I stood up and walked around the room and said “wait, wait, wait, they forced her to smuggle drugs? Oh my God, this is some scary shit. I cannot even begin to imagine how torn and petrified your mom must have been.” He continued “She pleaded with them, begged them and told them that she was even willing to smuggle the drugs herself as long as they brought her daughter back, we couldn’t go to the police because we knew we were being watched every move we made they knew about it and what could the police do to people like that anyway, they are under resourced as it is. They obviously didn’t agree to her plea bargain and told us if she was busy flying in and out of the country with drugs how was she going to make the rest of the money. We of course knew that there was no way we were going to make this money with my mother’s teacher’s salary, so my mother told me that my dad used to sell illegal firearms which brought in a lot of money, she didn’t know where he got them from but it seemed like they were coming from Natal, so we needed to find that connection then still get buyers, it was such an impossible mission but I was willing to try it just to save my sister. While I was still working on finding my father’s gun supplier the Chinese sent us a video of our sister being operated, they opened up her stomach then put the drugs inside her stomach and told us in 48 hours if we didn’t have the money she would be flying out of South Africa with those drugs in her body. Do you know how scared I was for her, she could get arrested and in some foreign countries they still have the death penalty, we didn’t know which country she would be going to so there was no way of calling the police of that country to alert them and on the other hand alerting them could seem like a tip of and also get her arrested I mean they were not going to believe that she was forced into this, they were going to assume that she did it willingly, besides everybody who gets caught with drugs always says they got framed so that story the cops no longer believe.
I finally managed to get some contact of my dad’s in all my digging, they agreed to meet with me, when I meet with them I got the shock of my life because it was white people, I told them the whole story of what had happened and they said they would give me the seven million as long as after they have paid I work with them, I explained that I was studying and I couldn’t real work at the time because the varsity work load was not easy, they told me they were patient people and would wait for me to finish with Varsity, they will just need me to do odd jobs for them for now, just here and there.” I was kind of getting an idea now of where this was going “Were these the Russians?” I asked “Yes, the following day which was actually the day of the deadline, we called the Chinese and told them we had their money, I will never forget that day, I was so happy and excited that I was finally going to see my sister and she was coming back home, the Russians came with us, I felt so powerful, like I had achieved the impossible, we drove to some place in Bruma, my mom and I and we had this entourage of Russians, it felt good to be in control for once, we got there and they wanted the money and as we were about to give it to them, I mean my mom and I were amateurs in this we didn’t know how it’s done, the Russian told them to first show us our sister, they pointed to a car that was a bit far from us and we could see she was in that car, we handed the money and they said we could go and get my sister I walked to the car with one of the Russians and as we got close the guy I was walking with shouted something in Russian and the next thing I knew bullets were flying all over the place, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on the guy pushed me to the ground and told me to stay down, I was shitting myself I had never seen bullets fly like that all around me.” I interrupted “why did the Russian shout and did you ever find out what he was saying?” Mthobisi shook his head and I could see his eyes had tears but he was trying very hard to hold them back “He was saying it’s a trap, she’s dead and that’s why the other Russian guys started shooting but at the time I had no idea why the shooting was happening or who started it, the Chinese managed to run off with about four million, they had no idea that we were coming with Russians so they were just going to take our money and give us my dead sister, we later found out that the drugs they had put in my sisters stomach the plastic had somehow burst and all those drugs filled up her stomach so she died of drugs overdose of shit that she didn’t even use”, he said standing up and walking towards the window, this was a lot to take in, now all the pieces were starting to fall into place, those bastards are the ones that made him so ruthless. “Can you imagine burying your dad this month and the following month burying your sister? The word had spread all around our neighbourhood that she had gone missing, when we found her the story was just too hard to swallow or to tell, so we just told people that she was involved in a car accident and that is why we struggled finding her because she had no id with her when the accident happened so nobody knew who she was. The day we buried her I made a promise to her in at her grave that I would find the people that did this to her and I was going to make them pay.
