Uploaded by Adhir Hurjunlal


Friday, July 4
Nancy tugged at the container. Her diminutive frame coupled
with a bad ankle made it almost impossible to lift the fuel, let
alone carry it up the stairs. There was already some spillage
on the floor, but no-one was at home to mind. Young Kyle
glanced at her valiant attempts for a second but immediately
refocused his attention on the mission at hand, taking apart
his newly acquired action man figurine. “What am I rushing
for; I have all the time in the world.” Nancy sedately sat on
the first step, reached into her pockets and pulled out a
cigarette .She put it to her nose and the alluring aroma of the
tobacco made her crave to light up .From her jacket pocket
she pulled out a box of safety matches, lit the ever popular
cancer stick and laid back letting the smoke fill her lungs and
take away her worries.
Kyle was a bit to busy to let his sisters uncharacteristic
behavior thwart his mission. With great dexterity he took
apart the figurine. The multitude of wires roused up his
curiosity even further and nothing was going to take his
attention away. Nancy glanced at her brother, only six years
old and an immense zest for life. “Kyle “, Nancy whispered, “I
love you. “ Kyle was startled for a second but did not respond
Nancy was almost through with the cigarette and rushed up
the stairs to discard the butt. The second floor hallway was
her fathers pride and joy. He single handedly transformed it
into an Elizabethan mosaic. At the end of the hallway stood
Nancy’s ultimate enemy, a full length mirror. For the first
time she approached the mirror. The cigarette butt in her
hand made her look at what she always despised a whore on
the street. She intently looked at herself. Eighteen years old,
but looking almost thirty. Her dark skin, which was not looked
upon favorably by the Indian community, was now dry and
looking as her mother always referred to as “ snoekfish”. The
skin lighteners really damaged her skin and she knew she was
the only one to blame for that. Why had God been so unkind to
her? No feature on her face was in proportion and yes she had
to have the famous Indian huge proboscis.
Nancy stepped into the toilet, yet another accomplishment by
her gifted father. The tiles imported from India depicted
Indians gods and goddesses. Taking a shower always made
Nancy uncomfortable .Eyes seem to be always staring at her,
watching her undress, ogling at her body. Nancy found herself
being momentarily transfixed on one of the depictions and
seemed to be lost in thought. The doorbell chimed and
without further hesitation she discarded the butt into the
toilet and flushed away the evidence of her rebellious teenage
“Why had everything in this home have to be so darn
extravagant “Nancy sighed, “Coming “. The impatient visitor
depressed the switch once more, the theme song from “ Kuch
kuch hota hai “once again filled the entire house. “ God , I
hate that song “ Nancy said to herself . As she steadily
descended the flight of stairs , the doorbell chimed once
more . The image of these flawless Indian heroines , romping
around in their colorful saris , seductively gazing into the eyes
of the hero made her even more depressed . She really hated
those movies.
“Do not press the doorbell again , Nancy shouted , as she
undid the bolts , the three system locking mechanism and
finally the chain . The unwelcomed visitor smiled as the door
opened. Nancy immediately looked over his shoulder to see the
security gate still closed. “How did you get in here ?” Nancy
demanded. The old man was the classic case of a vagabond.
The brown dusty overcoat hid his demeanor , his tattered hat
covered his eyes. “What do you want?” Nancy rudely asked.
The stranger put out his hands and in a pleading tone asked
for something to eat. Nancy broke out into a smile for the
first time that day. The stranger’s hands were clean as if the
he had just had a manicure. Nancy unlocked the trelli-door
breaking the first rule of the house: Never open the door to
This was Nancy’s opportunity, the man looked frail but she was
certain that he could carry the container upstairs and
alleviate the predicament she found herself in. “Take this
upstairs and I will fix you something to eat”. This was the
first time Nancy had power over another human being. She
liked being in charge. Without hesitation the stranger picked
up the container and effortlessly hoisted it up the stairs.
Nancy went to the fridge, took out the previous days curry
and haphazardly dumped it into a packet.
The grandfather clock chimed three times. “Three o clock. “
Kyle shouted ecstatically and immediately ran into the
adjoining room . Nancy could hear the cacophony of noises and
applause from the afternoon cartoon television. The distinct
sound of the upstairs toilet echoed through the hall. Despite
the volume of the surround sound that accentuated Daffy
Duck’s voice , Nancy was convinced that the bathroom was
being used. She galloped up the stairs and forcefully pushed
opened the bathroom door only to find that the stranger
wasn’t an occupant of that room . The acrid smell of the fuel
over-powered the normally orange citrus odour that lingered
in the bathroom. “What did that fool do” Nancy furiously
yelled. The container was on its side and the bathroom towels
were scattered over the floor. The fuel was discarded into
the tub.
Nancy was in a fit of rage but before she could turn around
she felt an almost feminine touch over the nape of her neck.
She felt a surge of adrenaline pulsate through her entire
body. She clenched her fists and was about to retaliate when
the warm hand reached over and barbarically grabbed her
throat. She was whisked around and came face to face with
her assailant . His hat no longer obscured the details that
made him seem harmless. The eyes of a cold and ruthless
killer stared down at the struggling teenager. “Nancy” , he
whispered , “It is time. “
The powerful hand gripped her throat with immense force
making it impossible for Nancy to scream out. She was like a
young antelope in the grip of a mighty and ravenous lion. The
stranger maneuvered her body as if she were a raggedy doll
and immersed her into the fuel. Nancy could feel the sting in
her eyes. She shut them tight and prayed for the pain to
disappear but the intensity of the pain swept over her entire
body. She felt the stranger let go of the throat and she
forcefully opened her eyes. The pain that swept over her body
was not only the fuel. She was on fire.
The scream that followed was like a banshee on flight.
Desperate attempts to douse the flame only worsened her
plight. Like a lobster put to death in a cauldron of boiling
water , there was no escaping her situation. Despite the
torturous pain she had to protect Kyle. As she stepped out of
the bathroom, young Kyle was in front of her staring in
disbelief as Nancy slumped to the floor.
Friday ,July 4 ,
Gregory could take it no longer. The drive was a nightmare and
a colic baby only added to his frustration. Rahul had not
stopped crying for the last hour and between the crying and
Julia’s desperate attempts to calm him down, traffic was a
night-mare. There was no second guessing his wife, he had to
get home. Gregory looked into his rear view mirror only to see
an impatient taxi driver beckoning him to move out of the way.
“This is just my day,” Gregory snapped. Gregory unwound his
window, which required the effort of both hands, and used
the most common of hand signals on South African roads. The
taxi driver most definitely caught sight of a muscle bound arm
and proceeded with a course of action that had his best and
safest interests in mind. “Buzz of you rodent”. Gregory’s foul
mood and bad vibes made Rahul complain even louder than
“Calm down “, Julia interrupted, “You’re upsetting Rahul.”
Gregory turned his attention to his wife’s sweaty and
flustered face. “This is affecting her as much as me,” he
thought, “don’t be so hard on her”. “Listen, honey “Gregory
said in an affectionate tone, “Let’s just go home and spend the
rest of the afternoon relaxing”. Rahul seemed to be in
agreement for he gazed upon his dad and sort of smiled. The
last ten kilometers seemed to be bliss. Gregory thought of
turning the car around and heading back into town, but he
knew Rahul needed to be home. Julia’s alarm went off, “Three
’o’ clock and just in time for Rahul’s next feed “Julia said.
As the beaten up Passat entered the driveway Gregory peered
over the bonnet and skillfully maneuvered the car between
two Ficus trees. Julia nervously uttered “ You never going to
believe this honey , Rahul is out of powdered milk , that was
one of our items on the shopping list”.
“This is not the time to joke “.
“I’m being serious “.
“Tell you what, you go to the pharmacy down the road , Rahul
and I need to spend some father son time anyway”
“Are you sure Greg”
“Take the wallet and could you please get me some head-ache
tablets,” Gregory pleaded.
Julia hopped over to the drivers seat and with even greater
skill , reversed the car out of the driveway. She could see the
two men in her life being entertained by the birds that had
nested on the Ficus trees.
“Lets go in buddy , “ Gregory said in a baby voice.
Rahul seemed to know that he was alone with his father and
gurgled with pleasure.
“Son , what you need is a good bath , you are starting to smell
worse than me .”
Gregory fished out the house keys from his jeans pocket put
it into the keyhole and tried not to allow the kitchen door to
creak open . That sound always disturbed Rahul , but Rahul’s
good mood was not to be dampened by anything. Gregory ,as
habit had it, put the keys on the kitchen counter and not on
the key-rack . Locking the door after in him was not something
Gregory took seriously. It would take somebody really brave
or stupid to try to enter this safe haven and especially when
he was at home.
Gregory’s normal routine , whenever he got home was to turn
on the stereo and fill the house with a medley of classical
music. Mozart’s piano concerto filled the house and Gregory
almost immediately felt the ache in his head subside.
“Now for the promised bath sonny “
Gregory’s massive arm must have been a bit to comfortable
for Rahul was already visiting Rip Van Winkle.
“Never mind buddy , the bath can wait.”
Gregory was always proud of the attachment he and his son
shared , but when Rahul got into his moods and when the colic
was too much to handle he was always looked for Julia.
Gregory settled Rahul in the cot and covered him with the
blanket handmade by Grandma Sara.
“I would love to join you buddy , Gregory tiredly said.
“Gregory.” A voice whispered. Gregory was taken aback .
Surely Mozart never had lyrics to his masterpieces. The
almost ghostlike whisper was heard again and Gregory scolded
himself for being so jumpy.
“Julia , is that you.”
Gregory ran to the kitchen door which was closed. He turned
the handle but it was locked. Gregory searched for the keys
on the counter but the keys had mysteriously vanished . This
is what Julia had warned him so many times about . In case of
an emergency always leave the keys on the key-rack.
Gregory wasn’t an absent minded person , he never made it
past high school but he knew he had a mind as sharp as a
samurai sword. “What is taking Julia so long” Gregory thought.
Gregory sprinted past the kitchen counter and almost slipped
on the Africotta tiled floor. Racing into the third room down
the passage he saw Rahul still fast asleep, nestled between
two rose embellished pillows and his favorite blanket. Gregory
checked the master bedroom and the guest bedroom but all
seemed to be in order. His gun was in the safe but for the life
of him he could not recall where the safe keys were hidden.
He had always thought that if a situation of danger ever came
to himself and his family that he would be able to handle it
with courage . Gregory now knew that this was not the case ,
he had to get a grip on the situation. A palsy of fear swept
over his entire being and his brow was sweat laden. He
stealthily made his way back to the kitchen, pulled the drawer
and pulled out the biggest knife he could find. During his
gangster days he was very adept in using a knife , but Gregory
preferred a fire-arm.
A dismal silence crept over the entire house. Even the
sparrows that teemed the ficus trees went dead quiet. Some
one had turned off the CD player. Gregory held the kitchen
knife and guardedly approached the dining room. He could
sense that the threat was in that room.
“Julia , you scared the crap out of me,” Gregory said with
great relief , “I never heard the car .” Julia motioned her
husband to sit alongside her as she coquettishly lazed on the
sofa. With her palm on his leg she seductively caressed the
inside of his thigh. She moved closer to him and nibbled on the
lobe of his ear.
“Gregory , it is time .“
“Sure honey , anytime you ready.” Gregory moaned.
Her hand slid up to his neck and grabbed with such might that
Gregory was instantly pulled out of his trance like state. He
stared into the cold eyes of a killer , straight out of a horror
movie. Gregory hurtled and tried to fight of his attacker but
to no avail. The inhuman strength of his assailant was
overpowering and Gregory was at the mercy of this maniac. He
felt the cold blade slice into his stomach sending painful
twangs that resonated outwards as the blade was forced
Julia took the liberty of parking the car on the driveway. As
she snatched the packet , she noticed the kitchen door wide
open .”Gregory , when will you ever learn ?”
Friday , JULY 4 , 15 h 10
“Rebecca, Rebecca Nair, doctor will see you now.
Rebecca nervously put down the Cosmopolitan magazine and
braced herself for the news she was about to receive. She
reluctantly made her way into the doctor’s room. The waiting
room was filled with almost to term mother’s to be and
Rebecca prayed that the doctor’s news will not have her
frequently sitting here. Rebecca had just turned 28 and
regarded herself to be in the prime of her life.
“Not now God, oh please not now”
Rebecca braced herself and almost inaudibly tapped at the
door only to hear a pleasant voice inviting her in.
Doctor Frankton remained glued to his computer screen and
gestured for her to sit down. Rebecca gratefully obliged.
“Sorry for the delay Miss Nair” Doctor Frankton said without
looking up.
“Please call me Rebecca , doctor”
“Okay Rebecca, let us have a look at your file”.
Doctor Frankton looked up for the first time and gazed into
the face of a beautiful and elegant young lady. It was only
yesterday that he had seen her but with the hectic schedule
he could not recall why.
His face lighted up when he finally made the connection.
“Rebecca, yes the test results are back from the lab, “
Doctor Frankton mused over the results as if he were trying
to analyze the blood work.
“Oh come on, positive or negative “Rebecca thought.
“Your husband is sure going to be happy”, Doctor Frankton
uttered nonchalantly, “Rebecca, you are definitely pregnant”
“My husband “, Rebecca thought,” I didn’t even get his name”.
Rebecca shut the door on her way out, furious with herself
for letting such a thing happen to her. Without looking at the
receptionist she made her way to the exit. Her newly acquired
BMW stood out in the parking bay, she slumped into the
drivers seat, and momentarily lazed on the tilted seat.
“What am I going to do?”
Rebecca opened her hand bag, fishing out some change to pay
for the undercover parking.
“Well REbby, all of these luxuries will soon have to go.”
With her hands still shaking from her new predicament, she
slowly put the key into the ignition and tried to start her car.
The BMW sputtered momentarily and then the hum of the
engine filled the parking garage.
“Well, baby I do not know how I am going to continue to pay
for you.”
A tap on the window startled Rebecca to the extent that she
let go of the clutch while still in gear and the BMW died down.
She turned to see a beggar with his hands outstretched .As
this was not an uncommon practice, Rebecca pretentiously
smiled and took out her wallet.
“Now here is someone in a worse situation.”
She unwound the window a little, and let the coins fall to the
floor. Rebecca did not hear the distinct clatter of the coins
hitting the floor but whatever happened to them was the
problem the beggar had to deal with. Rebecca returned her
gaze to the beggar as she saw him raising his arm and
smashing the window. Her natural instinct took control of her
as she covered her face and almost recoiled into the fetal
position. The bloodstained hands with the almost feminine
manicure gripped Rebecca by the throat. She had never
before felt such tremendous pressure around her neck, she
tried to scream but the clamped hand restricted her from
doing so. Cold eyes gazed upon her and the stranger coarsely
said, “Rebecca, it is time.”
