Mike Nkululeko Maphoto
When the American Consulate in South Africa is bombed killing the brother of the sitting President of the United States, a conspiracy that could lead to World War 3 if it catches fire is about to erupt. Enter an unwilling, unprepared and under trained black female spy and a possibly racist ex convict white nationalist to save the day. Problem is no one knows were the bombs are coming from and for America only South Africa is to blame as it was their Deputy Minister of Defense who walked into the consulate with the bomb! This is a race against time with an entire nation at stake as the battle hardened, bloody thirsty and war ready American military firmly focused on their next victim.
‘It does not rain as much in Cape Town anymore. Those legendary Cape winters were a thing of the past now. If the ancestors had lived still they probably would not have named the big beast Hoerikwaggo, The Smoke that Thunders. Now Table Mountain, that’s what the colonizers renamed it was just another big stone belted by the sun like any another ordinary stone.’
Those were his thoughts as the driver pulled out of his driveway. There never was traffic towards Main Road.
“There is no traffic on the M2 today sir it is going to be smooth drive!”
Denver Jaantjies, his driver said to him from the front sit. Denver was a pure Cape Coloured and had been his driver for three years already. He was very chatty in that thick Cape accent of his something which he had always found amusing.
“No today we take scenic route, I feel like seeing people and students you know!”
By the scenic route he meant driving through Main Road as it was a heavily built road. As they turned on to the road in Claremont he saw the Coronation Building. They had given his daughter a bursary a few years ago and every school holiday she could summer or winter internship there to learn the industry. The Southern Sun in front of it did not have happy memories for him because once upon a time his wife had caught him doing something he definitely should not have been doing with his then secretary. At that thought he chuckled in his head. That was his first and last time too because it was not worth it at all.
“Everything ok back there sir?”
Denver asked him looking through the rear view mirror.
“Everything is fine don’t worry!”
He said and instinctively clutched his briefcase tightly as though it was going to fall down. He actually loved Cape Town. It was not a nice thing to admit nowadays especially after the opposition party had tightened its grip over it and made his race feel and be treated like second class citizens. There are so many things they could have done better when they were in power but they had failed at that too. His party was in power nationally but here they were the paupers of the province. They had suffered humiliation after humiliation not only at the ballot box but in the press as always most of which was self inflicted.
“When last did you go to Newlands?”
He asked the driver. He knew Denver was a big Stormers fan and when the rugby team was doing badly he would be down for many days.
“I have not had time lately but there is a game next weekend and I think I am going. You should come sir I am sure you will enjoy it. You from Limpopo right meaning you get to watch us beat the Blue Bulls!”
He said mischievously. He knew for a fact that his boss would never go watch a match with him because for a lot of Africans rugby was still considered a symbol of white supremacy and a racist sport no matter how much they tried to show support in the media. That was the problem with this country, the fact that people smile at you even though they think you are worth less than the dogs they love so much. Nelson Mandela’s dream was really a nightmare for many.
“One day is one day!”
He responded as they entered Rondebosch. This was student central but what always fascinated him was the Presidential Palace. He had lived there before but that was a story for another day if only there was time. There was actually no traffic but as usual a lot of the students from the University of Cape Town walking back and forth. A message came into his phone making such a noise he had to look at it immediately.
“These people like to spoil my day Denver, please put on your blue lights and let’s take the highway. We need to go to the American Consulate!”
He said suddenly turning Denver into the Michael Schumacher he was trained to be. This guy must have driven taxis in his past life the way he drove. They got off Main Road by Baxter Hall, driving past Woolsack and Kopano residences on the Middle Campus of the University of Cape Town before joining the highway. He was right it was clear and there was no traffic. They passed Table Mountain National Forest and it hit him that he had never actually gone up there at all. That’s crazy. He had only been on Table Mountain itself twice, had never hiked the trials and now there was no time. He did not have the luxury of time all of a sudden. His life had come to this. He decided to call his daughter,
“Dad I am busy right now; I am getting into a meeting. Is it urgent?
Vhutali worked for LaFarge in Johannesburg now. She had just passed her Chartered Accountancy exams, completed all her competencies so now she was on the highway to success. As his last born he was glad that as a father he had done his part. He had three kids, Tendani lived up to his name and became a pastor which annoyed the crap out him. He took him to Essex University in England to come back and become a pastor. For that reason they hardly spoke. Vhuthuhawe was just wastage expenditure. He was a bum, lazy, sometimes a druggie, dropped out of college (not even university) and he was pretty sure was a criminal in Johannesburg. This is why Vhuthali was the golden child. He could not help but feel like he had failed as a father but again there was nothing he could do about it anymore. There was no time.
“It is ok shumela Venda nwana wanga!”
She laughed on the other side and then responded,
“I will talk to you later daddy!”
Playfully because she knew he hated being called that. Good Venda kids say baba not this western nonsense. He smiled though as he hung up the phone. It was quite a drive so he just allowed himself to get lost in his thoughts but there was so much going through his mind at that moment to make any sense of it. Eventually they got to the US Consulate which was in Westlake.
He said at the thought that they were about to move their embassy to Cape Town under this current government of theirs. That would be a major a political statement if they really went through with that as they would be saying they prefer to work with the former apartheid government than the current one.
“There is more security here than usual!”
Denver said as they arrived. He too had not expected this much security but with the blue lights it meant that they did not have through as much hustle as the long queue of white people in the line trying to get visas to go to America. The security came and did the mandatory check on the vehicle and they were waved in. He was familiar here in any case as he had met with the Consul General quite a few times. The car drove right through into the VIP parking area in the American Consulate.
“I am going to park towards the end of the parking when I drop you. There is better shade there!”
He said with a chuckle. The parking was shaded so it was a joke.
“Actually no, I will be two hours at least in here. Please go to that restaurant we once stopped at, that Indian one what was its name again?”
He asked Denver,
“Punjab sir, what must I get you?”
The river asked innocently,
“More like what must you get us? Something nice, just surprise us? Leave now so that you are first in line!”
“And oh, please buy us all tickets to the Stormers game, this time I am going with you!”
He said much to the surprise and joy of his driver. He could literally see the tears in the man’s eyes as he had wanted this for so long.
“Please leave now before I change my mind!”
He said as he took his briefcase and walked out. He watched his driver drive away and only when he was out of the gate did he walk into the building and was immediately ushered through without any searches. He was a government minister, Deputy Minister of Defence to be exact. This was not his first Deputy Minister role he had been in as he came from Home Affairs before this. President Modise had in all his limited wisdom clearly thought it wise that he could go into defence when his background was economics but oh well, he was a comrade after all.
“Welcome back sir!”
The chirpy American personal assistant of the Ambassador said to him as he entered the specious office of the man.
“Candice, good to see you again. I might be a few minutes early though because there was less traffic than I thought!”
He said to the pretty blonde blue eyed girl. How had she managed to end up in such a high post because if looks were anything to go by she was not a day about twenty five. That was the same age as his daughter who was still trying to find her way in this big bad world of his.
“You are actually on time hey because just now he asked me if you had arrived. I guess the time gods are in both your favour then!”
She said cheerfully, she was always cheerful this one. Maybe she was not one of the fake ones after all but oh well there was no time for that right now.
“Please come right this way!”
She said guiding him on a route he had already taken a few times before.
“Hold up Miss Candice, is that a rock I spy on your finger Miss Mckenzie?”
He asked and immediately she turned beet red blushing.
“Ah you noticed. You are so attentive Secretary Kone, yes it’s a new rock. My fiancé finally proposed. I am so excited!”
She said forgetting her professional etiquette. She had called him Secretary because in their country the equivalent for a Minister is a Secretary so he did not take offense at that. She moved closer so he could see the ring clearly,
“It is so beautiful, goodness if I am not mistake this is a Shipton Zambian Emerald and Diamond wow I have never seen one so close. He loves you very much!”
He told her and he was right. This ring was worth half a million Rands but to be fair she had been short changed. Her fiancé, whom he knew very well too was the son of one of the Stellenbosch mafia mega millionaires. He could have done better. He was also seeing two other girls but what is the easiest way of getting a green card than marrying the personal assistant of the ambassador. These people are so clever.
A voice said from behind them making the you personal assistant jump back in a slight fright and probably a bit embarrassed. Not to make it any more awkward Minister Kone then said,
“We are invited to a wedding my friend; sorry I am late!”
He said laughing walking to meet the man he had come to see armed stretched out,
“Are you ever late for anything though my friend. I am trying to think of a meeting were you came and were not on time!”
The ambassador said with smile on his face. James Truman was the brother of the current president of the United States. He was a poor diplomat and loved making deals under the table. If a black president put his brother as ambassador anywhere it would most likely be flagged as nepotism and corruption but for Americans this was natural business were no one called them out for it. He was also a bit too friendly with the people that he did business with highlighting why he was generally considered an idiot by most. The one thing he was good at though was spying on South Africa for his brother and their right wing interests. There was a reason why he was the first American Ambassador in South Africa to work out of Cape Town and not Pretoria the national capital. When the Ministry of International Relations had protested this, they were told it was temporary. That was two years ago.
“Candice get us two teas please! Mine is green tea what would you like my friend?”
He asked him. He was actually very cheerful today but that was him almost always
“Rooibos, black please!”
Candice said and walked out.
“I suppose we have a lot to discuss because I have been dying to see them!”
The ambassador said gleefully,
“Do you realize that these could be worth millions of dollars if we get the contract!”
He said. This was the Truman he knew who was in it for the personal wealth. He was an unscrupulous man this one.
“I guess so that’s why I figured a demonstration would be in order!”
The Minister said opening his briefcase.
“A demonstration, what do you mean?”
The Ambassador asked a bit surprised by what his friend had just said,
“This is the TBMNM000X5 model, its an explosive device the size of a golf ball that can take out three blocks when detonated!”
He started to explain,
“Yeah I already know that but what do you mean demonstration?”
James Truman asked again because a demonstration of this device needs a controlled environment and because this was an underground deal they could do that here.
“To see how it works of course. You want this thing so badly probably to kill me brown people…”
Khathutshelo Vincent Kone said as he turned the device and immediately green lights came on,
“What the fuck are you…”
James Henry Truman the Third did not even finish his statement as the deafening sound followed by a blinding light and then silence.
This was not how her day was supposed to be going at all. She had woken up late, somehow she had switched off the geyser and forgot to switch it on in the morning meaning she had been forced to bath in cold water. At least it was not winter. Now her car was not starting at all. Her brother had told her over and over again not to buy a Tata but he did not earn the peanuts she did. If he was so concerned about the size or safety of the car he should have bought her one himself.
“Thabang come on, i need a ride i don’t want to be late again this morning. It will be the second time this week and my boss is already a dick!”
She begged her friend who was a nurse and was coming of his night shift. She knew he was on the road and because he stayed two complexes away could rescue her.
“I am really tired today Amo can’t you just order an Uber?”
Her friend begged her.
“You know i am broke.”
She told him. She did not want to remind him that she was broke because she had borrowed him her last money after his baby mama showed up at the hospital he worked. When he had impregnated Bonang she had warned him that sue was psycho but even she had not comprehended how much of a pyscho she really was. Bonang was the stuff of legends no one sympathized with Thabang because everyone had warned him to stay away from her. It did not help that she was a policewoman and carried a gun. You really cannot make this up.
“Ok then I am coming but you will have to drop me off at home because I am tired. You will bring the car later!”
Thabang offered which she did not mind at all. She had errands to run in any case that afternoon so this actually worked in her favour.
“You are such a life saver, thank you so much. How far are you?”
She asked him as she could hear he was already driving.
“I am two minutes away so come out and meet me at the gate.”
He told her. Immediately she picked up her bag and ran out of her car. She had been sitting in the car this whole time as she had been trying to start it. She could not understand for the life of her why it would not start because last night everything had been fine with it.”
She said to the security guard at the gate as she walked past,
“You walking today Ausi what’s wrong with your car?”
He asked. From the security booth her parking lot was in his line of site meaning he had probably seen her struggle.
“It’s this economy Malume, it does not want us to prosper!”
She said as she got to Thabang’s car which had just arrived.
“Ah dude see why a girl needs friends like you.”
She said with a huge grin on her face but he was grumpy as usual.
“I told you that you have a tendency to leave your lights on and I am almost certain it’s your battery that’s flat!”
He told her.
“No I switched them off I promise. I know this because yesterday when I got back from work I stayed in the car for about an hour listening to Talk Radio so i know i definitely switched them off as they would flash into my neighbours flat. They had an interesting topic on about the R37 million fence which was vandalized in two days.”
She told him as he drove to his place.
“How long did you listen to it?”
He asked her again.
“About an hour or so. It was really interesting!”
She told him but the look on his face betrayed what he was trying to say. If he could have said DUH at the moment he would have but instead he just shook his head.
That is the best she managed as she realized her mistake. He was going to laugh at her later but poor man was tired. He had worked a double shift to get the overtime so he could pay Bonang mara jolang.
“Thanks again for this and as always I owe you one!”
She told him as she drove off in his car and she was already late. She did not live that far from work but that did not stop her from being late at least once a week. She drove as fast as the traffic would allow her and the fact that she could not work his car radio annoyed her.
“This is already starting to be a bad day!”
