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Chapter 1


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Chapter 1

Zanamuhla


I've been locked in this rusty house for days now. My hope runs out with each hour that passes by and I don't see my brothers coming to my rescue.

It's so unlike Mazwakhe not to care about my safety. We laid on the same womb when our mother died he became all that I have.

Well I do have a father but the fact that he is a polygamist and has a brood of children all over the world means that I get just 10% of his attention. He loves his third wife and spends most of his time bonding with children from that side. The door opens the cruel one is the first to enter.

Well they're all cruel but this one takes the cup. I can't look at him without wanting to throw up on his face. I hate him with every fibre of my body.

He took everything from me. My life my future!

He chose the only house that contained my future and burnt it down. I don't know why he is not taking the gun and finishing me off.

I couldn't write my final exam because of him…Well all of them are keeping me here but I want to push all the blame to him. Even if their evil hearts do soften up I will return home to nothing.

The monster burnt all my schoolwork and personal belongings. “You're still on hunger strike?” asks the older one Busikhaya clearly finding this whole situation funny.

They gave me slices of brown bread and cold tea. I’m in prison of some sort and I don't know the charges against me. All I know is that Mazwakhe had a hand on their father's death.

“A typical Ngwane spoilt brat!” Mnotho says.

I know him we went to the same primary school but he's all grown up and cruel it took me time to recognize him. Did he say spoilt-brat? I don't know what the word ‘spoil’ means. I've held myself with my own teeth for the past 12 years. I didn't have a father who own 50 yards of land and rivers. The sea probably belongs to them as well. He is pointing at me calling me a spoilt brat but all four fingers are pointing back at him.

“Would you prefer something else Madam Zanamuhla?”-the third toe-nail of Satan Mndeni asks in mockery.

He is a smart-mouth I find him less intimidating than others probably because he has attractive looks over that cold heart.

“No thank you” I say.

He looks at the cruel one and shrugs his shoulders before taking the plate.

“Dankie mpilo chickens will have a nice dinner today. I tried but some beggars are choosers.” He is sort of giving the cruel one explanation like the devil cares.

He walks out happily with my meal.

My stomach keeps rumbling I haven't eaten anything since the night they kidnapped me. A part of me is scared that they might've poisoned the food but even so I wouldn't accept anything coming from them. Mazwakhe was right about this family. They abuse their power and take advantage of the powerless.

“Try your brother again.” Busikhaya throws the phone to my chest.

I don't know how many times I'm expected to do this. Mazwakhe's phone has been off ever since. Him and my halfbrothers are nowhere to be found in Mpofana. These idiots keep torturing my family for nothing.

As usual a white woman kindly tells me that the number I'm calling is not available at present. The look on their faces! It's like I'm the one responsible for everything.

“Maybe he wants to fetch your corpse. The less Ngwane offsprings in the world the better.” -Mnotho.

To think I once saw him as a good boy and crushed on him for a while!

“I hope you have an active funeral policy” Busikhaya says and pulls a gun behind his waist.

It's been some kind of fear factor. Right now the sight of a gun and thought of death don't shake me.

I don't beg for my life to be spared I just look at him prepared for anything.

“Bafo……” The cruel one stops him and pulls his hand. I don't hear what he is saying as they have turned their backs on me. But he is stopping him from killing me and has taken the gun away from him. 

They don't say anything after their little chat they follow each other to the door.

A few minutes later I hear a car driving away.

I wish I can say I'm relieved that they're gone but I'm not. How long am I going to be kept here? Why is my family not looking for me? I doubt the police even know that there's a missing person in the area.

At least they thought about locking me in a house that has a bathroom. There is no soap only cold running water and toilet rolls. I only wash the sweaty parts and wipe with a piece of cloth.

I don't even say my night prayer God is not pray-able. He didn't answer my prayers 12 years ago when I only asked Him to save my mother. She died at the side of the road waiting for the car to take her to the hospital but it never came. It broke down behind the mountain and the mechanic only arrived two hours later.

I'm slowly drifting to sleep when I hear the door handle moving.

The light turns on causing my eyes to forcefully open.

Urgh! What does he want now?

“I brought you food…proper food” he says.