Rebecca could see the eyes of a demon in the form of a man.
The strangers eyes never left her gaze, until Rebecca could
feel the grip loosen. The beggar now focused on her tummy
and furiously screamed.
“Time for you, but not for him. I will be back “
Rebecca felt the surge of oxygen run through her body as she
quickly regained her composure. She looked around the
sequestered parking lot but the beggar was not there.
Saturday , July 5 : 05H30
Dale was up before his alarm could go off. As with his normal
routine he switched on his cellular phone and perused it a
while checking for any missed calls or messages. He was
always glad when he was not the recipient of any calls or
messages, that could only mean that it would be a normal day
at the station. He soporifically arose from his slumber haven
stretching his body and rubbing his face trying to rid
himself of the sleepy feeling. He continued with his morning
routine which involved fifty press-ups followed by fifty situps. He never really enjoyed the exercise but knew he had to
do something to remain fit. He was proud of his physique
and ruggedly good looks. His physique proved to be an eyecatcher especially when he was down at the beach . Dale
eyed himself out in front of a large mirror. His left breast
muscle seemed always smaller than his right and his six-pack
seemed a bit skew too. “ We all have to have flaws ,” he said
to himself.
Dale hopped into the shower together with his toothbrush and
toothpaste. Some thought of it as being unhygienic but it
saved him time. The water had to be as cold as he could
manage. He vigorously rubbed his body with the palm of his
hands as if shining a new car with burnishing cream. This habit
was a trait that he had learnt from his father.
“To get the creative juices flowing, start your day with a cold
shower.” Dale recalled his father’s words. When he felt
rejuvenated enough he stepped out of the shower and
haphazardly smeared lotion over his entire body. He had laid
his clothes out the night before and in a matter of minutes he
was ready. Dale always enjoyed his mornings to be relaxed. He
could have had an extra half an hour’s sleep but that would
mean rushing in the morning. A rushed morning to him meant a
rushed day.
The theme music from “Knight rider” echoed through the hall
as Dale reluctantly answered his phone. The call line identity
feature revealed that the office was on the line. As if not
wanting to take the call, he tardily picked up the phone.
“Good morning, Mary,” Dale answered politely.
“There nothing good about the morning, never is and never will
be,” Mary replied in her usual sarcastic tone.
“What did I do to deserve a call from you, Mary?”
“Listen Dale, Captain Hook wants you to report in
immediately. Something is up and please do not ask me to go
into the details.”
“Put on the pot of coffee, Mary, be right there.”
This was the one part of his job that infuriated Dale. His time
was important to him but work paid the bills. Dale holstered
his weapon, grabbed his keys and was on his way for what he
considered to be a busy day.
It was remarkably hot for a winters morning and the once
accident damaged police vehicle had no air-conditioner. Dale
unwound the windows and enjoyed the cool breeze as he drove
off. On the up side at least he would not be caught in traffic.
Even though Glendee was a reasonably small town, traffic
could get quite irritating at times and especially when , as Dale
considered them , the older generation used the roads. Half
an hour later Dale pulled into the station. His designated
parking bay was already taken by Captain Hook’s silver
Mercedes so Dale simply pulled into the nearest available bay.
He looked at the small building they called the station. It once
housed a Chinese restaurant but is now what the Captain calls
it, a home from home. Glendee never really needed a big squad
and this building comfortably housed the entire squad, which
was in total fifteen people.
Dale could see Mary through the glass doors. Her unconcerned
manner emanated from her posture but Dale knew deep down
that she had a special place in her heart for him.
“Morning, to you,” Dale said in a flirtatious voice.
“Morning Dale, Hook is in his office”
Mary stared as Dale walked past her. Mary always thought
that with his good looks he should have been a model and not
in the force. Dale had always been friendly to her but
unfortunately friends were all they could be. His mother would
freak out if he had brought an older white girl home with him.
Dale confidently made his way into the Captains office, still
concerned as to what the situation could be.
Captain Smit sat at his desk with his face contorted as if
looking down with utter disgust. With spectacles at the tip of
his nose and his round belly taking up every inch of the chair,
he motioned for Dale to sit. Seated directly ahead of Smit sat
Dale’s adversary, or so he would have liked to think. Veronica
sat crossed legged with an intense look on her face and didn’t
even show any acknowledgement of Dale. Dale who wasn’t to be
outdone reciprocated the same mannerisms.
“Dale, Dale, Dale, we have a situation” Smit said with an
exasperated look on his face.
Dale had never seen the Captain showing much emotion
before, so this had to be really serious.
“Take a look at this,” Smit commanded , “What do you make of
Captain Smit handed Dale two photographs. Dale felt the hair
on his neck rise up to full salute as he glared down on the
pictures. The grotesque scenes depicted in these pictures
caused Dale to grab a hold of his stomach.
“Wh … whoo are th .. these ppeopple, “ Dale stuttered.
“Photograph on your left. Nancy Saur , eighteen years old ,
found burnt to death in her home. Reported in at 15h30
yesterday by her brother. Claims that the sister opened the
door and let an old man in. Not much in terms of a description
, except he was old ,filthy and he smelled bad. She was dipped
in petrol and then set alight. No signs of forced entry. Mr
Saur is in the hospital with his son. The boy is pretty shaken
up. “
“You could have done such a horrible thing,” Dale interrupted.
“ Photograph on your right. Gregory Sitheldeen , Thirty four
years old , Reported in at 15H35 by his wife. Claims she left
him to run some errands and found him like that when she
returned. His one year old son was with him , but unharmed.
Both bodies are in the mortuary.”
Dale was certainly taken aback by what he had just heard .
Glendee had the usual domestic fights and the normal run in
with bar-room brawls and drunken driving but this was totally
what this town had never seen before. He studied the
pictures for a few more seconds and then slowly left them on
the table.
“I guess you want some answers,” mustered Dale.
“You damn right I want some answers Dale,” Smit retaliated, “
the scenes are untouched , go find me some answers. I’ve
already briefed Veronica .Dale you handle the young girl ,
Veronica is going to look into the death of the Mister
Sitheldeen .”
Dale took the photographs, inserted them into the files and
briskly left the office. Now he definitely needed that coffee.
Mary jumped at the opportunity to offer Dale some coffee
and followed him into the kitchen.
“Dale , you are the best we have , I know you would sort this
out,” Mary said.
Dale sat down with the steaming cup of Frisco and pondered
on where he should start. He opened up the docket once more
, this time turning the photos around. On his pad he wrote
down the addresses of the victim. He however knew that his
first stop would be to the mortuary. Veronica would be there
anyway and Clemens would surely be in doing the postmortem.
“Anything else exciting while I was away, Mary?” Dale asked
“Well nothing to top what you have just heard.”
“ Duty calls.” Dale said as he put the coffee on the table.
“ Oh yes ,” Mary quickly croaked as if trying to delay his
departure,” Some woman reported an attempted robbery in
the parking garage down at the medical centre. Said the
perpetrator really scared the crap out of here. Lady by the
name of Rebecca Nair”
“Say again.”
“Rebecca Nair.”
“Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time.”
Dale’s mind went racing back to his last year at school. They
were acquaintances or maybe a little more than that , Dale
could not be sure what exactly the situation with Rebecca
and himself was. She sure sent out mixed signals and when he
joined the force he had completely lost track of her.
“Might be interesting to pay her a visit.” Dale slyly thought.
“Got an address for me ,Mary”
“Sure thing , got the report on my desk.”
Mary handed Dale the information he requested and Dale
meticulously folded the paper and put it into his pocket. Dale
made his way to the adjacent building which housed Glendee’s
mortuary. The stench of death was the predominant reason
why he always disliked coming in. Just as he had guessed,
Veronica was there , already reading the autopsy report.
“Must have been an early morning for you, Clemens.” Dale said
as he moved closer to the bodies.
“More like a late night.” Clemens answered as if seeking a pat
on the back for sheer dedication to his job.
“What can you tell me about the girl?”
The two bodies were covered up in the government supplied
white sheeting and Dale was sure not going to request them
being uncovered. He stood as far away as possible and noticed
Veronica doing the same.
“Is this bothering the ice –princess as much as me?” Dale
His train of thought was interrupted when Veronica dropped
the reports as she stood there momentarily transfixed by the
horrific condition of the young girl. Clemens had ,as Dale
figured, intentionally pulled the sheeting revealing the burnt
remains of Nancy.
Veronica quickly regained her composure and motioned for
Dale to step outside. Dale was surprised at his reaction to
seeing young Nancy lying there, her body blackened by the
burns and the absence of lips highlighting her teeth. He had
not even flinched, but he was sure not going to push it.
Veronica was waiting behind close doors so Dale excused
himself from the autopsy room only to find Veronica throwing
up in the thrash receptacle.
Her long blonde hair concealed her actions and Dale patiently
waited until she was through.
“Are you okay?” Dale asked sympathetically.
“I thought I would be fine,” she answered, “Dale I am going to
be honest with you. I don’t think I would be able to handle this
Dale felt a sense of relief for he shared the same sentiments
but there was no way in hell he was going to admit it.
“I am no good at this,” Veronica conceded,” I’ll tell the captain
to put someone else on it.
“Hold on a second,” Dale quickly interrupted,” lets talk this
“I’ve made up my mind, Dale; let this become some-one else’s
Dale felt a sudden swelling in his stomach as he reached over
and put his hand on Veronica’s shoulder. He could not fathom
the reason why he was being nice to here and why he wanted
her to handle the case. An observer might think that he
wanted her to try doing some real police work just to prove
that he was better. Dale was not even sure that he would be
able to handle the case .
“Here’s a plan Veronica, lets do the initial investigations on
both cases together and the captain will never have to know.”
Dale hoped that she would agree and when she turned to him
her sparkling blue eyes gave him the affirmation he needed.
“So what do you say Veronica Krige, are we partners or not?”
Veronica wiped her eyes with the cuffs of her shirt, hugged
Dale and said,” come on we have work to do.”
Veronica led the way into the autopsy room, picked up the
reports which were still lying on the floor.
“Back for more,” Clemens laughed, “now who’s first.”
Dale felt it proper that he take the initiative to find out the
sordid details.
“Please, Clemens, don’t tell me things I would never
understand. Give me something that would help.”
Clemens adjusted his collar as if in the preparation for a
national address.
“The young girl as you see is of small stature. Incinerant used
was definitely high octane leaded petrol. What it was doing in
the house, I have no idea. Her stomach was filled with this
stuff so when she burned it was both ways. There were
contusions around the neck area which was not from the
burns. As you can see the neck and head are not as bad as the
rest of the body. This girl was murdered.” Clemens reported
as though he had rehearsed it.
“We are not experts here, “said Dale, “that’s what we already
“What about the man? Veronica interrupted.
“Bet the prime suspect is the wife, eh Ronnie” Clemens
“Just stick to what will help us, Clemens.”
“Murder weapon, one large knife. This guy was literally carved
up. No alcohol or drugs found in his system so whoever did this
had to be really strong, and when I say strong they had to
take down a guy of this size.” Clemens exclaimed as he pulled
the white sheeting revealing the massive wounds on the victim.
“Guess the wife is off the hook.”
“Remarkable thing though, this guy has severe wounds around
the neck. Seen a gorilla do this to a man. That sort of force
inflicts this type of damage.”
“Who-ever did this is definitely an animal.” Veronica blurted
“That will do, Clemens, “Dale quickly said , “Call us if you have
anything new. Veronica we have a crime scene to visit.”
Veronica must have been trying to make up for what
transpired earlier for she led the way out into the parking bay
and triumphantly stood at the drivers side door waiting for
Dale to hand over the keys.
“I’m assuming you want to drive.” Dale said as he tossed over
the keys.
The van let out a thunderous roar which was owing to the
accelerator being depressed a little more than it should have
been and after a few jerky starts they were on the way.
“Thirty five Dahlia Street and make it snappy.” Dale joked.
All Dale received for his quirky remark was a quick side-wards
glance and sudden braking as Veronica halted at a red traffic
Approximately two micro-seconds after the traffic light
turned green, Veronica sped of again as if testing the
capabilities of the van. As she approached another red traffic
light, she pressed on the brake causing Dale to move forward
steadying himself with his hands.
“For God’s sake woman, get me there alive.” Dale growled.
Dahlia street housed some of the best homes in Glendee. Only
the rich could afford to own homes in this street. Every house
was a double storey with at least three garages and gardens
that looked like they were pruned and maintained every single
“Thirty-one, thirty-three, ah thirty-five.” Veronica murmured
under her breath. The red police tape hung on the
tremendously huge gate posing as a deterrent for any visitors
wishing to pass on the condolences to the family. Veronica
park close enough to the intercom and depressed the button.
“Nobody is at home Veronica .”Dale said condescendingly as he
opened his door and pushed the huge gate open. Veronica
drove in and was out of the van before Dale could reach her.
“This is not a house , it’s a mansion.” Dale said.
Dale could not help but notice the security measures Mr Saur
had taken to keep his family safe but unfortunately it was not
enough. Dale tried the front door and as expected it was open.
The stench of burnt flesh still emanated from the house.
“Are you sure no one else interfered with the scene.” Veronica
“Only the medics, from what I’ve been told,” Dale responded.
“This is a beautiful house.”
Dale cautiously stepped inside as if expecting the murderer to
be waiting for their arrival. The room was extraordinarily
warm as the two investigators perused over the contents.
Veronica picked up a photograph which was displayed on the
“Looks like mom is missing,” she said.
“She’s dead,”Dale blurted out.
“There was no mention of the mother, Dale.”
“Let me tell you something of the Indian culture, Veronica,
mothers don’t leave their children and besides that, the
photograph on the wall with the plastic wreath around it shows
that ,that woman is dead.”
“Oh, excuse me. By the way Dale did you bring the finger print
It’s still in the van , check around I’ll fetch it.”
Dale took in a deep breath as he exited the house , letting the
fresh oxygenated air fill his lungs. The stench in the house
was becoming a little too much for him to bear and he was glad
that he had forgotten to take the kit with him. As he was
walking to the car he cursed.
“Damn , I touched the door-knob.”
Dale was always careful in following protocol but he did not
put on his latex gloves.
“I hope Veronica is not touching everything she sees.”
Dale rushed to the van which remained unlocked , pulled out
the kit and reached into his glove compartment fishing out
two unused latex gloves. He rushed back into the house and
called out to Veronica.
“I’m upstairs Dale. This is where it all happened.”
Don’t touch anything ,I’ll be right up.”
Dale rushed up the stair-case , climbing three steps with each
stride and when he reached the top Veronica was holding a
rather large container.
“You are messing up the evidence. ”Dale said as he held up the
latex gloves.
Veronica didn’t reply as she held up her hands boasting that
she already had a pair on.