She told herself as she drove onto Delmas Road towards Musanda Complex. She had always hated that name but that was not her place. At the gate the security guard checked and searched her car. She had worked here for three years now and not once had they failed to do that. She could not park her car in the underground parking because she was late but she avoided the shaded parking under trees because birds would ruin your car. Its not like she had a choice as already the baking Pretoria sun was already doing its thing. She parked in the sun and just prayed by some miracle the sun will disappear at some point.
“Thabang is going to be so mad if he finds out I parked in the sun!”
She murmured as she walked towards the entrance. Upon entering the building there was yet another security check. She noted that there were more people in the lobby than usual. Here they would do a body search through a scanner meaning nothing left unchecked. For some reason they never allowed people to sit in here even guests so seeing so many people was so rare.
“Morning Khutso, I saw Pirates lost again!”
She said to the friendly security man who manned the desk with three others. She looked around and noticed something strange, the two people mopping the floor were not the regular cleaners. In fact they were too young and too fit to be cleaners.
“It must make you proud humiliating me like this every day!”
Khutso said laughing at her which distracted her from the cleaners. Immediately his other colleague laughed at him too joining the conversation,
“Sister tell him that the Happy People are always crying these days!”
Bongani said. She hardly ever spoke to Bongani to be fair as he was much older than her but she was always polite enough to greet. This was probably the longest sentence he had said to her in months. As she responded she took out her security card which for the second time again needed to be scanned as was protocol. She handed it to Khutso.
“He doesn’t listen this one…”
She responded but was stopped in her tracks. Immediately as Khutso swiped it alarms went off.
“What’s going on?”
She asked looking around but before she could even think she heard,
“Hands up right now?”
Khutso, Bongani and the other random people that she had noted suddenly screamed at her, guns pointed.
“Get on your knees right now or we will shoot!”
One of the men with guns screamed at her. Who were these people?
“We have the suspect detained, I repeat we have the suspect detained!”
One of the cleaners said into his collar. He was clearly talking to someone.
“What’s going on? i work here!”
She protested but before she got a response one of the men sprayed something into her face and she passed out.
It had begun.
24 HOURS EARLIER
“Mr. President that was a great speech!”
Ronnie said approaching the president who immediately dropped the smile on his face.
“Can you for one day show up with good news.”
The president asked his spy chief. Ronnie saw the change in the president’s face but did not say anything. In his eyes the problem with making people president who had never experienced a day of battle was what was going to kill the ANC and its rule. They were too busy wining and dining in Stellenbosch and the reason why they did not like him was because he had all the files. His job was to know were all the bodies were buried and he did this with pride because the comrades had lost their way.
“Well if ever i showed up with good news then you should know I have stopped doing my job.”
He told him. He had a file in his hands and the president looked at him as he shuffled through the hotel his protection service bumping people out of the way roughly as though they were pests that needed to be swatted.
“Well i can’t talk right now, as you can see I am busy. I am flying back to Joburg right now and already I am behind time!”
The president warned him but Ronnie was like bubble-gum stuck in your hair, thinking of getting it out of your hair was easy but actually succeeding without having to cut was quite another story.
“Then I am flying with you because this is important!”
The stubborn goat responded. This was one or the reasons why the president hated this man. Everyone else bow before him but Ronnie was different. He was candid and forthright and had no time to kiss ass no matter who the other person was.
“You know you cant fly with me, what is wrong with you man!”
The president asked him annoyed at this man’s arrogance and ego.
“I am doing my job. You might not like it but what I have is serious!”
He told him. In public the president was seen as weak because he was accused of not having actual power. A lot of people in the media especially thought he had been a compromise candidate meant by all means necessary to stop the other candidate assuming power. In private however he was a quite different animal from the feeble man they made him out to be.
“Don’t test me Cde. Ronnie, i have had it up to here with your constant warnings that never mount to anything!”
He told him as they got into the cars. The protection detail did not stop him as he also entered the car with the president. It was hard to because he had practically vetted each and everyone of them himself the way he was a stickler for detail. This is one of the reasons why the president feared him, you could actually never tell who was with him.
“If it was any other man who entered my car without permission you would have been shot on the spot!”
The president warned him so annoyed by this man’s audacity.
“If it was any other man they would not have been president!”
He retorted annoying the irate president even more. He pressed the divider which sound proofed the back sits from the driver and the presidents bodyguard sitting in front.
“You know i had a good day. The press for once loved me and things have been good lately. Now you are here! Why? It is almost always you!”
He said opening a bottle or water to drink.
“Do you think this water is poisoned too?”
He asked his National Intelligence boss sarcastically.
“You need to stop this cold war nonsense already. You are always paranoid and now your department is paranoid too. You see threats which are not there. Did you know i get more briefings from your department than any other? Even Local Government with that baffoon doesn’t give me as much problems!”
He was clearly truly angry to speak openly like this and Ronnie knew to be compared to Local Government was a low blow. That department was just a mess. He also knew that with this president, as this was his fourth, you had to let him rant and rave first before you actually dropped in your two cents.
“I am going to be honest with you, we cannot keep on doing this you and i. You have me scared half the time. I am even scared of my own shadow half the time. You have made everyone seem like an enemy to me in my eyes.”
The president went on. Ronnie did not betray any emotion as the presidents tirade went on. What he did not know was that before he was elected, it was Ronnie who had thwarted four attempts on his life as well as kept them out of the media. He was not even playing kingmaker as that was not his job, this stupid guy was not even his preferred candidate but his job was clear and he did it with distinction. Now he had to sit and listen to this.
“We are almost at the plane. What do you want to show me?”
He asked him. Ronnie immediately handed over the file.
“We have a credible threat on a high value target in Cape Town tomorrow!”
He told him.
“All your threats you call them credible and most if not all have turned out to nothing!”
The president said dismissively browsing through the file.
“This is different. This is clearly well planned and coordinated. It will happen tomorrow and…”
The Presidents phone and it was the first lady.
“Sorry i have to take this!”
He said and without giving him a chance to stop him picked up.
“I am leaving Cape Town now I am on my way.”
He told her. He covered the mouth of the speaker so he could speak to Ronnie again,
“I will look at these and your recommendations!”
And again before Ronnie could respond he motioned him with his finger to wait and went back to the phone,
“Love i know it’s our anniversary but you also know i have the small job too of running the country!”
He said to the first lady. Ronnie of course knew what day it was as again he knew a lot of things.
He said hanging up the phone. They were already at the airport at this stage.
“Mr. President this is serious. You need to call in the security cluster!”
He warned him.
“I will look at your report on the plane and will give you my recommendation on the plane!”
He told him.
“Please don’t try and get on the plane with me it will embarrass me!”
The president said as he was about to step out. Ronnie did not move and stayed in place. He was not sure what to do now because this was so serious a threat.
“Mr. President tomorrow morning there will be an attack on South African soil. Please I beg you…”
He warned but the president walked out immediately greeting more people. He handed the file to his spokesman who at least was Ronnie’s man. As the car he was in moved forward, another car stopped and out came out a woman he was well aware of, the presidents mistress.
He cursed out loud.
There was no way he was going to read the report now with that 23 year old on the same plane as him. This was crazy. He picked up his phone to call,
“General we need to talk its urgent!”
He said as his car drove out of the airport,
“I need a plane to Pretoria right now its a Code Red!”
He told him exasperated.
“Eish, you know my hands are tied. If i give you a plane you know parliament will have my head at SCOPA!”
The General hesitated. One of the reasons why government barely functioned was because of its micromanagement of anyone who tried to show initiative and often it was negative. It was opposition parties that were the most vocal in these things so it was to be expected.
“Mfethu listen to me, you get me a plane tonight in the next hour or tomorrow morning i swear with every bone in me i will release every picture i have of you with all your boyfriends! You think i do not know about your little parties whilst your kids are sleeping at home.”
He warned the happily married man.
“Ah Cde. How did we get here?”
The terrified General responded
“Two of the boys in your circle are underage and I have proof!”
“I will have a plane ready for you in one hour!”
The General said and at that Ronnie hung before the man could start pleading. The last part was a bluff, there was no on underage but when someone of his stature says something like that, people tend to believe.
“Turn the car around and take me to hangar 16”
He said after pressing the button again to allow de soundproof the backseat.
Ronnie was never a man of taking chances. He had to follow the president who in 30 minutes time will probably be in the private room on the plane with the 23 year old Wits student he was failing so badly at keeping a secret.
He screamed again annoyed. Something big was happening tomorrow.
“Why am i here? What’s going on?”
Amogelang screamed as she was set into the interrogation room. She knew this was not a drill because much as she had never been to this section of the building she had heard of it. This is where they interrogated the worst of the worst. Even the police did not have access to it. The stories she had heard of this place were horrific to say the least.
“Hey you? Please call my boss, there has been some mistake i work here!”
She said. She could not understand what was going on and no one had told her. In Intelligence the problem was there was no due process. They could hold her forever if they wanted let alone all the things they could do to her.
“What have i done?”
She screamed yet again. This was not what she had signed up for. Intelligence had never been her calling but fate had brought here. When she was in primary school her older sister had been sexually assaulted by boys who were in high school with her. Her parents had panicked and realized that in South Africa any sane woman has to learn to protect themselves. She had a black belt in karate when she was fifteen and at 21 she had achieved her dan. Her brother was also quite formidable but unlike him she had the brains to match. She got a scholarship to study Military Science at the University of Stellenbosch and had landed in the National Intelligence Agency. This was only her second year here so she barely knew anything meaning whatever she had done could not involve the leaking of classified content.
“Miss Amogelang Shadi in the in the flesh!”
A man said entering the room. She knew who he was immediately as he needed no introduction,
“Director Mokoena, sir… I do not follow, what is going on? Whatever it is i am sure there has to be an explanation!”
She said immediately. Firstly although this man was the boss in her department he was more of an enigma. No one ever saw him yet his presence was felt.
“No Amogelang, is it ok if i call you that? Its easier than being all formal!”
He said as he sat down.
“Yes sir that’s fine but sir i don’t mean to be rude, what’s going on?”
She asked him. If being in this room scared her before, the entrance of this man amplified that fear. This was definitely not a drill.
“Miss Shadi, i am going to show you some pictures and i want you to tell me what you think when you see them.”
The director said and immediately opened a folder he had in front of him. He took out a picture as he had promised and placed it in front of her to look at.
“I am not following what is this?”
She said in horror when she recognized who was in the picture in front of him.
“Thabang! Why do you have my friend? What has he done?”
She asked him because this was beyond bizarre. He looked badly beaten up.
“What has he done?”
The Director asked in what clearly rhetorical,
He said casually as though Thabang was not thoroughly bruised in the picture.
“Then why on earth would you do that to him oh my God? He is such a good person how could you?”
She cried in disbelief. This was not the organization she had joined and this is what they had done. How could they be so cruel.
“Don’t worry about him! Worry about yourself. I need you to consider this, if we can do that to someone for simply knowing you what are we going to do to you?”
He asked her.
“Going to do to me?”
She whispered. They had really hurt him and by what he was saying it was all for nothing. He simply nodded in the affirmative.
“But what have i done?”
She asked him.
“Good, now that i have caught your attention i have a few questions to ask you?”
He said to her.
“Ask i have nothing to hide just please let my friend go!”
She begged him but he was not listening to her.
“How long did you plan it?”
He asked her.
“Plan it? Plan what?”
She asked because if vague had an example his question was it.
“Don’t play dumb with me!”
He said banging hard on the interrogation desk.
“I don’t know what you are talking about!”
She sobbed. She had always considered herself tough but the way the shock of everything had hit her, her defence mechanisms had failed her.
“So you mean to tell me you don’t know what happened this morning?”
He asked with obvious sarcasm and disdain in his voice.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. There was load shedding at my place this morning so i had no TV and my car would not start so i borrowed a friends car. I was already late so i didn’t even switch on the radio so i have no idea!”
She explained but she could see he was not believing her. He produced two more pictures from the folder and placed them in front of her. Just from the first glance she could see a damaged building from a bomb blast and at least 7 bodies.
“What is this?”
She asked her and the realization was immediate. They had been a terror attack.
“That’s the American Embassy! What happened?”
She asked in shock.
“We were hoping you would tell us!”
He said looking her in the eye.
“Tell you what?”
“You think i did this?”
She asked him.
“Is this a joke? You cant be serious?”
His face was expressionless. He was not joking. She had to get out of her emotional comfort zone fast and think straight as to why this was happening.
“Please do me a lie dictator test. I am totally clueless of this!”
She offered immediately.
“You are too well trained for that so no! Tell me why you did this or why you and your people did this? Tell me now or you are going to Phalaborwa!”
That was a threat which if fulfilled she knew she would never be seen alive again.
“I did not do this! Why are you linking me to this? Why are you setting me up?”
She asked him.
“Setting you up?”
He asked her. He waved his colleague over who was carrying a laptop.
“45 minutes after the bombing of the consulate we received this!”
He said and turned the laptop around to face her.
“Press play please!”
He asked her. A man in a balaclava appeared and started to speak,
“This was only the first of the attacks and were only meant to catch your attention. We have demands but not before you take us seriously. You have five prisoners that must be released into the custody of Miss Amogelang Shadi. She works for National Intelligence. The five are Cobus Van Wyk, Simbarashe Hove, Sheik Abdullah Mahomed, Dylan Hunter, and Louisa Abrams. She will get further instructions once they are in her custody. You have 24 hours to release them. The time stamp is 10am meaning 10 am tomorrow.”
