“I’m Innocent!” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Muhammad Aldriq Naeemullah, Sri KDU Primary School, Malaysia.
It was a cold evening. Sixteen-year-old Kingston was walking towards the basketball court at Central Park. This was where he agreed to meet his old friend Kofi. He has not seen Kofi since he dropped out of school two years ago. Kingston felt weird that Kofi called to meet, but thought “It wouldn’t be harmful just to meet, right?”
Kingston saw Kofi with a few boys next to the rubbish bin near the court. Suddenly, “BOOM! KABOOM!!” there was a loud explosion and a huge fire. Kingston did not know what was happening. He was in shock and scared. He could only see flames rising into the sky. Then he heard loud police sirens and saw red and blue lights flashing around him. All the boys were running towards him now. It was chaotic! One boy accidentally banged into Kingston. He tripped and fell to the ground. He was caught!
Kingston kept on saying he was innocent but his cries were ignored. He was brought to the police station downtown. All he could think of at this time was his mother. She has advised him to stay away from Kofi, but he ignored her.
When they arrived at the police station, Kingston in hand-cuff, was brought into a small room. The door sign read ‘Interrogation Room’. There was another boy there. Kingston recognised him. It was Sam. Kingston was not close to Sam but knew that they went to the same school. Sam was Kofi’s best friend. Later, Kingston found out that Sam was the boy that banged into him during the chaotic moment.
It was a long interrogation. Kingston had to answer many questions. He felt horrible. The police kept on asking why and how his group managed to create the fire. They kept on demanding who was the leader behind such mayhem. Kingston kept insisting that he was innocent and had nothing to do with the fire. He kept on telling the officer that he was there only to meet Kofi, and realised now that it was a huge mistake. He shouldn’t have gone to the park that evening.
At the same time, Sam was questioned by another officer in the opposite room.
By the end of the interrogation, Kingston found out that it wasn’t a small incident after all. The small fire spread to two big trees. Then a branch from one of the trees fell and burned down a gazebo. It was a huge disaster. Thank God, nobody was hurt, but the damages were quite bad. The police managed to get a CCTV recording that cleared Kingston from all charges. Sam, however was found guilty. He was seen with Kofi and another boy starting the fire. The case was classified as arson. Kofi is still at large.
Kingston is glad that everything is now over. He cannot wait to go home. This will definitely be a life-long lesson. From now on, he will be smart in selecting friends and will think hard before making any decisions.