Kapo points to the last group.

“These are my most trusted lieutenants. They will tell you what needs to be done and at what time. They are my voice, and my right hand. They are my representatives. I trust them with my life. They know exactly what I like, so you do as they say. Are we clear?”

“Yes Sir!” all the captives say.

“South Africans!” barks Kapo.

Nqo and I let out startled gasps.

“Here are your comrades.” Kapo points to the white teenagers close to us. “They are from Russia, and have come to compete in the Karate World Tournament, just like you! But now things have changed. You won’t be fighting in that tournament. You will be fighting right here – in The Blood Stain Temple!”

Kapo smirks and cracks his fingers. A dark gaze falls over his eyes.

“You may be young, but your competition will be the toughest. I am short of hit men; assassins. I need only four from the 11 of you to join my group of elite killers. That means seven of you will be dead by sunrise.”

We gasp in horror. Kapo smirks, then frowns.

“Life isn’t fair, young warriors. It’s not that I hate those who will lose, but it is a fact that they will run to the police if I let them go. All of you know that is a fact! Isn’t that so?”

We nod nervously, not sure what we are nodding at. But we just know going against this man means certain death. Kapo slowly claps his hands.

“I like what I’m seeing. You look like you can adapt quickly to a situation. Give yourselves a round of applause!”

We are confused but we clap. We may be confused, but we are sure that if we don’t follow Kapo’s command we will be killed, right here and now.

My heart beats fast. Will I still be alive at sunrise? I hope I am, but I feel even more anxious for Nqo. I’ll never forgive myself if anything happens to her. I feel guilty for landing her in this mess. I was the one who made us go down to the hotel restaurant in the first place. Nqo was getting ready for bed, but I insisted.

I wonder if Jerome has realized yet that we are missing. I hope he has alerted the police. Jerome is from Zimbabwe. I met him at Dubai International Airport, when we were waiting for a connecting flight to Japan.

We clicked as fellow Africans from the southern part of the continent. He is also here in Japan for the World Tournament. He is tall … and cute.


Tell us what you think: Are Kapo’s threats empty? Or are the karetekas in mortal danger?