From there on I was just angry, controlled by anger, the Russians took me under their wing, showed me the ropes and I continued studying, when I started working on mines as an engineer this is when they coached me on how to smuggle gold, get people who were coming from outside the country to work for me because I had accesses to mines all over it was easy for me to get them in. There would be times when the police would do sting operations and send undercover cops to come and investigate the mines, because I was an engineer I would be told of what is happening and I would pull my guys out, things went well for some time and I managed to settle our debt, my mom had also become involved in the life and she was pulling her own shit on her side and the Russians respected her. We had to live as normal of a life as possible we didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves, so we made sure we didn’t flash or start living a high rollers life.” He was still standing by the window looking outside, I was still sitting on the couch listening to this “so when you meet me and we got married why didn’t you confide in me then? Why didn’t you tell me all this then?” I asked “Because I wanted to protect you from all of this, I never wanted you to find out, the day shit got messy was when that mine I was working on collapsed, I was not worried about my life, I was more worried about my guys lives and I know you may think I’m heartless but the people that work for me to me feel like family and I do everything in my power to protect them, I felt like I had failed when some of them died.” I went and stood in front of him this time the tears came down on his face and he used the back of his hand to wipe them off. “I’m sorry that you and your family had to go through all that and thank you for telling me.
So are you now going to be able to quit this life?” He shook his head and said “I don’t know Lesedi, this life is all that I have known for so long, yes I want to change for you to make you happy but that change will have to come gradually, it will be difficult to just quit and I also have to explain to everyone why I am quitting and the scary part is some might not like that decision and may decide to come after you. Which is why I think you should stay dead.” He said looking at me in the eyes. “We need to plan this carefully, I don’t want any comebacks, I have grown big in the underworld and I have a lot of information that I know some might worry that I will use that information to bring them down. Obviously in this kind of life nobody trusts anybody so if a guy just comes and says he wants to quit everyone starts questioning his motives. I know if I quit and something goes wrong in their heads automatically the first person that will come to mind is me. So are you willing to live a life like that? Are you willing to always be chased after because they think you are hiding something or have done something against them?” He looked past me the question he had asked me he was not expecting me to answer it, he wanted me to think about it.
“Lesedi I love you but you being with me may mean putting you in a lot of danger. I watched you while you were sleeping and I had enough time to think things through, you were right by running that was self-preservation and I respect and admire that, I don’t think many people would have been brave enough to do what you did. I think the best option is for you to disappear, I will go back to Joburg sort my shit out then come back for you, staying dead is the best possible option right now, that way no one can come after you.”
I shook my head and said “I think somewhere I kind of forgot my wedding vows, I said before God and everybody else that was at our wedding that I was in this for better or for worse and most importantly till death do us part. Now that I know that you didn’t start living this life because you were bored or because you were being greedy I understand and feel your pain and staying dead will be the worst option for me right now. I am going to stand by you, and no we are not going to quit, I think now more than ever we have to find those bitches that killed your sister and make them pay.” Mthobisi looked at me and said “Did you just say we? Does this mean you want in? Lesedi this life is addictive and dangerous I want you to be hundred percent sure because once you are in it is very hard to come out. And the people that killed my sister they are all dead, I made sure of it”
I smiled and said “I’m in, let’s go home.” I said getting my bags already, Mthobisi said we could go home the following morning , we discussed where he would say he found me and agreed on using the story I had told him when he found me at the hotel of not remembering who I was, we agreed that we would tell everyone that there was a mix-up with medical aids and I was sent to a public hospital and a patient who had an operation before me our files got mixed up and she died and they thought it was me since she had my file. I woke up in a public hospital with no memory of who I was and a few days later got discharged they didn’t care where I went all they cared about was getting me off the bed so they could give it to someone else who was sick. I wondered around with nowhere to go and lived on the streets until some person who recognised me picked me up and called my husband and that’s how he found me. He looked at me and smiled and said “I thought you well.” I laughed and said “the student will always be better than the teacher.” He laughed and said it’s a good plan and there will be no mention of Durban and my friend’s involvement in all of this. By now we were both hungry he said he would go and grab us take-aways. I was looking for my phone in my bag when I saw the letter from Roger, I quickly opened it before Mthobisi came back it read
I can help you, I work for the Moscow Police I am here in South Africa working undercover, we have been following you for some time now, we know you faked your own death, we know about your husband and his dealings with the Russian. We are investigating them for crimes they committed in Russia and we are trying to get them extradited and we believe you can be of great help to us. This is my private number that you can get hold of me on at any time.
I smiled and thought this could be our way of getting rid of the Russians and being freeing from the life of crime, now the big question was do I work with police alone and keep all this from my husband or do I tell him and have him stop me? I decided I was going to keep this to myself I was going to get all the information they needed and help them send them back to their country so they could answer for their sins and leave us in peace. Loyalty for what?