They enter a small, dark room at the back of the shack. Zip plugs a bedside lamp into an extension cord. “I don’t even know why I am showing you this,” she says as the room lights up. “But my dog likes you, my bird likes you. I guess I can trust you.”

Thando marvels at the intricate chart that appears on the wall. It has photos of all the criminals in the neighbourhood and their crimes listed under their photos. Some crimes have ‘SOLVED’ written across them. The whole thing is arranged in the form of a pyramid. At the top of the pyramid there’s a photo of Spokes, and above Spokes there is a big question mark.

Thando looks one level down from Spokes. He sees a familiar face. He looks closer; this is definitely Brice. His crimes are listed as ‘drug dealing’ and ‘gang activities’.

Thando taps at the photo of Brice. “I know Brice,” he says.

“Yeah. He has to be stopped,” says Zip. “Without drugs the neighbourhood is less violent. I realized that when I sent Khaya to prison two months back. It was more peaceful.”

Thando looks at Zip, amazed. “You sent Big Dog Khaya away?”

“This is my day job,” Zip says and breaks into a smile.

Thando looks at the chart, then back at Zip. “How do you do it? I want in.”

“I listen to drunk people talking at the tavern. I follow them, I take photos. I have a friend in the police force. She’s not tainted like Captain Qinela and his puppets. This lady is a real cop. She lives here but works in a police station in Mowbray.”

Thando looks at the photo of Spokes. His heart beats pure hatred. “I want in, Azipho. Help me find my sister’s killer.”

“If you are serious meet me here tomorrow.”

Zip takes out her zip knife, flips it, points it at Thando and says, “If you tell anyone, I’ll find you and cut you.”

* * * * *

Brice gets no sleep for three days after Trevor tells him to destroy the parcel. He just cannot bring himself to do it.

He has scary nightmares about the parcel. In one he sees the parcel chasing him. In another the parcel shoots hundreds of needles through the mattress to stab him. In yet another the contents of the parcel turn out to be a blood-soaked book.

Finally, dazed by insomnia, he opens the plastic bag and tears off the brown paper covering this book.

You’d swear it was flaming hot the way he lets go of the diary when he reads the name of the owner. It belongs to Zikhona Gudluza, the girl found raped and murdered at Monwabisi Beach.

He runs out of the house. At the fence one of his customers is waiting for him. Brice tells him stock hasn’t arrived yet. They smoke cigarettes and make small talk.

“Pity about that girl they found at Monwabisi Beach, hey? Terrible what happened to her. Poor Bookworm. Agh shame man,” says his customer.

Brice is confused. “What does that nerd Bookworm have to do with anything?” he asks.

“That girl was his sister.”


Tell us: Is Brice trapped in the world of gangsters now? What can he do to get out?