Laudina kept thinking about Gerald’s text message as she dialed his number once again. The call went through but he did not pick up. She wondered why he was refusing to pick up her calls. She just did not understand his message and she only wanted him to explain it better to her. She sighed. She walked to the hall to tell her parents about his message. She knew they would want more understanding but alas, she had no explanation to give.
She got there to meet a miserable Harry and her parents who looked very worried. Over the last month, Harry had hardly eaten a full meal. He occasionally took a bite or two out of snacks. He cried almost every day and stated very firmly that he would only eat if they showed him where Petrina was. He had been taken to the hospital but even the doctors and nurses could not convince him any better. The 4-year old was looking thinner by the day; he was so weak he could not go to school. She walked over to him first of all and picked up a cracker on a plate in front of him.
“Harry, please take this,” she said as she held it up to him, knowing very well that he was going to refuse it.
“I said no!” he said firmly. “I want Petty.” He got up and walked out of the hall.
“Laudina, what are we going to do about your brother?” her mother asked between sobs. “Isn’t it enough that we do not know where Petrina is? Does he want us to lose him too?” She dropped her head on the table and wept harder. Her dad patted her on the back.
Laudina was glad that although her parents occasional argued blaming each other for the disappearance of Petrina, more often than not, they were there for each other. They consoled each other in a very loving way.
“Hmmm,” Laudina started. “I think we have some new information for the police.”
“We do?” her father asked, raising his eyebrows. “Why do u say so?”
“Gerald sent me a message a short while ago. All he said was that he is convinced she is in the Northern Region. He did not say where specifically, neither did he say why he suddenly thinks so.”
“So call him and ask!” her father retorted.
“I have, dad but he is not picking up his calls.”
There was a long pause then he suddenly stood up and shouted, “I knew it! I knew that boy was behind all this! Now that he has had the guts to confess wherever he sent her to, he is refusing to pick up his calls. He would pay for this!”
“Dad, no. Gerald has not done anything. He…”
“Why are you defending him young lady? How dare you defend a man who has harmed your sister?”
“Russell, calm down,” Mrs. Bannerman said sitting up. “Gerald has been of so much help to us during this time. I do not think he is behind this.”
“You too, Yolande? You dare defend him too? You suddenly love a stranger more than your daughter?”
“Russell, no. Please don’t say that. I am very certain Gerald has done nothing…”
“And I am very certain that that man is behind this! Sit here and defend him! I’m off to the police station. He needs to be caught this very moment before he escapes!”
“Russell, you can’t do that.”
“Oh, yes, I can!” He put on his slippers and grabbed his car keys. “I cannot believe you are suddenly rejecting Petrina. Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves!”
“Russell, you cannot talk like that! You know how much we all love Petrina. And that includes Gerald. He wouldn’t harm her.”
“Why do you trust that man so much? Why should you? I know for sure that he has caused us this pain and I am telling the police about this right now!”
“Russell!” Mrs. Bannerman stood up and held his arm. “What proof do you have? Besides, why don’t you wait till morning so that we can go to the police station? It’s awfully late.”
“Late? Why do you think police station is open for 24 hours? I am leaving and I am leaving now!”
“Laudina, leave him to go. He knows how he would prove his speculations to the police,” Mrs. Bannerman said sounding angry.
Her change in tone seemed to have an effect on Mr. Bannerman. He paused and looked back at them. Then, regaining his firm look, he walked out of the door.
Mrs. Bannerman and Laudina looked at each other and then embraced. They could not blame their husband and father. The disappearance was very hard on each one of them.
Would the police take any action after Mr. Bannerman’s report?