Zandile volunteers to drive Kasi Chef home. He sinks into the front passenger seat and is quiet for most of the journey. Gloria and another detective follow.

“I just want to add that if you remember anything else do not hesitate to let us know. In my experience, it is the small details that help us to solve cases,” says Zandile.

“I’ll be sure to do that.” There is a strange, expressionless stillness in his face.

“Did your wife change her routine recently? Has she made a recent acquaintance? It may be a strange car you saw near your house on the day she disappeared. Things like that.”

Kasi Chef rubs his temples and closes his eyes for a while. “I can’t think of anything at the moment, I’m sorry. I’m just so tired,” he says.

They drive on in silence. After a few minutes Zandile says, “What sort of a person is your wife?”

“She was kind hearted and a great motivator. What I will miss most about her is that radiant smile. Dudu was one of a kind.”

Alarm bells set off in Zandile’s mind. Why is Kasi Chef speaking about his wife in the past tense? Her body involuntarily tenses up for a second.

Kasi Chef glances at her and quickly asks, “Do you think she might have been kidnapped?”

“I don’t know.” Zandile tries her best to relax. “But if she was kidnapped, her kidnappers would have been in touch requesting a ransom by now. However, we can never discard that possibility.”

Zandile stops the car in front of a large gate. Kasi Chef leans quickly across her, stretching to the compartment in the driver’s door. Her chest pounds at his sudden movement, at this man who just spoke about his wife in the past tense, being chest-to-chest with her.

But Kasi Chef fiddles in the door compartment and finds the remote controller for the gate. He sits back in his seat and presses it. The opening gates reveal a mansion. The police walk through the house with its owner. There seems to be nothing out of place and there are no signs of a struggle. All her clothes and suitcases are in her closet.

“We need to inspect the yard as well,” Gloria tells Kasi Chef.

He walks to the couch in the lounge, slumps on the sofa and lights a cigarette. “Sure, go ahead. I need to sit down. I’m tired,” he says.

The police sweep the yard. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. There are no signs of forced entry to any of the windows and doors, no broken foliage and no foreign footprints. Cloud cover scatters to reveal a scorching sun. The detectives finish their inspection and head to the shade in front of the garage.

“It seems like nothing happened inside the house,” says Zandile.

Gloria wipes away sweat with a handkerchief. “Yes, this is one clean house,” she agrees.

“Do you find it strange that a mansion as big as this does not have a surveillance system?” says Zandile.

“Yes, it is strange. We need to get a forensic team to sweep through the whole house. Just to cover every angle. They may find–”

The garage door rolls up behind them. Kasi Chef appears with two bottles of water. “I thought you guys must be thirsty. It’s getting hot.”

They both thank him.

“Did you find anything?” says Kasi Chef.

“Nothing suspicious so far,” says Zandile, after gulping down cold water.

“We are thinking of heading back to the office,” says Zandile. “Thank you for your help. We know it’s a terrible time for you.”

“Thanks for taking the time to actually come and investigate,” he shakes their hands. “You can see yourselves out. I need to rest,” he says and walks into the house.

Zandile drops her pen as she is clipping it back onto her notebook. It rolls under Dudu Zulu’s car and she kneels to look for it, reaching out. The pen is resting up against a small piece of hard, granular substance – black and green with tiny wires in it. It looks like a shard of the circuit board found inside most electronic appliances.

“Gloria, look what I found under the car. It looks like a piece of an appliance.”

“Bag it, Zan. It might be a lead.”


Tell us: Would you find it interesting to be a detective? Why or why not?