She felt numb.
“This is not happening!’
She said and put her head into her arms briefly.
“It is happening! Why did they choose you?”
He asked her and she responded,
“Why me? I should be asking you that. This makes no sense!”
Amogelang said in defeat.
“Well it better make sense because your friends just killed the brother of the president of the United States and already they want answers!”
He said. She just stared at him and out of nowhere he slapped her so hard her brain shook!
‘Has the transport arrived?”
He asked his colleague. The man nodded his head in the affirmative and said,
Responded the Director.
“Wait sir, i did not do anything!”
She said immediately as the paralyzing fear started to grip her tightly. She was done for.
“I don’t care!”
He screamed close to her, ringing her ear as she passed out yet again.
Fear is a powerful thing.
“I want answers and I want answers now!”
The President spoke as soon as he walked into the security cluster emergency meeting.
“What do we have so far?”
He asked his cabinet of men who most had long passed their prime and women whose make up would make drag queens proud.
“Sir it was a lapse in security, my department knew nothing about it!”
Said the Minister of Police, a political chameleon who had survived administration after administration. The man had nine lives so much so they called him ‘Black Cat’ nicknamed after the popular peanut butter brand.
“You are the Minister or Police so your job is to police so why is it you always never seem to know anything!”
An annoyed Joyce Baloyi, the Minister in the Presidency. The two hated each other because once upon a time they were married and things went south.
“Stay in your lane you cradle snatcher!”
Black Cat responded much to the annoyance of the president.
“Stop it you two! Do you think today is the day for such nonsense! I would fire you right now if we were not in a crisis so the fuck down if you have nothing to contribute as usual!”
The President retorted immediately at the bickering couple. They had just embarrassed themselves clearly by the way they slinkered into their chairs hoping the ground would open up and swallow them.
“Mr. President at 1830 last night we received information that there was going to be a prominent attack…”
Ronnie, the Minister of Intelligence started to speak but immediately.
“I knew it. Either you taking credit for knowing so that you can say you department actually works or indeed it works but you slept on the ball again!”
Interjected the Minister of Defence, General Percy Mkaba. They had trained together in Mozambique, Angola and Swaziland and were rumoured to have been best friends once upon time. That was a long time ago though because nowadays they would rather murder each other.
“Sit down please General Mkaba now is not the time for blame!”
The President reprimanded him but gently because he feared the man. General Mkaba had once famously slapped the previous president for sleeping around in a cabinet meeting. He had been fired for it but the new President had brought him back in from the cold as he was one of his main campaigners. It was also to rub it in to his former outgoing rival.
“Thank you Mr. President. At 1830 we received information that there was going to be an attack on one of the embassies in Cape Town. Naturally, we assumed that it was the usual attention seekers being target, America, England, China, France, and we increased security. We were right. At 0815am the US Consulate in Cape Town was attacked. We do not know what the device as yet killing 37 people but most importantly Ambassador James Truman…”
At that announcement everybody including the President cursed,
Ronnie posed briefly to make it sink in a deep further and then added,
“Yes James Truman, the brother of the current American president Henry Truman. To say we are fucked does not even begin to describe it. The President has already made a call to the American President…”
He did not continue because at that moment the President stood up and cautioned him to stop.
“I spoke to my counterpart and passed our condolences as a country but I do not think he was buying it. He told me there would be consequences for whoever dis this.”
He told them.
“But we don’t know who did it?”
Joyce spoke up again. The confusion in her voice was palpable
“I know that and you know that. i am sure the Americans know that too but that is not how they work. They shoot first and ask questions later!”
He told them.
“But why would they be shooting at us?”
She asked again much to the annoyance of everyone else. The president motioned Ronnie to speak,
“The Americans are not our friends and they have not hidden it. During his campaign to the White House their president referenced the black government in South Africa as the enemy and accused us of committing genocide against white people. That’s not all…”
He began. People always called him a conspiracy theorist but the problem with Ronnie and his theories he was almost always right,
“What about BRICS?”
Someone asked from the other side of the table.
“We are a member of BRICS. The next battle for market is Africa. South Africa is seen as the gateway into Africa because we dominate continental politics. They cant control the Arab countries in the north because of their religion so the market share is Kenya downwards. We stand in the way of that because we have closely allied with China. There is a cold economic war taking place right now between China and America. We all know this with the trade sanctions they keep imposing on each other. Just like in the Cold War from the 50s which led to the war in Vietnam, America and China can never fight each other directly meaning that fight will be fought somewhere else. Are you following me?”
The question was rhetorical as should be. Everyone was paying attention and for the first time in a long time they took him seriously.
“We all know that James Truman was sent here to keep us in check. Why would the president give his brother a posting in Africa being the racist prick that he is? We also all know that America is propped by war and now that they have bombed out the Middle East they need a new target. Where do you think they want to go next?”
He asked them. He knew no one would answer as they were cowards but the message had sunk in.
“Look that’s enough, we need to make sure that whatever happens our country will not become a battleground!”
The president stepped in seeing how the minister had managed to petrify the cabinet to submission.
“What’s our plan then?”
Joyce asked again. Seemingly she was the only one in class today.
“Implement stage 5 lockdown immediately”
Black Cat jumped in,
“This way we keep everyone off the road whilst we investigate!”
Everyone agreed if any of the mumblings were anything to go by.
“I was not done with my report!”
Ronnie interjected. This is one of the problems he had with his colleagues, often they were impulsive without applying their minds.
“Sorry go on!”
The President added.
“This morning after the bombing we received a video from the bomber saying there will be more attacks if we do not comply to their rules!”
He continued and no one said anything they just shook their heads,
“They also demanded the release of five prisoners all of which have vastly different backgrounds so we still have to figure out why them.”
This time he was interrupted,
“They went through all that to secure the release of five people? It does not make sense!”
The Minister of Finance asked. Once Ronnie had questioned why finance was part of the security cluster and in response they took a third of his budget. When he asked why they had done that, the then Minister a smug little Indian woman called Shivani Naidoo had responded,
“Try covering security without money!”
She is dead now. No one knows how but the funeral was great.
“There is more. They demanded that they only work with one of our security analysts for this!”
He added and again was cut short,
“I do not follow. Are you saying one of your analysts has been compromised and the leak is in your department?”
That was obviously defence speaking and the gloat in his voice was hard to mask. For once Ronnie did not have a clever clapback for him as indeed his department had been caught with its pants down on this one.
“Mr. President i move that Defence Intelligence take over this operation because we do not know how far up this goes?”
General Mkaba added. Even though he made sense everyone started mumbling their no’s immediately. He was considered a power hungry tribalist that believed his tribe was superior to everyone else’s.
“Mr. President he is right. We have detained the agent but i do not think she knew anything about it! It wouldn’t make sense at all.”
Ronnie responded surprising everyone else in that moment. They did not see eye to eye and seeing him concede confused even the gloating General who just stood there not knowing what to do next. He had expected a fight.
“Sit down both of you. We have to keep the girl in play to stop further attacks so you cant detain her Ronnie. General you will aid in this by giving Intelligence one of your officers to work with.”
He told them both. There was clearly unhappiness on this in the cabinet because no one wanted more power to the General but there was no objection from Ronnie.
“…and General, the officer you give must be white!”
The President added. One could hear a pin drop at that moment.
Political chess. Check!
Why could she not pass out for a long time though? Oh was it the fear and adrenalin that got her up because she most certainly was not up. The National Intelligence Agency in South Africa is often seen as a joke. A lot of people believe it is meant for politicians to spy on each other and that is all. Yes there is no doubt that such things happen considered how corrupt the country is but they also do their intended job too. The difference is they do not choose to announce all their victories in the media as other departments do. For example no one knows that since 1994 they have thwarted four attempts to overthrow the government by the Afrikaner right wing, stopped a coup when the soldiers went on strike and stopped different African countries from being overthrown from within South African borders. Many of the perpetrators disappear without a trace as should be in this business. People sleep safe in their beds at night because people like them make it so. As an agent herself she knew she was in trouble and risked disappearing without a trace.
“Please can i talk to someone? I did nothing wrong!”
Amogelang asked as she could sense there was someone in the room with her. It was probably security as from now onwards they would not leave her out of their sight.
“Please I am begging you, i did nothing wrong?”
She had not asked for a lawyer because when it came to treason the state actually had no reason why to give you a lawyer until they wanted to. Besides, she felt a lawyer would have screamed guilty.
“What’s going on here?”
She had a voice she had not heard before today. It was familiar but she did not know who the person was.
The person who was the guard tried to speak meaning it was clearly a person with power and authority who was speaking,
“Who did this?”
The new voice asked angrily and before the guard responded a voice she had become acquainted to responded,
“It was me, i interrogated her!”
Director Mokoena said smugly. You could actually taste the pride in his voice over what she had done in the air.
“I am having her sent to Phalaborwa for special treatment because she was uncooperative!”
“Are you really that stupid or you play at being stupid?”
The other voice said angrily.
“But she is guilty sir! Why else would the terrorists want to work with her?”
The Director asked the mystery man.
“For a lot of reasons one of them being she is a little girl, weak and naive hence they can escape if she is in charge?”
The mystery man responded immediately. There was silence in the room as the Director had clearly reached his ‘oh’ moment. Its funny how in that moment being called a naive little girl did not hurt her in the least beat. She was actually glad because of that fact it was going to save. In her industry women are seen as a necessary evil to keep the equal rights people in check. They get the jobs but never get promoted or given the jobs that matter. Usually she is vocal about it but today was not the day.
“And secondly lets say by some miracle she is involved; do you think the person who is bombing us will be happy of she is harmed? Are you really that trigger happy that you stop using your brain?”
The voice asked more aggressively. Immediately she had the Directors voice,
“Remove her restraints what are you waiting for?”
The Director bellowed at his man. She felt someone’s hands on her, not as rough as before,
“No, i will do it myself!”
She heard the man who had essentially rescued her say. Even then she could not help it as she just broke into tears again. When one is accused of something they did not do whose consequences are even death its not easy to just get up and go.
“I really didn’t do this!”
She cried into the arms of her saviour even though she had no idea who he was. She immediately put her arms nestled herself into his arms. She had not even looked at his face.
“Its ok child. Don’t cry now, we still have a lot of work to do so compose yourself!”
If they were playing good cop bad cop then it was clearly working. She had broken so fast even though this was exactly what they trained against. She was most likely going to lose her job after this. She was tempted to just resign but this was South Africa, you do not just resign and think you can find a job tomorrow.
“Its ok now we need to talk!”
The man said pushing her gently away. Her hands no longer in restraints she pushed dried her tears and got to look at her saviour for the first time. When she saw who it was she immediately jumped up to stand at attention as was protocol whenever this man was around. It even startled him.
“I am sorry sir, i didn’t know it was you!”
She said a bit wobbly after the treatment she had just received.
“Its alright. Give her a chair and some water!”
He instructed the man who was guarding her. Mokoena could not look in her eye and seeing this her saviour said,
“I don’t need you for this!”
He told him and with a flick of his hand he dismissed him disdainfully. She was so relieved he was out of the room.
“Do you know who I am?”
The man asked what was clearly a rhetorical question.
“You are Ronnie Cassrils sir, Minister of Intelligence.”
She responded stupidly. In South Africa powerful people love asking that question because it makes them feel more powerful.
“I am sorry about what has happened here and a time will come when we need answers. Right now we need to focus on who does this and the only link we have so far is you. No one has claimed responsibility so far and more bombs will go off that’s for sure!”
He told her getting straight to the point. Guess the time for cuddling was over but its what she had also expected from them who was a literal myth in this department.
“Sir, i didn’t even know that something had happened until i came to work this morning. My car was down and there was no power. Next thing i am being told i am working with terrorists. That is the whole truth that i know so i do not know how i can help!”
She confessed a second time this morning alone.
“I know you probably do not but as you heard for yourself by now they named you directly. The Director though overzealous might have had a point to take you to Phalaborwa.”
The man became making her heart sink again. Why was no one not believing that she had not done this? She had to clear her name.
“Yes I saw the video but i do not know who that man is!”
“We never said it was a man though?”
“When last was any psychopath who wanted to destroy the world a woman?”
She retorted for a moment forgetting her place,
He said and she could detect a sly smile trying to creep out of the corner of his mouth.
“Regardless we have no choice but to put you in play.”
She had seen that one coming.
“They said they are going to call you to give you instructions on what to do with the prisoners!”
He said standing up in front of her. Where was that water? She was actually thirsty.
“I thought we do not negotiate with terrorists?”
She asked him and immediately he responded,
“We are not Americans and I will negotiate with anyone who will agree to stopping destroying my country and killing my people!”
He said curtly and coldly. She actually did not know what the policy was on this but she was surprised as although he was right on not being a catch phrase, it just seemed like the most likely thing to do.
“Ok, sir what do you suggest I do. How am I going to deliver 5 prisoners alone? Each of those 5 will most likely kill me!”
She responded recognizing that this was really happening.
“We do not know yet. Only after they make contact will we be able to formulate a plan!”
He responded. She did not seem convinced with his answer but he clearly had nothing else to offer.
