Excerpt from Part 1:
On that fateful day, we had planned our route of escape just in case we were chased by persons who we planned to borrow their bags from. I wasn’t a fast runner but I had to just try to keep up if I wanted a share of the spoils of war because stealing and running a long distance so as not to get caught was a petty war to me.
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The woman whom we targeted was wealthy, we could tell from her outward disposition. One of the Class Five boys saw that she had placed her hand bag on a platform right in front of the store in which she purchased her groceries, and within the twinkling of an eye he snatched the bag. From this point, my agony had just begun but I was unaware of it.
The boy who snatched the bag tossed it to another one and signaled all of us to head towards our escape route. The woman from whom we stripped the bag began to scream like a goat in labour and sympathizers including some men found out what had happened. The woman told them that some street urchins had stolen her hand bag which contained valuables. The men started chasing us as we ran towards our escape route. Three of the boys had passed under the chain fence which cut off the market from the residential area. At this time the stolen bag was in my custody and I was in company of just one of the boys.
The men from the market were in hot pursuit, the three boys who had scaled the chain fence shouted at me and the boy who was in my company to hurry up because the men were closing in. The leader of the gang asked me to toss the bag over the chain fence so as to enable me scale the fence with ease. I obliged and he alongside the other two boys whisked off with the bag. At that moment I had already started entering under the chain fence in a bid to escape the claws of the men chasing us but alas I was caught alongside the boy in my company. We were asked to produce the bag but we couldn’t and as you would expect both of us didn’t know the houses of any of the other boys. We all met at a neutral location daily. The men seeing that we couldn’t produce the bag became furious and carted us away to where the woman whom we stole from was still standing and bleating. As soon as she saw us in the arms of the men she became glad and calm until she discovered that the bag was gone.
Before we could say anything, she had landed us two quick slaps on both cheeks. A burning sensation tingled in my ears and I knew we were in deep trouble. The woman was the wife of a high court judge. She wasted no time in calling the police to incarcerate us pending when her husband as a judge would sentence us to prison. I vividly remember her making it clear that “you little brats would rot in jail”. Fast forward to some days later, my uncle after searching for me without any success, decided to lay a complaint at the police station and to his greatest surprise, he was told I was brought there alongside another boy by a woman on account of us stealing her bag and not being able to produce it. My uncle was in a dilemma and he inquired if he could bail me out, but being a criminal offence, the police said no. He went an extra mile to solicit for the mercy of the woman whom we stole from but all to no avail. She was bent on ending our lives literally.
The court session was brief and we were sentenced to life imprisonment even though the offence did not warrant such a mighty sanction. It’s been two years now, I ought to have finished my secondary schooling by now but I am behind bars. Uncle has spent a lot trying to reduce the sentence to a definite time or better still bail me out but all to no avail. I guess it means I would be here for good. The prison is not nice at all and the labour is very tedious. I always remember uncle’s warning to stay away from bad boys.
My lack of obedience has brought me here and I regret every inch of it. I heard there is something they call state pardon which happens once in a while. I hope it occurs soonest and I hope I would be lucky by then but till that time, I would be in my dark cell wishing I was obedient from the onset.
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