“Smart girl.”
Veronica dropped the container on the floor , took a step away
and folded her arms as if telepathically telling Dale to test
for fingerprints. As Dale meticulously dusted for fingerprints
Veronica stepped into the bathroom.
“Dale , come in here.”
Dale suddenly felt as if he were the junior officer , always
coming to the beck and call of his companion. He however
“It all happened here, Dale. She must have really suffered”
Dale played the scene in his mind and was literally shaken back
to reality by Veronica.
“Will you look at these tiles, “ Veronica said in disbelief as she
stared at the drawings on the walls ,”this family must be
involved in some cult or something.”
“It’s not a cult , majority of the Indian population worship
them.” Dale responded.
As Dale continued to dust for the finger prints he said, “Take
that one for instance.”
Dale pointed at the one of the sketches.
“Dale, please don’t tell me you worship a monkey.”
“That’s Hanuman; he is supposed to be a symbol of strength
and loyalty. Not to go into too much of detail but he was sent
to get some healing herbs from the mountains for a dying
friend and when he could not find it he simply picked up the
whole mountain and brought it to his friend. The sketch in the
centre is of Krishna.
“Like the Hare Krishna’s.” Veronica interrupted.
“Something like that.”
The sketch in the centre made Veronica cringe a little. The
depiction was of a lady wearing what seemed like a tiger skin
outfit with disheveled hair and eyes rolling with intoxication.
Her fang like teeth and lolling tongue was dripping with blood.
And what made the picture even scarier was the necklace
made out of human skulls that was draped around her neck.
She had four arms, two of which held several heads while the
other two held a dagger and a sword.
“And what about this one?” Veronica asked reluctantly.
“That’s Kali; she represents the realities of life and death.”
Dale answered with great confidence.
“And you pray to her.” Veronica asked carefully.
“I grew up in a Hindu home but to tell you the truth I don’t
believe in much of it.”
“Well I believe in only one God, Jesus Christ.”
“Don’t know much about him either. This is all done. There’s
definitely two sets of finger-prints here. The container has
the best prints.” Dale said as if attempting to change the
Veronica was pleased to leave the bathroom as they headed
for the bedrooms. It was quite easy to spot Nancy’s room. The
room was painted in a dull grey that certainly was the total
opposite to the rest of the house. A small desk stood in the
corner of the room, on top of which stood a rather impressive
computer. The room did not boast the extravagance of the
hall that led to the room. Pages of unfinished crosswords were
clumsily spread out on the bed and posters of Nirvana, Led
Zeppelin and Kiss were stuck on the walls.
“Veronica, what exactly are we doing in here.”
“Somebody must have really hated her to do this. This room
might have a clue as to the identity of that person.”
“Let’s just talk to her father; the brother might be the key to
solving this. Anyway I think we got him.” Dale said as he held
up the fingerprints.”
Dale led the way out of the house not bothering to close the
door and this time he stood at the driver’s door with arms
outstretched as Veronica tossed over the keys.
Dale was a cautious driver which seemed to irritate Veronica as he
kept to the speed limit coming to complete stops at every stop sign.
He reached over to the glove compartment and took out the police
reports removing the page that contained the address of the male
victim. It was almost midday and Dale felt the pangs of hunger in his
stomach. He dared not mention it to Veronica and decided to wait till
later. The drive took them to the poorer part of Glendee where portholes infested the roads. The ride had now become a bumpier one and
Dale slowed down even more. It took him twenty five minutes cover
fifteen kilometers but on the up side they quickly found the road they
where looking for.
“Number thirty three. Ah there it is.” Dale exclaimed.
A beaten up Passat was already parked on the driveway and Dale
parked closely behind it.
“Nobody is supposed to be here.” Veronica uttered angrily.
Veronica and Dale almost simultaneously jumped out of the van and
approached the car. It was unlocked and the driver’s side window was
half open. The baby seat in the back confirmed Dale’s suspicion that it
belonged to the deceased.
“Where do you think the wife and the baby are, Dale?”
“No clue.”
The neighborhood was quite except for the occasional neighbor
passing the house trying to get a glimpse of what was happening. Dale
tried to open the front door but it was locked.
“Let’s try the back door.”
The back door in this house was actually a side door and as Dale
depressed the handle, the creak of the hinges echoed through the
“Hello is anyone in here,” Veronica called out.
“This is the police.”
“Well all seems quite on the western front,” Dale said.
The house had the fresh smell of blood in it and Veronica left the
door opened. The house had the standard three bedrooms and as they
walked into the passage Dale saw the blood stained carpets in the
dining room.
“Over there, Veronica.”
Not to repeat the mistake of the morning Dale put on his latex gloves
and accidentally stung his hands in the process. He cursed from the
pain which startled Veronica.
“What the hell are you up to, Dale, you trying to give me a heart
The carpet in the dining room was soaked in blood. A large stain was on
the sofa and specks of blood stuck on to the curtain. The dreariness
of the room was further accentuated by the drawn curtains which
allowed only a little of the sunlight through. Dale reached up and
opened one of the curtains.
“Let’s shed a little light on the subject,” he joked.
“Dust for prints, Dale.”
“You dust for prints, I’ll have a look around,” Dale said.
Dale felt uneasy in the dining room and started to check out the rest
of the house. He always felt uncomfortable when he perused through
somebody’s personal belongings but this had to be done. As he moved
through the passage he noticed a drop of blood on the floor.
“How did you get here,” he whispered.
Three tiles away another drop of blood caught his eye.
“Where are you leading me?”
Dale followed the trail which led to the baby’s room. He scanned the
floor but no blood was visible. It was times like these that Dale hated
the smallness of Glendee’s police department. They were on a
ridiculously small budget and investigative high tech equipment was
hard to come by.
“Guess I’ll have to solve this the old fashioned way.”
Dale stepped into the room. Stuffed teddy bears hung from the
ceiling and over the cot hung a cute musical toy. A box over-laden with
toys stood in the corner. Dale tried not to be childish but he stepped
to the cot and depressed the tiny button on the musical toy. A
pleasant and relaxing sound emanated from the box. As Dale hummed
to the tune he noticed another drop of blood on the baby’s pillow in
the cot. The music stopped and Dale slowly picked up the pillow. Semiconcealed by the sheet was the murder weapon: one large knife.
Dale picked up the knife , inserted it in a plastic bag and closed the
door on his way out.
“Veronica , check this for prints. I found it in the baby’s room in the
cot. Looks like the wife is back on the suspect list.”
Veronica laid the knife on the coffee table and proceeded to dust for
“Now there’s a good set. This killer wants to get caught ,Dale . He , oh
sorry she left all the evidence we need.”
“Com’on let’s get these to Clemens , He can match up the prints while
we get something to eat.
As Dale and Veronica left the house a mob was waiting at the gate all
asking the same question : “Have you caught him yet?”
Dale felt like a celebrity as he drove out. He was bludgeoned with
questions as he turned the van and headed for the station. There
seemed to be an urgent desperation for Dale to get to the station for
he showed no signs of cautionary measures as he drove the van. One
thing prevalent in this small town was the influence a mob had on
getting things done. Veronica stared out of the side window as if
perplexed by an unsolvable conundrum. Dale was suddenly not in the
mood to engage in any conversation but the muddiness of the whole
mornings events caused him to break the deafening silence that
prevailed in the van.
“What say we get something to eat?”
“Clemens will be waiting, give him the prints to analyse.”
“Sure thing, Captain.” Dale reluctantly agreed.
Dale pulled into the station and was flabbergasted to see that not
even one of the parking bays was vacant.
“What in the world is going on here? The Christmas party is six
months away.”
“What do you expect, Dale, two murders in one afternoon? Everyone
wants to know what’s going on. Even I would want to know if my life is
in jeopardy with murderers out there.”
Dale could see Mary through the glass door. She had an exasperated
look one her face and was fervently trying to calm down the town folk
. Whatever explanation she was concocting was sure not hitting its
mark. Dale had an urge to rescue her from the tumultuous array of
unanswerable questions but heeded to the recommendation of
Veronica to enter through the side door. In any event as Dale thought
it was Captain Hook’s responsibility to calm every one down and to
decide what aspects of the case could or should become public
The precarious location of the side door was the only reason why it
was rarely used and both Dale and Veronica arduously made their way
into the station. Dale felt an immediate crave for a hot cup of coffee
but that would mean passing through the crowd negating their purpose
of entering through the side door. The captain’s door was ajar and
Clemens sat comfortably in the captain’s chair.
“Thought you two would never get back,” Clemens said as if he had
taken up the position of the ‘Big Kahuna’.
“Need names to go with these.” Veronica reported as he thrust out
the fingerprints.
“Get right on it.”
Even though the station was not equipped with state of the art
equipment, Clemens was quite proud of the computer system used to
analyse finger prints. He recalled using it once to get the telephone
number of one of the woman who captured his fancy at a wedding
ceremony. The deviousness of his actions landed him up in great
trouble for he ended up marrying that blonde.
Captain Smit with his impeccable skills of manipulation somehow had
managed to assuage the crowd who were slowly leaving the station.
Dale knew that they would be cornered by the captain into giving an
update on their findings but he prayed not until he had indulged in his
cup of coffee. Dale slipped into the kitchen but as soon as he picked
up his coffee mug he heard the distinct grunt of Captain Smit.
“Bring the coffee into the office.” Smit irritably interrupted.
Dale hurriedly made his cup of coffee and proceeded to the captain’s
office. He was not the least bit surprised to find Veronica already
seated at the desk. Dale could not help but feel that Veronica
intentionally tried to make him seem inept when ever they were in the
presence of the captain.
“Let’s have it.” Smit said incoherently.
“Excuse me.” Dale replied almost immediately.
“What have you got to show me?”
Dale felt rather foolish and to compound his mistake Veronica started
reporting back to Smit.
“Well, sir, we’ve found some good sets of fingerprints at the scene.
Clemens is busy putting some names to those prints. We were just on
our way out to question the immediate family. I’ll get their
whereabouts from Mary.”
“This takes priority, Dale, I need answers, the town needs answers.”
Dale dared not take a sip of his coffee in the fear of slurping and
upsetting Smit even further.
“Clemens must have made up a match by now. Check the prints.” Smit
announced with great authority.
Clemens disposition could at sometimes be rather infuriating to anyone
and this was the day that Dale felt that way. He was seated with
textbook posture in front of the computer handling the mouse as if
were one of his extremities. Dale could not help but to notice that
something was bothering Clemens.
“Come up with anything.” Dale asked breaking the eerie silence of the
“Let me show you something” Clemens replied as he reached over for
the prints.
Clemens laid the two sets of fingerprints on the table.
“This much I don’t need technology to tell me. Check out the thumb
print of the girl’s murder, now check this one. Any of you make the
Dale seized this opportunity to get one over Veronica and even though
he could not see any connection he immediately replied,” They are the
“Your observation skills really impress me. Dale.”
Clemens held a magnifying glass to the prints and moved slightly so
Dale could see the enlarged version of the prints.
“Now Dale impress me even further, what do you see?”
Dale squinted his eyes and frowned a bit as if really scrutinizing the
“The lines are running both vertically and horizontally making up a
grid.” Clemens reported.” What we got here is something else.”
Veronica who was still quite throughout the proceedings took a step
forward and further examined the prints.
“Well Dale, I think our two cases have now become one. We are after
the same killer. Clemens have you analysed any of the other prints, I
think we’ve got good prints of the other fingers.”
“Take a seat my dear; I was just about to recommend the same thing.”
Veronica took a seat next to Clemens and pulled uncomfortably close
to him. She could get the distinct smell of “Old Spice” , it reminded
her of her father. Dale looked around for another chair but deemed it
unnecessary so he just stood behind Clemens. Clemens had the prints
scanned and simply prompted the print of the forefinger on to the
computer screen. He was working so fast that Dale never quite saw
what Clemens was doing. The search icon was depressed and Dale saw
the word “searching” on the top of the screen.
“How long does this take.” Dale asked.
Dale felt as if he had spoken to himself because neither one of his
two colleagues answered him. As he straightened himself up and
stretched his arms the computer screen stopped.
“Game, set and that’s a match.” Clemens said.
“Get up a photo so I can see what that lunatic looks like.” Veronica
said rather enthusiastically.
In a matter of seconds an image appeared on the screen with further
details popping up slowly underneath it.
“This guy looks old,” Veronica commented.
The image on the screen showed a balding man of Indian decent who
anyone might have guessed to be in his late fifties.
“ Name : Venkat Nair , born October 17 , 1901. That can’t be right,
this guy should be around one hundred and six years old now, “Clemens
said in a tone that suggested disappointment. As he further read “
Died August 23, 1954. “
“You must have done something wrong, Clemens, “Dale suggested.
“This is the profile I’m getting with those prints.”
“Well, try again. There’s no way that I am going to tell Captain Hook
that we are searching for a killer who died before I was born.” Dale
said impatiently. “Try running the prints of the middle finger, if that’s
not too much to ask.”
Clemens no longer sat with the confidence and posture that he
displayed when Dale entered into the room. He now slouched a bit and
carefully loaded the next set of prints into the computer. Dale seized
this as an opportunity to dart out of the room and into the kitchen.
This was his chance to get a cup of coffee. His hunger pangs had
increased tremendously and he felt himself becoming light-headed.
Mary saw Dale rush into the kitchen and shouted from her reception
“We’re out of coffee, Dale. I’m going to get some soon. “
“Could things get any worse,” Dale muttered.
Dale hurriedly made his way back to the ops room hoping that his vital
presence was not missed. As he stepped into the room Veronica turned
to him and by the contortion of her facial muscles Dale knew that she
was the bearer of more bad news.
“You’re not going to believe this, Dale, “Veronica said, “We’ve come up
with another suspect.”
The picture on the screen revealed yet another male of Indian decent
with a full frock of hair and a neatly trimmed goatee.
Clemens who was responsible for all the feedback continued, “Name
Albert Saur, born February 16, 1899, died August 23, 1954. Do you
think I’ve made a mistake again, Dale?”
“I think this is the most insane thing I ever heard,” Dale replied.
“Try the ring finger, Clemens,” Veronica suggested.
Clemens called up the prints of the ring finger and worked slowly
depressing the icons only after he glanced at Dale as if seeking
permission to continue. The computer analysed the prints with the
same speed as the others and a few seconds later an image of yet
another Indian male popped up on the screen.
“Your relatives seemed to be popping up on the screen, Dale, “Veronica
“That’s not funny.”
“Name Pooben Sitheldeen, born March 12, 1906, died August 23, 1954”
Clemens said interrupting their conversation.
“This is just damn outrageous,” Dale shouted as he held up his hands in
disgust, “We are searching for a ghost or maybe four ghosts. Clemens
analyse the prints of the little finger.”
