It’s always like this. Same story. If he doesn’t storm out of the house after beating her, he’d leave her on the floor and go to bed. She’d join him later. Then they’d wake the next day, all is normal.
Tonight was the exception. Rashid awoke at the middle of the night. He didn’t do that on his own. He heard something. A noise. He heard again. It was a lot higher now, as if it wants his attention, if it was its intention to wake him up.
“Nikiwe,” he murmured under his hot breath. He stretched and laid his hand on the side of her bed but the only things he touched was the blankets and her pillow. She wasn’t beside him. That noise again. It sounded from the kitchen. Rashid could identify its point of origin however he could not tell exactly what it was, this sound. He’d never heard something like this before.
He got up from bed, took his gun from under the bed and began to nimble out of the bedroom, making sure to open and close the door as silently as he could.
What he saw at the kitchen took his breath away for a moment. He nictitated. He caught a quick look of a man leaving through the exit door of the house.
“Hey!” Rashid ran but stopped to where his wife was laying. When he bent to check her he found Nikiwe wasn’t breathing. His finger on her throat. No pulse.
“Hey!” He hauled up and ran, chasing after the man, who was already past the gate.
“Stop! Hey!” Rashid tried to run quicker, his shoes felt heavy to his feet. Through the lit street lamps they ran under, he could see that the man he was after was wearing the same blue and brown jacket he had worn earlier on.
So the motive was robbery. The man had burgled into the house, found Nikiwe at the kitchen and killed her.
“Bastard!” Rashid yelled. He tried to increase the speed in his run, his legs dabbed against each other he stumbled and almost fell in a dive. Almost. Something did fall out of him, though; not the gun. He too would’ve been killed, in his sleep if he wasn’t waken up by that noise.
When the evading man looked back, Rashid was taken aback – his pace slowed – because it was like he just took a quick glance at a mirror.
“Stop! Or I’ll shoot,” Rashid fumbled out the gun, but the man never ceased to run. Instead, at the mention of shoot, he ran faster, took a corner and jumped on the fence of some home. Rashid followed suite. He took a chance of trying to shoot the man’s legs while he himself was still running. No time to aim. The shot whirred wild, he missed.
When the man launched himself up to climb over the back wall of this house, Rashid caught up in a nice of time to grab his legs. “Gotcha, you fuck!” The man was kicking and shaking. Rashd never let go. He held tight and shook the man, pulled him and dragged him until at last his hands slipped off the wall he fell on the ground with his belly.
Rashid charged himself on top of him. The man had the same brown side burns as Rashid, same shape of the face, same hair and similar height. A look alike. It was often said that each person has another or other people which they look exactly like.
Rashid found his own, but under a sour circumstance. Nikiwe was now dead. When she saw this bastard, what if she thought that it was actually Rashid, her own husband, who’s killing her?
“Who are you?” Rashid yelled down at the man’s face. The man just squirmed and made incoherent noises. He voice sounded like Rashid’s own voice.
Rashid thought this man must have been sent by Olwethu. Indeed someone was following him on his way home. He wasn’t making it all up. He wasn’t hearing things. This man was behind him all the time; all the way from the pub.
There were other noises at Rashid’s ears right now. Behind him. Different low voices, murmurs and whispers. The sounds of doors opening. Obviously it was the people of this house. They have been woken up by Rashid and this man.
When Rashid turned his head to look back at the incoming people in pyjamas and nightdresses, the man took a chance at the distraction. He hit Rashid on the eye and got up at once. In a state of panic, and not seeing well, Rashid just pulled out the gun and shot without seeing where he’s actually shooting. The bullets hit the man on the shoulder and on the right chest near the armpit. Rashid himself fell down and passed out.