Zip and Thando see the gun bulging at Brice’s hip and huddle in a corner of the shack. Brice paces up and down in front of them. He glares at them and at the chart of crime.

“Please don’t hurt us,” says Zip.

Brice can see the fear in their eyes. He realizes they are looking at the gun on his hip. “Relax guys. This is to guard against the people I work for. When they find out what I’m about to do they will hunt me down.”

Brice looks at Zip, “Good work, by the way, on the chart. But I’m not that high up. I’m just a low-level drug dealer. I make money so my mom and siblings don’t beg for food on the streets.”

“Brice! Are you involved in this case?” Thando takes a step towards Brice. Brice is the one with the gun but he is scared when he sees the rage in Thando’s eyes.

“Everybody just calm down,” says Zip.

“No!” Thando lunges at Brice.

Zip comes between them. She says, “Let’s hear what he has to say.”

Brice sits on a chair. “I want you to know, Bookworm, that I had nothing to do with your sister’s murder. Not in any way. Now that I see this chart I see the people I associate with. I’m a common thread to all, because I sell to, or for them.”

Thando shakes his head. “Why are you even here, Brice?”

“I am here to give you the piece of evidence that may convict the people who killed your sister. I will also fill that question mark on top of your pyramid with a name and a face.”

Thando and Zip look at each other. “Go on,” they say simultaneously.

“Two days ago Spokes came to me to collect money. With him was a man named Trevor. Trevor gave me a book to destroy. A diary.”

“What colour was it?” asks Thando.

“Blue,” Brice looks into Thando’s eyes. “It is your sister’s diary.”

Brice reaches into his jacket. Thando and Zip take a step back. They think he is reaching for his gun. Brice pulls out the diary, still wrapped in a plastic bag.

“It may still have all the clues because I did not destroy it.”

Thando reaches for the diary. Brice holds on to it. Brice says, “I want you to understand that I had nothing to do with Zikhona’s death. I was just told to destroy this diary.”

Thando looks into Brice’s eyes and sees nothing but sincerity and shame. He nods and says, “I believe you, Brice.”

“Thank you … for believing me,” Brice says, and lets go of the diary.

Thando is about to reach in and take the diary out of its plastic bag. “Wait!” says Zip. She opens a drawer next to her bed. She returns holding a pair of latex gloves. “Put these on first. You mustn’t contaminate the evidence.”

Thando reads the recent entries in the diary, becoming emotional, because all of Zikhona’s entries are her concerns about him and Nandi. By the time he gets to the last day before Zikhona disappeared, Thando is openly weeping. There is no entry after that. Thando takes a few minutes to compose himself.

“I’m sorry,” says Thando. “The diary has nothing. There is no entry on the day she disappeared.”

***

Tell us what you think: What type of things would Zikhona have written about her younger siblings?