“Well the way things are going, it’s going to be a dead Indian male.”
“Just do it.”
“Okay, okay.”
Clemens called up the last set of prints and pressed the search icon.
Dale waited patiently hoping that he could have a decent lead on the
killer. In the box where the photograph would have normally appeared
the words: NO MATCH FOUND took its place.
“What does that mean?” Dale asked.
“There no match to these prints.”
“I know that, but why?”
“You know why, Dale, not everyone had their prints taken, not
everyone has an identity document.”
“It’s crucial that we get a name to those prints. Is there anything you
can do?”
I’ll see what I can do, Dale,” Clemens replied.
Clemens printed a copy of the identikits that he had just obtained and
handed them over to Veronica. The last half an hour had taken their
seemingly simple case and had now transformed it into what seemed
like an unsolvable one. Dale felt disheartened at this sudden turn of
events and the only solace he had was that Veronica felt the same.
The inexplicable results of the analysis of the prints had dampened
Dale’s spirits.
“Veronica, “Dale said, “Let’s go over these identikits in the kitchen
over a cup of coffee.”
The urn was on and to Dale’s disappointment Mary had not kept to her
word so tea would have to suffice. Veronica neatly laid the three
documents on the table.
“Dale, this is not possible. I concur with Clemens, we are after the
same killer but these prints are something else. Can someone duplicate
prints and leave them at a scene.”
“That’s possible but where will he get them from, these people are
long dead.”
“Okay, let’s look at this from another angle, what these three people
have in common.”
“They’re all dead.”
“No, no, I mean they’re all of Indian decent and so were our victims.
There was an uncomfortable silence that lasted only a few seconds
until Veronica called out, “Check this out Dale, all three of them died
on the same day: August 23, 1954. “
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
“There it is, August 23, 1954. Our victims were both murdered
Dale took a slurp of his hot tea and felt a blissful relief in his throat.
“Veronica, to tell you the truth I think that someone is really messing
around with us.”
“I think this will lead us somewhere: Venkat Nair, Albert Saur, Pooben
Sitheldeen, what have you guys got in common.”
Dale almost spilled some of his tea on to the floor when Veronica
announced each name. He picked up the documents lying on the table
to make sure that she had pronounced the names correctly.
Dale felt his blood suddenly rush through his body and responded to a
very surprised Veronica. “The last two names Albert Saur and Pooben
Sitheldeen, our two victims share the same last names, Nancy Saur
and Sitheldeen , ah there it is Gregory Sitheldeen. Now I think we are
on to something.”
“What about Venkat Nair.”
“At this time, no idea where he fits into this picture.”
The water in the urn reached its maximum boiling point and the
bubbling of the water seemed to have attracted another coffee
addict. This time Captain Smit waltzed into the kitchen. Without even
looking up Dale closed the file and took a long sip of his now cold tea.
“Any developments from Clemens, “ Smit asked as he reached under
the kitchen counter and pulled out a small tin of coffee.
“Nothing concrete, “ Dale answered almost immediately , “ but we are
working on it.”
Dale was surprised that Veronica had not impulsively uttered any
information regarding their recent findings. He did not want to engage
in conversation with the captain any longer for fear that Veronica
,given her behaviour of the past, would say something that he at this
moment did not want to reveal. Dale casually arose from his
comfortable chair and slyly hinted for Veronica to do the same. Much
to his satisfaction she caught on and they cautiously made their way
to the reception desk.
“Mary , I’m told that you can tell us where to find the immediate
families of the victims,” Veronica said.
Mary who was busy rummaging through some old files looked up and
handed Dale an envelope.
“It’s all there,” she said.
On their way out Veronica commented , “ I don’t think she likes me
“Well , Veronica , you yourself do not come out as being a likeable
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Forget I said anything. Let’s go.”
As they were walking to the van Dale took a peak at the addresses
given to him.
“Julia Sitheldeen , staying with family , 12 Aloe Street . Mister Saur
is supposedly still at the hospital. Who do you want to question first?”
“The wife , I suppose . Give Saur a little more time with his son.”
“Bless you lady , Chick-city is on the way there , I could sure use a
As Dale drove of he felt his pocket just to confirm that he had
carried his wallet. He sped of like a bat out of hell and used any shortcut possible to get to chick-city before his stomach acids started to
consume the lining of his tummy. As Dale pulled into the parking lot of
chick-city his sensitive and highly defined olfactory organs got the
aroma of the ever popular fried chicken . His hunger pangs became
subsequently more pronounced as he sprang out of the van , not
bothering to offer Veronica anything.
“Dale , do you think they serve fish here.”
“It’s chicken city , love , not Atlantis.”
Veronica smiled as if she had understood the wit behind that remark
but Dale thought of it as being unlikely. The two strolled into chickcity and immediately stared up towards the ceiling checking out the
menu. When Dale returned his gaze to the cashier he was greeted by
the coquettish smile of a Barbie look-alike . He seized the opportunity
and returned the smile. With his elbows on the counter he asked if
she could recommend something that would fill up his insatiable
“Why don’t you have the burger,” Veronica interrupted , “better make
that two.”
The waitress could take a hint and the flirtatious smile withered away
as she took the order. Dale just stood there in dismay as his
opportunity faded into oblivion.
Back in the van Dale devoured his burger and washed it down with an
ice cold can of soda. He felt energy being replenished into his body
just like a video game character after consuming a power-up. It had
been a busy day thus far and time constraints for accomplishing his
set out tasks for the day had been mean. Dale looked up the address
once again and started the van. Veronica, even though she was petite,
had finished her burger in record time and was slowly sipping on her
soda. In the same hurriedness that the van pulled in, it drove of. Even
though the town was small, Dale knew that some streets were hard to
find but as luck would have it he by accident turned into Aloe Street.
“Twelve Aloe Street, there it is Dale. You know what sad Dale, ten
years ago yards never needed to be fenced. Take a look at this house,
the fencing and that preposterously large gate makes it look more a
prison rather than a home. It’s truly sad.”
In the centre of the mammoth gate glared a colourful “BEWARE OF
THE DOG” sign. Dale hooted and up to the gate ran a Maltese poodle
barking at the visitors. Dale hooted again but there were no signs of
any activity , onlt that of the irritating poodle making a racket. Dale
emerged from the van and used the small entrance gate to enter the
yard. Veronica had never seen somebody run into the van as fast as
Dale with a snarling rotweiller at his heels.
“You want to try hooting again,” she mockingly suggested.
The front door opened and somebody called the dogs away. They must
have been highly trained dogs because they heeded to the call
straight-away and Dale certainly thought so, they must have
manipulated him into coming into the yard before springing the trap on
The young lady shouted from inside, “What do you want.”
“Com’on lady, you can see this is a police vehicle, open up,” Dale said
“We need to speak to Julia Sitheldeen, may we come in,” Veronica
The large electronic gate opened and Dale drove the van inside. He
cautiously exited and walked briskly to the opened door. Inside they
were greeted by the young lady and asked to take a seat.
Julia appeared from the passage and introduced herself. Her eyes
were sunken into their sockets and her nose was blistered red.
“Where’s my husband, officers? “she ruefully asked.
“He’s still at the morgue, the coroner should release the body by the
morning maam, “Dale replied.
“I should have never left him alone, please tell me you caught the
bastard that did this.”
“It’s just a matter of time maam; we need to ask you a few questions.”
Dale could see how painful this was for Julia and had to be careful in
the way he asked his questions.
“How’s the baby doing?”
“He’s fine, a little distressed but nothing a good dose of panado syrup
couldn’t sort out.”
You told one of our associates that you left your husband and son at
home and went out for a while; approximately how long were they
“Couldn’t have been for than half an hour.”
“Did your husband have any enemies, somebody who could have done
this to him?”
“No. no Gregory was a good person, “Julia sobbed, “everyone liked him.
If only you had met him...”
Veronica reached into the envelope she carried in and pulled out the
photograph of Pooben Sitheldeen.
“Julia, I want you to help us, do you recognize this man” Veronica
asked as she handed over the photograph.
“Can’t say that I do, who is he?”
“His name is Pooben Sitheldeen, a relative perhaps.”
Julia scrutinized the photograph a bit harder.
“I know Gregory’s dad and this guy bears a good resemblance to him,
perhaps an uncle.”
Julia got up from the couch and took the photograph into the room.
Dale could hear that she was conversing with someone that sounded
old. The language was definitely Hindi and Dale who was familiar to the
language made no sense of the conversation.
When Julia returned, she passed the photograph to Veronica.
“It’s Gregory’s grandfather.” she said.
A fully fledged hospital was never in the plans of Glendee but the
town boasted quite an impressive medical centre that took care of the
town’s medical needs. As this was the only medical service available
the folk of Glendee always referred to it as the hospital. The only
available parking was at the ground floor and Dale who never paid for
parking was forced to use it. The parking lot without appropriate
illumination made it an awful task of parking the van but after
considering that it was a marked vehicle, Dale parked over two bays.
“Lucky you didn’t have to parallel park,” Veronica joked.
The stairs led them up to a small office with the word RECEPTION
painted on the back wall. The massive size of the sign made the office
look small but at least it made the buxom receptionist look two sizes
smaller. Veronica led the way forward and conversed with the
receptionist, “We’re here to see Mister Saur, his son was brought in
“It’s sad to see such terrible things happen to good people, “the
receptionist said, “Mister Saur had some urgent business to attend to,
said he’d be back first thing tomorrow morning.”
Dale could not be sure if he was disappointed with Mister Saur
absence, but he was glad that there would be no more surprises in the
case, at least for today. Veronica left her mobile number with the
receptionist with strict instructions that she be contacted the
moment Mister Saur returned.
The drive back to the station marked the day Dale knew that he was
going to have the moment his cell phone rang in the morning. He could
not get to grips with all that transpired and he felt that he needed a
time out. He dropped Veronica at the station and without even
bothering to go inside he drove home. Living alone had its advantages
but Dale in the last few months had that alone feeling that he seldom
felt but the onset of the emotion began the moment he stepped out
of the van. As Dale opened his door he threw the van keys on the
kitchen counter, put on the kettle and pulled out a canister of the
expensive coffee he kept for special occasions. He emptied his
pockets onto the kitchen table and found the piece of paper Mary had
given him earlier.
“I completely forgot about you, “he whispered.
Ridden with the sickening emptiness of the house Dale with a smug
look on his face blended in with ease. He contemplated going out just
to lift his spirits but a Saturday night out in this small town proved
time and time again to be an exercise of futility. Dale could smell the
strong aroma of the coffee beans as he sipped the delicacy. He
opened up the crumpled paper with the address on it. Rebecca Nair, 1C
Toucan Place. Dale pondered over whether he should pay Rebecca a
visit. He knew that his visit would not be work related but at least he
could pretend that it was. As the last sip of his coffee went down his
throat he made up his mind to go. Dale lifted himself from the stupor
he was in and headed to the shower. A hot shower combined with
pleasant smelling shower gel brought back the smile to his face. Dale
looked at the time – five thirty.
“Six, should a convenient time, “he thought.
Dale locked his door on his way out at precisely six’ o ‘clock. He felt
refreshed, revived and ready to take on the night. The town was
relatively quite at this time of the day and Dale headed to the area
called Silver City. He knew that Toucan Place was a street in this area.
His night driving was not what it used to be but Dale was sure not
going to let anyone know that he battled to drive at night. At around
six thirty, Dale found his destination. He parked in front of a cosy
sanctuary that boasted a bewildering array of lighting.
Dale cautious of his earlier experience checked around for any signs
of a resident canine and proceeded into the yard. He gleefully made
his way to the door and rang the doorbell. He heard the tapping of
sandals on a wooden floor and announced, “My name is Dale Moodley,
I’m from the police department, just following up on a report of
The door opened and there stood Rebecca, just as beautiful as Dale
remembered her.
“It took you a long time to respond,” she imperiously said.
The security gate was opened and in the light of the passage Rebecca,
to Dale’s relief , recognized him.
His visit had not gone according to plan because Rebecca asked
nothing personal and said nothing about herself. Dale knew ways in
which to make a lady warm up to him but he could see that Rebecca
was distressed and opted for the more apt approached to get the
information he wanted.
“Is your husband at home?”
“No, I’m not married.”
Dale felt like soaring like an eagle, that’s what he wanted to hear.
“Could you tell me what happened?”
“I thought you would have got the guy by now. Everything was in my
“I’ll be handling this case now, could you give me the details.”
“I was in the underground parking at the medical centre,” she said,
“that maniac attacked me there.”
Dale remembered the poor lighting in that parking.
“I thought he was a harmless beggar. He broke my window and started
to strangle me.”
Dale had forgotten the reason he was there and started focusing on
her story.
“Did he say anything? “ Dale concernedly asked.
“That’s the amazing part. He knew my name. He said it is time. He was
strong and I couldn’t do anything. Then all of a sudden he looked at my
stomach, I’m pregnant by the way, and said it is time for you but not
for him. I think he was talking about my baby. He let go of me and
Dale had heard the word “pregnant” but he was not about to go there.
“Did you get a look at him, any description that will make it easy for
“His eyes, those eyes I would never forget, there were cold. He was
going to kill me, I just know it. His grip was tight but his hands were
ice cold. He was going to kill me, I tell you. He was not going to stop.
Dale understood her ramblings and calmed her down a bit.
“Did you get a look at his face.”
“Only for a moment , he was black, I mean of African descent. “
Dale remembered Mister Saur’s son reporting that a beggar entered
his home.
“Could this be the same guy.” Dale thought.
The way his day was going Dale did not have to be convinced that he
was dealing with the same lunatic.
“Did he touch anything.” Dale said hoping to get some prints.
“Apart from my throat , I don’t think so.”
Dale excused himself saying that there was something he had to fetch
from the van but all he wanted to do was to call Veronica. He did not
have her number stored on his phone but remembered her leaving the
mobile number in the glove compartment of the van. Her number was
written on the manila envelope that Clemens had given them. Dale
stored the number on his phone and was about to press the call button
when the contents of the envelope fell to the floor. The photographs
captured earlier fell facing upwards as Dale picked them up one by one
. The last one caught his attention. In bold writing the name above the
photograph read Venkat Nair.
“Could this be , he thought , “ lets give it a try.”
Dale took the photograph in with him , sat down on the sofa, and
stared Rebecca in the eyes. He felt sorry for her.
“Rebecca , can you tell me who this is?,” Dale asked as he handed her
the photograph.
“It’s my grandfather from my father’s side . He’s dead. What has he
got to do with this.”
A grandfather clock chimed seven times down the hallway. The first
chime startled Dale .He looked down at his watch which showed five
minutes before seven.
“Your clock’s running a bit fast”, he said.
Dale did not want to tell her about the fingerprints and the other
“Are you staying with anyone , a friend , a boyfriend perhaps.”
