I’ve always thought that fight two years ago was going to be my last fight. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
It was the June holidays. Sam and I was playing in the stadium. We were in Grade 6 back then. During the last week of school, Bulelani Zamxaka the school bully wanted to pick on Sam and I but we had stood up to him. He swore that one day he would beat the hell out of us.
So that day during the holidays he found us in the stadium. We thought he had forgotten but the way he looked at us showed that he hadn’t. We weren’t alone in the stadium but that didn’t stop Bulelani from beating us to the ground. I can still hear him laughing as we lay on the ground, with bleeding noses.
At 19H45 I got a call on my cell waking me up from where I was napping on the couch.
“Hello?” I said, listening.
“Oh, you wont be coming home tonight?” I heard.
“Ok. See you tomorrow night then,” I said, ending the call. I smiled. But why? Did I have any reason to smile?
I went to the bathroom and washed my face before going out the door.
Outside the street lights shone brightly. Next door Thandi’s house was completely dark. Perhaps she with Sam at the river…
I took out my phone and earphones. Music always relieve stress. I walked up the street with my head shaking to the music.
The mini-market was closed and from there on it was dark up to where the river flows. The moon was up but it provided little light in the darkness.
Once I was well past the mini-market, I noticed a bright light coming from behind me. I looked back and saw a car approaching. I couldn’t see whether it was blue or black.
I approached slowly.
I thought it was going to pass me… but instead it came to stop right next to me.
What the hell? I thought
I removed the earphones and let these hang across my chest. It was quiet in the dark, except for the car engine and the music coming from the headset.
The back window slowly rolled down.
In the backseat sat a man smoking a cigarette. He blew the smoke out the window.
“So is this the kid whose been snooping around Joe?” he asked in a deep voice.
I looked at him, feeling confused. What’s he talking about, I asked myself.
“Yes, Bra Zali.” I heard the driver say.
I couldn’t see who was sitting in the front.
“Will you shut that damn noise off!!” the man shouted.
I stood back and turned the volume down.
“What do you want?” I asked, trying hard not to show that I’m afraid.
Zali bent over and produced a bottle of beer from under the seat. He took a sip and looked at me.
“You see its like this…” he paused, “you…” he points to me, “what’s your name, boy?”
“Bongani, but my friends call me Bongi,” I said folding my arms.
“Ah, yes, Bongani. You, my friend, know a few things that only me and my friends know. Some of them went to the grave with those secrets… I think you know what happened to them.”
He took another sip of his beer.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
Zali looked at me as if I was annoying him with all my questions.
“Do you watch the news, boy?”
The question sound stupid. “Yes,” I said, nodding my head.
Then it all came back to me. The killings. He is talking about the killings.
“Yes.” He said smiling when he saw the horror on my face.
“Now listen… I know you are fighting my brother Zakes tonight over some girl. I want you to lose the fight. It’s not a request, it’s an order. My brother has never lost a fight and he’s not gonna start now. If my bro doesn’t win you won’t see that girl again. Understood?”
“But…” Before i could say anything the car drove off into the dark.
Damn!! I thought to myself. Then, I saw the car stop in the dark. It reversed back to me where I was standing.
“Oh, and before I forget… If you go and snitch to the police about us being here in Parkview… I promise you, either you or your little girlfriend will be dead. Understood?”
I stood there speechless.
“I will take the silence as a YES,” Zali said. “You are the only one that knows right?”
“Good,” Zali said as the car disappeared into the dark.
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