“Help! Help!” Zelwande screams.

It is pitch black under the blindfold over her eyes. This room is always dark. Even when the blindfold is removed a torchlight is blasted into her eyes so she cannot see the faces of the two men holding her captive. The knots that tie her wrists and ankles to the chair are tight.

“Please help! Please help!” she screams and cries simultaneously.

The door suddenly opens. Zelwande gasps; hope floods her body.

“Stop making noise. No-one can hear you. No-one is coming to save you,” says a female voice mockingly.

Zelwande’s heart nearly stops beating because she recognises this voice. It’s Mrs Khumalo.

A light is switched on. The blindfold is removed.

“Ma!?” says Zelwande.

“Don’t call me, Ma! Look at this mess you’ve gotten yourself into. I told you to leave my son alone. And what did you do?”

“Ma, I’m pregnant with your grandchild. Please have–”

“Shut your mouth! I don’t care if you are pregnant! You’ll die with that thing inside your belly!”

“Please, Ma! Please don’t say that. I promise I’ll never contact Thobani if you let me go. I won’t call the police.”

“I gave you enough time to do that but you went against my wishes. Now it’s time that you understand that no-one goes against my wishes.”

“Please let me go. Please don’t do this!”

Mrs Khumalo jeers at Zelwande with a sick smile. She turns her back to her and walks to the door. “Get rid of her!” she shouts.

Zelwande is frantic. Her heart beats so hard she is afraid it will burst out of her chest. The men run after Mrs Khumalo.

“What about our payment?” says one man.

“You’ll get your money when I get proof she is dead and you have buried her. I want a clean job. Nothing must lead back to me. Are we clear?” says Mrs Khumalo.

“But the job was just to kidnap, not murder,” says the other man.

“Well if you want your money, you’ll have to kill her and bury her,” says Mrs Khumalo. “You are criminals, so act your part!”

The men stay outside for a long time after Mrs Khumalo has left. Then they go back into the room and look at Zelwande.

“Go ahead, kill her. You heard what that woman said!” says one man.

“You kill her! It was never in the initial agreement to kill. And a pregnant woman at that!”

“So you’ve developed a conscience all of a sudden?”

“Isn’t your girlfriend pregnant? How would you feel if she was murdered and your baby never sees the sun?”

“Eish, bru! I’d be devastated.”

“Let’s tell that woman we killed her. She’ll never come back here to check because she doesn’t want this to get back to her.”

“And we can just send a photo of a freshly dug piece of ground. With one of her shoes next to it. We can even put some blood from meat on it.”

“Yes! Yes, that’s a good idea! Just let me go, please!” says Zelwande.

“Shut up!”

The men put the blindfold back over her eyes. They take off her shoes. There’s a lot of moving around. Zelwande’s wrists and ankles are untied. She is lifted up, then feels handcuffs locking on her right wrist. She can feel she is sitting on the floor, her right arm raised a bit. The handcuff locks onto something else. Her left hand is free.

“Don’t take off that blindfold until you hear the door close and our car has gone. If you can identify us, you’re dead! Are we clear?”

“Yes,” says Zelwande.

Zelwande waits until the sound of the car has disappeared. She removes the blindfold with her free hand. Her wrist has been handcuffed to a window burglar guard. There is a mattress, a blanket, a bucket of water and another empty bucket. There is a box of cheap biscuits on the mattress.

“Help! Help! Help!” she screams at the top of her voice.


Tell us: Are you surprised Mrs Khumalo is willing to sacrifice her unborn grandchild for her pride in her status?