“By… by the time that you find your mother she… she’ll be dead because of hunger,” Mr Jacobs mumbles.
I throw the punch at and Mr Jacobs closes his eyes, pieces of the window break and I release my grip on him. He opens his eyes, still astounded by what I did. I had punched the glass of the window in frustration, not him.
My body is going back to its normal weight. Mr Jacobs looks worn out. Even at my normal strength he won’t be able to do a thing – we’re both finished physically.
“I’ll call the cops,” Collen says, going in search of a telephone.
“Now where’s my mother?” I ask seriously.
Mr Jacobs is hesitant at first, but at the end he tells me that they’re at the basement.
Collen returns saying, “The cops are on their way, bra.”
Mr Jacobs takes us to the door leading to the basement, were he first enters the code and places his thumb and the computer scans his finger prints and opens like a lift door.
“They’re down here,” Mr Jacobs says.
“Show us,” Collen says, pushing him.
Mr Jacobs stares at him for a second. We arrive at the basement – it looks more like a lab room. The room is huge.
“I don’t see my mother,” I say.
“She’s at the room on the left and Justin is in the one on the right.” Mr Jacobs says pointing his finger to the doors.
“I’ll go and check, Collen please don’t take your eyes off him, if he tries anything stupid knock him out,” I say seriously.
“I won’t even blink, now hurry,” Collen says.
I go to the room on the left and I find my mother lying there, tied up.
“Mom!” I say in horror. She doesn’t wake up. “Mom!” I say again.
She slowly opens up her eyes.
“Ben… Benard…?” She blinks again. “Benard my son, I’m… I’m really sorry.”
“That doesn’t matter, I’m just glad that you’re okay,” I say as I hug her.
“Your arm, it’s… It’s bleeding, what… what happened to… to it?” My mom asks as she struggles to speak.
“I’ll explain later, where’s Justin?” I ask, untying her.
“There!” She points to a door on the right.
I open the door and I find Justin lying down.
“Justin wake up,” I say.
His shirt is full of blood, he must’ve been beaten to a pulp for betraying Mr Jacobs like that.
“Justin come on wake up man,” I say loudly. I’m starting to worry now. I touch his neck, it’s pumping, he’s alive but I think he’s unconscious.
While Benard is untying Justin, Collen is guarding Mr Jacobs like a hawk.
“Do you know who you’re dealing with, no jail can lock me up, boy.” Mr Jacobs says.
“Ha, we’ll see about that won’t we,” Collen responds.
“Ah…” Mr Jacobs says as he clutches he chest. He falls down. “I… I… need water, I’m having a… a heart attack,” Mr Jacobs says.
“Ha, I’m not gonna fall for that old trick, now get up before I knock the lights out of you,” Mr Jacobs starts to cough up more blood, “I seriously need water.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get them, in jail,” Collen replies.
Mr Jacobs is touching his chest, at the side of his shirt where there’s a pocket, he places his arm on the pocket in his stained shirt and takes out a blue pill, he coughs again with the hand that he’s got the pill with and places the pill in his mouth where he chews it and swallows it, he does this in six seconds.
“That’s it,” Collen says, he kicks Mr Jacobs stomach.
Benard comes out with his mother in tow and carrying Justin.
“Huh, what happened here?” Benard asks confused.
“He said he was having a heart attack, I think he wanted to try to do something, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Collen says.
Benard’s mom goes to Mr Jacobs and she kicks his balls.
“That’s for killing my husband, you bastard, and for trying to kill my son.” Mom says.
Mr Jacobs suddenly grips my mother’s leg and she screams in shock. Collen quickly kicks Mr Jacobs arm. Mr Jacobs starts to laugh.
His laugh becomes louder and louder. “He’s lost it,” Collen says.
“Oh no!” I say.
I can see Mr Jacobs biceps starting to increase, his muscles are increasing. Mr Jacobs stands up, his growing muscles start to tear his shirt.
“Mom, you need to go, right now,” I say.
“No, I’m… I’m not leaving you alone, my son.” My mother says.
