I got home before sundown and just in time to watch my favourite show, Dr Oz . I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor.

Today Dr Oz was talking about stress management. Mama was not home from work yet so I made myself a sandwich and poured a glass of juice. Mama was normally home around six. I made myself comfortable on the couch while eating.

Dr Oz said, “Stress is a normal reaction to the demands of life. The first step in managing stress is to make a consious decision to deal with it…”

I must have dosed off because when I opened my eyes it was half past eight. The room was dark apart from the light provided by the TV. I switched the lights on.

Shouldn’t Mama be home already? I wondered.

I checked my phone. There was a missed call and a text message from Mama. These had come through at half past six. The message read:

sorry bongi . wont be home tonight but i will be home tomorrow night. Love Mama

OK, I said to myself.

OK . I said to myself, tossing the phone onto the couch.

I wanted to switch off the TV but something had caught my attention – it was the news headlines. I sat down to watch.

“Earlier today the unidentified body of a man was found in a deserted farmhouse about 50 kilometers outside Parkview. The man had been shot three times in the back. Police are investigating…”

After the headlines finished, I continued sitting and frowning. Perhaps, it was the same people who had killed the man down by the river, I wondered.

I stood up, switched the TV off and went into the kitchen to pour a glass of water. Then I headed for bed.

That night, two cars entered Parkview and parked outside an old house just a few meters from the mini market owned by Mr Jacobs. Two men in black suits got out of the first car, then another two got out of the second car. One smoked a cigar, dropped it on the ground and killed it by stepping on it.

“OK, boys, we’ll stay here till the dust settles,” the man said.

“Yes, bra Zali.”

In the second car, another person sat. Zali looked through the car window.

“OK, Zakes, you better make yourself comfortable, cos we’re going to be here for a while,?” he said laughing.

“But I don’t want to go to school here, bhuti,” Zakes shouted.

“It will only be for a month or two, Zakes. I promise.” Zali responded. “Just until the dust settles. You know the cops are on our tails for killing those guys – and this place is a perfect hideaway.”

“Woah, Woah!” Zakes threw his arms into the air. “The cops aren’t on our tail. The cops just want you, brother!”

Zali laughed.

“You killed that Mandla dude and dropped his ass off at the river because you found him in bed with your girlfriend. And, that other guy… what’s his name?” Zakes snapped his fingers trying to remember, “Yes, Zola… you killed that fool because he was stealing money from you.”

“Yeah,” Zali responded.

“I’m just here because you are my brother and you are the only family I’ve got,” Zakes said.