“No I stay alone.”
“Can you not ask someone to spend the night with you.”
“Do you think he is going to come back,” Rebecca sobbed.
Dale could not be sure , he had to get everything in perspective first.
Dale left his mobile number with her , “ If there’s anything you need ,
give me a call.”
That was going to be his planned exit line , but now it was much more
He waited until she had locked up , got into the van and drove of. Dale
recalled Veronica’s number on his phone and pressed the dial button.
It took eight rings before he heard the familiar voice say hello.
“Hi Veronica , its Dale.”
“You sound at least half human on the phone.”
“No time for wise-cracks, Veronica. I think I’ve come across a survivor
of our maniacs schemes.” Where are you?”
“At home Dale, where else would I be?
“Meet me in fifteen minutes at Curie’s Diner,” Dale said as he hung up
not waiting for a response.
It took Dale about five minutes to get to Curie’s Diner. He was well
known at the diner and often had dinner there. Home cooked meals
were the promise every evening and without a doubt Dale enjoyed the
food. He knew Veronica would never be there soon so he decided to
order a meal.
“Aunty Rani, what the special today? “ Dale asked.
“Its mutton breyani, with salad, “aunty Rani responded, “with my
secret ingredients.”
Dale ordered a plate. He was just about to take his first bite when
someone tapped him on the shoulder.
“Somebody might think this is a date,” Veronica said as she sat next
to him.
“Try some Veronica, you’ll love in. It’s on me.”
“Well don’t mind if I do.”
“You’re right it does look like we’re here for pleasure,” Dale said as he
took out the envelope laying its contents onto the table.
Dale told her about Rebecca’s close encounter.
“And the most amazing thing, this man is her grandfather.” Dale said
as he pointed to Venkat Nair.
“This town is swarming with vagrants. It’ll take a lot of man hours to
bring each one in.”
“Dale call me Ronnie, this is our first date after all.”
“Ronnie, think about it, anyone can put on a disguise but how do you
take prints of the dead and lay them at a crime scene. I think we were
avoiding this conversation the entire day. If there ways of doing that,
then our killer has sure to be making some sort of statement. There’s
got to be some sort of connection here.”
“Okay, let’s run it through again. Victim number one Nancy Saur. Still
getting details on that one. Victim number two: Gregory Sitheldeen,
one of the prints found belonged to his grandfather, Pooben
Sitheldeen. Then there’s the girl you found Rebecca Nair, whose
grandfather turns out to be Venkat Nair. The third finger print
analysis belonged to Albert Saur, let me guess Nancy’s grandfather.”
“I’m telling you Ronnie, there’s something not right here.”
“Dale, we are going to meet Mister Saur in the morning, maybe he can
give us more information.”
Veronica shoved her empty plate to the center of the table, “My
complements to the chef.”
Dale sat there uneasily as Veronica walked out. He thought of phoning
Clemens to find out if he had any luck with the last set of prints but
knew that Clemens would not answer his phone. He once again looked
at the three photographs, “What part do you three play here?”
Veronica was the first to arrive at the police station that Sunday
morning. Mary who always opened up was not there as yet so Veronica
stayed in her car just admiring the lovely morning. She had the same
Sunday morning routine for years, get up early, have a good breakfast
and enjoy the Sunday morning worship service at the local church. As
far back as she could remember she had only missed one other Sunday
morning service but that could not be helped. She was in hospital that
day fighting to stay alive. Even though it was three years ago, she
recalled that part of her life as if it were yesterday. As Veronica
gazed at the rising sun she could not help but think how her life was
suddenly filled with purpose.
It was a Sunday evening when she had a craving for some ice-cream.
The nearest shop was a mere two kilometers from home and like a
child desperate for a taste of dairy ingenuity she opted to walk to the
shop. As she savored the taste of the chocolate covered vanilla cream
she heard the screeching of tyres but it was too late to do anything.
Someone had rammed her onto the ground hitting her head on the
macadamized road. She had fallen into a coma and was diagnosed as
being brain dead. She could not understand how the doctor’s arrived
at that conclusion for she could hear everything that was being said.
She could see everyone that was around her even though her eyes
were widely shut. She had convinced herself that probably her other
senses were so heightened that she could visualize everyone around
her. She felt as though she were hovering over her limp body watching
all that came to see her. She was alive and well even though she could
not respond to anyone. Rebecca had heard prayers go up to the
heavens above , she heard deals being made with God but she knew
that God’s will , will be done. It was on that Sunday when she first
missed Church that the doctors were going to turn down the life
support. The doctor’s had told her family that she would be gone
within the hour but when the first two hours had passed the doctor’s
surprise turned to astonishment. Four hours after the machines were
turned off; Veronica opened her eyes and said something. According
to her Pastor who was present with her for most of the time, she said
“He wants me to do something. At the Church service the following
Sunday Veronica was sitting in the front pew giving her testimony of
how she was saved by her glorious Lord. Her Pastors sermon stuck in
her head ,” You must have faith , faith in the power of Jesus Christ is
the key to overcoming any obstacle.”
Veronica watched as the sun shone brighter to mark the start of yet
another day. To this day she was not sure why she was sent back. She
prayed every morning to God to show her what her purpose in life is
but to this day she could not pin point what is was. As she had
suspected Dale was always the first to arrive at work. She could not
wait to see his surprised look when he saw that it was not the case
today. Dale parked the van opposite her and stubbornly stayed rooted
to his seat. Veronica got out of her car, activated the central locking
and alarm system, and went over to Dale. She jumped in besides him.
“Well Sheer-luck Holmes, found any more clues,” she sarcastically
Did Mister Saur contact you?”
“No Dale, not as yet.”
“Let’s get down to the medical center; we can talk to the boy while we
wait. Veronica seemed to be the chatty one and although Dale was
unresponsive she continued to talk.
“My dad told me that he once won a fishing competition at the Glendee
dam. First prize was a week’s stay in Glendee; second prize was two
weeks in Glendee.”
Dale smiled for the first time that morning, not because he had found
her joke humourous, but it was in the way she said it. As Dale turned
the corner, he saw a black Mercedes with the license plate SAUR 1
parked in front of the entrance.
“Looks like mister Saur does not want us to talk to him,” Dale said.
The receptionist watched as Dale and Veronica walked in and without a
greeting said “Third room down the passage on your left.”
Dale was expecting to see a well dressed man who carried himself with
great authority showing no signs of weakness. The opposite was true;
Mister Saur was clad in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He was lovingly
caressing his son’s hair as the duo entered.
Mister Saur looked upon the visitors, “Losing a wife is one of the most
painful things a husband has to endure but losing a child is the worst
thing a father has to deal with. She was my little princess.”
“How’s your son doing, Mr. Saur?” Dale asked
“Call me Japs and he’s doing fine. I don’t think he fully comprehends
what had transpired. He was a baby when his mother passed away and
now this. The questions will come soon enough. How am I going to tell
him that I wasn’t there to protect his sister . I can’t comprehend how
anyone would do a thing like this. I’ve seen her, officers”.
Mr Saur paused for a moment.
“ When can I get my baby back?. I haven’t started on any funeral
arrangements as yet - . Tell me officers, how can I help?”
“We’re following up on some good leads, an arrest is imminent,”
Veronica lied.
Dale pulled out the photograph of Albert Saur, “Do you recognize this
Japs took the photograph from Dale. “I haven’t even thought of this
man in years, officers. Albert Saur, he was my father. He stopped
being my father a long time before he died. Let me tell you something
officers, I am a rich man , a good man and I owe it all to Albert Saur,I
made a vow years ago , never to be like him. What has he got to do
with my daughter’s murder?”
“Can you tell us more about him, how did he die?
“To tell you the truth, officers, he was a good for nothing man. The
day he died was the day the world became a better place. My mom is
still alive; she could answer your questions. Mister Saur handed them
the address. Dale did not want to bother the grief stricken man any
further , he touched the boy’s head and left.
Nil Desperadum was an old age home. Dale could not understand how
children leave their parents in places like these. As Dale drove in he
heard the laughter of the folk living there filling the air. It seemed
like a warm, cosy place to live in. As they walked in they were greeted
by all. Dale was really impressed with the atmosphere of happiness
that surrounded the home. He was flattered when one of the old
ladies pinched his behind as she passed them. Veronica introduced
herself to the receptionist and requested to see Mrs. Saur. They
were led up to a small but quaint room. Mrs. Saur was sitting up on her
“Officers, I was expecting you, you are about fifty years too late.”
Dale did not know what she meant but expected senility had caught up
on her. As Dale could see either no one told her about Nancy or she
just did not understand or was in denial of the whole murder.
“Mrs. Saur, we are here about your husband.”
“He’s dead you know, murdered years ago,” gasped Mrs. Saur, you
want to know him, give me the box on top of the closet.”
Dale looked in the closet and found a tin box, he handed over the
dusty box, wiping his now dusty fingers on his pants. Mrs. Saur
opened the box and pulled out an envelope. She hesitantly handed Dale
the envelope.
“Read that, then you would know my husband. I found it only after he
was murdered. If you have any other questions I am willing to help
you. I gave that man the best years of my life. ”
Dale opened the hand written letter and read it together with
My name is Albert, Albert Saur and this transcript serves as a
confession, a confession for a crime I committed years ago. A crime,
were justice never prevailed. I am making my confession, not to be
pardoned but to clear my conscience and to see that justice is done. I
have three accomplices each one of which is dead-set on not revealing
the truth of what transpired that faithful night. To anyone reading
this, I am really sorry for my part in this tragedy. I am now forty five
years old and not to old to pay retribution for my wrong-doings.
To this day I curse the first moment I set my eyes on Therese. Yes,
she had the single most beautiful face that I had ever set my eyes
upon and a body that could turn heads but she was also the source of
my troubles.. It seemed strange that she so quickly acknowledged my
advances and even stranger when she suggested that we go out to
dinner. The romance blossomed and I felt like the luckiest man alive
but who knew what was in store for me. I was only twenty years old at
that time and working for a white farmer cutting sugar cane and what
I loved about Therese was the fact that my means of getting an
income never bothered her.
I laid out my heart to her, I told her my dreams, my fears and what I
got in return was an invitation to visit her family. Things were really
looking up for me, that could have only meant our relationship was
going on to the next level. I remember very clearly that is was a
Friday night when I went over to Therese’s home. I received my
weekly wage earlier that day and squandered it all on getting new
clothes and some very expensive aftershave and not forgetting a
bottle of wine. Therese opened up the door and immediately stared
down at the bottle of wine which I clutched so tightly. I still
remember the look of disdain in her eyes as she said “You shouldn’t
have brought that.” Like a vampire getting a whiff of some fresh
blood a young lad about my age swooped down and grabbed the bottle
out of my hand. “I like you already,” he laughed.
I was introduced to Therese’s mom and at that time I had no idea
whether I should call her mom or aunty. She had a nervous look in her
eyes but at that time I thought it might have been the uncouth
behaviour of her son and it was just the embarrassment that made
her look that way.
“Venkat, come and meet Albert, Therese called out. I still cringe at
the sound of that name. “Mister Nair , come here.”
I can write down every word that was uttered that night but as the
kids say nowadays “cut to the chase.”
When Venkat appeared he was holding half a bottle of wine and no
glass. At that instant I arrived at two conclusions, he was drinking
straight from the bottle and he had an alcohol problem. That night
was not about getting to know and bond with Therese’s family; it
turned out to be a night of listening to tall tales concocted by Venkat.
I guess Therese was so used to this that she actually thought I was
enjoying myself of which later on I lied by commenting on a very
pleasant evening. Little did I know that Venkat would be a bad
influence upon my life, an influence that I never really welcomed.
The Saturday that followed was the one Saturday in the last three
months that I was of from work and as luck would have it, it was the
day that I met my other two accomplices. I was literally forced by
Therese to join Venkat and his friends for a fishing trip. I did not
know the first thing about fishing and would have preferred spending
the day with Therese. Venkat picked me up at around four thirty in
the morning and the front seat was reserved for me. The back seat
was occupied by two young men who were covered under a blanket. I
was introduced to them and yet again two names that I never want to
hear again, Pooben Sitheldeen and Sarinda Kooben. We all were about
the same age, give or take a couple of years but they seemed to be in
a different category. Where I was a bit mature and looking for ways I
could improve my life, they were like teenagers looking out for a good
The topic of conversation for the entire day was “get rich quick
schemes” of which my superior intellect always thwarted their ideas.
Even though they were rambling with obscene ideas I had to admire
the extent they were prepared to go to get hold of cash. The desire
for a better life is in everyone’s mind and a better life starts with
money and lots of it. I remember Pooben asking the wage of a canecutter; it was then that I realized cutting sugar cane would never get
me to where I want to go.
Venkat who seemed to be the dominant personality among the grouped
hinted at his friends to stay quite while he engaged in conversation
with me.
This as I recall started the whole downward spiral in my life.
“Who owns the fields?”
“Master Louw, he’s a good man.”
“Must be a rich man.”
“He lives comfortably.”
“Any children.”
“Ya, two of them, twins, must be around eight years old.”
At that moment I felt that I had divulged too much of information
but it all seemed like harmless chit-chat. Little did I know that
Venkat’s twisted mind was already concocting some heinous plan using
my information as a base point. During the next two months I began
spending more time with Venkat and his comrades. It always seemed
difficult to comprehend how three guys who were unemployed always
had money to spend on drinks and party’s. It all came clear to me when
I was invited on one of their night escapades. It was one of those
nights when the rain came down in torrents and engulfed any available
light. The four of us were once again sitting in the car, with me
occupying the front passenger seat as it was now the custom, driving
around aimlessly or so I thought. Venkat drove into the sugar cane
fields and suddenly stopped. The three of them got out, stepped into
the fields and in a matter of seconds re-appeared. Venkat had in his
possession a large plastic bag. He walked with it, opened the door and
tossed it on my lap. “That’s our meal ticket, he said.”
He casually drove back into town, stopped at a dilapidated house, ran
into the house with the plastic packet and emerged holding a manila
envelope. Venkat opened the envelope in the car which was bulging
with cash; he took out around five hundred rands and stuffed the rest
into the envelope. In a matter of minutes we were back in the sugar
cane fields and this time the envelope was placed in a packet and left
in the fields.
“We’re runners, “ Venkat said.
“You won’t be running much when you are in jail,” I thought.
I remember warning Venkat, “ Marijuana is a bad deal.” But I had to
admit five hundred rands for half an hours work, was a sure good deal.
In the weeks that followed , as circumstance would have it , I become
a bit more involved in the drug business. As this marks my confession
the one thing I did not do was to be a user of the drugs. With the
extra cash I was able to treat Therese to the things she deserved but
as human nature would have it , the money was not enough. The dreary
plan was put into place on yet another one of our fishing trips. Venkat
who was high on the joint that he had just relished had suddenly
gotten into a communication frenzy, “ Guys you know what can take us
out of this rat-hole we’re in , KIDNAPPING. I’ve seen it done on TV.