It's a full plate of beef. The thing wrapped in a sarviette must be a spoon. What a courtesy!

He pulls the chair and sits. His attention is occupied by the small screen on his hand for a while. When he looks up I'm still lying on the sponge with a full plate in front of me.

“Why are you not eating?” he asks.

In case he hasn't noticed I do not speak to him. I don't reply to anything he says.

I hate him.

“Zanamuhla!”

This is my precious name my mother gave it to me but he just took the whole meaning of it and its beauty by spitting it out of his mouth.

I hate him even more for spoiling my name.

“You're going to die” he says.

Like I'm not dead already. He fuckin’ killed me the moment he set my mother's rondavel on fire. The day he destroyed her memory and my future.

He takes the plate and covers it.

“When you decide to eat you'll find your food here.” He places the plate on top of the water bucket.

He puts his phone back inside the pocket and pushes the chair back to its place. I guess he is done.

“Take your food with you” I say when he is about to exit the door.

He stops but doesn't turn his head to look at me.

“I hate you!” I say.

Now he turns.

“And you think I care? I don't like you either.” Anger weighs in I stand up and look at him.

I wish I had power to strangle him to death.

“That's the difference you don't like me and you have no reason to do so and I HATE you. You took everything away from me. My future my life my mother! I’ve never hated a person so much in my life. When I finally get strength to go down on my knees I won't be praying for survival but I'll be praying for your life to be miserable” I say.

He takes a step back and frowns like he is in shock.

“Whaaat?” He sounds more scratchy and low-pitched than usual.

I forgot to mention how much his voice annoys me. “You heard me now take your food and leave. You killed me the day you burnt my mother's rondavel destroying every single memory I had of her and tearing down my future on the line. You ripped my soul out of my body that night what you see is just an empty body. If you're clever as you think you are you'd know that dead people don't eat” I say.

The frown disperses. I can't say he looks remorseful it must be his extra devilish face.

“That….I….Zanamuhla your brothers killed my father” he says in hesitation.

I can't believe the nerve! There's no justification for what he did to me.

“My mother died because of the stupid road! I was an opharn at 11 years I had to grow up and mother myself. If you're fighting for your father why are you not looking for his killers? Why am I kept here? Why couldn't I write my final exams? Why did you destroy my mother's memories and my school work? What did my mother and I do to you? I don't see you targeting anyone but me and my mother.”

I can't believe I'm crying and giving this dog satisfaction. I was so close to my national N-diploma now I have to apply for exam admission again.

“I didn't know that was not my intention at all

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that was not my intention at all” he says faking sympathy.

If I stand here for another minute God knows I'm going to spit on this guy's face. The bathroom has no door but being a wall away from his sight is better.

He doesn't leave immediately I don't know what's keeping him. Poisoning my food maybe.

. .

I don't see them the next day. A strange man came with food earlier and left without saying a word. The menu has improved today I have grilled meat and pap. I won't lie I'm tempted to devour the whole plate but my stubbornness is always dominant.

Today I can hardly stand up. I'm awake only because I've been drinking water. I wish Busikhaya can come with his phone maybe Mazwakhe's phone is on today. I just want to hear his voice one last time.

My hope lights up when the door opens.

It's Mndeni urgh!

“Abalambi abasomi

Sebekuwe khaya lami

Bayeluswa oh yimvana

Sebekuwe khaya lami.”

He sings with a smile on his face looking at two plates that haven't been eaten.

“Uyazi weZano….” He pauses and grabs a chair. He sits like a king with his legs spread out. He is always dressed smartly shiny shoes and expensive watches.

“The nicest thing about dying from a gun is that you die while your blood is still warm. What you're doing is a shame I mean you're going to get thin have a dry skin and freeze before you die” he says.

Is this the stuff he actually cares about? There are 1000 ways to die and I don't take my time to choose which one is preferable.

Frankly I don't give a fuck.

“But it's up to you” he shrugs his shoulders.

I don't have energy for his smart mouth today.

“I only care about my mother's chickens. I need your blessing to take this food to them” he says.

He will keep going if I don't say anything.

“Take it” I say.

He smiles.

“Zihlabathi zolwandle!” he puts his hands up in gratitude and takes the plates.

