It’s 12am and I’m exhausted. I had been studying my butt off for the last four hours. Study Week isn’t the best of times, I admit. I sank into my not-so-comfortable cheap wooden chair and stared at the ceiling. NOTHING: I couldn’t remember any of the stuff I had been studying. Though this had been happening more times than I care to remember, it was now getting to me. Four hours were wasted.

I was still staring blankly at the ceiling when I received a WhatsApp text from Mbali, my then girlfriend. As always, she wanted us to take a walk half-way through the night. I never understood the logic behind that, but for some reason it seemed she thought we were some kind of “immortals” when we were together. None the less I agreed. Nothing ever happened, so nothing would happen, right? I reluctantly pushed my hands against the study table and got up. I looked for my Vans loafers which were buried deep inside a heap of empty soda cans, dirty clothes and other old items I couldn’t make out. I then headed for the door.

When I stepped out of the cabin, I was hit by a chilled breath of fresh air. It made me realize how dirty and filthy my room was. I made a mental note to tidy up when I got back. And that never happened.

Mbali’s house was 30 minutes away so I always had this alone-time window to think about things; my life and where it was headed. But not on that day. That day I wanted to be buzzed out of my mind when she saw me. It had been a long while since I had a talk with Marley.

I pulled the joint I had rolled earlier that day, burnt it and started tramping up Pitcairn road. One pull was all I needed. I could feel the buzz working itself up into my head. The stuff was pretty strong, laced with vodka and all kinds of messed up chems. I was in a trance and then something weird happened. I suddenly couldn’t feel my face. I felt faceless. I had to constantly touch my face every so often, it was ridiculous. I carried on regardless, hoping that Mbali wouldn’t notice anything. Minutes later I was at Mbali’s front door.

“Finally, what took you so long, babe?” I just froze, not sure if I had heard her speak or was just losing my grip on reality.

“I..I..I had to to call mom,” I stuttered. That was the best I could come up with: I had to call mom. Great.

She burst into a loud, obnoxious laughter. “At one o’clock in the morning?….Omg Are you high? Please don’t tell me you’re high” She said the last line in a tone that implied she was going to spank me like some baby if I was.

“NO I’m not high,” I said gazing at her dead in the eyes. My speech was unbelievably slow and my eyes were low and blood-shot red.

“Omg you’re so high…..come on lets go” She grabbed me by the wrist and we ploughed into the street. She went on about her day, and I being high couldn’t take in jerk shit. I just nodded and gave her an occasional “yah” whenever it felt needed.

We were walking down the street when four black-outfitted dudes no more than my age came in-sight ten meters away from us. ’’Well that’s weird” she said. “Who takes walks at two o’clock in the morning?” I didn’t respond. My mind was pacing back and forth and the weed wasn’t helping much either. I started playing out all sorts of possible scenarios in my head: Her getting abducted and shipped off to India to become a sex slave and me lying dead on the street were amongst them.

I instinctively looked behind me and just like I had expected, two guys were following us. I was used to the formation: enclose the target. We had taken the plain straight side of the neighborhood so there weren’t any turns to take. It was just us and six guys. The guys were swiftly closing in on us, front and back. From about five meters away, when we could clearly make out their faces, one of the four guys pulled something out from under the waste of his slacks: a knife. Check that, a sword actually. The blade was as long as the arm of a human and had been coated with what appeared to be blood. To my shock, the fluid was still wet.

In that moment, one of the guys from behind formed a vice grip around my neck and tightened. The guy with the knife moved in with the blade and shoved it to the brim into the right side of my lower abdomen. I felt the grip around my neck tighten even more, and then gradually loosen. I slowly dropped onto the floor like a wet blanket.
Lying still on the ground I could see Mbali fighting, but it was a fight she couldn’t win. Tears rolled down my eyes as I saw her being hurried into the back of a black SUV.

Then, darkness.

I woke up to the sounds of beeping machines and pipes fitted onto my skin. The smell of pills and medication was overwhelming. I was at the hospital. A few seconds later, a detective came in. She told me what had happened and how I had been found.
“Where is Mbali? Is she okay?” I interrupted. She sympathetically stared down at my face and touched me on the shoulder. “You need to focus on your healing Sbu”. “Where is she? Please tell me”

She hesitated and said, “She…her body was found raped and murdered this morning,” She looked away.