Let’s kidnap some kid and ask for a huge ransom, nothing could be
. I found myself actually listening to his idea , as long as no one got
hurt it seemed like an easy task and the money we could get would
certainly make living much more comfortable.
“That farmer boss of yours , Albert , he’s rich and his kids are young,
lets take one of them .”
I at first did not agree but upon further thought , it would be easy ,
the kids do pretty much what they want on the farm and abducting
one of them would be easy. That afternoon the plan was put in place .
The ransom as Venkat had decided would be fifty thousand rands.
The whole plan was to unfold on the following Friday , a day were
wages are paid and the farm was relatively quite. We were to
transport the child to Pooben’s outhouse where his old mother would
be none the wiser. After receiving my weekly wages I spoke to
Claudette , the older of the twins ,
“ Your father wants you to go to the dam , “ I lied.
I watched as the innocent girl ran happily to the dam thinking that
this was the day when she could have a swim. My part was done .
Venkat , Pooben and Sarinda were to do the rest. The ransom note
that I had written was to be dropped at the dam where it would surely
be found. We had thought of everything , where the money was to
dropped of , who would drop the ransom of and we stressed non
involvement from the police.
I went over to Pooben’s place later that afternoon , everything had
gone as planned. Not a single thought of apathy crossed my mind , the
only focus I had was on the money we were to receive the next day.
As usual the next morning I was at work at six’ o’clock . We were only
a skeleton staff that day and farmer Louw called up a meeting. I just
knew what he was about to say.
“Yesterday my daughter was kidnapped and whoever took her really
means business. I want to get her back but I need a volunteer.” He
never really said it that way but that was the crux of his
announcement. This was my cue , according to our plan , to volunteer. I
quickly raised my hand and was given the task , which was already
mine, of delivering the ransom.
As night fell I clutched onto the bag that contained my dreams ,
jumped into farmer Louw’s van and headed out into the plantations. It
was a quick switch and I was back with the girl an hour later. I was
deemed a hero that night and embarrassingly I played my part like an
Oscar winner. It was the first time that I was embraced by a white
woman and given so many praises as Mrs. Louw kept topping up my wine
glass. I had done well and to further enhance the glorious day , young
Claudette who was very traumatized by the entire experience never
remembered my lie to her earlier that day. We manipulated a rich ,
uneducated farmer who would soon forget about this nasty
experience. The family was re-united and I could not wait to get back
to the guys.
As we had discussed earlier we would all meet at Venkat’s house.
Venkat, Pooben and Sarinda had broad smiles on their faces that not
even the strongest tornado could wipe out. The next two minutes were
filled with hugs and cheers as we celebrated our newly acquired
wealth. Fifty thousand rands split four ways was indeed a huge sum of
money and discussions ensued on how each was going to spend his
share of the loot. It was about three ‘o ‘clock in the afternoon when
an unfamiliar knock on the door threw us out of our jubilee. As with
any criminal, negative thoughts flooded my mind. Venkat strolled over
to the door and opened it. At that precise moment I could not hide my
surprise, it was Sipho: one of the guys that worked on Mister Louw’s
farm. He did not hesitate and looked me directly in the eye and said “I
know what you guys did.” My heart sank to the lowest part of my being
as I tried to convince him that he was surely wrong. When the word,
police, came to be part of our conversation Venkat stopped denying
the truth of our involvement in the kidnapping.
“I want a share in the money,” Sipho mentioned.
As usual Venkat took the lead role in the decision making. “The money
is not here,” he said, “meet us at seven ‘o ‘clock tonight and I’ll give
you your share.”
I could not believe how our luck had just changed but left everything
to be handled by Venkat. He was the one you could handle rough
situations like this.
Money could sure change people, Sipho was back at the house at
exactly seven ‘o ‘clock. He was never on time a single day for work and
here he was sitting in the house with a smug look on his face. How I
wished that I could make him just disappear. We all jumped into the
car with Sipho sitting in my place.
“We are going into the sugar cane fields “, Venkat announced, “The
money is safely hidden there.”
I could not believe that up to this point I never enquired about where
the money was stashed. It was now dark and the faulty headlights of
the car did not reveal much. Conversation in the car came to a standstill as we each eagerly waited for this night to draw to a conclusion.
It was an unusually long drive into the cane fields. The car came into a
halt and we all got out. Venkat, Pooben and Sarinda went to the boot
suggesting that they needed a shovel. It was too late for me to
intervene on their plans as I saw Venkat raise the shovel over his head
and bring it viciously down on Sipho’s head. The gang seemed suddenly
possessed as each one raised a weapon from the boot and began to
mercilessly beat Sipho. Pooben had with him a five pound hammer
which literally crushed Sipho’s skull. They cursed him as his limp body
lay there pulverized by the force of their blows. At that moment the
clouds seemed to open up as rain pelted our sweaty faces. The ground
was soft from all the recent rains which made it easy for us to dig a
deep grave to hide the evidence that could have detrimentally
affected our lives. I cannot recall the exact location of the grave but
this all definitely happened.
The next day I collected my money and left, leaving behind a heartbroken Therese. To this day Sipho haunts my dreams. Once again I am
sorry for my part in his death and will pay any price to make things
Albert Saur.
“This is the key, Ronnie. This is all somehow connected. These
bastards killed a man and they got away with it.”
“Who is Sarinda Kooben?”
“I bet that’s who the last set of prints belongs to.”
“He always spoke about it, “Mrs. Saur intervened, said Sipho is coming
back. Those dreams made him insane, not that he wasn’t a lunatic to
start of with but he was afraid, he was very afraid. He got what he
“How did your husband die, Mrs. Saur,” Veronica asked.
“Please, don’t call him my husband. He used to always say that
something or someone is coming to get him. I would have murdered
him myself, on several occasions, but somebody beat me to it.”
“How did he die,” Veronica repeated.
“They found his body down by the railway tracks. He was smashed to
pieces by a train. His hands and legs were still tied to the tracks.
Good thing to, the remains fitted into a box so I didn’t have to spend
much on a coffin. Odd thing though his middle finger on both hands
were sawn of. I guess the killer wanted a trophy.”
“Our murderer is exacting his revenge on the family members, one by
one. Must be a relative of their victim and the missing finger must
have been preserved to be used again, “Veronica said.
“Ronnie, you are not going to like my theory but here goes. Suppose
Sipho did come back, killed Albert and is now after the grandchildren.
I know this sounds ludicrous but I’ve heard of stories like this before.
Clemens can check up on Sarinda Kooben and the cause of death for
the others. We are dealing with something supernatural here.”
Rebecca did not get much sleep and woke up feeling groggy. She felt
an uncomfortable pain around her neck that even a touch made her
cringe in pain. She stood on her bed and opened up the curtains. The
iridescent clouds looking like mother of pearl filled the skies. She
could not get anyone to stay with her and felt disheartened at the
friends she thought she had. She could not take the feeling of despair
any longer and reached for the phone speed dialing her mom. Rebecca
who always wanted to prove her independence to her mother felt very
foolish to put this burden on her mother’s lap but she had no other
“Hello, mom, yes its Rebbie. How are you?
Rebecca tried as far as possible to tone down the incident but she
knew how her mother would react.
“Get dressed baby, I’m coming to pick you up.” The phone went dead.
Rebecca had a shower and then got dressed. She kept thinking, “When
am I going to tell mom that I’m pregnant.” As she was drying her hair,
the doorbell rang. She could hear her mother, “Open up, it’s me.”
As Rebecca’s mom, Rachel, entered she said “Pack your bags, you
coming home.”
Rebecca had this quarrel on numerous occasions, “I am home.” she
thought, but this was not the day to argue. Rachel helped her
daughter get a few things together and helped her into the car.
“Where’s dad?” Rebecca asked.
“I’m going to pick him up; he’s getting a few things from the store.”
Rebecca saw her father at the entrance of the store; he was carrying
a rather large packet. He jumped in the back put his loving hands on
his daughter’s shoulder, “Are you okay, angel.”
Rebecca had just to peek at the packet. It was filled with fruits, half
a litre of milk and a coco-nut. She immediately knew what her mother
was up to.
“No. mom, please tell me you didn’t.”
“It’s for your own good Rebbie.”
The drive took them up signal hill and Rebecca could not hide her
frustration any longer.
“If I knew you were going to do this, I would have never told you
about the attack.”
“You’ve got bad wind, child.”
“Don’t say it like that, it sounds crude.”
“Okay, bad luck, is that better? Pundit Neru can help you.”
Rachel turned of into a dirt road and drove a few kilometers until she
parked the car under the shade of a sycamore tree.
“Com’on darling, Pundit is waiting for us.”
Rebecca had recalled that she once before visited Pundit Neru, but
that was more to do with her father. Even though she was young she
did recall that her mother brought her father here so that the pundit
would cure him of his alcohol problem. The thing she, at her tender
age, found extremely strange was that other than the fruits and coconuts they were also asked to bring a bottle of hard liquor. Little did
her mother know that Pudit Neru with the help of her father finished
drinking that bottle way before the prayer was over . Now that she
was the centre of attraction made her feel more uncomfortable and
the more she thought about it the more she didn’t want to be there.
The family were greeted by an old man sporting as Rebecca called it a
modern day dhoti.
“Do you think that’s Donna Karan,” Rebecca teased.
“Don’t be so rude, darling.”
Just as they had done on their previous visit, shoes were left in the
car and the three of them accompanied Pundit Neru barefoot into the
temple. Rebecca with her dainty feet felt the rough tufts of grass
poke her feet but she knew better than to complain. The captivating
aroma of burning incense sticks filled the insides of the temple.
Rebecca wondered if anybody had come here to have their asthma
cured, she was eager to ask but she didn’t want to offend the pundit.
The ceremony had started and Rebecca quietly questioned her
mother, “Does he know what he is praying for?”
Pundit Neru took the coco-nut and with one fierce thrust split the
fruit into two spilling the sweet nectar onto the temple floor. He lit
three more incense sticks and continued to pray .Even though Rebecca
understood Hindi, the dialect and speed at which he was saying it
made it incomprehensible. It was then that he paused, “You are now
blessed my child, I have taken all your bad luck away.”
“That’s it, “Rebecca said gladly.
“There’s one more thing I want you to do, “said Neru, “there are
forces out there that are even more powerful. Do you believe in Blackmagic? It exists but it takes a special person to rid yourselves of it.”
“Oh, for goodness sakes, mom. Don’t tell me you are going to believe
everything he says. Let’s go.” pleaded Rebecca.
That remark invited a menacingly stare from Neru as he continued, “I
know a man, he has done some work for me in the past. If you really
want to rid yourself of any future bad luck I recommend he come to
your home, cleanse it and you of any evil spirits. Don’t worry Mrs. Nair,
he is very discreet.
“How much is this whole thing going to cost?” Mr. Nair raised an
“Well it is a bit expensive, say about two thousand rands.”
“Make the arrangements.” Rachel said with finality.
Back in the car Rebecca was infuriated with her parent’s foolishness.
“How much did you pay him, dad.”
“Five hundred rands.”
“Five hundred rands for what. Three incense sticks and a few words
of prayer .You even threw in the fruits. You old people and your
beliefs. Now you are going to spend another two thousand rands
getting someone else to do the same thing.”
Rebecca caught her mother’s reprehensible stare through the
rearview mirror. It was the same stare that scared discipline into her
during her younger days.
“Okay, mom, do whatever you want.”
The drive home was filled with a noisy silence as Rebecca played in her
head the numerous occasions her mother annoyed her. If she closed
her eyes she could visualize and hear her mother reprimanding her for
something and if she opened her eyes he could not help but look at her
mom occupying the front seat. She really loved her mother a lot but at
times they could never see eye to eye. Two woman in the same house ,
she remembered an expression like that, they started a war years
ago, at first it was waged for her fathers affection and then it was
for everything else. Rebecca was glad that they were on their way to
her father’s house and as they passed the familiar street she could
not help but recollect the joyous summer days she spent playing on
those roads with her friends. Those were the days when worries were
little and friends were everything. The indicator light flickered as the
car turned into the drive-way. Rebecca had not visited in months and
she could see the grass had really had time to develop and sprout
voraciously over the paved driveway. She had expected her mother to
comment about it but was surprised that she didn’t. A rusted out pale
yellow van pulled up behind them.
“Now, who in the world is visiting us,” Rachel asked not expecting her
husband to reply.
“Maybe it’s your expensive pundit.”
The van door opened and out stepped two gentlemen sporting the
traditional Zulu attire. They slowly approached. Rebecca’s father
jumped out of the car and introduced himself.
“I know who you are, “said the one with the huge traditional hat over
his head, “Pundit Neru sent me over, said you needed my help.”
Rachel quickly jumped out the car and invited the men inside , not that
she was trying to be hospitable but to make sure that none of the
neighbours had the chance to see what was going on.
They all sat in the dining room waiting to get the conversation started
and when Rebecca saw that each was waiting for the other to start,
she initiated first contact.
“Are you a witch-doctor?”
“No, young lady, that is such an out dated title, “the visitor responded
with impeccable enunciation, “We prefer the title traditional healer.
My name is Cedrick Nxumalo and this is my assistant Thozo Khoza. “
Rebecca introduced her family to him.” What is it that you are going
to do?”
“I’m going to protect you, protect you from the dark forces out
“The only dark force in my life is the men I meet,” Rebecca thought.
“Let’s get started, “Cedrick announced, “but first I would like to be
paid. Two thousand rands.”
Rebecca wanted all of this insanity to be over and did not comment
when her mother handed over the money. Rebecca tried to observe as
the ritual had begun.
Cedrick took them outside, broke a branch covered in leaves from her
mother’s prized garden, and began hysterically shaking it walking
round the house chanting in a language that was incomprehensible to
Rebecca. Much to Rachel’s anguish some of the neighbours drew open
their curtains to be observers of this ritual. The shaking of the
branches which supposedly warded of evil spirits was done in every
room of the house.
Cedrick returned to the dining room and motioned for Rebecca to sit
next to him. Out of his bag he pulled out a small blade. The edges
were rusted out a bit.”
“What are you going to do with that,” Rebecca cried out.
“I need a little of your blood.”
“Stop,” Rachel shouted.
Rebecca was glad to hear her mother’s voice, “The old lady has finally
come to her senses,” Rebecca thought.
“Use this new blade,” Rachel said.
Cedrick, with the new blade in his hand, parted Rebecca’s hair and
made a small but painful incision on her scalp. Rebecca winced in pain.
He undid the top button of her shirt and made a slightly larger
incision on her chest. The blood trickled out but none was taken.
