“I have come to find my under- age daughter and her friend!”

Busi stopped in her tracks. She looked towards the DJ’s platform. There, appearing strangely red and green under the revolving lights, with a microphone in his hand, stood her father!

Busi blinked, hard. A mixture of emotions flooded over her. A strange concoction of embarrassment first, followed by confusion, followed by fear, and then finally, relief.

“Dad!” she said aloud. “What are you doing here?”

Her father was scanning the crowd. Trying not to draw too much attention to herself, Busi raised her hand, like a schoolgirl in a classroom. “Hi Dad,” she said softly.

Her father saw her, and he dropped the microphone. The DJ picked it up, adjusted his headphones and, hardly skipping a beat, resumed playing his music.

Busi looked around. Themba had disappeared.

Busi looked towards the entrance, and began walking towards it, as fast as her high heels could carry her. Ahead of her the clubbers gave way, parting to let her pass, like the sea before Moses. Some were giggling, some were making mocking comments. Busi was grateful that the loud music drowned out their words, and she could not hear them.

Busi reached the doors at more or less the same time as her father. She lowered her eyes, and silently fell into step behind him. Her father led the way through. Busi, still with her head lowered, thought she may have seen Sergei’s feet to one side. The extra-long, pointed toes of his shiny snake skin shoes were unmistakable.

Then Busi raised her eyes in the plush, deeply carpeted passage, and saw, to her surprise, Nomsa! Nomsa, standing very still. Nomsa, blushing under the very angry gaze of Busi’s mother!

Busi noted Sergei standing to one side, flanked by the taxi driver on his right and her mother on his left!

Sergei spoke up then. His voice was harsh and angry. “All of you!” he said, with a sweep of his heavily-ringed hand. “Just get out of my club! I don’t want no more trouble!”

Sergei turned to the taxi driver, waving his finger under the man’s nose. “Especially you! You already make plenty trouble for me in the past! You! Always accusing me and my club! We had nothing to do with your daughter’s death! Nothing! No more press here! No more police! You go! Now! Now!”

“Mom!” said Busi, the shock causing her to stand dead still for a moment.

Nolitha did not reply, but fell into step beside Busi’s father. The two parents stalked their way out to the front of the building, with Nomsa and Busi trailing behind them. The taxi driver was no longer anywhere to be seen.

“Your Mom caught me just as I was leaving with Mondli!” hissed Nomsa to Busi in a whisper. “She spoilt all my fun! Mondli will never talk to me again! And I will never talk to you again, either!”

Busi did not reply.

The two girls climbed into the back seat of the parents’ car. Jakob began driving. No-one said a word.

Busi could hardly imagine the consequences and punishments that were going to follow. She didn’t even want to think about it.

All the same, she felt herself relaxing against the familiar fabric of the back seat. The street lights slid by outside the window. The white lines on the road slid away beneath the wheels. The engine hummed.

Busi looked over at Nomsa. Nomsa’s eyes were closed. Busi was surprised to see that Nomsa’s head had lolled back against the seat, and a thin trail of drool was running out of the corner of her mouth. Nomsa had fallen asleep.

Busi sighed and closed her eyes. She could hear her mother talking softly to someone on the phone.

“Thank you for helping us to find our only daughter. We love her so much you know. To us she is more precious than all the diamonds in the world,” said Nolitha, pausing then to listen to the man on the other end of the phone. She nodded her head, “Yes,” she said, moving her hand up to her cheek, and Busi thought that maybe she was crying. “Yes I do understand. I am so sorry about your daughter. I hope, one day, they find enough evidence to lock Sergei up for good. I understand. Yes. I am so grateful.”

Nolitha put the cellphone down on her knee.

Busi closed her eyes, and saw again the photograph, and the young girl smiling out at her from the taxi’s dashboard.

The sound of her parent’s voices talking softly drifted to her.

But then Busi did not hear anything more, because she too, had fallen asleep.


Tell us what you think: What might Themba’s and Mondli’s reactions to the events of the evening be? Will the girls’ friendship survive? How should Busi’s parents discipline her for what happened?