It was those beautiful days when my parents so loved each other. I was ten, and my sister was two years older than me. My parents were very passionate about seeing us complete our studies and go to university. My father always used to put me down on the floor with my sister beside me and say to us: “You know my children, I’m forever thankful to the Lord for giving me such genious children who never disobey my commands. You should wait for school to finish before engaging yourself in delusional romantic stuff in your teenage years!”
One day, after I got my Grade 6 results, I came home early from school. I pushed the front door open and suddenly a whole group of people screamed, “Surprise!”
My home was full of visitors and my mother came running to me with an expression of excitement. She said: “Well boy, I know you have passed. Just show me your results!” I took out my school report and handed it to her to furnish her excitement. I was still confused about the fact that there were so many people in my home.
Little did I know that my parents had organised this party to celebrate my success at school. I always loved my parents. They were serious and hardworking. Besides that, they were also rich and had made me their best son. I was not one of those little boys of my age who always used to run after girls in my village.
The following week, my parents went on a honeymoon to Mozambique. My mother asked her best and closest friend to look after us while they were gone. Her name was Lady Pauline and she was also our neighbour. She used to take care of us whenever she was asked to do so. She was very kind; that’s why my mother loved her so much.
When my parents returned to South Africa, my mother started to get sick. She had a mysterious asthmatic problem. She would struggle to breathe the whole night. During those days, my father was working night shifts and thus couldn’t see what a bad condition my mother was in. Only Lady Pauline could sleep at my mother’s beside in the hospital, helping her as she tried to pull herself through those bad days.
My father only visited my mother after she had been in the hospital for three days. It was a Friday evening. The nurses told him that my mother would need at least four more weeks of treatment. After my father saw what a bad shape my mother was in, he seemed to no longer be interested in her at all. He never visited her again.
One day, Lady Pauline made an arrangement with my teachers for me to go home early so that I could visit my Mum in hospital. My father shouted at me when he saw me dropping off my school bag and uniform before dashing to the hospital.
“Leon!” he said loudly. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“I’m going to see Mum,” I replied.
My father cut me off and said: “Shut your ass up and go prepare me lunch and wash that car right now.” He turned and walked for a little bit, then said: “I don’t want to see you or your sister walking out that gate to that hospital again. Or else you…” He wanted to say more but something inside him cut him off and he walked away.
Only a few days went by before my mother passed away. During this time, I would come home, push the front door open and find my father and Lady Pauline sitting on the couch, watching TV together while kissing. None of them acted ashamed when I walked in. During those days, Lady Pauline seemed very nice and pleasant, but after my mother’s burial service she presented herself and showed us her true colours.
My sister and I were punished and faced abuse every time we visited our mother’s grave. We were also not allowed to visit certain members of our family. My father always found my sister and I crying on the veranda. He used to just walk into the house and never say anything to us. He would find Lady Pauline on the couch, watching TV with her beautiful legs on the table.
One time, I followed him and walked into the house. He was kissing Lady Pauline. I said, “Dad…” but before I could finish, he cut me off and shouted.
“What the hell do you want? Huh?” I stared back at him, trying to think of something to say. He tilted his head and put his mouth close to my ear. “You listen to me, you son of a bitch. I’m not the one who killed your mother. Now get the hell away from my face.” I ran out to the street, crying alone.
My sister and I used to sleep with empty stomachs on those days. One day, when I came home hungry from school, I found Lady Pauline’s two children. They were both four years older than me. I headed in through the front door, proceeding into the kitchen to try to find something to eat. Then Lady Pauline called me.
“Leon. Leon!” I came running and she said, “I want you to wash my clothes and cook my favourite meal.”
I replied: “But I don’t even know how to cook”. I started to walk away.
My father, who was sitting next to her, called out: “Leon, son. Please… come here…” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few notes and coins to attract me. As soon as I stepped a little closer to him, he threw a slap across my left cheek, causing me to fall onto the floor and not to hear any sound in my left ear. Then he said: “That will teach you a lesson to not complain next time when she tells you to do something.” Lady Pauline just laughed at me as she polished her nails.
I used to wear one faded pair of trousers, donated to me by my late cousin. I had no shoes at the time. I just used to walk with my bare feet covered with dust and little cracks under them. The following day, my father hosted a birthday party for Pauline’s children. He bought them the most expensive clothes, while he forced us to use cold running tap water to bathe in the morning in those cold weather months. Soon, he asked Lady Pauline to marry him. I couldn’t believe it.
After some time, Lady Pauline reversed her deeds and started to be kind. She always wanted to be next to my sister and I. One day, she cooked my favourite meal for all of us. I wasn’t home at the time. I came home late, as the sun was setting. I found my sister, my father and Lady Pauline sitting at the table eating. I was not hungry. I headed straight to my bedroom and fell asleep.
The following day, I came home from school early, and pushed open the back door. I found my sister lying next to my father on the couch. I silently sneaked in, so that I wouldn’t wake them up on my way into the kitchen to search for something to eat. I soon realised that my sister and my father were dead, as there was a bad rotten smell hovering all over the house. I knew that someone was responsible.
Pauline didn’t even bother herself with attending their funeral. I was the only one who was shedding tears, as their coffins were lowered down into their graves. Pauline and her children were the only people included in my father’s will. She enjoyed herself while I was starving. She was so beautiful, with sexy thighs and yellow skin. I lived with my brother, who was married, and could afford to buy me some clothes and food.
Back at home, it was close to midnight and Pauline was sleeping. It was very dark outside. She heard something knocking on the back door. When she looked out the window, she saw under the moonlight a sight that almost stopped her heart. She crawled to the main door. She was paralysed and the door was locked.
She screamed for help but no one could hear her calling. She realised that there was nowhere left to run. She closed her eyes until late morning, when she saw the sun. She was still paralysed, and couldn’t stand up from the floor, where she had fallen the previous night.
When darkness fell across the land, the midnight hour was close. Lady Pauline was still lying down on the floor, with no one offering to help her. The dead shadows started walking behind her presence while her body started to shiver. All through the night, she fought to stay alive, until the following day when I came to collect my school bag to get ready for school. I found her crying alone on the floor in my parents’ bedroom where she used to sleep.
She quickly sat up as I walked into the room.
“Leon, I want to tell you something. I’m going to die very soon. The truth is that I’m the one who killed your father, your mother and your sister. I knew your father would marry me after your mother’s death, and I knew he would give me all of his life. I killed him so that I could get all of his inheritance…”
Something cut her off, and she began looking around like she was crazy. She started to run away from something. I just stared at her, doing nothing.
“When I was your age, my mother worked with dead creatures who were always crawling in darkness in search of blood. Then my mother gave me a fork to stab my two-year-old sister in the head and to hand out her brain to give to the creatures. For all the bad things I’ve done, the dead shadows are now in search of my blood. I will die like my mother…”
I walked out of the house. When I came back, I found Lady Pauline with a rope around her neck, hanging dead from a tree.
Tell us: Do you believe there are evil people like Lady Pauline?