An owl hoots outside, in the dead of the night. I can’t sleep because it is freezing in this house – or rather, jail. The wood in the fireplace has become minute ambers.

Anana enters as my teeth start to clatter. “Do you need more wood?” he says.

“Yes!” we all say.

“I thought as much. I’ll be right back,” he says.

“Is Anana really coming back with more firewood for us?” I ask, disbelieving.

“Yes,” says Matsui.

“Come on! Why would our kidnapper help us keep warm?” I say.

“Anana may be a criminal, but he has a good heart sometimes,” says Hinshi. “He has shown that over the years.”

“It would be great if his good heart could rub off on Wufen and Kapo so they can let us go,” I say.

“Those two are another case altogether,” Hinshi whispers. “Wufen is so cruel I sometimes doubt if he is human at all. He is a stone cold killer; the king of killers in fact. Even his own men are scared of him.”

Hinshi’s words are like a bullet to my heart. I think about Nqo who was dragged off with Wufen. Is my friend still alive?

“Hinshi. Do you think he will kill my friend?”

“I don’t know, Londi.”

I let out a deep sigh. Anana enters with firewood. My eyes become glassy as Anana crouches and throws wood into the fire.

“It is cold outside!” says Anana.

“Is there no rest for you tonight, Anana?” says Hinshi.

“Kapo and Wufen said no-one is sleeping today. The police all over the country are looking for them.” Anana points at the Russians and me.

“Their pictures are all over the news. Kapo and Wufen are excited because what they have done has shaken the country. They have always wanted a war with the state. All of our fighters, from all over the country, have been summoned here, to wait for war.”

“They say tomorrow we are going to Nagasaki,” says Hinshi.

“It is so, Hinshi,” says Anana.

“Are you coming with us?”


“What are we going to do in Nagasaki?”

“You are going to pull off a spectacular heist. There are millions in a safe in the mansion of a crime lord in Nagasaki. You are going to steal that stolen money for us,” says Anana.

“If that is so, then today may be our last day on earth. The crime lords in Nagasaki are ruthless!” says Hinshi.

“Anything is possible, Hinshi. But Wufen has prepared well for the heist.”

Tears stream down my face. Anton is also crying although he tries to hide it, by looking up at the ceiling. We hear footsteps coming towards the door. I wipe away my tears quickly.

Wufen enters, a revolver in hand. He heads straight to the fireplace and points the revolver at Anana’s head.

“What are you doing here, Anana?” says Wufen.

“I’m catching the warmth of the fire.”

“While other men are in the cold, on guard duty, you are warm in here with these … things? Go back to your post right now!”

Anana gets up and leaves. Wufen aims at Hinshi, Matsui, Anton and I with his weapon, and says, “Come with me!”


Tell us what you think: The gangsters want fame. Could this be their downfall?