“What happened?” I demand as my mom and I walk through the bright, white corridors of the Medi Clinic.
“He was walking down Potsdam Road when he was attacked,” she says. “They took his wallet and his hat and beat him really badly.”
“Did anybody see them?” I ask, trying to fight back the tears.
“A taxi driver saw men struggling on the side of the road. He thinks there were two or three of them attacking the Professor.”
“Why didn’t he stop to help?” I ask hoarsely, but I already know the answer.
Crime is a daily occurrence in Du Noon and the surrounding areas. People want to help, but it’s just too dangerous.
When we reach the trauma ward my mom stops me and puts her hands on my shoulders.
“He doesn’t look good, Nathi.”
I nod, shrug her hands off my shoulders and push open the door to the ward. The Professor is lying dead still. His face and arms are bandaged and he has a drip in his arm.
“Professor?” I whisper.
The old man’s bruised eyes are closed and he’s breathing with a deep, rasping sound.
I walk over to the side of the bed and take one of his bandaged hands.
The old man’s eyes flicker and then open.
“Nathi,” he rasps, “you can’t trust them.”
I lean closer to hear him better. “Who, Prof, who?”
“Nails and Shorty,” the Professor whispers. “They’re bad men, Nathi, tsotis, they convinced your father to miss that penalty for money.”
“They did this to you?” I exclaim in disbelief.
The Professor nods. “You must call the police Nathi. Please call the police.”
“But my father,” I cry, “his note… He told me to treat the person who delivered the note like family. He told me he is my godfather.”
The Professor tries to smile and then winces against the pain. “You father wrote that note for me to deliver, Nathi.”
The Professor tries to move but gasps at the pain.
“It was your father who gave me the nickname ‘Professor’ you know?” the old man says. “He used to say that the only thing I was interested in was soccer, so I should become a Professor of Soccer at the University.” The Professor chuckles softly at the memory.
“When your father was injured he wrote that note for me to give to you when you were old enough, but it went missing. I thought I’d lost it, but Nails must have stolen it.”
Looking at my mentor and thinking about all the kindness he’s shown me over the last few months I know that he’s speaking the truth.
“Why would they do this?” I demand. “What do they want?”
The Professor looks me in the eye, his injured face frowning.
“They’re looking for Silver’s Treasure.”