“I’d rather die than see you get hurt mom, please go now, the cops are on their way,” I say.
My mother hugs me and runs off the room. I look at Collen and he nods, I nod too, we’re nodding in agreement that he must’ve swallowed an energy pill. The shirt of Mr Jacobs tears open and Mr Jacobs presses hard with his fist. He then looks at us. That’s what I do when I finish charging up like that.
“Now, who am I gonna crush first?” Mr Jacobs says confidently.
“Will you be able to take him on with your injured arm, bra?” Collen asks concerned.
“I can barely move right now. I’ll try to concentrate by using my anger to my advantage, you on the other hand should try and distract him.”
Mr Jacobs folds his fist and makes a gallant laugh “All your planning is futile, you’re all finished,” Mr Jacobs says, walking towards us.
“Can’t you try and increase your strength too? Mr Jacobs body is twice my size even when I’ve increased my strength,” I say.
“Sorry, I can’t, my body relies on using the energy drug before I can increase my strength,” Collen says. Mr Jacobs suddenly comes running towards us and Collen does the same, Collen throws a punch and Mr Jacobs doges it and throws quick punch on his stomach that almost sends Collen flying in the air.
As Collen is clutching his stomach Mr Jacobs throws a powerful shot at his face and I hear the sound of the shot. Collen falls down. Mr Jacobs places a firm grip on his neck and he lifts him up and throws him on a woody table and it breaks. Collen touches his back in agony.
I try to concentrate all of that anger and frustration that I’ve experienced at Mr Jacobs. I start remembering the pain I felt when he told me about my father. I look at my arms, the invisible veins on my arm start to become visible, my heart starts to beat faster, I can feel a massive flow of blood in my body. It’s working, I feel and think.
I then get a massive headache on my brain which causes me to go down on my knees. Mr Jacobs quickly kicks me on the chin and I fall against the back of my head. Mr Jacobs steps on my wounded arm and presses against it where I feel indescribable pain. he steps on it hard again, and again and again. And it bleeds more. I scream in agony and the man steps right on my mouth.
“Ha, ha, you scream like a girl.” Mr Jacobs lifts his leg and brings it down on my ribs. He does this four times. He’s definitely broken some, I think, as I cough up more blood.
“I thought you would’ve passed out by now,” Mr Jacobs laughs as he carries me and throws me at a wall.
I then walk unbalanced and he gives me a heavy right hook which knocks me to the ground. The man lifts his foot and steps on my ankle. When he removes it I immediately feel that it’s dislocated. Mr Jacobs lifts his leg, one more attack will surely finish me off.
“You know you won’t get away with this?” I say.
“I already have, I got a secret escape tunnel, and I’ll be out of the country before you even arrive to heaven,” Mr Jacobs replies.
“Say hello to your dad when you see him, I’m sure you’ll have plenty to talk about,” Mr Jacobs aims to step on my ribs again.
I close my eyes to feel the last of this excruciating pain.
“Stop!.” A voice says.
“Leave my child alone,” I turn my head to see my mom, holding a gun, she must’ve taken it from the fat officer who is still unconscious.
“This just gets better and better,” Mr Jacobs says with a smirk. “Put that gun down before you hurt yourself. I’ll deal with you next,” Mr Jacobs lifts his foot.
“I said: Leave my child alone!” My mom says on a louder tone.
“Or what? What are you gonna do huh?” Mr Jacobs advances towards my mom.
“You kill me, and you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life, you? A god fearing woman, how will you be able to go to church knowing that you’ve taken another man’s life,” Mr Jacobs says confidently.
“No… that’s… that’s emotional black… blackmail,” I try to shout out but my voice isn’t loud enough.
My mom looks down, Mr Jacobs starts walking faster towards her.
“You’re right, it’s not right to take out someone’s life, but letting someone kill you isn’t either,” Mr Jacobs lifts his hand and just then I hear sirens from police vehicles.
My vision goes blurry and the last thing I hear is a gunshot.
I open my eyes slowly. I see a bright light streaming through my eyes.