“Where is your place of worship?” Cedrick asked.
He was led to the back yard. Thozo who fetched a spade from the van
was back and handed it to Cedrick to started digging right where
Rachel’s holy stones were placed. As the hole got deeper the family
just stood there in bewildering silence. The moist ground provided the
ease to easily manipulate the hole and Cedrick with his bare hands
reached into it pulling out something which he held clenched in his
palms. He took it over to the tap and allowed the cool running water to
wash away the dirt. Rebecca took a step forward. It was a small pouch
bulging at its seams.
“This is the source,” Cedrick said.
“What’s inside?” Rachel asked.
The bag was placed on the ground as Cedrick carefully pulled at the
drawstrings and emptied the contents onto the floor.
“Rebecca almost chocked on her own vomit. A decapitated rodent’s
head with a little of its unrecognizable guts lay on the floor. Cedrick
sifted through the worm infested guts and pulled out a small metallic
object. He rinsed it with the water and showed it to Rebecca.
“Any of you recognize this? he asked.
Cedrick held up a gold earring which was immediately recognized by
“It’s mine,” she said, “but how did it get in there?”
Cedrick put the contents of the pouch into his pocket, washed his
hand and said, “It is now over, this house is cleansed, you are
Rebecca knew all of this was impossible and could have kicked herself
for not being more observant.
Cedrick picked up his belongings and left.
“You can thank me later,” Rachel said as she went back into the house.
Veronica recognized two out of every three cars that they passed on
their way back into town. These were the regulars at her Church and
they were all returning home from what must have been a good
service. It was then that an idea sprang up in her mind, “Turn of here
Dale,” she motioned. Dale followed her directions without questions
and soon found himself driving into a Church.
“Wait here, Dale, give me a few seconds.”
Veronica wasn’t joking and after a few seconds she was back, “Let’s go
Dale, we can use Pastor’s office.”
“Use his office, for what?”
“We are going to do a little searching for ourselves.”
They were greeted at the door by a timid old lady, “Hi, Ronnie, “she
said, “missed you at service today.”
Dale had guessed that this was the pastor’s wife and raised a hand in
his greeting.
He was hugged by her and given a warm greeting, “Nice to have you
with us, Brother.”
“He’s not Christian, “Veronica interrupted.
“Well we can wait, can’t we?”
Dale could not be sure as to what she meant by that remark.
“Pastor has said that we could use his computer,” Veronica said, “got
some research that needs to be carried out.”
Veronica sat behind a huge oak desk that seemed to be as old as the
church. Dale grabbed a seat behind her and watched as she logged on .
The internet seemed all to confusing to Dale and he just observed in
amazement as Veronica used it.
“While helping Pastors daughter with a school project I stumbled upon
something very interesting , “ she said , “ Glendee has an official site
on the web. What’s more amazing is that the local newspaper has
every edition ever printed on this site. Ah , there it is .”
“You’re right , that is amazing I didn’t even know we had a local
“My grandfather started this newspaper back in 1950 , Dale.”
“ Now what , Ronnie , you going to read every article .”
“Watch this .”
Rebecca typed in “ Venkat Nair” and depressed the search icon . The
computer was surely working as Dale saw the green blocks rapidly light
up. One of the articles in a November 1954 edition was highlighted.
Veronica zoomed in and read out the caption. Fishing trip turned
nasty. This was the same photograph that was in the van.
They read further:
The body of Venkat Nair , 53 , was fished out of Hattings Dam
yesterday afternoon. Family and friends concur that he was on one of
his weekly fishing expeditions.
Dale read further down:
His forefingers on both hand s were chopped of or probably eaten by
the eels.
Police are investigating.
“Print this out Ronnie.”
The colour copier jerked to a start and spewed out a copy faded at
the ends.
“This will have to do.”
Veronica scrolled down a bit .
“I can bet this months salary that I am going to find another
interesting article in this paper.”
Veronica kept on scrolling until she stopped at another article . The
caption read : Strange killings shock town.
Dale perused the article trying to sort out the necessary bits.
“Pooben Sitheldeen , 54 , found hanging from the rafters.His hands were pulverized to a pulp.
No suspects thus far.
Police are investigating.
Veronica went through the entire paper but could not find any stories
about Albert Saur or Sarinda Kooben.
“We know what happened to Albert, “Dale said impatiently , “ do a
search on Sarinda. I’m curious to know who this guy is or as we know
now , was.”
Veronica typed in the name and as before the green blocks were being
lit up.
Much to Dale’s dissatisfaction the results were not found.
“This is our mystery guy,” Veronica said.
The knock on the study door startled Veronica as she jerked her head
backwards sending a fiery piercing pain down her spine.
“Sorry to startle you, “pastor Bill said, “found what you were looking
Veronica held the back of her neck, greeting her pastor once again.
“Come now, Ronnie, let’s get that sorted out.”
As Veronica left the room Dale seized the opportunity to do a little
research of his own. He had quickly learnt what needed to be done and
he slowly typed in: “ghosts and demons”.
The web page revealed itself slowly which had Dale tapping on the CPU
in an attempt to hurry the search along.
With his ears slightly turned towards the door and his eyes fixed unto
the screen Dale started to read the little information that popped up
on the screen.
“When a person dies only his physical body ceases to exist. His subtle
body continues to exist and moves on to the other regions of the
The subtle body comprises of the following:
The Supracausal body or the subtle ego – the feeling that we separate
from God.
The Causal body or the intellect – our decision making process and
reasoning ability.
The Soul – The God within each of us.
The mental body or mind – Our feelings emotions and desires.
The Vital body – sustaining energy of the body.
The Physical body – comprising of the five senses, tissue, blood and
“What in the world are they talking about,” Dale whispered, “can’t
they just give me what I want.”
“That’s an interesting topic “said a voice from behind, “what’s your
take on it.”
Pastor Bill sat next to Dale and introductions were made.
“Ronnie tells me that you are assigned to the recent murder cases.
Not that I want you to divulge any sensitive information but have you
got any suspects.”
Veronica was gone a long while and Dale concluded that she must have
told her pastor about the case. He remembered something about
Pastor’s not divulging information given to them , something to do with
an oath.
“Sorry , I’m not sure what I should call you,” Dale said.
“Pastor, will do.”
Dale could not help himself . The man seated beside him had a certain
gentleness and warmth about him and besides that Dale knew that he
would get a better understanding if he spoke to the pastor.
Dale revealed to him all the necessary details about the case . He then
proceeded with his theory.
“I think we are dealing with something that is not human.” Dale said.
“There is a war raging, Dale, between good and evil. As a Christian I
can tell you that demons do exist. They move around the earth seeking
who they can devour. Don’t get me wrong Dale, they cannot physically
harm you but they try to influence your life, basically bringing you to
bring forth sin into your life. Remember demons were the angels that
fell from God’s grace. You need to visit me some time Dale, I sense
that you have potential that you are unaware of.”
“How do you get rid of these demons?”
“We can caste out a demon that inhabits a person’s body, letting it
loose to find another host.”
“I know that, Pastor, I have watched “ movie, .
Dale recollected how the evil spirits were removed from the young
girl’s body.
“But , how do you get rid of a demon so that it no longer roams the
The book of Revelation , tell us that this war will end when our Lord ,
Jesus Christ , comes down to earth , no longer as the lamb but as a
warrior and defeats Satan and his army. He will then banish him into
the deepest and darkest of all pits.”
“So what I am gathering is that when a person dies , he cannot become
a demon.”
“That I cannot say for sure , but in my opinion it is not probable.”
Pastor Bill immediately saw that Dale was looking for something that
would allow him to build up on his case.
“However , Dale , I did a bit of research on this subject during my
bible school days. When a person dies , he is judged by God . But this
is where I have to warn you , only believers make it that far. Based
upon God’s judgment , the soul proceeds to the afterlife. Like we are
both aware of, this world is filled with many sick and cruel people:
murderers , rapists , paedophiles , scum of the earth. Some people are
so bent on evil , you might think that they are Satan’s offspring. To go
with your theory , Dale , when such a person dies their spirit roams
the earth just looking to do more evil. Some scholars say that they
are trying to get themselves into Satan’s army. “
“But aren’t they supposed to be the slaves of Satan?” Dale enquiringly
“That’s true , but some have managed to beat Satan at his own game,
momentarily I may add.”
“So how do I send this spirit to where he belongs.”
Pastor Bill hesitated for a moment , looking up at the ceiling. Dale
focused on his stare for his gaze seemed to be penetrating the roof
looking up into the Heavens.
“You need to find that out for yourself , Dale.”
“Is there anything else you want to talk to me about, Dale?”
“I don’t think so; we’ll definitely get to the bottom of this.”
“That’s not what I am talking about. I feel that something weighs
heavy on you, if you talk about it I’m sure it will help.”
Dale seemed to be confused at the turn of the conversation.
“Maybe I’m not the happiest person on the planet but nothing is
bothering me,” Dale thought.
Veronica barged in with a look of discontent in her eyes. Dale then
knew that she had not discussed the case with Pastor Bill.
“We can talk later, Dale.” Pastor Bill said as he sensed the tension in
the room.
Back in the van Dale was filled with a sense of guilt. He always thought
that Veronica would be the one to talk her mouth of and here he was
guilty of doing what he thought she would do.
“Do you like him?” Veronica asked
“Well he seems like a man any one would like.”
“Don’t be so disappointed Dale, Pastor Bill has that effect on people.
I’ve found myself telling him secrets even though I tried not to. He’s a
man of God and he has a great talent of being a good listener. I guess
that’s what makes him a great pastor.”
“Where to now?” Dale looked at his watch.
Let’s get something to eat, my choice and my treat.
“You won’t see me turning up an offer like that Ronnie. Where to?”
Dale ate every bit of the pie, sucking his fingers as if to savor the
taste for a while longer.
“That was by far the best pie I have ever tasted, Ronnie, and mark my
words I have tasted many pies.”
“Glad you enjoyed it.”
The little Bistro episodically had a customer enter, pick up their food
which was most likely ordered telephonically, and leave. Dale didn’t
think it was a place where very many people actually sat in and started
feeling a little uncomfortable. The Bistro reminded him of a diner he
had watched in the movies, the bell tied to the door alerted the owner
of customers but Dale thought of it as quite annoying. As Dale sipped
on his strong coffee, the bell rang out again. Mrs. Labuschagne, the
owner, who Dale thought of as a timid old lady who wouldn’t harm a fly
hysterically yelled out, “Get out of here, we don’t serve your kind.”
Dale turned around only to get a back view of the recipient of further
curses. Dale, not wanting to offend Veronica and Mrs. Labuschagne,
turned back and took the final sip of his beverage. A kitchen utensil
clanking on the floor brought Dale’s attention back to the visitor. The
dirt ridden trench coat and the big hat obscured the view of the
vagrant as he stood there with outstretched arms. The man turned to
Dale and hissed “Daaale”.
Veronica, who suddenly appeared to have catlike instinct and agility,
jumped to her feet un-holstering her weapon and pointing it at the
vagrant. With agility surpassing that of Veronica the vagrant jumped
back, opened the door and ran out into the street. Even though Dale
hesitated he was after the man, running at full velocity. The man
seemed old but to Dale’s astonishment, the old man kept on running
and at times seemed to be running faster. Dale felt the encapsulating
burn in his chest, his muscles ached but he kept on going. The old man
ran down an alley and as soon as Dale reached the alley, he had lost his
“Where the hell could you have gone.”
Dale bent down, hands on his knees, trying you breathe and
resuscitate his aching muscles when he was grabbed from behind and
turned around. The swift motion of grabbing Dale from behind,
spinning him in the air and grabbing his throat left Dale with little
chance of fighting back. The old man yanked Dale closer to him. Dale
smelt his malodorous breath but could not say anything.
“Your time will come, Dale.”
The sound of a single gunshot echoed through the alley as Dale was
released. As he fell to the ground his hands automatically went for his
gun. His holster was empty. Veronica came running towards Dale, “I
definitely shot him Dale, right in the head.”
Dale took a few seconds to get his bearings right and expected to see
the body of the man in the alley.”
“Where is he?”
Veronica looked around but the only evidence she could find was the
hat left behind by the vagrant. Using the tip of her fingers she
carefully picked it up ,” He’s gone .”
Dale dusted himself of and scanned the area. “That guy had the
strength of a bear, Ronnie.”
“He called you by your name, Dale, any idea who it was.”
“I think we both know who it was. What did he want with me? He told
me that my time will come, Ronnie. We’ve got an even bigger problem;
I think I dropped my weapon while chasing him.”
“I was right behind you Dale, if that had happened; I would have seen
it fall to the ground. Maybe it’s somewhere around here.”
Veronica did a quick scan of the area but there was no possible place
that a gun could be concealed and especially when it accidentally falls
from a holster.
“Do you think he took it, Ronnie?”
“What would he do with a gun?”
Dale started to make his way back to the bistro with Veronica very
close to him. To a passerby they could pass of as lovers as they walked
side by side whispering to each other.
“This is something we would have to keep to ourselves, Ronnie. Nobody
is going to believe this. “
“But what about dispensing my weapon,”came back the reply,”I would
have to report it.”
“Hold that of for a while. Do you think we are in over out heads? I
mean how can we all of a sudden become targets.”
“The way things looked, Dale, he was after you and not me.
“The closer we get to solve this case, the more dangerous it becomes.”
Dale said.
“What now Dale.”
“Lets call it a day, I need to get home.”
After Dale had dropped Veronica of at the station, he was on his way
home. Driving through town on a Sunday afternoon was pleasurable
with only the occasional motorist on the road. Dale had his arm out of
the window and was driving considerably slower than the allowed speed
limit. Just over the next robot Dale looked upon a small crowd of
drunks. The local tavern was buzzing with excitement as Dale came to
a complete stop just in front of the entrance. Even though nothing
illegal was going on majority of the crowd dispersed, some went into
the tavern while others walked away. Dale left the van on the road and
proceeded into the tavern. The stench of beer filled the room. To
Dale it seemed that he was not only getting the foul stench of old
beer but also the vitriolic smell of urine. He walked up to the counter
with the owner protected behind a steel mesh. Dale was greeted by
the well dressed owner and immediately smelled the alluring aroma of
the rum and maple tobacco that emanated from his pipe.
“What can I do for you, officer,” he said, “nothing illegal going on
“Give me a bottle of whiskey,”
Back in the van, Dale put the bottle of whisky on the seat and drove of
.He could see in his rear-view window that the crowd had reassembled.