The guard said handing her a bottle of water. She drank it without hesitation. She needed that.
“I need to go get ready then. I don’t have other clothes to wear i have to change?”
She told him.
“You cant go home because well…”
He did not finish because it was obvious they had ransacked her place.
He said and together they left the room that almost became her last. She had no shoes on and no one seemed to bother with giving them back to her. It is a good thing she had worn her Mr. Price shoes today otherwise she would have been gutted. He took her straight to the open-plan office space on the 3rd floor which also happened to be where her desk was. There was a lot of whispering and pointing but as soon as everyone recognized the Minister there was awe and fear. They all stood up as a sign of respect and he motioned them to sit down.
“Thank you, everyone. I wish we would have met under better circumstances but oh well, we are here. We will catch these bastards. Amogelang what size do you wear?”
He asked her.
“I beg your pardon?”
She asked as she had not expected the question but also men do not ask women that unless they are about to swipe online.
“Now is not the time for modesty!”
“I am a size 32/34”
She said to him in barely a whisper not that it helped her because immediately he said out loud,
“Ladies everyone who is a size 32/34 please stand up!”
There was mumbling and hesitantly three women stood up.
“What’s your size?”
He asked her pointing at her feet.
“I am a size 5!”
He told her.
“I need someone with size shoes as well, preferably takkies!”
He bellowed out again.
“I have some in my gym bag!”
Michelle Lauchante jumped up immediately. The girl was always first to everything so she was not going to pass an opportunity to speak.
“I was going to go to my dance class after work so i packed them because …”
She was already saying then she shut herself up immediately because now was not the time.
“You maam with the blazer come with us please and the lady with shoes also, the rest you can sit and thank you for your time!”
He said turning around and walking out. When they got by the bathrooms he turned to Miriam, she was the one in the blazer and said,
“I am sorry but we need your clothes. Please swap with Miss Shadi hear. Its an absolute emergency. Someone will go buy you new clothes.”
He told her. She was so confused but the way the Minister of Intelligence was so feared she agreed immediately. It was her duty anyway.
She said and entered the bathroom.
“Go change, we need to go!”
He told Amogelang. Michelle entered the bathroom with them.
“This is so exciting! Can i come too!”
The talkative girl said rummaging through her locker for her shoes.
“Trust me you do not want to come! I don’t even know what’s going on!”
She responded. In the office, Michelle was everyone’s friend and pest. She spoke too much unnecessarily and tended to nag. Often even she avoided her but she was all around a good person. Miriam on the other has not a good person. Her father was politically connected and that is the only reason she as clearly bad at. This did not stop her from being proud and arrogant towards everyone else. Amogelang was sure the only reason she agreed to give her the clothes was because it was the Minister who asked her to. Knowing her she was probably going to put it in her CV that she donated clothes.
“Hurry up in there!”
The Minister shouted from outside. Miriam barely said a word to them and even when Amogelang said thank you she just rolled her eyes.
“I am done!”
She said now clad in jeans, blue shirt and a blazer.
“You are going to need this!”
He told her handing over a gun to her. The Director was standing next to him at this stage. She was trained in handling a weapon but in Intelligence they did not walk around with guns like the police. It almost felt awkward as she holstered it.
“Three more clips for you!”
The Director handed over her handbag which had been confiscated before.
“What about Thabang?”
She asked him.
“Who is that?”
The nerve of this man. If the minister was bit here she probably would have shot him.
“Don’t worry he is fine. That was just a Khanyi Protocol!”
He said and she almost laughed. Laughed at herself that is because she had not looked at the pictures correctly. One of the things they learned in training was to alter their appearance by use of make up. White people can just change hair colour and length to look different but with Black people its different. It take more effort.
“I should have known!”
She said double annoyed at herself but relieved that he was safe.
“I hate you!”
She said as she walked with the Minister and Director towards the exit. People were still staring. Clearly, they were leading her to her car. Why were they not giving them a state car instead?
“The phone he will call you on is…”
He did not even finish as a phone rang,
“Shit its them?”
The Director said,
“Are you tracing the call?”
She asked immediately.
“Yes of course!”
He said as though she was asking a dumb question.
He hissed at her.
A voice said on the other side.
“Yes. You got my attention. What do you want?”
She said in response.
“I like your confidence!”
A man said from the other side. Again the voice was edited and sounded like a villain from a movie talking.
“This call has a tracer. Its got an AIM3211 Chip tracker! Tell the Director to give you the phone he uses go call Linda on!”
The voice said.
“Director, he said that you must give me the phone that you call Linda on!”
She said turning to him.
“What the fuck? How does he know about that?”
He responded and asked no one in particular. He took out a small iPhone 6.
“He must give you the password!”
The voice instructed.
“He says what’s the password?”
The Director looked uncomfortable with the question.
“Give her the bloody password!”
Ronnie hissed at him.
He said and much as she wanted to laugh she could not. She punched in the password and it opened immediately!
“Good. Now ask the Minister and his entourage to move three steps back except for you and the Director. The next part is a private matter!”
She gave the instruction leaving her and the Director in the parking lot.
“I am going to do something now. You will know what it is. When its done you will give this phone with the Director. You must not speak, not a word to anyone else, get in the car and drive out!”
The voice said.
“Nod your head if you understand!”
The voice said immediately she panicked and started looking around frantically.
“You are here? You can see me!”
She said out loud making the Director also start looking.
“I said nod if you hear me!”
She nodded immediately. Before she could move forward she head a “plop” sound and next to her the Director crumbled to his feet.
What had just happened? There was blood! He had been shot in the head. There was commotion as the Minister’s security rushed him inside. Amogelang stood over his body in shock. She had never seen a dead person this close in her line of duty.
“Put the phone down, put the phone down…”
She said out loud and walked gingerly to the body. She was so scares to touch his body and her hand was shaking so much. She did not even like the guy to be honest but he had kids and a family. She had set him up to stand there. The line had gone dead. She knelt at his body and whispered,
“I am so sorry!”
And walked to her car. This was a disaster.
“What had just happened?”
He asked himself. The last time someone had shot at him or in his direction was back in the camps at Ponte Conervaro and now this? In his own country and worse in his own building, he was pissed and he was angry. Another emotion overwhelmed him though, fear! Fear of who could be so brazen to shoot and kill the Director of National Intelligence at this building in particular?
“Sir are you ok?”
One of his protection detail asked him touching him all over.
“Get your hands of me! I want every camera to find where that shot came from! I want him caught and I want him brought here dead or alive!”
He told his security but deep down he knew that a real nipper, a good sniper disappears into thin air in less than five minutes.
” Is he dead?”
He asked his security but they did not know either as they were trying to get on the call to find out what had just happened. All the windows in the building were bullet proof fortunately an irony not lost on him.
“Sir someone would have had to know that we were going to come out all of us together at that time. He asked for his phone in particular and that’s something that has to be coordinated!”
Nelson Nethathe had been his bodyguard for three years after Senzo had retired. He had come from the police so he sometimes still thought like a policeman.
“Yes go on!”
He told him
“The leak came from inside. There is someone giving him information. It is the only possible logic. I am do not want you to leave this building until we know its safe. I do not know that we can protect you outside of this. I recommend that you stay put in here until we catch these people. Its not my place but I recommend the president go to a safe location!”
He said to his boss. One thing that Ronnie allowed was for the people that work closest to him to have an opinion. A disgruntled worker is a sloppy worker.
“I agree with you there…”
The bodyguards phone then rang. It never rang actually and was always on silent.
“What the hell?”
Nelson said as he took it out. He motioned everyone to keep quiet and by the look on his face it was clear that this was important.
“Hello who is this?”
He asked cautiously and putting the phone on speaker,
“Nelson Nethate, put the Minister on the line, you know who it is!”
The same voice they had all heard earlier said to them sending shivers down their collective spine.
“This is a secure line, how did you get this number?”
He asked him looking around as though the person was standing behind him.
“You still have not realized that this South African and everyone can be bought? Now stop wasting time and put the person that makes all these decisions on the phone!”
He told him.
“I am listening, what do you want?”
Ronnie asked the voice trying to show that he was not afraid. He could not afford to look weak in the front of such a ruthless enemy.
“You might be wondering why I had to kill the Director?”
The voice asked but it felt more like a statement.
“Of course I do. What the hell was that? Are we not cooperating with what you have asked? You asked for the girl and the girl was on her way to you!”
He responded and the shock in his voice was palpable.
“You and I know both know that his extracurricular activities warranted him the death sentence but you did nothing about it!”
The voice said. At that moment he froze,
“This is not information that should be shared to everyone. You just killed the man and he has a family. Please do no besmirch his name for the sake of the family. Give them that at least!”
Ronnie pleaded. He was not wrong though, the information that was going to come out on the Directors extracurricular activities was so deep it would destroy his family.
“He should have thought about that when he ruined all those families! Now down to business. I have asked for five prisoners to be released but I have a new request. It has come to my attention that you have decided to give Amogelang a partner. I welcome that she will need help. Your job Mr. Minister is to convince defence that the partner you want for her is Cobus Van Heerden.”
The voice warned.
“I have no power over this, that’s military intelligence and I have no sway there!”
He said actually surprised at the audacity of the request.
“You realize we are chasing you right and now you are telling us who to put in the investigation to chase you? You think this is a game?”
Ronnie asked him. This was crazy to say the least!
“I have given my request. Another bomb will go off this evening and this one will matter. You have been warned.”
The voice said and dropped the phone. Everyone just stood there.
“We need outside phones ours have been compromised.”
Ronnie finally said.
“I don’t know who to trust!”
He said out loud and sat down on the couch that was in the hallway.
“Remember that girl who talks too much, the one who gave us the shoes? Go get her!”
He said to Nelson. He had to make a call to the General and he did not want the call to be listened to. Nelson came back with her and she looked terrified considering what had just happened to the Director.
“Sir I did not do anything. Please don’t do anything to me I beg you!”
She started pleading.
“Why would you think that something will happen to you?”
Ronnie asked her, a bit surprised by her reaction.
“Everyone has been talking about what happened to Amogelang in the morning and I thought I might be next!”
She said. That was the problem.
“The paramedics are outside and there is commotion outside. We are not allowed to go outside even. Everyone is scared and no one is telling us anything!”
She said and she was probably right. They had to be briefed. A murder had just taken place on their patch and it was obvious they wanted to know what was going on.
“We will get to that but right now I need you. You seem like a resourceful woman. I need a cell phone that is not official and that has a number that does not belong to the agency?”
He asked her. The request seemed odd but if their phones had been tapped he had to think outside the box.
“My phone is also official but I …”
She thought for a second,
“Wait, I know someone!”
She said and immediately she walked away leaving everyone staring at her.
“Sir can we trust her, she already talks too much!”
Nelson asked the Minister who seemed to be making an irrational decision at this moment. Now was the time to close rank and not put any more people in danger unnecessarily.
“I know what I am doing!”
He said in response. Two minutes later she came back holding a phone,
“Is this phone clean?”
He asked her. She smiled and said,
“Yes it is. It belongs to Tebogo’s daughter. In the morning I heard her say that she had confiscated it because after she confiscated the other one, the daughter bought a sim card on the street and she found the phone hidden in her daughters things. Imagine a 13 year old…”
She started to go in but Ronnie stopped her,
“Thank you Michelle, I will call you again if I need something else!”
He told her, nodding to Nelson to usher her back from wherever he brought her from.
“13 years old!”
He said shaking his head. It was simple R300 phone and it even had airtime.
“Sir how did you know she would have a phone or know someone who had one?”
Nelson asked him when he got back.
“She is clearly the office gossip meaning she knows everyone’s business. You need to learn how to read people’s faces and behaviours!”
Ronnie told his man. He took out his own phone and got the Generals number and called it,
“Hello who is this?”
The man answered on the other side.
“Its Ronnie and this line is not encrypted. Find someone in your office who has an unofficial number and call me back now. Its an emergency!”
He said immediately and hung up. The call had been less than 30 seconds meaning that even if someone was trying to track it they would not be able to. Within a minute he had called,
“Ronnie why are you calling me on an open line?”
The General asked him as soon as he picked up the phone.
“Our lines are all compromised. Whoever he is called on Mokoena’s encrypted line before he shot him in the head!”
He told him.
“What do you mean shot him in the head? Mokoena is dead?”
The General asked him.
“Yes he is dead but we have bigger problems. He has threatened to detonate another bomb today unless you give him someone called Cobus Van Heerden to work with the girl he requested before!”
He said immediately.
“What do you mean no? You know who this person is?”
He asked him.
“Hell yeah I do but its military classified! I cannot tell you this information without a court martial and personally I do not think I want to ever work with this traitor!”
The General said putting his foot down.
“Well I don’t care what your reservations are on this man but if the bomb goes off tonight it will be both on our heads!”
He responded to him. The General made a slight whistle and then said,
“This is bad! What kind of mad man would want to woke with a psychopath like Cobus?”
Ronnie did not understand what that was all about but today was not the day for politics. He had to get to the President to approve for this man to be brought in whoever he was.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball so unexpected it is not even a curveball anymore. This drive was the first time she had managed to catch her breathe. Her first instinct was to call Thabang an unknowing victim in all this,
“Buddy are you ok?”
She asked him as soon as he picked up.
“What the hell is going on Amogelang? There were people who came to my apartment asking about you?”