“He’s awake, he’s awake!” I hear voices of happiness.
“Benard, it’s mommy and you’re in the private hospital of New Stallian.”
I look to see whose touching my left hand and it’s my mom. And on my right hand there’s Pam. Collen is standing nearby with his arm in a sling. He smiles and makes a soldier’s salute signature.
I look at my wounded arm.
“What… what happened?” I ask confused.
“You passed out at Mr Jacobs house,” My mom says.
I suddenly remember everything.
“What happened to him?” Everyone looks down.
“The bullet of the gun hit his hand.” My mom says ashamed.
“You saved my life mom, that’s nothing to be ashamed of,” I squeeze my mother’s hand.
“And the police officer?” I ask.
“Arrested for bribery,” Collen says.
“And Justin, is… is he okay?” I ask remembering that he was in a pretty bad shape when I found him.
“He’s okay. He’s still unconscious, but he’ll be okay.” Pam says, I look at her and I smile and she blushes and squeezes my hand.
“Yeah, Precious isn’t here, she’s gone a trip, part of her rehabilitation programme, and no cellphones are allowed. She’ll be back when school reopens,” Collen says.
10 months later
I am at the matric dance, dancing with Pam. She’s wearing a stunning dress while I’m wearing a brown suit. I couldn’t do black – whenever I see a black suit, I remember the face off between those two men in black suits.
A lot has happened, my mom has quit drinking beer and she’s got herself a good job: she’s a sales assistant at a big shop in New Stallian.
Precious, Collen, Justin and I went to a rehab centre in Middle Stallian. It was tough for Justin who was a drug addict, but with time he pulled through.
He thanked me for saving his life so many times I’ve lost count. Okay, let me not cheat myself, it was only once.
I was also handed the Stallian peace award by the mayor of Stallian at school – so many of the other school pupils clapped and cheered.
Fortunately the four of us didn’t fail: both Justin and Precious got a bachelor pass; Collen got a bachelor with three distinctions.
I got distinctions in all subjects on my report. Pam too got distinctions in every subject.
I was also given an antidote for the energy drug on my bloodstream, and now it has completely vanished, I think, but it does feel like it’s still in my finger tips.
“Hey, what’s keeping you away from this planet?” Pam asks.
“Huh? Oh nothing, I was just thinking,” I say.
“Thinking about what?” Pam asks.
“Everything that’s happened, hey,” I reply.
“You wanna go outside? It’s kinda noisy here…” Pam asks.
“Sure, why not,” I respond.
“Hey, where are you guys going?” Justin asks. “There’s a popular band coming up just now, the party is about to heat up.”
“It’s called taking a break – you should try it sometime,” I tease.
Justin looks at me seriously. Then he laughs, “Ha, ha, I got you good there huh.” Justin asks.
“Ha, I thought that’s what I did,” I say.
“Yeah, yeah, see you around, man.” Justin goes to Precious and they continue to dance.
I head outside with Pam.
“So what’s bothering you?” Pam asks.
I look up at the sky and say: “You know, when I remember everything that happened back I wonder if somehow my dad was trying to communicate with me somehow.”
“Like it was fate?” Pam asks.
“Yeah, exactly that. You know I kept asking myself why this was happening to me, I just couldn’t understand why. But now I do. My dad wanted me to find out what happened to him, he wanted justice,” I say.
Pam places her arms around my neck.
“And he wanted me to be with you,” I add.
Pam smiles, her blue eyes are sparkling, she leans closer and we kiss each other, then rain starts to fall.
Loud music starts pumping from the hall. We can hear lots of whistles for the band.
“It must be that top band playing now,” I say as I look at the rain falling.
“Yeah, we probably should go in before we get wet,” Pam says.
“I for one agree, this suit doesn’t come cheap,” I say.
Pam laughs, “Race you to the top.”
Before I go inside, I turn back, and look up at the sky.
Dad, I may have not been able to get the chance to know you as I was still young, but now I do. Thank you dad, Ndo livhuwa khotsi anga.
The FunDza Literacy Trust is working to develop young South African writing talent.