I ran to the shack in the yard. The helicopter shone its beam down on flickering red and blue lights. It was definitely the crime scene we had left behind, far in the distance.
I took off my overalls and safety shoes, ran back to the white double cab, grabbed my sneakers from the back and put them on. I threw my overalls and safety shoes in the bin of the white double cab, hurried back to the grey double cab and drove out of the makeshift garage. The headlights were on Mdu as I parked the grey double cab in front of the white one. I jumped out.
“We have to put all the money in a bag that doesn’t have blood on it, Mdu. We’ll get away with one clean bag!” I said.
I reached for the gym bag, the one with AK-47s that Mdu had shown to me before we left Umlazi. The backseat of the white double cab was a mess. Pieces of Padlock – blood, human tissue – were splattered on the seats.
I reached in the back for the overalls I had just taken off, and wrapped them over my hands. I opened the backpack I had snatched from Padlock’s dead hands. I carefully took out bundles of cash, making sure none of the notes came in contact with blood. I quickly completed that task and rushed to the front seat. Mdu took slow, deep breaths. His eyes were closed.
“Mdu! Mdu!” I shook him.
He opened his eyes and shook his head as a single tear ran down his cheek.
“Mdu, I need your backpack!” I said. I glanced at him, and the horizon for the helicopter. “We are going to burn this car with all the evidence. We have enough petrol in the back.”
Mdu shook his head. I reached out for the backpack. Mdu pulled it closer to his chest.
“Mdu! Mdu! Let go!”
“Nooo!” he screamed. He hyperventilated as he said, “You want to take my money and leave me? I can’t let you take my money, Spha, because I’ll be useless to you without it. This is my insurance that you don’t leave me.”
“Mdu! What’s the matter with you? What are you talking about?”
I glanced into the distance. Blue lights moved in unison, away from the crime scene.
“Mdu come on! We have to go! Let go of the bag!”
He shook his head.
Resolute in not tracking blood into the car we were going to use to get away, I got overalls that weren’t bloodstained from the bin of the double cab. I put them on, as well as the safety shoes and gloves. I dragged Mdu out of the passenger seat. He yelped in pain but still clutched on to the backpack as I dragged him out. I had never seen so much blood.
I dragged him closer to the grey double cab but didn’t put him in it. I had to stop the bleeding and get him into clean clothes. I rushed back to the shot up white double cab and found a jacket he had taken off earlier, before working. I doused the white double cab with petrol and ran to Mdu with the jacket. I searched the horizon for the helicopter. It was definitely moving in our direction.
“Let go of the backpack so I can help you.” I showed him the jacket in my hand. “I’ll wrap this around the wound to stop the bleeding.”
Right then his head slumped. He let out a sickening gurgle. I knew he was dead. I dragged him a bit further into the tall grass. I tried to pull the backpack from his clutch, but found his grip stronger in death than in life.
I took off my overalls and safety shoes and tossed them into the white double cab. I doused the overalls with petrol and set them ablaze. I ran to the grey double cab, reversed and hit the accelerator. I gunned it further inland, opposite the direction of the helicopter.
In the rear view mirror, I saw flames glide up the inside of the white double cab. I switched off the headlights. The burning car was going to stall the police for some time. I had a head start.
Yes, I left Mdu dead in the tall grass by the side of the gravel road next to a burning car. He still held on to the bloodied backpack with his share of the loot.
Tell us: Do you judge Spha for leaving the corpse behind?