Zandile comes to, in bright light. Her vision is blurred. She focuses, to find she is inside the container. She is bound to a chair. She tries to move her arms but she can’t negotiate even an centimetre. The cable ties binding them to the back of the chair are tied so tight that they cut through her skin. Her head aches, her nose is bloody.
She lifts up her head to see what Kasi Chef was chopping: the carcass of a sheep! She sees him crouching there, next to the sheep, hammer in hand. Her cellphone is on the floor next to him. He looks at her and smashes the phone into splinters with the hammer.
“It looks like today I will chop up two bodies,” says Kasi Chef. His face is devoid of expression. “Well, three if you count this sheep I am practising on.”
The icy stare with which he looks at Zandile is unnerving.
“You don’t have to do this,” says Zandile.
“Shut your mouth,” says Kasi Chef, lighting a cigarette. “I am tired of being told by women what to do. My wife was the same way until I decided to take my power back from her. I have the power now. When I am done, both of you will rest in my freezer.”
Zandile glances at the long freezer next to her.
“Where is your wife?”
Kasi Chef breaks into a sick smile. “She is around here somewhere. I haven’t checked on her today but I doubt she managed to escape after the beating I gave her yesterday.”
“Please, I’m begging you. You don’t have to do this. If your wife is still alive, and you don’t kill me, the courts will be kind to you.”
“I said shut up!” he barks. “The power is with me now. I have the power. Not you! If you’d kept your nose out of my business you wouldn’t be in this situation. You have given me no choice but to kill you.”
“Please don’t do this! I know how the justice system works. You can plead insanity. There are ways to deal with your situation. Just don’t–”
Kasi Chef lunges towards her with the hammer raised. Tall and fit, he runs at great pace.
Zandile waits until he is close enough. When he is a footstep away she jerks up her leg and lands her boot smack in the middle of his groin. He instantly loses strength. He lets go of the hammer. It glances off her head, but the blow lacks power.
Kasi Chef staggers back, trips on the sheep carcass. He falls onto the upturned blade of his axe which cleaves into his inner thigh. He himself had no doubt honed that axe to butchering sharpness, Zandile thinks.
He tries to grab her leg but she kicks away his hand. A fountain of blood spurts from his inner thigh. From the gushing flow, Zandile knows the axe has severed his femoral artery.
In a short while Kasi Chef has lost consciousness.
She hears sirens.
“I’m in here! Inside the container!” she shouts and bangs her boots on the metal floor.
Detectives wrench open the container and find the gory scene. “Search the house,” Zandile says as they untie her. “I think the wife is here somewhere. Search all the rooms!”
She staggers out of the container as Detectives Mdluli and Msomi rush to the house and kick in the door. Zandile pushes aside the paramedic trying to examine her. She too runs into the house and joins in the frantic search.
Soon find Dudu Zulu in the upstairs en-suite. Her hands are tied to the towel railing. She is unconscious and badly beaten.
“Dear God!” Zandile gasps.
The paramedic shoves her aside and attends to the wife. “There’s a faint pulse,” says the paramedic. “She must get to the hospital as soon as possible.”
Zandile feels her legs weakening. She leans on the wall for balance, but collapses.
She wakes up in hospital the following day. Bongani is asleep in a chair next to her bed. She feels the bump on her head and the dressing covering it.
“Bongani,” she calls out.
Zandile tries to sit up as Bongani wakes.
“Take it easy, Babe,” he says. “You suffered a concussion.”
“Where am I?”
“Did the wife make it? Is she alive?”
“I don’t know, Babe.”
“And Kasi Chef?”
“Kasi Chef died. Loss of blood.”
Commander Ncube walks in with the other members of the Task Team.
“Great work once again, Detective,” says Commander Ncube. “We are all proud of you.”
“Thanks Commander. But did the wife make it?”
“Ask her yourself, Zan,” says Gloria with a smile.
They part to reveal Kasi Chef’s wife in a wheelchair behind them. Her face is swollen but she looks at Zandile with the happiest eyes. She grips Zandile’s hand firmly and smiles.
“Thank you, Detective Cele and your colleagues for saving my life,” she says.
She stays even after the Task Team has left and tells Zandile the story of how her marriage to Kasi Chef turned sour. Tears fall as she speaks of how drug and gambling addiction turned the man she once loved into a vicious animal.
“His intention was to beat me until I died. Then dump my body somewhere it could be found as a murder case, and claim the insurance money,” she sobs.
A day later Zandile is ready to be discharged from the hospital. Bongani comes to fetch her. They are in the ward waiting for her medication and sit on the bed, holding hands.
“I guess you were proven right. My work is dangerous,” says Zandile.
“Yes, it is dangerous, Babe,” says Bongani. “But you are so courageous and very good at it and you love it. I have made peace with that.”
“Thank you, Bongani,” Zandile hugs and kisses him.
Tell us: Have you got the personal characteristics to be a good police officer?