“I know i know, are you ok though? Did they hurt you?”
She asked him.
“No they did not. They explained what was going on and said to make you cooperate they had to put make up on me. I was so scared so i said yes to everything!”
He explained. She could understand why he was scared she would have done the same.
“I am really sorry for this. I never wanted you to get involved in my things. It was not by design.”
She told him.
“I am going home to fetch my car so please can i meet you so i can give you this one. Everything will be fine. Where are you so i can pick you up?”
She asked him.
“I am at my place. Let me take an Uber to your place rather!”
He offered. She did not want to argue further because he was doing her a favour in any case.
“Ok see you in bit then?”
She said that was one problem out of the way. There were police everywhere showing how much the car was on high alert. She had not gone far when the phone rang again, the Directors phone. It was the terrorist.
“Amogelang Shadi finally!”
The voice said so casually like they were friends.
“This is not funny? Why did you pick me?”
She asked immediately.
“Why not you? Give me a reason?”
He asked her. The answer was obvious and it as ready to come out because she had been trying to wrap her head around it.
“I am a nobody. I know no one so why would pick me and put all these problems in my life?”
She asked him and in desperation she asked,
“Cant you find someone else?”
Of which the voice just responded and said,
“I didn’t just pick you on a whim.”
“Why did you kill the Director? Were we not cooperating? Now I feel like whatever I do you will kill me next!”
Its something that she had already thought of when she drove out the headquarters. If he could so callously kill the Director then it means her life was very much expendable.
“Just do as you are told and we wont reach that stage. Pick up your car and head to Leuwkops prison. You should be getting our first prisoner out!”
He instructed her.
“My car was not starting this morning i need to get it checked. I think it was the battery!”
“Your car is fixed. Its ready for you!”
He responded and he hung up immediately after that. Wait, if her car was fixed how did he know that?
“I knew it!”
She said out loud.
“My car not starting in the morning was not my fault.”
She concluded. Whoever had tempered with it was the reason why it had not started.
She cursed out out loud as another realization hit her.
“That means that whoever fixed it had to have entered the estate.”
Again she said out loud. She had a bad habit of talking to herself and often it embarrassed her. There were security cameras at the estate which were visible for him to see so why would he make that mistake. As she entered the estate she noted that the cameras were working. Thabang was not yet there. There was security at her door that she did not know but she was not surprised as definitely, it would be there. She looked to check if there were people in any of the cars as she knew she would be followed at some point. Two cars, a white Toyota Corolla a couple sat in ther arguing by the looks of it and another a yellow BMW there was a man on the phone.
She noted. The yellow BMW was not going to tail her because it stood out way too much. The Corolla was perfect however because every Uber, Bolt and teacher drove that car. The couple in the car was just an act. As she thought that the gate security rang her phone.
“Let him in!”
She said as she knew it was Thabang. Taxis and delivery vehicles were not allowed in the estate meaning he had to walk inside. She did not stay far from the gate meaning her was by her car in moments. She got out and before he could even speak she gave him a big hug.
“Do not scream at me, we are being watched. Say hi and pretend to be angry and take your car and go home!”
He was not a part of this and she did not want them ruining his life. He shoved her away,
“You are not my friend. I will never forgive you for what happened this morning.”
He screamed at her. He proceeded to get into the car and take out her bags and phones as she pleaded,
“It was not my fault, I am sorry!”
She begged him. He was not listening.
“Lose my numbers and never call me again!”
He said as he drove out violently. He had played that so well, if not too well. She stood there, put her hands on her head and watched the car drive to the gate.
She screamed and then took her own keys out and opened her car. Her car will definitely be tracked at this stage with some kind of electronic device and the only question was from who. It was either the terrorist who so far had been steps ahead of them or from Intelligence who thiught she was the terrorist! She sat in the car and took breathe. She had to survive this. She started her car and drove out. Immediately the white car followed. So predictable. She got out of her complex and turned right. The car did not follow though. From her review she saw the two people from the car run jnto the road arms in air. The boom gate had clearly not opened after them. Her cars gps started directing,
As she actually never used it at all she knew it was not her doing this. It was whoever. He had not called so this had to be what she had to do. She complied. Before long she found herself at Thabatshwane which is the heart of South Africas military complex in Pretoria. The GPS however stopped on a hill so she had to stop. The phone rang immediately. It was already late afternoon. She did not know what to do and for the next three hours she sat there pondering. She was tempted to call the Minister but figured she would probably get in troubke for it. It was no surprise therefore that when the phone eventually rang she was relieved.
She answered coldy masking the relief.
“You are to drive to 1Mil Hospital to pick up a package!”
He told her.
“I want to know why you killed the Director or else you might as well kill me now!”
She responded to him totally disregarding his request.
“You are not in a position to make demands at all so do not bother!”
The voice said. It was right too because really she was not. There was silence on the other side and for a moment there she thought he had hung up.
“I have done you no wrong and you killed a person in front of me. I am tired, scared and not even trained for whatever this is. All i want is an answer why you killed him in front of me? “
She asked him again. After a brief silence the voice responded,
“Go through the phone. There is a folder called ‘Diski’, open it and view the contents. I will call back in five minutes so that we can work and you can stop the games!”
The voice said hanging up in the process. This was weird but because she needed answers she did so. She went through the phone folders as there were quite a few them. She opened up the right folder and in it there was one video file. She opened it. The video was for 3 minutes and 26 seconds. She could not look away no matter how much her eyes told her to. The tears just rolled down her eyes.
“Are you ready now?”
The voice asked when exactly in five minutes it called back. The call had startled her so much she even jumped up a bit. Thats how disturbed she was with what she had seen.
She responded. She was actually glad that he had not asked her to comment because deep down she was boiling. The Director deserved to die many times over.
“Unfortunately your government has not complied with the order i gave them. They are moving too slow but after this you should be able to get things moving!”
The voice said. Immediately it went pitch black. From where she was parked she could see all the lights in Johannesburg and beyond switch off. This was the mother of all load-shedding.
“Now there is loadshedding, this will mess up your plans!”
She told the voice.
“That is not loadshedding i just switched off the entire power grid. They will not be able to switch it on because there is nothing wrong with it.”
He told her.
“Then how am I able to stay on the phone with you?”
She asked him.
“That is a satellite phone!”
He told her in what almost felt like a ‘duh’ moment. She was not equipped to be here and she needed to get out of this as soon as possible.
“You havent told me who I am getting out?”
She asked him.
He responded. The name was familiar but for a moment she could not figure out why then it came back to her, she knew who he was.
“They will never let that one go. He was on the top ten of South Africa’s most wanted list.”
She told him instinctively. As far as she knew, he had killed some border guards when he he was caught trying to smuggle arms into Zimbabwe to overthrow the government. The only reason why he was imprisoned in South Africa was because the border guards who died were South African.
“We shall see!”
The voice responded. It was not so much the fact that it was menacing that got to her as opposed to the confidence. Why would he want such a dangerous man on the street?
When a man paces back and forth for five minutes do not be fooled, usually there is nothing clear or helpful he is thinking about. Its actually a myth that whole nonsense that when you pace up and down you are actually thinking better. Picture every genius that has ever lived, they were not pacing up and down like lunatics to prove a point. Stephen Hawkins was in a wheelchair for fucking sake so where do people get it that pacing up and down is the way to think straight. The only thing is does is making you even more tired.
“Mr. President please take a break!”
Someone finally said as President Modise had done this for the last ten minutes straight. The man was going to die of over exertion at this rate.
“They switched off the lights! They switched off the fucken lights in my own backyard!”
Well there is more to electricity than lights but yes the president got it about right as he shouted at his cabinet. The call had just come in from whomever was doing this that he was the one responsible for switching off the entire grid. How was that even possible that someone can do that at whim.
“How does one even do that? I thought I told you that I wanted this thing resolved by the end of the day. Ronnie you were even hiding in your building if we hadn’t sent a tank to fetch you I am sure you will still be hiding in there like a coward!”
He said running his mouth. Ronnie was now with them and indeed they had sent an armored vehicle to fetch him. There would have been no way out of there considering the sniper situation hey had just experienced hours before.
“Sir, Mr. President I warned you in front of everyone that to slow down the damage they are doing we need to give in to a few of their asks. It will buy us time but you said no! I am praying that he did not bomb something important!”
Ronnie made his plea again.
“We need to release one of the prisoners at least!”
Black Cat chorused in support.
“This thing is getting worse and unless we step in and do something to slow it down we won’t catch these thugs!”
“We are not dealing with common thugs here. Put the country into level five this way we can have a situation that we can monitor whoever it is will be on the roads. That call can only be made by you though Mr. President.”
The General added.
“If we do that then the country will think we have lost control. I gave a speech this morning but did you see the bashing we got on social media. What is to say that the people will listen anyway?”
The president mentioned. It was a running joke that governing South Africans was probably worse than drifting on the back of a bakkie with no restraints. South African people are highly opinionated and rebellious, love alcohol and partying meaning locking them in their houses would probably lead to demonstrations. Demonstrations were wone thing this country was extremely good and if they started calming down was definitely as close to impossible as it got.
“That’s not a good idea. We cannot afford strikes right now; we have just survived strike season!”
One of the ministers said and she was right. What kind of self-respecting country actually had something known a strike season? Everyone who participated in these strikes blamed the men and women in this room right now which just made life feel worse than it already was.
“I know and that’s why I wont go to Level Five just yet!”
The president responded. It was his neck on the line,
“If you don’t and something else happens they will blame you in any case!”
He was reminded. The room was well lit because of the backup generator, which was actually very loud,
“You think I don’t know that? Of course I know that and because of that know that if I am in trouble it means you are also in trouble. Give me solutions and if you don’t have them, shut and sit down!”
He said snapping at whoever said that. The strain of the day was already taking its toll and everyone was clearly at edge.
“Give the order to release the Zimbabwean!”
The president said.
“Is that a good idea Mr. President?”
The Minister of International Relations asked. In her role she knew very well that this decision was going to piss off their northern neighbours as they had expressly begged and actually paid for him to be imprisoned in South Africa. This was obviously not public information and if anyone asks the excuse will be ‘National Security’. Instead they had made up a new story as to why he was imprisoned in the first place but that was classified.
“You know my hands are tired?”
The President said.
“Why are your hands tied?”
“This is a matter of National Security and we don’t need him. He can go back to his country and these problems leave our shores!”
He added. Everyone looked at him surprised as he was the one who was supposed to know it all. Its not like he did not, he just wanted him to say it.
“Ok so what do we know about this Simbarashe Hove character? Why wont the Zimbabweans take their own man? He is not ours meaning that we do not need him here with us. There is therefore no reason why to get ourselves in this much trouble.”
“Yes that’s right!”
A few people added in as they wanted the mess to go away. The sooner the better and it would mean one extra bed in the ordinary overcrowded prisons,
“He killed 6 border guards and the Zimbabweans can’t take him because if they do they might put him down. If they put him down they fear turning him into a martyr which might cause an uprising.”
The president explained. Ronnie did all he could not to roll his eyes because this was not the president’s job to explain to everyone secret deals struck with foreign governments. Fortunately the South African cabinet were a bunch of sheep and often it took them a long time before they figured something and asked questions that matter.
He gave the command. At first there was no movement perhaps because they thought that he was going to answer the question and explain why releasing a foreign national was so bad for business.
The Minister of Correctional Services acknowledged and stood up to go outside to make the calls. This was rather perplexing because clearly something was not being said and only a few people were in the know.
“I still need to know what to do about Cobus! I sent you the file and I am sure you can see that all these things are linked. It’s not a coincidence.”
The General spoke and he was backed up by Ronnie who said,
“Its true, I have sent people to sweep this room also because I believe we have all been bugged and whoever it is doing this is listening to whatever we are saying.”
There were murmurs and gasps of shock after he said this.
“Ronnie can I talk to you outside just the two of us!”
He asked his Intelligence boss. No one found it odd because they understood somethings were classified.
“Yes Mr. President.”
He responded calmly. They walked outside and the president took out cigarette to smoke.
“It’s a bad habit I know but it helps me think better!”
The president started as soon as they were out of ear shot but Ronnie did not respond because whenever this man smoked it meant he was about to lose his temper.
“What was that all about?”
He asked him.
“What was what, Mr. President?”
Ronnie asked him pretending to feign innocence.
“Don’t play dumb with me. We both know why Hove cannot be let out! I pray that this lunatic shoots him in the head too as he did that buffoon.”
The president said.
“But in the situation we are in what excuse do you have for him not be let out?”
Ronnie asked him.
“Of course I have none but how does you questioning me in front of everyone else like that help the situation? Why must you always stir the waters?”
The president asked him angrily. The problem with corruption is that there always has to be some else who helps you cover it up. The President had something to hide and he knew that Ronnie knew so why was he playing this game.
“Mr. President I thought now might have been a good time to tell everyone in that room what is really going on!”
Ronnie said but the president snapped back at him and said,
“You know that every one of the people in that room wants this job I have and they will use it to bring me down forgetting it will bring the movement down too!”
To a certain extent he was right. This party system in South Africa meant one individuals crimes or weakness could actually come back to haunt the entire ruling party as a whole.
“Do you realise that now both Hove and Cobus will be in the same car?”
He asked him.
