It was early morning and Mandi was going to meet Thembisa later, but before she did she took a taxi back to the Sutherland’s mansion.

It was early morning. Mandi had something to do, before her meeting with Thembisa.

She’d taken a taxi back to the mansion, her workplace.

On the way there, she’d had to explain to Themba what had happened with the baby. They spoke via Whatsapp, as he was in New York with Mr Craig Sutherland. He didn’t seem happy with Mandi’s explanations, drilling her for specifics.

U cant tell me that you just had a pain at the side of ur stomach, and then u lost the baby. U mustve had sum symptoms. Sumthing must’ve happened 2 trigger the pain

I’m not a doctor, Themba. I don’t know exactly what happened, okay. I’m just as angry as u are about this. Let’s chat properly when u get here, in a week. I’m sorry love. I am, and I miss u. Hurry back

I’m sorry too. I’m just tryin to make sense of it all. Luv u too

The gate and front door were open. Jamie, the child, must be upstairs, she thought.

She quickly grabbed a few items of clothing from her room, packed them in a bag, and went upstairs – for the real reason she’d returned.

She walked quietly past Jamie’s room and into her bosses’ – Craig and Sarah’s – room. She knew they would be on their way to the office already.

Craig Sutherland kept a 9mm Beretta pistol in the top drawer of his wardrobe, under a pile of handkerchiefs and underwear. She’d seen it within the first few weeks of working for the family.

She opened the cupboard, pulled out the drawer and stuck her hand underneath. She felt the weapon. She took the gun out and closed the drawer. It felt heavy. She stood staring at the pistol for a while, just looking at it intently.

Mandi’s hands were small and she had to grip the heavy steel tightly to reach the trigger with her index finger. She made sure the safety catch was on, then pressed the trigger repeatedly, but softly, lowering and raising the weapon. She hadn’t anticipated how heavy it would be.

As she was about to put it in her bag, Jamie burst into the room. “Hey, Mandi, thought it was you.”

She hid her hand behind her back, facing the shirtless youngster. Jamie looked even more scruffy than usual. He was accompanied by the stench of smoked ribs and weed smoke.

“I’m just looking for a pen and paper. I wanted to leave a note for Sarah. When is she coming back, do you know?”

“I don’t know when Mom’s coming back. Anyway, where’ve you been? Are you OK? We’re all worried about you, dude.”

“I’m fine thanks. There was a problem back home with my sister. But it’s fine now…”

“Gotcha. Anyway Nicole won’t listen to me, Mandz. She wants to break up with me. She says I’m not serious. I’m a spoilt pothead, she reckons.” He was annoyed, scratching his head. “I’m like, is she mad? After everything I’ve done for her! I think she’s cheating. What do you think?”

Mandi reached out for her bag on the bed and held it behind her, dropping the gun into it, while Jamie rattled on about his relationship problems. She didn’t have the energy to sort out anyone’s problems at that moment. Her own burning issues were all she could think of. She felt like she was in a tunnel.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Jamie. I’m sorry but you’re old enough now. Make the right choices. You know what’s right from wrong.”

Mandi placed her hand on his shoulder. His face looked gloomy and lifeless; hers was drained.

“If she’s cheating, then let her go. She isn’t worth it. She isn’t the one. And then forgive her – that’s the most important point. Move on from it.” She couldn’t believe she was saying these words, words that Khanya had said to her, but that hadn’t reached her heart.

Jamie looked at her, confused. This was a new Mandi – one who didn’t want to sit and chat.

“I’ve got to go back home now. I’m really sorry … I’ll call Sarah later, to explain my situation.”

She hugged him tight and spoke softly, “Forgive her and start afresh. You’re better than her. Trust me.”


Tell us: What does Mandi plan to do with the gun?