“I’m coming too.” Motso took his hand.

“Don’t be stupid,” Sim said, pushing her away. “You can’t risk your life. You stay here with Toya.”

“There are two hostages,” Motso said. “The lady and her little girl. The robbers will want two people to take their places.”

“I can’t let you do that, Mots,” Sim said. “It’s too dangerous.”

“You have to.” She pointed to the screen. “That lady looks like she’s in labour. What if they don’t let her go? You wouldn’t know what to do. I’ve done the first aid course. I can at least help her to deliver the baby if necessary.”

“Don’t open the door,” Toya whispered across the room. She’d opened the door a crack, and Sim could see her beautiful face, all puckered up with fear. “Don’t unlock the door,” she repeated. “I’m ordering you! Don’t unlock the door.”

Suka wena Toya!” Motso snapped. “You selfish bitch.”

Sim looked from Toya’s worried face to the screen. The pregnant woman was lying on her side, writhing in pain. He took Motso’s hand. “You’re right,” he said. “You’d better come with me. But I don’t like it. I wish you could stay here where you’d be safer.”

“Tough,” said Motso, unlocking the door.

“Do it slowly,” Sim said. “Don’t give them a fright, or they’ll shoot.”

“Helloooo,” Motso called as she opened the door a crack. “Please don’t shoot. We haven’t got weapons.”

Motso dropped to her knees. She crawled across the rough carpet until she was next to the woman. “Are you alright, Mama?” she asked.

“Don’t hurt the lady,” Sim said, following Motso out with his hands in the air. “Let the lady and the little girl go. We’ll take their places.”

The robber standing next to her looked from Sim to the woman and back again. The woman stared at him with terrified eyes. “The baby,” she groaned. “Ndizobeleka.”

“Let her go, Thabo,” he said.

The man called Thabo peered frantically up and down the passage outside the shop. The few remaining customers had left. A security guard paced up and down outside, talking into his walkie-talkie and pointing into the shop.

“You must let her go,” Motso said. “The baby’s coming. If she dies – or if something happens to the baby, it will be murder.”

Thabo was sweating. The second robber gestured with his gun towards the four of them lying on the floor. “Let the lady and the kid go. We’ll take these two.”

“Eish Jean-Pierre,” Thabo groaned. “With four hostages we have more power. Then they have to let Julius go.” He gestured towards the jewellery store where the leader of the gang was stuck behind the locked-down security doors.

“The police will be here soon,” Jean-Pierre said. “We must get out of here while we can.”

Thabo began, “We can’t…” then was interrupted when three shots rang out. “It’s the jewellery shop!” Jean-Pierre yelled. “They’re shooting! Let’s go.”

“Get up!” Thabo snapped, pointing the gun at Sim and Motso. “You’re coming with us.”


Tell us what you think: Where will the armed robbers take Sim and Motso?