I don't know why I don't hate him. He doesn't get through me no matter what he does.

“Mndeni can I use your phone for a moment?” I ask.

I gave him my food the least he could do is allow me to make a phone call.

“It's untraceable” he says cheekily and hands it over. I don't know what he means by that. I dial Mamncane's number it doesn't go through. Now I suspect that something is wrong.

“Did you cut our electricity?” I ask .

He pretends to be thinking hard.

“If I'm not mistaken yes we did.” -Him.

Fuck!!!

“Then how am I supposed to get them to come here?” I can't believe this.

“We caught Nkanyiso soon he will sing the truth. So we are not worried about keeping you here your fate lies on your brother Nkanyiso” he says.

The way Nkanyiso is so stubborn I doubt he’ll tell them anything. I don't have the strength to keep going I face the other way and shut my eyes.

. .

I don't know why God is keeping me. I wake up with a pounding headache and a pair of eyes staring at me.

Life can't get any worse. What is he doing here? I thought I made it clear that I hate him.

“Why are you torturing yourself like this?” he asks. The great torture would be responding to his question so I keep quiet as if I didn't hear him.

He plays with his bracelets. They're decorated with animal claws and all the creepy stuff.

“You can hate me all you want but your body needs food” he says.

I'm trying to understand how this concerns him. I'm here they brought me here so that I can't have the things that I need. “I'm going to let you go please take care of yourself.”

What? Is he pranking me? I thought Mndeni said they'll only let me go if Nkanyiso tells them the truth.

He unzips his jacket and takes it off. I see a gun poking out of his waist. They always have them. The police are their best friends these are probably unlicensed guns but they walk around with them like toys.

Oh he carries knives too.

“Is the car ready?” he asks someone over the phone. The person must've said yes he thanks him or her and ends the call. “You'll find a car waiting for you behind gumtrees.” He is telling me. This is not a prank.

“You're releasing me?”

Yes I hate him and won't hate him less for any reason but this is a surprising side of him.

And now? The knife?

“What are you doing?” I ask.

He lifts the knife up he has his arm stretched. I don't think he is….. Jesus Christ! 

He just stabbed himself. He is not even flinching to show that he is human.

“Leave Zanamuhla.” He drops the blood on the floor. I'm still shocked. Which level of cruelty is this? Who stabs his own arm for no suicidal reasons?

Oh he brought bandages as well.

“I said go” he says firmly.

There is no time for hesitations I gather myself up and dash to the door. It's actually dark outside but the taste of freedom is so priceless.

Something breaks behind. It sounds like a window.

I don't know what he is playing at he didn't look psychopathic to me.

.

.

Busikhaya walks into an empty house. The girl is gone. Among the things he hates in life is losing control. The girl was no use to them but he had control over her. He would've determined when she goes home.

“All of you in the square house now!” he yells at his brothers over the phone and continues pacing around the house angrily. They all come in one car confused about Busikhaya’s sudden anger.

“She escaped” Mnotho says first.

Mndeni and Ngcwethi look at him with confused faces. “Look at the window it's broken and these trails of blood” he says.

“Hell no!” They all rush inside the house and find Busikhaya breathing fire. There is a broken glass bowl and a map of blood all over the floor.

“You changed her menu and decided to change her cutlery as well?” he questions Ngcwethi.

“Yeah so?” -Ngcwethi.

“So she escaped damnit! She broke the window with a fuckin’ bowl and left” Busikhaya lashes out.

Ngcwethi looks away regretfully.

“And the blood?” – Mndeni.

“Who knows? Maybe she tried to kill herself. “ They all sits down defeated.

“We have to clean this mess. I don't want the police to be sniffing around our home while we are mourning.”

Mndeni looks at his Bell & Rose watch and sighs. Now he has to touch water to clean blood!

“Mnotho clean” he tries to bully him as usual but Busikhaya hears none of it. He wants all of them to clean since the girl was everyone's responsibility.

“And you?” he asks Ngcwethi who is still on the chair.

“I have dystonia in my left arm and I'm in no mood of touching blood” – Ngcwethi.

Well they all understand him and his special illnesses. They let him be and clean up.

 

 

 

 

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