“Hi, sis! Don’t wait for me at Bukit Panjang Plaza for lunch today, okay? I’ve got an emergency meeting for prefects until three o’clock,” my sister’s cheerful voice chirped through the phone.
Upon hearing her voice, I nearly fainted. My face immediately went pale and I stood cemented on the floor and went into a trance.
“Sis, sis! Are you alright?” my sister’s voice was heard again, this time, it sounded worried.
Recovering from my stupor, I replied, with my voice shaking.
“Elizabeth, a…are you s…sure you a…are in s…school now?”
As Elizabeth answered quizzically, the frightening incident that happened minutes ago came flowing into my mind…
Black ominous clouds blanketed the dark grey sky, threatening everyone of a heavy downpour. A fork of sparkling bright lightning flashed, causing a crack to form in the sky. A great clap of thunder then came close upon each other and soon, a sudden shower was released.
“Sigh… no more swimming in the afternoon,” I groaned to myself as I dragged my feet, carrying a pink flowery umbrella, to the school bus waiting area at my school’s foyer.
After waiting for the school bus for not more than five minutes, I was aboard on the bus, piled with many other pupils. I found myself a seat near the driver as I loved looking at what was happening in front. Sometimes, I pretended that I was the driver too. Today was of no different.
Positioning my hands, acting as though I were holding onto the steering wheel, I stepped on the accelerator as soon as the bus moved off.
“Peep! Peep! Peeeep!” the loud annoying horn of a car interrupted my concentration at “driving”. I cocked my head towards the left and I saw a gigantic tree by the roadside. It had fallen about a hundred metres away from us. Not only this, the tree had also caused a massive traffic jam! Being a civic-minded citizen, I instantaneously checked if the tree had fallen on anyone or vehicle.
As I had terrific eyesight, I saw a mini bus with brightly coloured and had smiley faces decorated on it. Upon scrutiny, I realized that the name of a school was printed on the side of the mini bus. It read ‘CHIJ Stepping Stones Kindergarten’. It was the mini bus which transported my sister home!
I must have turned as pale as a ghost because Victoria, my friend, immediately asked me what was wrong.
“Wrong?!” I thought to myself, wanting to cry, “My sister could have been dead on that bus!”
Meanwhile, the driver spoke to the rest of the panicking children, who feared that another tree would fall onto them, that they had to stay calm. Some of the children asked if it was all right to go onto the pavement and some wanted to walk home themselves. Consent was given as the driver expected the jam to clear at about half an hour later.
I dashed out of the bus as soon as the door opened. I ran like the wind towards the mini bus, which was crushed badly. At the wreckage, I realized that nearly all the occupants of it, including the mini bus driver, were not in the bus anymore but on the pavement. I was delighted that my sister had seventy-five percent chance of being alive.
Rushing towards them on the pavements, tears poured down my cheeks. I glanced around when I reached the kindergarteners for my sister but to my horror, my sister was not with the group! As I did not know any of her friends, I could only do what I wanted to do last – to look for my sister in the bus.
The door was blocked and it prevented me from entering the bus so I peered in through the window. I spotted a girl, lying in a pool of blood. I was devastated. I could feel my whole world collapse and heart sink. I reminisced all the great time I had with Elizabeth to the day I would see her in a coffin. Perhaps it might be tomorrow. Thinking of these, I felt my eyes go watery and soon I was sniffing and crying.
All of a sudden, I heard a loud wailing sound. It was the ambulance and Civil Defense, which someone had probably dialed for. In the midst of the wailing, I heard the faint ringing tone of my phone. I took it out of my pocket dejectedly and my heart almost skipped a beat. It was my sister’s name, flashing on the screen of my mobile phone…