The end came sooner than I thought. In the morning I heard an unfamiliar sound breaking the quiet. I went out into the cold morning air, and walked softly around the side of the great house. There was a black limousine in the driveway. I recognised the sign on the side of the car at once – it was the white flying dove of Dove’s Funeral Services.

I watched as the men came in with a coffin. All shiny and black. I waited. I watched as the men carried that casket out. It was heavy. I could tell by the way the men strained to carry it, that someone was inside that casket. Mr Hilton-White was a heavily built man.

I watched as they slid the coffin into the back of that shiny black car. I looked at Mrs Hilton-White’s face. There was no expression. Then something caught my eye, and I looked towards the west wing. I swear I saw the curtain move, ever so slightly. Somebody was watching. And I knew just who it was.

I wanted to phone Themba right there and then to tell him the good news. To tell him we would soon be living in luxury in the leafy suburb of Constantia behind those big gates.

I wanted to tell him that we would be soaking in that large jacuzzi, and sleeping on that king-sized bed, with the huge plasma screen TV at the foot of it, and someone would be cooking us delicious meals.

But before all our dreams could come true, there was one very important step left in my plan. It was the GRAND FINALE! Just like those detective movies I like to watch on TV. I had to ‘set the stage’ and then call in the actors in this play of murder and lies.

I would need to gather the evidence throughout the day, slowly, in between my chores.

“Something terrible has happened,” Mrs Hilton-White told me.“I am going out and I will be back later. Mr Hilton-White passed away in the night. A heart attack. He turned blue and called my name as he drew his last breath.”

Too much information! That’s what they say about liars – they give too much information away when they tell a lie. They make up details. That was what Mrs Hilton-White had just done.

I watched her drive off after the hearse. I had to work fast.

I searched the bedroom for that tiny bottle. Mrs Hilton-White had been careless. I found it in her medicine cabinet. Picking it up by the lid only, I put it in a plastic bag. Exhibit A. I wrote the name down on the outside of the packet. Glyphosate.

Then I walked quietly to the door to the west wing. I had to be very careful because of the person inside. I opened the door and listened. There was the sound of running water coming from the bathroom, and the smell of roses. Someone was taking a bath. I tiptoed in and checked that the bathroom door was shut. Someone was singing inside the bathroom: a cheerful song, a nursery rhyme.

I walked over to the desk and opened the drawer. I took out all those newspaper cuttings.

Businessman Jake Hilton-White has been found dead in his Claremont home, and Police have opened a murder investigation. In the toxicology report it was stated that large amounts of glyphosate, found in weed killer, was present in his blood. His wife, Mrs Patricia Hilton-White is missing …

The twins had got better at what they did. They had perfected it.

I took the newspaper articles about the dead man, along with newspaper cuttings of the socialite twins in their young days. There was a photo of them together with the Hilton-White brothers. They were gorgeously dressed and smiling into the camera. It was very hard to tell them apart. The brothers looked like they had won the lotto with their wives.

Little did they know then what would happen when they had brought the twins from that poor railway house to their respective mansions. Was it the twins’ idea to plant rose gardens, or had they persuaded their husbands?

I heard the sound of someone getting out of the bath. I gathered up all the newspaper cuttings and headed back to my room.

I phoned 1023 to find out the number of the police station where the Jake Hilton-White case was first reported. I punched the digits into my cellphone.

Then I took the small bottle of weed killer and the newspaper cuttings through to the lounge. I laid the newspaper cuttings in front of the photograph of the twins, together with the bottle of weed killer and I waited. Of course I had a weapon in my pocket, just in case things went wrong.

As soon as Mrs Hilton-White entered the dining room her eyes went to the piano and my small scene I had made. Then she looked at me. She knew it was all over.

I waved my cellphone at her. I told her that to my surprise, after all these years I had found her missing twin, and that she was enjoying a bath filled with rose salts, right there in the west wing. That she wore a pale peach nighty and had a soft voice, unlike her sister’s. Perhaps it came from years of whispering, so as not to be heard.

She had hidden her twin well, all these years, even from Mr Hilton-White. But then again, his eyesight was poor. Would he have recognised his wife’s sister if he had bumped into her in the passage? Surely he would have thought it was his wife.

Then there was Sophie. She had gone into the west wing. She had seen something there. And she was sent home, no doubt with a month’s pay.

But I, Nosipho Mtati, was cleverer than all of them. I knew of their plan from when they were girls, of the weed killer, of the forbidden west wing, where her twin lived comfortably after slowly poisoning her husband. And I could make a phone call. Just one. And it would all be over. You see I am good at impersonating voices, always have been. I can sound just like a rich white woman from a leafy suburb if I have to.

“I have just found Patricia Hilton-White. Could you send a detective. I suspect a murder has taken place, or rather, two. Yes immediately…” I say these words to Mrs Hilton-White. She goes pale under all that make-up.

Of course I never made that call. She was quick to agree to my plan. I will keep silent in exchange for a lifestyle I have become used to. Whatever I ask for, the twins provide. I even invited Sophie over for tea the other day, and we ate off the best china in the house.

But I have to go now, to see my sweety, Themba. Yes, we are still together. Closer than ever. He is waiting in the jacuzzi for me. In the west wing, of course.

“The bath water is getting cold my sweety,” I hear his deep silky voice say.

“Coming my baby,” I call to him.

Yes, we live in the West Wing of the Hilton-White Villa. And you could call Themba my bodyguard, just in case the old ladies try something. We keep the newspaper cutting and the bottle of glyphosate with the fingerprints on it under lock and key.

We have converted the maid’s quarter into a very nice apartment for Alfred, and have extended my second home in Gugulethu, adding on a garage and bedrooms with en suites for the relatives.

And of course every day we cut fresh roses from Mr Hilton-White’s garden. Now and then the sisters bring home an elderly man. But they have lost their looks, and their seduction ploys, because the men never stay.


Tell us: What do you think about what Nosipho did?