His heart thudding, Sim got to his feet. Next to him Motso was pale with fear. The pregnant woman pulled her daughter closer to her, covering the child’s mouth with her hand to stop her screaming. “Don’t kill us,” she whimpered.

“Get going,” Jean-Pierre snapped, ramming his gun into Sim’s ribs. “Hurry up!”

“I can hear sirens!” Thabo said, panicking. “They’re at the front.”

“The car’s at the front,” Jean-Pierre shouted, waving the gun wildly. “We can’t get away. The police are in the car park.” He pointed the muzzle at Motso. “We have to kill them or they’ll be able to identify us.”

Motso turned to Thabo. “Sim’s got a car,” she said loudly. “It’s parked out the back here, by the service entrance. The police won’t be going there.”

“If you’re quick you can still get away in time,” Sim said, handing them the keys. “We won’t tell the police anything about you, I swear.”

“No way!” Jean-Pierre snapped. “You know too much.”

“Don’t shoot us,” Motso pleaded. “It’s murder. If the police catch you you’ll go to jail for life.”

Thabo opened the shop door. “Get out,” he said, shoving them in the ribs with his gun.

The security guard took a step forward, his hand on his holster, and Jean-Pierre waved the gun at him. “Come any closer and I’ll shoot them,” he snarled.

Sim felt a soft hand slip into his. Hand-in-hand they hurried down the passage and around the corner to the service entrance. The passage was long, and dark, and Sim felt his heart sink. There was no escape from here: no windows, and just the one metal door at the end, leading out into the staff parking lot. They could kill them here, no trouble, and escape in his car. The robbers were just a step behind them, their guns still jabbing into their backs. He could hear Motso praying under her breath, and he joined her. “Oh Thixo, Thixo save us,” he repeated.

The sound of sirens was getting louder. “Hurry up!” Jean-Pierre snapped, digging Sim in the back with the gun. He broke into a jog. They burst through the metal doors into the darkening evening. The yard was deserted, except for his new red car, parked alone against the wall. Thabo clicked the central locking. He opened up the boot. “Get in.”

Sim ran his eyes around the yard. There was no one around. On the other side of the wall he could hear the evening traffic, and the police sirens wailing as they rounded the front of the mall. There was no way to escape.

Motso had already begun to clamber into the boot of the car, squeezing as far back as possible. “Gimme your phones,” Thabo said, holding out his hand. Motso reached into her bag and handed over her Blackberry. Thabo pointed at the phone in Sim’s top pocket. “Hand it over.” Jean-Pierre grabbed the phones and tossed them into the rubbish skip with the empty boxes and old vegetable scraps from the supermarket. Then he shoved Sim into the boot, and slammed the lid shut. A moment later the engine revved into life, and the car raced off towards the highway.


Tell us what you think: Are there ways to get out of a locked car boot? Will Sim and Motso escape?