As Dale entered his apartment he put the bottle on the kitchen sink
and took out a glass from the cabinet. Dale was not much of a drinker,
but he poured himself almost half a glass of whisky. With one quick
gulp he downed the alcohol and then poured himself another. He could
not savour the taste of the alcohol so he downed this one with the
same ease as the previous. In a matter of minutes Dale could feel the
tension in his body fade away. This was accompanied by a light-headed
feeling and an urge to close his eyes. Dale slumped down onto his bed
and allowed the alcohol to take control over his body. Dale was soon in
a deep sleep; much induced by the rate in which he had imbibed the
whisky. He could feel himself floating into a cascading waterfall that
sent sensations of pleasure through his body. He could see Veronica at
the bottom of the waterfall, bare-chested, rubbing her hands across
her hair beckoning him to come to her. He could see the eagles soaring
through the deep blue sky boasting of their everlasting freedom. Just
as a viewer would change the television channel the waterfall scene
had ended just as fast as it had begun. Dale found himself in a room.
The smell of anaesthetic permeated from the room. The recently
polished tiled floors allowed him to see his own reflection as he
momentarily looked around. It was a hospital room, not adequately
illuminated but enough for him to be comfortable with. Dale walked
towards the bed which had the curtains drawn. He pulled open the
curtain only to find Rebecca lying there, with blood covering the white
sheets. Dale woke up sweating all over.
With Cedrick and his accomplice gone, Rebecca was in no mood to talk
to anyone. She went into the kitchen to get something to eat. The
doorbell rang as Rachel went to answer. Nosy neighbours irritated
Rebecca but she felt good knowing that her mother would have to do
some explaining. Despite trying to be better than her mother,
Rebecca knew that in one aspect she would never be better than
Rachel and that was in the kitchen. Rachel already had the chicken
curry on the stove. The table was laid out with salads and the roti. As
Rebecca took her first bite, she held her stomach and grimaced in
pain. The pain had momentarily gone away but was soon back stronger
than ever. Rebecca had thought that the pain could not get any worse
but that was just what had happened. She fell to the floor, clutching
the tummy in the hope that the pain would subside. In the midst of
her pain she felt her fathers safe hands pick her up. Just as he had
always taken all past discomfort away, the pain had gone away the
moment he had lifted her up.
“Dad, “she said,”something is wrong, take me to the hospital.”
In the car, the pain had returned. Rachel was rubbing her tummy as
her father drove.
“What have you done to her, Rachel “he screamed, “you and your
At the medical center Rebecca was put into a wheelchair and wheeled
up to reception. The receptionist handed Mr. Nair the necessary
forms and immediately asked him who the family doctor was. At that
point Rebecca intervened. “Call Dr. Frankton.”
“But Dr. Frankton is a gynaecologist, “Rachel said as she put her hands
over her mouth and finally made the connection. Rebecca was taken
into one of the rooms.
Two hours later Rachel spotted Dr. Frankton leaving the medical
centre. As like any concerned mother she yelled out to him and ran
towards him.
“What’s wrong with my daughter?”
“She had some complications. We had to terminate her pregnancy.
She’s awake; you can go and see her. “
Rachel rushed into the room and held her daughter’s hand.
“You should have told me, Rebbie.”
“Not now mom,” Rebecca cried,” leave me alone.”
“She has to rest,” commented a nurse that had just come into the
room,” she is in safe hands now; let us take care of her.”
Rachel sensed that she was not wanted and decided to give Rebecca
some time before giving her the third degree.
“I’ll wait outside “was all she could muster.
“Now dear, “said the nurse,” don’t worry I’m sure that you and your
husband could try again.”
Rebecca could not fathom why she felt a sense of loss. After all she
did not want to have a baby in the first place. She closed her eyes and
tried to focus on happier times.
Still groggy from the medication Rebecca felt a hand on her thigh.
She did not open her eyes expecting it to be her mother coming to
offer some unwanted advice. She felt the hand moving up her thigh
and finally resting on her stomach. She opened her eyes only to meet
the stare of the old man who attacked her in the parking garage.
“What do you want from me?”
“I want you, Rebecca.”
She tried to scream but his hand was over her throat making it
impossible for her to scream out. In his other hand he held a scalpel.
Rebecca could hear some commotion outside her room. She heard a
male voice screaming:”Rebecca, Rebecca Nair, which room is she in
“Rebecca could feel the blade tearing open the stomach as she fell
into an everlasting sleep.
As Dale had dreamt, he was in a hospital room. The curtains were
drawn and as Dale opened them up he saw Rebecca lying there, eyes
gazing into eternity. Blood still flowed out of her lifeless body and it
seemed that part of her intestines flowed out to. On her chest laid
Dale’s fire-arm.
On this particular Monday morning Dale was all of his routine. He had
gotten up late and was feeling the after effects of over-drinking. Of
all days captain Smit wanted to see him first thing in the morning. The
cold shower did not do much in terms of ridding him of an unwelcome
head-ache and he was further delayed by a phone call from his
“How’s my boy doing?”
“Got anybody special in your life?”
“Are you getting enough to eat?”
Dale had come to an understanding that those three questions were
what he had to put up with each time he spoke to his mother. The
conversation took a turn for the worse.
“I’m coming to visit you this evening, dear. Don’t worry about cooking
anything. I’m your mother, I will sort that out.”
Dale as with numerous other occasions could not say no.
He got dressed and left for work.
As Dale pulled up to the station he was greeted by Captain Smit who
was enjoying his morning smoke. Without further conversation Smit
ushered Dale into his office. Veronica sat there crossed legged and
Dale could not help but stare at her breasts.
“I must stop doing that.”
He took a seat close to her. Veronica reached over and put her hand
on top of his as if to comfort him for what they expected Smit to do
to them.
“Dale, I sent you out to get me some answers. Now we have a dead girl
on our hands and your gun found at the crime scene. Don’t worry Dale,
you know that I am a fair man, I will give you a few minutes to gather
your thoughts and maybe then you can explain to me what is going on.”
Dale unbecomingly looked onto Veronica seeking her approval. She
nodded. Veronica added in bits of their theories as Dale went through
the entire experience leaving out the dream he had .Captain Smit
merely nodded as the duo put forward their case.
“So you are telling me that it was this Silas that attacked you, Dale”
“Sipho, and yes sir I truly believe that it was him.”
“To tell you the truth, “Smit announced, “I don’t belief in anything I
cannot see for myself but now my gut instinct tells me to believe you.
Use all the resources we have but come up with proof, Dale. Good solid
proof, nothing circumstantial.”
As Dale rose to his feet Smit further added,” Keep this quite. “
In the kitchen Veronica without even asking made Dale a cup of
coffee. That was just what he needed to kick some life back into his
bones. As Dale sipped on his coffee, Mary walked in and was a bit
disappointed that Dale already had a cup of coffee in his hands.
“Dale, I could not help overhearing your conversation with the captain,
“Mary said, “and I believe you.”
“You shouldn’t have been anywhere close to the captains office
especially when you know that there is a meeting going on, “Veronica
cattishly replied.
“I was talking to Dale,” Mary fought back.
“In any event, Dale, I believe you and maybe I can help.”
“Please continue,” Dale said.
“You know that I am a widow, my husband died seven years ago.”
“Did he commit suicide,” Veronica said under her breath.
Mary ignored that statement and further elaborated,” He was killed in
a boating accident. Anyway some colleagues of mine persuaded me to
visit a lady who had the ability to speak to the dead. Honestly, Dale I
was able to speak to him. It had to be him. He even pointed me out to
a piece of jewelry he had bought for me that was locked away in a
safety deposit box.”
“At this point I will take whatever help I can get. Do you have an
address for me Mary?”
Mary, as she had rehearsed it, reached into her pocket and handed
Dale a piece of paper with the address on it.
“You know statistics show that most of these people are charlatans
,”Veronica interrupted, “ and those that can supposedly do it wouldn’t
want to go under any scientific experiment.”
Dale knew that Veronica opposed this option only because it had come
from Mary but did not want to delve into their war at this time.
The address Dale was given led them to the outskirts of town. Finding
the place was difficult but through the help of the locals and
Veronica’s impeccable navigational abilities they soon drove up the
driveway of their intended visit. The door was opened up by a white
lady in her mid forties. She adorned the traditional dress of gypsies
or that was at least what Dale had thought.
“Hi madam Fare, my name is Veronica; a colleague of ours said that you
will be able to help us.”
“Come in, come in, have a seat.”
There were no chairs in the room but as soon as Madam Fare took a
seat on a beanie bag, Veronica and Dale followed suit. From the
adjoining room a younger lady appeared and sat down next to Dale.
“What can I do for you?”
“We are investigating a murder case and if possible we would like to
make some headway in the case.”
“I don’t think I could help you with that but maybe I can steer you in
the right direction. It will cost you a thousand rands.”
Veronica was about to object but Dale quickly agreed. The younger
lady excused herself and was back with a board which she placed on
the floor. The four of them then sat around the board. Dale looked at
the board thinking of it as some sort of game. The words YES and NO
were imprinted at the top followed by the letters of the alphabets.
Madam Fare put a flat stone, which had a circular opening in the
middle of it, on the board.
“What kind of game is this,” Dale asked.
“It’s no game, “Veronica answered, “It’s a Ouija board.”
“Who would you like to contact?’ asked Madam Fare.
Rebecca Nair was the first name that came to Dales lips. The two
women started to chant out the name of Rebecca Nair but the
younger one stopped as soon as madam Fare started shaking
uncontrollably. With only her hand and that of Dale’s on the stone , it
began to move around and stopped on the letter X. Madam Fare
quickly asked ,” Who is this?”
The stone did not move.” Is that you, Rebecca?
The stone moved slowly over the board and came to a rest. Dale
looked and through the hole he could see the word NO. The stone
continued to move only stopping for a second and then moving over to
the next letter. Veronica wrote down whatever she saw.
D A N G E R .
The stone laid there motionless as Dale asked,”Stop who?”
“Who are you?” repeated Dale
At that moment Madam Fare started to shake as if she were having a
seizure. “There’s someone else coming, I can feel his evil.”
The stone flew out of Dale’s hand and broke to pieces as it landed on
to the floor.
“You better go now, “Madam Fare suggested.
Dale rose to his feet and pulled out his wallet.
“Never mind that,” madam fare said, “this one’s on the house.
As they were driving of the younger of the two ladies said “Well
Joysie you were very convincing, Meryl Streep has just been put to
shame. How did you do it?”
“It wasn’t me.”
As Dale headed back to the station Veronica looked at the notes she
was making.
“According to this, you are to be stopped or someone by the name of
“That was creepy.” admitted Dale.
“Okay for argument sake, let’s say that all this was real. What does
this mean, “asked Veronica.
“Danger, with my name next to it means that I am in great danger.”
“We already know that, Dale.”
“The last word, what do you think he was trying to say.”
“Ski, skunk, skate-board, skeleton, it could be anything.”
“What if he were signing off? “ Dale asked impatiently, “like initials of
a name.”
The both spoke at the same time, “Sarinda Kooben : S K”
Getting back to roads familiar to Dale proved to be an arduous task as
he kept on taking wrong turn after wrong turn.
“You can’t remember how we came here, Dale, can you?”
Despite talking to the dead Dale handled her remark without becoming
angry, “Just enjoying the scenery.”
To avoid any more meetings with Smit they had decided to stop at the
station and let him know of their latest findings.
Veronica kept looking at her notes while Dale was lost in thought.
“Look at you, Dale, on Friday you couldn’t even work with her but now
you can’t do without her. What has gotten into you? Focus on the case
Dale, stay focused… Boy, she’s got a great pair of …”
Dale immediately slammed on his brakes as he saw a young cow just in
front of him. He knew that he would never bring the van to a stop so
he released his brake pedal and quickly depressed the accelerator
maneuvering the van past the cow that never flinched or moved..
“Damn these animals,” he shouted.
“Quick thinking , partner,” Veronica responded.
Being brought back to reality so abruptly caused Dale turned his head
towards Veronica.
“Ronnie , can I ask you something.”
“Sure thing.”
You know where I stand regarding these murders and Sipho. I can’t
quite read you. Most of the time you agree with me but sometimes it
comes of as you don’t believe all of the things that are going on. For
example , you never really believed that Madam Fare could speak to
the dead.”
“Don’t get me wrong , I was brought up to believe in certain things and
to disregard others. Considering what’s happening here , I have to
come to terms with it all first. Mark my words Dale , my mind is open
to anything supernatural and be rest assured I will support you in all
your theories.”
Dale could not help but feel that she had softened up to him but the
extent of which he did not know.
“Dale , we need to check with Clemens , maybe he has some new
information for us. Knowing him he must have started the autopsy on
the last victim yesterday. I don’t have a clue why he would do that but
at least he might have come up with some leads we can use.”
“ Ronnie, you never asked me about the reason why I was at the
hospital yesterday and how I knew that Rebecca was in danger.”
“I figured that you would tell me , and Dale be wary , you call her
Rebecca as if you knew her well.”
“That’s just it , I did know her well . I used to be romantically involved
with her. “
Dale noticed a sudden change in Veronica’s facial expression when he
had mentioned his romantic fling with Rebecca.
“I took a little nap after work ,“ Dale continued but leaving out the
alcohol bit , “ and I had a vision of her body in the hospital bed. It was
then that I went to see her. With all of this demon, ghost crap going
around I think I saw the future.”
Dale , at that point ,recalled his vision of seeing Veronica swimming
naked as the water spumed over her lustrous hair, this made him smile
shyly to himself.
“You’ll tell me the truth soon enough, Dale.”
“What we need to do is to find out more about Sarinda Kooben. He
came out to warn us but we don’t know a thing about him. “
Dale slammed on the brakes, again causing Veronica to violently move
forward. She expected to see another cow on the road but ahead of
her was a twenty four hour garage. Dale got out of the van and hastily
made his way to the entrance.
“Get me a soda too,” Veronica yelled.
Dale exited from the shop entrance of the garage carrying a rather
large book. He placed the book on bonnet and began paging through it.
“Oh yes, Dale, that’s smart: a directory. But I think Satan has a cell
phone. “
Dale would have normally responded with a quirky remark himself but
he remained fixated on the directory. The pages were being turned so
fast that the ends of the book were coming slightly apart.
“K k k k ko ko “ Dale mumbled. “There it is Kooben. Look Ronnie
there’s two Koobens listed and a bet one of them should be related to
“That’s quite an old directory you got there, what makes you sure that
we can find these people but Dale I have to give you credit for
thinking of it , I surely did not.”
“That’s the beauty of it, I checked the directory at the station, and I
could not find any Koobens. This garage looks old enough, that’s why I
thought I could find an old directory here. If these Kooben’s have
moved, the neighbours will be able to tell us something.” Dale urged on.
The van’s rear wheels spun around a few times as Dale pressed on the
accelerator leaving behind a fresh set of tarnishing on a road that had
already had its fair share of wear and tear. Even though the air inside
the van was hot and the air outside even hotter Dale pressed on
without even breaking into a sweat.