It was the middle of the term in Sylvester secondary school and the students of ss1 were looking forward to the excursion that was coming up in five days’ time. The students were to be taken to a museum to see some historical artifacts. Sylvester was a school mostly for rich kids however commoners could attend the school via scholarships. Those who registered for the excursion had their names pasted on the notice board in the
hall way.

Jade Michael, who was one of the students on scholarship, went to check for her name before going for lunch. Jade, a dark skinned girl lost her dad when she was eight years old in primary school and her mother struggled to raise her with sales from her roasted plantain business.

While going through the list of names, she found hers but didn’t find her friend’s name Christabel Nelson, who was a light skinned beauty with wealthy parents but that didn’t stop her from being friends with Jade. Christabel and Jade had been friends since junior secondary two (JS2) and they were now in senior secondary one (SS1).

‘Christie and I registered on the same day. Why then is her name missing?’ Jade wondered. As her tummy grumbled, she sighed deeply and walked hastily to the cafeteria expecting to find Christie. Instead she found a long queue, so she grabbed a tray and joined in. She scanned the cafeteria for her friend but there wasn’t any sign of her. The queue moved along quickly as usual and she made her way to the chirpy cafeteria lady that always made everyone’s day; as the lady smiled, her eyes gleamed. Jade smiled back and went
over to the table with the tray of food in her hand.

The remaining periods flew by quickly and she didn’t see Christie, even though they had three classes together.

When Jade got home, she decided to text Christabel. It read: Hi I didn’t see you in school. Christie replied: something came up so I couldn’t make it to school.

What happened? Jade texted really concerned.

I’ll tell you tomorrow, Christie replied. Okay, good night. Jade replied.

Christie was at her locker after biology class taking out some books for geography class when Jade appeared beside her. “Hi,” Jade smiled. Both shared a hug, and then talked about what had been
happening. “Something went wrong, Christie I didn’t find your name on the list.
We registered together,” “We have to fix that, the excursion is in 4 days.”

Christie who was quiet the whole time said, “yeah, 4 days.”

“And you’re not bothered about the fact that your name isn’t there?” Jade asked gently but in bewilderment.

“Nothing went wrong, I unregistered,”

Christie said making Jade question with the eyes. “I changed my mind when I-I was told that my grandmother d-died the day before yesterday,” her voice cracked, it was so low that Jade doubted that she heard Christie. Tears hung in Christie’s eyes threatening to fall down her now red cheeks. Jade covered her mouth stifling a loud gasp. She shook her head, and gave Christie a warm consoling hug as Christie burst into tears for the nth time after her mother broke the news to her.

The days flew by and it was a day to the excursion, Jade was as excited as the other students that were going. At the same time, she was having cold feet about going because she wanted to stay with her friend and console her knowing how much Christie loved her grandmother. 

The day of departure came. Betty Michael, Jade’s mother and Christabel saw Jade off to the school bus.

“Mum, I don’t feel like going anymore,” Jade said, sounding like a five-year-old being forced to go to school.

“Why not Jade, all of a sudden you don’t want to see those amazing history stuffs you’ve been telling me about?” Betty asked softly. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!”

Jade and her other class mates, got into the bus along with two of their subject teachers; Miss Suzanna (literature) and Mr. Daniel (history). The bus started and the students began to sing but Jade
still wasn’t feeling comfortable.

As they got on a bridge, there was an incoming truck that lost control of the wheels, the school bus driver tried to dodge it but the bus swerved and skidded towards the end of the bridge, the railings broke and the bus fell into the water. 

~                      ~                      ~                      ~

“How is she? I want to see her?” Betty
said, running towards a doctor who was entering the reception. Betty’s eyes
were red and puffy from crying.

“Please ma you have to calm down,”
the male doctor pleaded holding Betty’s shoulders to stop her from running past
him towards the corridor leading to the hospital rooms. And once again, Betty
broke into tears, “I shouldn’t have let her go!” Some nurses and Christabel’s
parents tried to calm her down, but she kept crying, wailing bitterly.

When she finally calmed down, a
female doctor arrived. “Betty Michael?” she called.

“Doctor,” she answered and walked
briskly towards her.

“Your daughter’s so lucky to have
survived that accident.” Betty nodded urging the doctor to continue. “Every
other person died, two others survived and Jade’s in a coma.”

“Oh God, can I please see her?”

“Not yet, please give her some time.”
And with that she left.

“Is she okay?”  Christabel asked Betty with tears rolling down
her cheeks. Betty’s gaze fell to the sky blue tiled floor. More tears rolled
down Betty’s cheeks as she kept muttering. Christie glanced at Betty, still
waiting for an answer.

“She’s in a coma,” Betty answered.
Christie scooted closer, wrapping her small arms around Betty.

“Don’t worry, she’ll come out of it,”
Christie assured her.

“We will be praying for your daughter
and the two kids in coma that God sees them through and the other kids who
died, that their souls may rest in peace,” Christabel’s mother said patting
Betty’s shoulder.

“Amen,” Betty said looking towards

answered their prayers, Jade and the other two, survived.