook his head.
Laudina took in a deep breath as seemed to struggle to speak. “Benjamin, my sister is missing and you are thinking about wedding rings?”
“But Laudina,” he replied. “The wedding is just six weeks away!”
“Benjamin, are you seriously thinking we can have this wedding while we have no idea where Petrina is?”
“Oh! Okay! I get you now! She is supposed to be your maid-of-honour,” he seemed to think for a second. “But, hey, you can get someone else to be your maid-of-honour.
Gerald was stunned! He wondered how on earth such an idea could occur to Benjamin. He turned to Laudina. Her eyes had transformed from sorrow to anger. Very deep anger.
Uh-oh! I don’t think I would like what is about to happen.
What is about to happen? The next post tells it all!