I can’t believe what I’m hearing. How can Zakes accuse me of being a witch?

“I’m not a witch! You know that,” I protest.

“I know that but no-one else knows that. To them, you’re just that quiet freak without a boyfriend.”

I’m so close to punching him in the face but I hold myself back. “I’m not a witch and I’m not a freak!”

“What are you then? You say you can see ghosts, you can send them away? What is that if it isn’t evil? And if it’s true, if you did kill that ghost at Ma Thlolo’s shop, you must have help from the ancestors. What about accepting your calling?” His eyes are wide and desperate. He knows what he’s saying isn’t true.

I shake my head. This is all wrong.

“You don’t know anything about ukuvuma Idlozi.” I explain, “It doesn’t work how you think. Umkhulu has shown me things. I’m learning what I need to know. The spirits have guided me.”

“Prove it.”

I stare hard at Zakes. Ten minutes ago he was just another good-looking guy at school. He hadn’t spoken to me since Grade 8. Now, he is a mess. Zakes is a desperate boy trying to make up stories about me to force me into helping him. It isn’t fair and I’m not going to be bullied by him. I get bullied enough every day. But this is different; this is bigger than him or me.

I say the words very slowly so he can see that I’m dead serious and that he can’t just push me around with his threats: “I’m not going to prove anything to you.”

“Fine. Then you can try convince everyone that you are not a witch!”

Zakes storms off towards his first class. I hear the first period bell go and hurry behind him to English. Something about his last threat… he sounded scared. He didn’t sound like he was going to tell anyone anything. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d say Zakes sounded like he was going to cry…

I try to push all thoughts of pity or understanding from my head. What if he isn’t scared at all? What if this is just another trick? All of this could be some big joke between Ntokozo and Zakes. He could be going back to her and her dumb friends right now, laughing about what a baby I am to believe their threats. Everyone could know about how they are tracking the freak.

But I can’t take that chance. It might not be a joke. I have to figure out what do to about Zakes before he turns on me.


The next day, I want to bunk school, partly to have some time to think about what to do and partly to get some sleep. Since that first SMS, I haven’t been able to get a full night’s sleep. However, despite how tired and confused I feel, I don’t want Zakes to think I’m scared of him. Especially not after what Umkhulu had told me before:

“Wait for a sign. There will be fire when you need it.”

I arrive at school and see Ntokozo sobbing into her friends’ arms. I slow the pace of my walk so that I can hear what they’re talking about. I hear the two friends closest to me fake-whispering to each other:

“Did you hear what happened?” one asks.

“About Zakes? Yeah, it’s so bad, friend,” the other replies.

“What’s wrong?”

“They don’t know. No-one knows.”

“They say he could die.”


I didn’t like Zakes before and I definitely don’t like him now. He scared me, threatened to lie about me, called me a liar. He’s been nothing but a jerk to me. But I don’t want him to die either. Not less than twenty-four hours after he asked for my help. I have to see him for myself and know for sure what is going on.

Especially if what he told me was true. If this is the ghost of his mom’s ex-boyfriend, things are only going to get worse. I have to leave – now!


Tell us what you think: Should Lindi help Zakes after he threatened her?