“Of course I do. There are a lot more people we should be scared of if they escape from our grasp after all this.”
The president said thoughtfully. He was right and maybe Ronnie had been a bit hasty in trying to force it out of him in front of them. He needed him to admit it though before they could move on. That had to be the first step.
“What plans have you and Defence made to keep Cobus in check?”
He asked him and Ronnie did not have an answer. He had chosen not to tell the president that 3 hours ago they had already given the order for Cobus to be released. He was not taking chances and more and in this blackout it was clear who was in charge. It was not the President.
She had no idea what she was doing even though she had taken the three hour breather. Now in the pitch dark with the power out she realized how ominous the situation actually was. There were a lot of questions in her head and not one had an answer. All the questions she had to ask pertained to why her? Something told her that this terrorist possibly knew her personally. To her that was the most troubling part. is she parked in the parking lot of the military hospital this questions were giving the headache? She had never been here before ended and it struck her how ugly the building was. This is where Nelson Mandela died. What a shame? Now the country was in mess after mess. More than ever the rainbow nation was in trouble as the races were fighting against each other and foreigners. Someone tried to open the door from the left of the car. It startled her as the person did not even bother to knock before. This was the Rainbow Nation full of thieves and her instinct had her reach for her gun and point it the shadowy figure. The door was locked but with everything that had happened today she was on edge. There will be no taking chances.
“Who are you?”
She shouted to the man.
“I am your package!”
The mans voice, a thick Afrikaans accent said as the man leaned in so she could see his face or rather what was left of it. He had a beard Santa would be proud, thick, and blonde.
“A white man really?”
She cursed silently to herself.
“How do I know you are who you say you are?”
She asked him.
“Oh that’s simple really, if I were not I could have killed you when you were busy gawking at the building like a child! Now open the bloody door!”
The man said in a slightly irritable tone but even from the way he stood, she could see that he could fight. He just had that thing about him and all at one glance. In training one of the thing they had been taught was to enter a building and be able to identify who can pose a threat physically. This man was one of them.
“Say please nicely, I will not have rude people in my car!”
She told him rudely back. They had already started on the wrong foot clearly.
“Are you fucken kidding me. This is not a game!”
The man said.
“If its not a game you will do as you are told then.”
She told him. This was another tactic trained in women operatives. When dealing with a man they had to establish dominance or equality with a male subject in order for the man to take them seriously. Without that they would lose any negotiation they had with him.
He said gruffly.
“That’s good enough for me!”
She responded and opened the door. He stood there a second longer and raised his hands to whatever Afrikaner gods he prayed to then opened the door.
“Was that necessary?”
he asked as he entered the car. she was clearly annoyed but she did not care. he had to learn his place if this was going to work.
“may you please introduce yourself Sir?”
She told him totally disregarding his question. He was so taken aback by it he actually moved back a bit even though the car seat was clearly to far forward for him.
“Are you always this nice?”
He asked clearly sarcastically and she responded,
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Your name?”
She asked him.
“You can call me Cobus!”
He said and she just looked at him.
“Yup you look like a Cobus!”
He said and he just shook his head. This was not how his day was supposed to be going but he was more than grateful that he was here. It was better than the cell that they had just taken him out of.
“You have the bedside manner of a crocodile!”
He responded annoyed as he tried to readjust his car seat.
“Don’t break anything!”
She warned him.
“I thought it’s a rental!”
He retorted back. Clearly it was not and like her, his military intelligence training had taught him to read people and things.
“Ouch, touché I am sorry for my attitude earlier. I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t even want to be here!”
“I don’t follow!”
He responded a bit concerned by what she had just said. This is not what he had been briefed when he came out,
“I was told that you will brief me on what’s going on and may I please have Nandos whilst we still at it!”
He asked politely and with a simile on his face. How was he mixing such an important topic with something as mundane as Nandos, ok no wait she actually loved Nandos but he should not do that.
“I am not briefed on anything either. Do you even know what’s going on?”
She asked him.
“It must be important for those guys to let me out!”
He said in ironic sarcasm.
“Let you out of where?”
She asked him.
“Do you see where we are?”
He asked her,
“Yes at a hospital!”
She said then her eyes widened as something crossed her mind,
“Where you in the psych ward?”
She asked him. She was not even sure whether or not that was a polite question to ask because nowadays everything is very sensitive. If she had to work with the man though she had to know.
“First put the gun away!”
He told her. She had not noticed that she was still pointing it at him.
“Why would I do that? I don’t know who you are!”
She responded cheekily and defensively.
He responded and in what was under the blink of an eyelid chopped the gun out of her hand and had it point it at her.
“What the fuck?”
She said out loud instinctively putting her hands up. His hand speed alone was so amazing even for her a person who was trained at this art.
“I am not your enemy.”
He said turning the gun around to point back at him then gave it back to her. She did not say anything as she tentatively took it back and this time placed it in the holster.
“In close quarters like this a knife is better. A gun that size can even hurt you and always remember the ricochet power of the thing. I hate guns!”
He said as though it was a matter of fact.
She said sheepishly.
“All I know is that we are to drive to Leeuwkop Prison. Everything else you are supposed to brief me. I do not know what is going or even why. This morning I was in my cell doing a 25 year stretch and now I am here.”
“25 year stretch?”
She asked him confused.
“They didn’t tell you!”
“This is going to be fun!”
“Stop being so smug, why were you doing 25 years! Are you one of the terrorists we are after?”
She asked him as she instinctively placed her hand on the gun. After that little stunt he had done on her she was not even sure anymore whether her draw was quick enough to beat his defence.
“Terrorist? What are you talking about?”
He asked taking a more serious tone. She looked at him trying to search for any tell tales but with all that beard there was absolutely no way of telling.
“You really are clueless?”
She asked him and he just nodded his head.
“What is with this guy and surprising shit on people?”
She asked out loud before she continued,
“This morning the American embassy in Cape Town was bombed. The American Ambassador and 41 other people who will probably never be named were also killed.”
She told him and looked for a reaction on his face.
“Why don’t you look surprised?”
She asked him because indeed he was unmoved. There had not been a major terrorist event in South Africa so today was definitely one of those moments in South African history were people will ask each other 20 years from now where they were when they heard the news.
“When I said I was doing a 25 year stretch it was because I warned that this was coming and named names. I was told I was trying to destabilize the government and was sentenced to 25 years for treason. They refused to vet my information because the people mentioned were well…”
He stopped suddenly.
“Yeah go on”
She encouraged him.
“Who are you and how are you involved in all this?”
She asked him. He had just turned the story on her and she realized that if she did not comply he will shut down.
“I am a nobody. This morning there was a terrorist bombing as I mentioned then next thing the terrorist is asking me to be the liaison. I don’t even know why so now am caught in the middle of something I am underqualified for!”
She confessed to him. He just looked at her and did not say anything else on what he was talking about earlier. He just kept quiet.
“We need to get to the prison!”
She said. She chose not to press him further because from what he had just said she was sure he felt bitter about being sentenced for what ever crime it was that he did not commit.
“And there is a Nandos along the way I am sure!”
She consoled him hoping to lighten the mood a bit. This thing was deeper than the face value that so far she had thought it had been. That was not what worried her most though, he had clearly been betrayed by his government so why would he want to help them? Could he even be trusted?
15 MONTHS AGO
“I need to get back to HQ!”
That was all that was on his mind as he drove fast on the gravel roads of the Stellenbosch winelands. He was sure that this stage he could not catch a flight because they were already looking for him. No one was picking up their phone though as it was 2am in the morning.
“General its me! You need to get back to me! I might not have this phone much longer because I am pretty sure it’s being tracked!”
His heart was beating fast. Yes he had been trained for this but his only option of driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg was definitely the worst idea he could make. It was too far. They will catch him before he got there. He needed a quick plan B.
He said out loud as it hit him that was his way out. He looked through the rearview and in the distance he could make out car headlights coming out. They were after him. By now they had realized what had been taken or rather what he had stolen and they would be only one order from there, kill him. The him in this case was him and the files he had with him were of national security importance.
“This assignment will be good for you!”
He chuckled at the thought of that because indeed that is what he had been told when it was given to him. He never for one moment thought he would end up in the military let alone an operative doing things like this.
“You are lucky many agents only ever dream of actually getting assignments in this department yet here you are at 24 about to go under deep cover to expose the greatest conspiracy in our young democracy!”
He was told by his then handler General Mathobela. It was weird because having grown up on a farm he had never for one day thought that he would be taking orders from well, an African. On the farmland his father and his father before had taught him that in the farmland the white man was king. That was once upon a time though as now he was here betraying fellow kings like himself. His phone rang and it was the General. He had never been so relieved in his life.
“Yes sir, I have been trying to call you. I have been made. I need to get out of Cape Town fast but there is no way. My best bet is the military base otherwise I won’t make it!”
He said quickly just as the battery on his phone went red. There was no charger in this car not that he needed it.
“Ok take Fort Ikapa, I have friends there. We can trust Swanepoel and I will tell him of your coming. They will be ready for you. Good job and…”
General Mathobela said and before he could finish the sentence the battery died. That was not his concern though as the cars chasing him were moving closer. What on earth were they driving that moved that fast? He had managed to sabotage the helicopter to make sure that they do not trace him by air but he was sure that eventually they would have the police on him too. In Stellenbosch certain individuals own everyone and everything. They even own the President. When the African government took over, even their 90 years of struggle stood for nothing against the power of these buggers. Wars are no longer fought in he bushes, its too barbaric and waste of a labour force, was are fought with money and influence. There is an old age adage that says that everyone can be bought if you name the right price. These comrades never stood a chance therefore and no matter who blames them very few, black or white at that could have either. When you refuse to comply there is an entire media industry waiting to destroy you to the point that even your children don’t trust you. That’s how powerful these individuals were and so far the evidence had never come out the extent of their rot.
Why was that name familiar to him? He knew he knew the name but it was not coming to him. He did not like the idea though that he knew the name because could it have been one of the name he had on the list. Another problem with Afrikaners is that they literally have the same or incredibly similar surnames. Its like only five ancestors landed on the Dromedaris, Reijer and Groed Hoop.
He cursed out loud. General Swanepoel was one of the people that had been on the list. He had only seen the name in passing and because he had not had enough time to investigate him further that’s why it had not come to him immediately. He could not call the General Mathobela back. His original assignment had been to infiltrate the Afrikaner right which had links to the military establishment. It was not military intelligence job to do what State Security was supposed to do but when the military is involved somehow they had to share their intelligence.
He told himself. He was born and raised in Riebeek Valley in the heartland of the winelands which is why he was seen as the perfect candidate for the job. Once upon a time his father had chased him out of the family home and a friend in the military had told him that he probably qualified seeing that he was already well versed in hand to hand combat and the handling of weapons. He was not the only farm boy that knew how to handle weapons because on almost every farm there is a fear that one day they will come for the land. As the minority in the country every Afrikaner sane person is waiting for a revolution or an attempt for the majority people to one day try take by force the land their forefathers risked the oceans to come and settle on. That must not be allowed to happen hence why the general preparedness for this eventuality.
“You are a fucken traitor! I never ever want to see you in my house again!”
Those were the last words his father ever spoke to him his only son and heir. His father owned a small but incredibly efficient Vineyard which produced some of the best wines in the market. He had not grown up poor but one thing he had been taught was that the harder you work the more you reap. Work ethic was what he had been raised with. A conspiracy of events landed him with this task. When his father had a stroke almost 7 years after he kicked out his son, as the only son and heir to the Vinery he had to go back. He had a sister but she had married into the greater community into a richer family at that meaning they did not want the farm. She too had her conflicts with their father and she always believed her brother should come home to his rightful place. The death of the father, his sisters proximity to the influencers in the community and the fact that he was coming from the military made him the ideal candidate when the military intelligence decided it was time to send someone in. From his understanding not everyone had supported the idea as they either felt he was too green or he could betray them.
“Commander Van Wyk”
That’s what they called him when he got back to his family home. It was an inside joke in the community as being in the army was not considered the right place for a proud Afrikaner boy. Imagine taking orders from the people who they were sure where one day coming to take their God given possessions.
“How is it like working for the army? Have they destroyed it too like they destroyed everything else in the country?”
Those were the questions he often had to address. In the beginning he had wanted to tell them about all the advances the military had done over time and how they had trained with the Chines, American, British and Russians but he realized that is not what they wanted to hear.
“Its my biggest regret but going behind enemy lines I learned so much. They are so gullible and we can’t be led by such people.”
This would get him a few drinks at the local bar. It did not take long before his sisters connection had them in their confidence. At braais and social outings the talk was almost always militaristic. It did take time though before he found out who exactly was supposed to fund and arm whoever it was that was going to take the lead in whatever was going to happen. The entrance of the new American president who was sympathetic to the Afrikaner not that Obama man meant that they had had to accelerate their plans. The perfect storm was what was needed for action to be taken. This was the real reason why he was driving ay 200km an hour and his fuel was running out fast. He needed a fuel station and he needed it fast.
