Mdu dived into the passenger seat. Padlock went for the back door. As soon as Mdu closed the door I glanced at the side-view mirror on his side. Two gunshots rang out. A bullet carved out a chunk of flesh from Padlock’s back. His body lost all upright rigidity. Blood splattered on the whole passenger side of the outside of the car, blood covered the passenger side mirror. I couldn’t see if he was getting in the car because of blood on the mirror. I turned to the backseat.

“Padlock get in!” I screamed out.

Right then another shot rang out, and a chunk of his neck was blown out. He was half inside the car, half outside. His eyes rolled back into his skull. He still held on to the backpack with the loot.

“Go, Spha! Go! Go! Go!” Mdu screamed.

I reached for Padlock’s hand and tried to pull him into the car. His hand felt cold, death was definite in his eyes. I snatched the backpack from the cold clutch of his dead hand and sped off. A volley of shots rang out. A piece of the pillar between the front and back door blew out, missing my forehead by a hair. As we got away, I glanced at the mirror inside the car. Two men in plain clothes ran out of the cigarette wholesaler’s gates, pistols in hand. They got to Padlock’s body and aimed their guns at us as we got away. I planted my foot onto the accelerator pedal.

“Step on it! Step on it!” Mdu screamed.

Shots rang out. Sparks flew as the car was hit by more bullets. We turned a corner. I’d never driven that fast in my life. I have never driven that fast since. Adrenaline took over. I got to places of congested peak hour traffic but somehow found a tunnel of escape.

“Mdu, we have to ditch the car! We have to ditch it right now!” I said.

We had reached a gridlock in the busiest part of Port Shepstone.

“Not now, Spha. Just get us out of the city and we are home free. We have to get to where we dropped off the other car!”

I hooked the double cab onto an island between the two lanes and floored it.

“Take a left the robots!” said Mdu.

In no time we were in a suburb. Mdu directed me through narrow streets. I drove so fast that we’d be at the next turn immediately after taking the previous one. It felt like an out of body experience, like I was watching myself driving.

“Where, Mdu? Tell me where to go!” I kept shouting at him.

We soon got onto a gravel road. The road became a fork.

“Left or right, Mdu?”

“Left,” he whispered.

I glanced at him. His breathing had become laboured. He did not look good; he seemed weak, like he had suddenly lost a ton of weight. The gravel road was straight for a long stretch so I looked at him closely. Beyond Mdu I saw that there was blood on the inside of his door. He had been hit on the shoulder and was losing a lot of blood. He flitted in and out of consciousness.

“Mdu! Mdu!” I shook him awake.

He looked at me and nodded. I stopped the car about two hundred meters from the yard where we had dropped off the grey double cab. Only the last pinkish light of the day remained on the horizon.

“Why did you stop so far?” Mdu said. He was so still it seemed like he wasn’t breathing.

“I’m getting the other car,” I said. “You’ll follow me in this one.”

Mdu shook his head and looked at his shoulder.

“I can’t drive like this. Spha,” he said. He winced and held out his hand to me. “Help me shift my weight a little bit. This wound is rubbing against the door.”

He screamed out in pain as I pulled him. It was a terrible wound. The majority of his left shoulder muscle was missing; shattered bones were sticking out.

“Okay, you’ll be fine, Mdu. We need to get out of here and get you medical help.”

He held on to my hand with grasp so strong I felt the bones in my hand crunch together. He pulled me towards him. Beads of sweat dotted his upper lip. He shook as if he had suddenly been infected with a fever in the few minutes since we left the cigarette wholesaler.

“Don’t leave me, here, Spha,” he screamed. His voice quickly turned to a whisper, “I’m begging you. Please don’t leave me here.”

A spotlight appeared in the night sky. It was far away, on the city side of Port Shepstone. It originated from something hovering in the sky. Helicopter.

“I won’t leave you, Mdu,” I said as I broke free from his grasp.


Tell us: Should Spha leave wounded Mdu at once and have more chance of saving himself?