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.Leonard stared at them, and moved closer to the helmsman.‘An’ you can lose your sinnin’ bodies!’ the man shouted at the kids.He lunged towards them, and they ran back a few metres like wolves from a lion.‘You want this boy?’ he shouted at them.‘You come to Brekoso police station an’ ask the constable for him…’The street kids watched them go before sloping away.It looked as if they had lost their Angel Boy.But hungry creatures will wait days for their prey.Those hungry street kids hadn’t given up yet.Not by a long way had they given up…Chapter TenThe way to Brekoso police station took the fishermen and Leonard through the market, past stacks of fish boxes, skirting the ‘Jesus Never Fails’ chop house, and along lines of stalls selling everyday goods.This was nothing like Makola Market in Accra, here the three of them could walk abreast – but it was busy enough for the daddy street kid to make a surprise move.A tall pile of empty fish boxes stood two men high at the side of the walkway.As the fishermen dropped hands with Leonard to weave past the buying and the bartering at the stalls, a sudden push from behind sent the boxes toppling into the aisle – and separated the trio from each other.Everyone went arms-up as twenty or thirty sharp-edged boxes came clattering down.‘Whoa!’‘Mind them heads!’‘What fool did that?’There were angry shouts as everyone looked around – while the daddy kid and two uncles came darting out from behind the stalls and grabbed at Leonard.He shouted ‘Help!’ and took off between the stalls.Dodging the grabbing hands he ran, he wove, he jumped boxes and curls of sisal rope as he put down his head and fled.But one boy was directly behind him, and another was running to cut him off – Leonard could see him from the corner of his eye.A hand from a stall-holder grabbed at the kid following, and held him – releasing him as he twisted, but delaying the chase for vital seconds.At the same moment, a surprise two-storey building blocked the out-runner, giving Leonard a chance to sprint up towards the streets of houses east of the market.But from the shouts and the whoops, he knew his tormentors weren’t far away.And he knew that his breath and his strength could never outrun the lot of them.So he did something either very clever or very crazy.He doubled back.Those fishermen were back there in the market somewhere, and the street kids would still think he was blindly running on and on, away from them.Throwing a quick look back to check that he couldn’t be seen, he ran past a large white house and then right around it, doubling back down a parallel alley to where he could sprint towards the market, and the harbour.Would his quick thinking outwit their faster legs? Tired, scared, grabbed back from safety, Leonard could only pray that it would.Back in Accra, a call came to the Nile Hotel.As the hotel owner lifted the phone from its cradle Stephen Boameh was busy in the office printing more pictures of his son.He hardly looked up; a ringing telephone with no news was what he expected.But the tone of the hotel owner’s voice made him lift his head.‘Yes! Yes!’ She was beckoning to Stephen.‘He’s right here, you tell him!’Stephen grabbed the phone from her.You got a boy…?’ the voice over the phone said.Stephen somehow found breath.‘I got a boy.’‘Leonard… something?’‘Leonard Stephen Boameh.’‘Yeah.What school he goes to…?’‘Blessed Wisdom Primary.Accra.’‘Sounds like.Police here, Elmina, he’s been seen.Some fishermen.Found him an’ lost him.In a mix-up with street kids…’Stephen’s face showed quick relief and then fear.‘I’m coming! I’m coming fast!’‘Brekoso police station.You bring a picture of the boy…’Leonard’s father threw down the phone, snatched up a handful of prints and ran out to his car.‘Good luck!’ called the hotel owner.Stephen slammed himself into the Vauxhall.‘Pray for us!’ he shouted through the cracked windscreen, before reversing on screeching tyres into Nsawam Road.Leonard was trapped.Within seconds he would be back in the grip of the street kids – who would hide him deep in the shanties until the busy fishermen had forgotten him.He was running back through the town, not daring to believe that he had outwitted the kids.The trouble was, he didn’t know the geography of this place the way he knew his own district.He suddenly found himself facing the bridge that spanned the harbour entrance.There was no way to the left, no way to the right.He threw a quick look behind him.Nothing.He looked across the bridge.Nothing.So he ran on to cross it, praying that he’d find some sort of hiding-place on the other side.If he lay low up beyond Elmina Castle, perhaps he could make his way back to find the police after darkness came.He was only halfway across the bridge when he saw it.Like a scare in the night, a figure came springing out from nowhere – the tall street-kid, the fastest runner of them all, his face grimacing around the girders.No! Please, no!Like a jack-rabbit, Leonard swung round to go back the way he’d come – and his heart sank.There stood the daddy and the others.Leonard was trapped.He said, ‘Please!’ to passers-by, but the busy world brushed him aside.‘Get off, boy!’‘Tek yourself away!’ Bare-chested kids with big eyes and begging hands were nothing new in Elmina.Leonard looked desperately from side to side.The harbour bridge was a narrow roadway with high, wrought iron sides and a hand rail – which offered him one crazy option.He took it.With the last of his strength, his shaking feet and arms pulled him up the hand rail and on to the steel parapet above everyone’s heads.There he tottered above the derisive laughs, the blood rushing from his brain, making him dizzy.‘Come on down, Angel Boy!’‘We got work for you!’‘Come back to your daddy!’Thirty metres below him on one side were the harbour waters, filled with hard-edged barks and canoes.Two metres below him on the other was the yelping band of street kids, three of them already running back off the bridge to get down to the water’s edge.Leonard couldn’t swim.Even if he missed injury on the boats, he would drown if he jumped.His life would be over…‘Leonard! Is that you, Leonard? What on earth are you doing up there?’It was a voice from heaven.Someone recognised him!Leonard looked down, nearly lost his balance and only just stopped himself from falling into the water.‘Leonard, it is you!’It was Chris and Vicky, the tourists he’d come with in the tro-tro to Elmina.They were squinting a bit, making sure that this bare-chested boy was the same smart kid in the scarlet school shirt that they’d treated to go into Elmina Castle with them.And the street kids were having to give ground, waiting to see what happened.‘Are you all right?’ Vicky was coming nearer, climbing up a rung of the hand railings, reaching up to Leonard.‘No! I’m not!’‘Do you want help?’‘Yes! Yes, please.’From where he was, Leonard could see the street kids coming to some sort of decision; not with words, more with pack instinct.They backed off, just a bit.To attack a tourist would not be clever.Shaking, crying now, Leonard came warily down, helped the last metre by the strong arms of Chris from London.‘Looks like things went wrong for you,’ Chris said.‘We felt rotten, losing you outside the castle.Thought you’d gone off to do your own thing…’‘Can you forgive us?’ Vicky asked.Forgive them? Leonard would love them for ever! But he didn’t say it.He just nodded weakly; but he remembered his manners, drilled into him by Nana [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]