Of all the rotten luck in the world. The blue lights followed immediately. Things were going from bad to worse and he knew if he did not stop that would be the end of him. He slowly pulled over. The police car, a Golf GTI pulled up behind him. He took his gun and he put it besides him. He noted that there was one officer in the car. His lucky day. The officer, a big Afrikaner guy stood a good 6ft and it was clear he can handle himself if need be. That was a problem but a risk he had to take. He noted that the cop already had his hand on his gun even though the gun was not drawn out. Plan B. As the police officer approached rather slowly as if hesitantly he knew already he was one of them. Police generally approach your car fast because usually they have no fear of you. This is not Amerca were people drive around with guns hence the extra caution. His approach means that he knew who he was coming for.
“Sir put your hands up through the window and come out of the vehicle!”
The man said in Afrikaans.
“Is there something I have done wrong officer?”
He responded back.
“Just do as I say and we will have no problem!”
He was warned. From were the officer stood he could not jump him because he was a bit far from the car. It was a strategic position actually meaning the guy had an idea of what he was doing.
“I cant open the door with my hands up so what must I do?”
He asked the cop who realized his mistake.
“I want those hands to stay up and if you make any sudden movements I will shoot you Mr. Van Wyk!”
The cop said giving it away that he knew exactly who he was. There was no turning back now.
“Your hands stay out of the window!”
The officer warned him his gun still pointed at him.
“I am complying officer it does not have to go down like this!”
Cobus shouted back at the officer. Why was he not shooting first? Was the plan to take him back to the estate and interrogate him before they killed him? He could not allow for that to happen no matter what.
“Use your left hand to open door for yourself from the outside!”
The police officer shouted without moving.
“The door is locked. I will have to put my hand inside to unlock it.”
Cobus told the officer. The officer hesitated first as though he was thinking of what to do next then said,
“Ok but do it slowly. Any sudden movement I will shoot you Mr. Van Wyk, do you hear me?”
He shouted what was obvious. How could he not be listening there was gun pointed at him. From a distance he could see a truck approaching at pace. It was one of the 18 wheelers that collected the wine from one of the farms. He had to time this right. The officer was standing in the road meaning to avoid the truck he had to step away. Big trucks also have a tendency of picking up small stones when they move at pace.
“I am unlocking now, please don’t shoot.”
He said to the officer,
“Mind the truck as well, you are standing in the road!”
He told the officer. They could already hear the truck as it was near.
“I see it!”
He shouted a bit louder so he could be heard. The officer was wrong obviously because no matter who he was he had to gauge how far the truck was and look because he could not afford to sleep and fall. That was all the opening that Cobus needed. The truck driver hooted loudly perhaps to greet and probably forgot the rule in the in the K53 that says,
“The hooter is not to say hello to your friends”
Maybe if he had it would have saved the officers life. As soon as the hooter went off the officer not only stepped out of the road but also looked back be it for a second. As soon as did that Cobus had all the time he needed. He pulled out his gun and fired two bullets in quick succession hitting the police officer who fell to the ground dropping his gun.
“Stay down or I will have to kill you. I a sorry it had to be you but I cant let you arrest me!”
He said as he punched the officer to knock him out. One hard punch is all it needed. He quickly took his phone, charger and his gun but something more important, he took his police cruiser. This was after he removed the tracker of course.
Now he had clear run where no one could stop him on the road. He was going to be a hero after this, or at least he had thought.
25 years in jail was his reward.
Leeuwkop Prison has the irony of being a maximum security prison on the middle of one of Johannesburg’s most affluent suburbs, Brynston. Whoever thought that was clever was either an idiot, taking a piss or paid off by someone else to make such a stupid decision. That was not her worry though at the moment as the car was super tense. The little interaction they had just shared more than told her that this was not going to work. White and black do not work well in South Africa no matter how much people try and pretend. The animosity of the races runs way too deep.
“We need to make things right between us!”
She finally said taking the high road to be the bigger person. They could not be mad at each other the whole time as things had to move and they still had a lot to do.
“Who said anything was wrong?”
He asked her.
“May I borrow your gun please?”
He asked her as casual as someone would ask for a spare pen.
“Are you kidding me? Why would I want to give you the only gun that I have?”
She asked him trying to not make it seem like she was scared that he would probably shoot her once she handed it over to him. She had already pointed the gun at him already.
“Well you are going to have to trust me on this but something tells me if we are going to survive the night then I am going to need your gun!”
“Why are men so sexist? I can protect us just fine with my gun. What, you have never had a woman watch your back? You are about to experience it so get ready to break your virginity!”
She said annoyed at this mans arrogance. South African men have a problem in that they think women a weak and feeble. She too was trained in firearms so for her it was not just about which side was the pointy side that goes boom.
“I doubt you can shoot and drive at the same time!”
He said looking back and that part confused her because who had said something about driving and shooting at the same time in the first place.
“What are you on about dude?”
She asked him. He was obviously trying to trick her now.
“Turn into the garage!”
He told her.
“Why would I do that? You probably want to run away!”
She said to him without slowing down.
“There are two cars that have been following us!”
He told her of which she immediately looked back making the car swerve a bit. He immediately corrected her driving line by holding the steering,
“What are you doing? You know we don’t want them to know that we know they are following us!”
He told her. He was right there were two cars behind them possibly 200 meters behind them. She could not clearly make out the make and model of the cars and its true she had not noticed them at all earlier.
“So why would you want us to turn into the garage. Are we not better off staying on the road?”
She asked him trying to hide the slight panic in her voice from showing itself.
“If we do that we won’t know if we are really being followed. Either you trust me with your gun or we are going to die before the night is out!”
She looked at him and it hit her that for now he was the only person in the world she could trust but she hardly knew him.
“Don’t make me regret this!”
She told him as she reluctantly handed the piece over. He immediately did a safety and efficiency check on to see whether it was loaded.
“Get into the garage. Do it naturally as you would trying to buy fuel. Do not stop at the fuel pump and do not park where we can be blocked in!”
He told her. She knew why she could not stop at the fuel pump. The answer for that was obvious, one car would block them from behind and another from the front meaning they will be boxed in. Their best bet was to park sideways as though they are doing a pitstop.
“I am going to get into the shop. Whatever you do and even if I am shot, drive away fast! Do not wait for me!”
He said. He was accelerating this fast and maybe things will not even get that far. The approached a garage and he put his hand on hers and said calmly,
“We will be fine!”
This man really was forgetting that she too was an agent and yes she lacked the experience he clearly had but he better stops patronizing her. When she indicated to turn she noticed that the cars indicated too. He was right.
“Do not switch off the car!”
He told her. There is no way to stay calm in a situation like this no matter how much training you go through. There were no cars at all parked in the driving bays in front of the shop. As soon as she slowed to a halt Cobus got out and made as though he was walking to shop. Immediately one of the cars accelerated as though trying to block her from the back. She immediately drove as she had been instructed. The other car had tried to block her off by she turned in the lane of the fuel pump. At that stage Cobus shot at the car behind her sending all the patrol attendants screaming. He must have hit the driver because the car veered roughly and hit a pavement coming to a halt. A man jumped out from the passenger side carrying what looked like an AK47 but before he could even get a shot out Cobus shot him in the head killing him on the spot.
Screamed Amogelang as she struggled to keep the car in the turning circle she had locked in. The window of the car at the back opened and someone started shooting at Cobus who jumped behind the crashed vehicle for cover. As they were using an automated weapon the was no way of him coming out from behind the car meaning he was pinned down. Applying her hand break her car screeched to a halt. The gun man was so focused on Cobus he did not see that the car they had been chasing was now in reverse at pace. Before he could even react she bumped the car in reverse most likely snapping his back in half from the angle he was. She immediately put the forward gear on as Cobus came up from behind the car and started shooting at the driver who was in shock probably because he hardly moved.
“Don’t kill him you idiot!”
She screamed at Cobus but it was too late.
“We needed him alive!”
The Afrikaner lunatic showed no mercy as he moved swiftly towards the car. He checked whether the man was dead and then without word went back to the first car. He opened the driver side of the car and pulled out a still alive getaway driver.
“Who sent you?”
He screamed at him. Amogelang who was now parked next to him came out of the car.
The man screamed in pain. His hand was broken and it was a bad break because she could see a bone sticking out.
“Help me, get me an ambulance!”
He screamed in pain. The petrol attendants dared not come out.
“First tell me who sent you then I will get you an ambulance otherwise you will bleed out right here like the dog you are!”
He screamed at him menacingly. The violence in this mans voice was a sound to behold.
“If I tell you that they will kill me!”
The man screamed in horror.
“I will kill you first then let’s see what you will have to fear then!”
He screamed at him and without warning he applying pressure on the mans protruding bone making the injured man scream out loud in pain.
The man screamed,
“Cobus stop please!”
Amogelang screamed at him pushing him off the helpless victim.
“You are going to kill him of shock before he even answers us!”
She warned him and she was right. There is only so much trauma or shock a body can take before it shuts down and this man was not going to last long. Already a goose head was fast developing on his forehead. He must have hit his head when the car crashed. Serves him right for driving with no seatbelt.
“Listen to me, either you answer us or I will allow my friend here to have his way with you and I can tell you this right now, he can do much worse!”
She warned the terrified man.
“I don’t know anything!”
He immediately said,
She said calling to Cobus who was standing there. He made a motion to move forward which sent the man screaming again. Fear of the pain he had just experienced at this brute was a great motivation as he then said very fast,
“I don’t know who hired us. Senzo is the one who knew the details. All I know is that we have to kill the both of you before you reach some prison. That’s all I know I swear!”
He pleaded in his confession.
“How much were you paid?”
Cobus asked from behind them. Amogelang was a bit surprised at the question because what did it have to do with anything but she did not intervene,
“It was a big pay day. We were paid R100 000 in cash. What would you have done if it were you?”
He asked them pleading.
“We have to go!”
Cobus said to her. He was looking around nervously and she assumed it was for the police. She knew they could not stay there because the police would delay them with questions. They were working on a deadline. Cobus picked up the AK47 that moments earlier had been used to point at them and almost killed them.
He shouted. A 30 something year old woman came up from behind the counter.
“I am not robbing you but I need the security video now!”
She said to her.
“You want our CCTV footage? We need it for the insurance!”
She pleaded confused at the request.
“We are with National Intelligence I need it now!”
He warned her but she looked at him blankly. Amogelang on any other day would have laughed because she had experienced this several times. South Africa was not like America where if you say CIA everyone knows what you are talking about. In South Africa, the only security forces recognized were police, metro, and the army. That was about it.
He said and forcefully went to the back. He ripped out the CPU on the computer and a laptop much to the protestation of the manager. He had a gun though so what could she have done. He came out with them and put them in her boot. Her car was surprisingly not that much damaged.
“Get in the car!”
He said to Amogelang who complied. It was then that he did something completely unexpected. He went back to the ailing man and said,
“You tried to kill me so it’s only fair I returned the favor!”
He shot him point blank making people scream and go hide again.
“No one saw anything!”
He shouted and got in the car and said coldly,
She could not step on the accelerator for a second there because she was in shock over what he had just done.
He said again and this time the car moved. Everything had taken place under ten minutes. Imagine four lives taken in ten minutes.
“Why did you kill him? He was no threat to us. He had been neutralized!”
She shouted when she finally got her voice back.
“You executed that man!”
She said in disbelief.
“Yes I did. Would you like to know why?”
He asked her calmly. This guy thought all this was a game clearly. How could someone be so cold and callous about human life.
“Yes damn straight I want to know why even though it will not bring him back. How could you just do that? Don’t you have any remorse?”
She asked him.
“I had to kill him for your sake!”
He said to her calmly but that just made her blow up.
“For my sake? Did you just justify killing a man by putting my name into it? How dare you?”
She asked him angrily.
“Yes I did. Firstly in South Africa hitmen kill you for a R1000 and if someone paid them R100000 I suspect whoever sent them is powerful, has deep pockets and these idiots were just plan A. He would have had to take his friends phone to call whoever hired them to say they failed. What do you think would have happened next?”
He asked her what was clearly a rhetorical question because he knew she knew what the answer would be at this stage. He answered the question himself when he saw her reluctance to answer it,
“They would have not only sent someone to kill him to keep him quiet firstly but also sent someone more experienced to finish us off. I do not know about you but I think we need as much time as possible to get through this!
He told her.
“OK fine I understand but next time give me warning. Don’t just do things without telling me because that was so unexpected!”
She told him.
“You need to get this into your head now, I don’t work for you and if I posed to tell you something before I did it, that split second could be the difference between life and death!”
He warned her.
“Ok then my friend, do you think we should change cars?”
She asked him. The car was damaged at the back but not so much. The police in the next hour will be looking for a car that matched their car description,
“Yes that would be wise but I don’t think our friend on the phone is going to like that at all!”
He said to her.
“Well he is going to have to readjust his expectations then because we can’t get anywhere in a wanted car.”
He told her.
“You are forgetting another obvious thing!”
He went on to say.
“What is that?”
She pointed to the both of them but he did not get it.
“There will be looking for a big white man with a beard travelling with a black woman. Do you know how much that draws attention?”
She asked him. This was South Africa after all and even after 25 years of independence this was one country were race matters.
“We need to find a place wear you can shave at the very least. I have shaving cream and a towel. There is water in the car. You will need to get read of the Santa beard!”
She told him and instinctively he touched his beard. Clearly he was fond of it but it made him stick out like a sore thumb.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
He said in what was clearly a sulking moment.
“You are human after all!”
She said in dry humor and shook her head.
“Breaking News: The terrorist attack that rocked South Africa this morning leaving 41 people dead has left the intelligence service running around. We have with us Professor Govendar from Wits Political School to discuss the potential fallout. Professor Govendar over to you,”
That was the news anchor and everyone in the room, the President and company included listened attentively to what was being said. With the power back on now they could listen t what the country was saying in the time they were absent from air. The president had already made it clear that they needed to get their own people on air so that they could drive the narrative but the problem is they only had the SABC to use as their mouthpiece. All other media was private and wrote almost exclusively from an anti-government stance. SABC unfortunately because of a lack of money no longer had the best journalists meaning that even the government officials were forced to listen to how bad they were from these private media companies. The bulletin continued and it was the so called analyst who was doing the speaking.
“These analysts are like cockroaches, there is so many of them and they keep on creeping out of the rotten woodworks. All experts all of sudden!”
Black Cat said and a few people loved met with hisses of,
From everyone else. The analyst was saying,
“This is bad actually, we already know that the police, the army, and government in general is barely functional so imagine the state of our intelligence sector! Anyone could have told you that South Africa is the one place that you can get away with anything!”
The man started and immediately the news anchor intervened,
“Is that not unfair to brand our security services that useless?”
She asked her guest,
“No its true, no matter how comfortable the truth is. How many international terrorist have been found on South African soil. It’s a wonder Bin Laden did not run away to South Africa because I am almost certain he would still be alive and protected by the incompetence of our system!”
The president had heard enough but before he could turn the TV off Black Cat went to Ronnie and whispered something.
“We need to speak to the president on this privately!”
He whispered to Black Cat and together they approached the man. The TV was just making him angrier which at that rate would probably cause a stroke to the poor man.
“Mr. President can we talk outside please!”
Ronnie asked him.
“We can keep talking privately all we like but by the time this is over we all would have the people against us with the way these news stations are portraying us.”
The president lamented standing to go to separate room.
“I know its bad news what has happened now?”
He asked them.
“Two people shot and killed four people at a service station in Midrand!”
Black Cat announced.
“Stofile do you see everything that’s going on right now in the country? Do you really think I should be focused on a random act of crime taking place?”
The president asked him visibly annoyed.
“I wouldn’t have bothered you with it but video footage which has just been confirmed by Cde Ronnie is that the girl in it is that girl from Intelligence from this morning, Amogelang!”
Black Cat added,
“Is this true?”
He asked and Ronnie nodded in the affirmative.
“According to the witness statements they were being chased by two cars. The white guy is the one killed them.”
“Self defense then!”
Ronnie said immediately protecting his agent.
“That’s Cobus, the white guy who killed all four.”
He went on.
“Yeah it was self defense at the beginning of the video but this…”
He pointed out to the part were Cobus executed the driver of the first car. The president cringed when the shot went out and Ronnie shook his hand.
“I know your boy is in play but that’s an execution of a black man by a white man and I am very sure by tomorrow morning that video will be trending. It will not look good at the end of the day if that man is seen walking free.”
Black Cat spoke up. He had a point too. Social media had become the new law and if there was an outcry of any sort about what had happened there would be a problem.
“The video was taken from a cellphone correct?”
He asked the minister of police.
“Yes it was. Eyewitnesses say the white guy also took the CCTV servers so that’s the only footage we have. One the attendants took the video from a hidden spot otherwise we will never have known. We confiscated his phone as evidence.”
The police minister said.
“He is not getting his phone back. That video should never get out otherwise we will have a riot on our hands before we can ever finish everything we need.”
That was sensible and Ronnie was going to make sure that no one was going to mess up his chances of catching this terrorist.
“I agree with you about that but we should proceed carefully. They cannot be allowed to run around the country killing people. That one I refuse. This is not a banana republic!”
He said angrily. He walked away to take for a breather and sat down and said,
“Why is this happening in my presidency? I knew we had a lot of enemies but this is crazy. I will be the President who experienced a terrorist attack and did not even have clues to what is going on. This is not how I want my presidency to be remembered for all the right reasons so comrades lets stop all the games and get this done.”
“You can’t give up Mr. President. Tonight you need to do a walkabout. We have already made a mistake by not going to Cape Town because that is the reassurance the country needs that its safe. The Americans will see that you are on the job and not hiding. Everyone will see that you are doing something as opposed to hiding in this room.”
“As for our agents in the field let them do their job. We will get results. As far as I am concerned there are safe but that is not our main problem right now. We need to find out who tried to kill them because whoever this terrorist would definitely not try to kill them before they got the prisoners out. It would defeat the purpose!”
Ronnie added of which everyone agreed by nodding. This is what he had not expected but they had to adapt or die. This thing of sitting in a so called protected room though protocol was making it difficult to work and get answers. He need to get out of this place.
“Mr. President I left the analysts going through data and I have to head back there otherwise people might sleep on the job and this will move slower. I also suggest that the Minister of Police here leaves and you put roadblocks everywhere!”
He advised his president who was definitely not a wartime president.
“Why do we need roadblocks?”
The president asked something which made Ronnie want to scream over this man’s incompetence. The party comes first though so the rest have to pick up the slack for him.
“Roadblocks give the appearance that we are doing something. People hate them and it will make them talk. Tomorrow morning we will wake with roadblocks on every road that matters!”
Black Cat intervened not that the president was listening. He hardly ever did anyway so this was not much of a surprise for anyone.
“Ronnie go back to your post. Keep me updated on anyone. Dismiss everyone else in there. We will give a press statement for everything tomorrow.”
The president said and that was that. The whole reason they sat in an emergency meeting for so many hours was so that the nation can think that a crisis was being solved when truth is one actually knew what was going on.
Noone was following them. This time she made sure to check all her mirrors as they drove. Her adrenalin levels were still pretty high at this stage but she acknowledged that she had made a rookie mistake. Having a desk job means that things should be habit in the field become just things you did in train. They were taught how to spot and lose a tail long ago but here she was being done in by amateurs.
“I am sorry about earlier!”
She said breaking the silence in the car.
“Sorry about earlier? What do you mean?”
He asked her. He was not playing the fool and she realized that because that not something people usually apologize about in normal conversation.
“I am sorry that I failed to spot the tail. I think I have a lot of things going on in my mind. Maybe you should drive I could do with the rest.”
She asked him.
“No thank you. My drivers license got revoked and besides if I drive you will pass out and if you pass out whoever your friend is the one that calling you giving us these orders might not speak to me!”
He finished up thoughtfully.
“He is not my friend. I don’t have friends that kill people!”
Was her response of which he retorted,
“I am your friend aint I?”
He said of which she rolled her eyes,
“I don’t have friends that look like Jan Van Riebeeck. Maybe you didn’t notice back there I saw your swatisca tattoo back there when you were carrying the computer and definitely people like you do not have friends like me.”
She said angry at herself for even being nice to this racist bastard. People like him should be put down like the animals that they are. Hating someone for the simple fact that their skin colour does not match theirs was just plain stupid and she hated such.
“I am reformed and born again!”
He said in clearly a humorous tone and that made her boil and something told her that he enjoyed seeing her loose her temper over him.
“That’s why I have the beard and all, kinda makes me look like Jesus don’t you think?”
He added smiling at her played with his beard. It was not funny. Having grown up ZCC, the biggest African church in the country and owned by probably the unofficial richest man in the country Amogelang hated the church. Her father with his karate lessons was always so strict and lowkey oppressed her mother in the name of the church. This however did not mean that she appreciated him associating the name of the Lord with a lowlife racist like himself.
“Don’t do that. Don’t mention the Lords name in vein!”
She warned him.
“I didn’t realize that touched a nerve Sister Amogelang, did I say you name correctly?”
He asked her.
“You do realize that you asked me for my name at 1Military yet you actualy never gave me yours? That’s rude in some cultures but its ok I will take no offense at that Sister Amogelang!”
He dug deepers,
“Stop calling me Sister, I am not a nun or your sister in Christ. Do you really enjoy poking people like this? It makes you a prick you know!”
She said but she was lying. This man was more of a psychopath because anyone who had just killed four people would not be trying to crack jokes as this man was. He was therefore dangerous and she had to watch her back very closely. The problem was whenever she tried to be nice to him only bad things came out.
“Ah Sister Amogelang, did I make you a little hot under the collar there?”
He said to her and he laughed. She could not see what was funny about all this but this lunatic was clearly having a good time.
“What do you wear a swastika? Is it not enough that you have the land, the power, the money and the most developed part of everything? Why do you still need to express your hatred towards people who have nothing?”
She asked him. For the first time since this little argument in the car started he paused. He was about to say something but something caught his attention.
“We are looking for a car. There is our ride.”
He said to her. Parked outside a second hand dealership was an older version Toyota Corolla.
“It does not stick out and definitely will not have tracker on it.”
He told her. He was right. When you steal a car and don’t have the expertise, always go for the older models because 99% of the time the neither have tracker nor insurance.
“No, don’t worry I have another plan which wont leave our faces exposed from all those camera’s over there. We are in enough trouble as it is so I do not want to add hijacking to it!”
She told him confidently.
“It has to be soon because its only a matter of time before the cops find us. This car is hot right now!”
He warned her. She did not respond. She knew what she was doing but because of time they had to start off at the prison no matter what.
“We almost at the prison. From there we will worry about the car.”
She said casually.
“I really pray we are not going to have to fight our way out of this one.”
She told him as they arrived at the prison. She still could not figure how a prison had landed in the middle of Brynston like this. As it was late the parking lot was empty.
“Don’t jinx us please!”
“I really am not up for getting more lectures mom!”
He said sarcastically. Amogelang did not appreciate the joke because to her it was sexist that a woman should be seen as motherly all the time.
“What i could do for a glass of wine right now!”
He said surprising Amogelang.
“I never pictured you a wine person. You look like the whisky type or even beer!”
She said sarcastically and with that beard there was no way he could hold a wine glass without breaking it.
“I will have you know that i grew up on a winery so i know a lot about wines. Where is the hair remover and how komg does it take before it works”
He asked her.
“Not more than ten minutes but for you i fear it might take years!”
She said by way of a joke. He did not laugh. Instead he was looking towards the prison gate as three men were walking towards him. Two were in uniform and the one in the middle clearly being escorted was not.
“Here is your man!”
One if the men said without greeting.
“What happened to his face?”
Cobus asked after noting that the man they were escorting had bruising which was a few days old on his face.
“He fell in the bathroom. It happens!”
The guard responded. Cobus moved forward as though to hit him but Amogelang stood in front of him.
She said to them dismissing them.
“What is wrong with you? You can’t beat up everyone who pisses you off!”
She warned him.
“Mr. Hove we have been instructed to take you out of here!”
“Look I am grateful for you taking me out but I would like to go right back in please!”
He said. What an ungrateful bastard Amogelang thought and she was in no in no mood to be nice to him.
“Listen here you idiot, people died today for you to be let out. We really do not want to be here either so the least you can do is show a little gratitude for what just happened here!”
She said to him angrily.
“I just said I was grateful but if you take me out that means that I am going to die. There was fake prison break thing that happened now it will be blasted on every TV station that I broke out of prison and that is not true!”
He said very weary of what he was sure of what he thought was going to happen next. Amogelang could see that this man felt like he was more important than everyone else in the car.
“and what do you mean prison break? How did you get past the armed guards just one man? How long have you and him been planning this?”
She asked him.
“Me and whom? What are you talking about?”
The man asked very confused by this angry girl who had hated him from the moment he entered this car. It was not something new to him though because in this country South Africans hated Zimbabweans and on several occasions he had felt the sharp end of that hatred.
“Your phone is ringing!”
Cobus said finally. So far during this little exchange he had kept quiet because he had realized that she needed someone to vent out his frustrations on.
She said when she picked up the phone. She was no longer in the mood to be nice with this terrorist who still had not told her his name.
“Part one of your job done. Well done. Now you are going to drive to Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Makhado. When you get there you will receive your next orders.”
The voice said. Makhado was just a hundred kilometres away from the Zimbabwean border. Did this mean that they were meant to help this murderer flee the country? The thought just turned the pit in her stomach.
“Did you just try to have us killed earlier? We had to fight for our lives you bastard!”
She said angrily at the voice.
“That was not us. Its bigger than you think!”
The voice said. What the hell was that supposed to mean? He was supposed to tell them what was going on not sound like a clairvoyant.
“Just tell us…”
She said back to the phone but the line went dead. Who was going to play for the fuel to get there? She was already broke and she was sure that Father Christmas here did not have any money but she asked him anyway,
“Cobus I don’t have enough money for petrol, do you have anything on you?”
She asked him.
“Did you listen to anything I said to you earlier?”
He asked and she was not sure what he meant so she just shrugged her shoulders in response.
“I have no money.”
“White man with no money, I must have been in prison for too long!”
The Zimbabwean passenger in the back seat chirped in much to the annoyance of Amogelang. This man had better pray he does not kill him before they get to their destination.
“You have jokes!”
Cobus said of which the Zimbabwean man responded,
“What else can I do? I have been kidnapped by Jesus and a little girl with anger issues. They are probably going to kill me so the least I can do is crack jokes to heaven but wait, if you are here who will be up there to receive me?”
He said sarcastically.
Amogelang said feeling vindicated even though she is not the one who had initially said he looked like, never mind.