By K Cheryl Mwanza | Episode #2
Nashe parked in front of a house on the last lane in Westlea. Just behind the house were hills people were now using for farming. It being a rainy season, and Zimbabwe having received its heaviest rains yet that March, the hills were thick and dense green with maize.
“This looks like the setting of, like, a horror film.” Nashe said locking her door and joining Cynthia Mare in front of the car.
The sun had just set and now the sky was covered with streaks of red mixing in with soft white clouds which were slowly being overtaken by darkness.
As the ladies looked around though, there was something unnatural about the lane. No one was in sight, and it was quiet like no one even lived there. As darkness began to surround the earth and lights went up almost everywhere, it became increasingly dark in the lane such that the ladies had to wave their phones around just to see.
“Do you think it’s good that we are here?” Cynthia asked.
“What, like, do you mean? It was, like, your idea to come here.”
“Yesterday of course. And maybe this morning. But now…” She let her voice trail into nothing as she looked back at the car. “I was so sure Detective Dhlamini would be here with us. If indeed the letter was written by a crazy person then we would have had protection.”
“True. But then it’s, like, two against one. That is if the abducted woman is dead.”
Cynthia turned to Nashe then exclaimed, “Do you even listen to yourself when you speak? I am a mother to two small children and I plan on adding to my family thank you very much.”
“You weren’t, like, preaching these sentiments yesterday. You weren’t a wife and a mother then?”
“Maybe it’s just nothing.” Cynthia said ignoring Nashe’s last statement and softening up her tone. “Maybe Detective Dhlamini is right, and we are dealing with someone desperate for attention.”
“Or she’s wrong. Want to, like, imagine the consequences of us turning back?”
Cynthia looked away from Nashe and down at her phone. It was her idea to come here, although it hadn’t gone according to plan. Dhlamini might be right and they were dealing with an attention seeker, which meant their trip out here would be wasted. But then she might have been right and they were dealing with a psycho. She and Nashe were just journalists, and against a killer they stood no chance of survival at all.
As she focused on her phone, a picture of her husband and two little girls popped up. She didn’t want to do anything that could be considered reckless and would affect her family’s life but at the same time, she had a chance to make a name for herself in the business and potential save a life.
“I was shot once.” Nashe began almost suddenly.
“If push comes to shove, I can protect you. I, like, looked death in the face and lived. I fear nothing.” she said as she opened the gate.
Cynthia followed at a respected pace and a few feet into the yard, the lights were suddenly turned on and the brightness took the ladies with surprise, they stumbled back for a moment. Still shielding their eyes from the lights, they heard a sharp wail and what sounded like a bag of cement being thrown at them.
After a full minute, the lights dimmed and the two women were able to see. What they had initially thought to be cement being thrown at them, turned out to be a woman who was bleeding profusely from the abdomen. She was barely alive, her body was shivering and a faint moaning sound was coming from her lips.
Nashe rushed over to where the woman was, took off the jacket she had been wearing then pressed against the source of the blood.
“She’s the woman from the letter.” Cynthia breathed out as she came close to Nashe.
“Call Dhlamini, like, RIGHT NOW! TELL HER TO BRING HELP, LIKE, LOTS OF IT!!” Nashe yelled out as she pressed against the wound with all of her strength. With each passing moment, she could feel the woman die.
As Cynthia was on the phone with the police, her eyes never left the woman who was clearly fighting a losing battle. All color had drained from her skin, her eyes were half opened and were now hollow. She was covered all over with bruises and dried blood, but for some reason she was still beautiful. She had suffered, and whenever Cynthia thought of it, she felt her insides turn.
“Stay with me.” Nashe whispered as blood soaked through her jacket and began dripping on her skirt. “Give me your jacket!” She demanded and Cynthia complied.
Nashe pressed the other jacket on the wound again as Cynthia knelt on the other side of the body. “She is cold. She needs to be warm-“
“How can we do that? We don’t have, like, anything with us here.”
“How about we move her from here. Let’s send her to the hospital.”
“The blade went through her and, like, almost cut her in half. We move her, like, Willy nilly, she dies.”
Before Cynthia had said anything else, they heard the siren blazing in a distance and a few seconds later, Detectives Dhlamini and Dube along with a few uniformed officers came busting in. As the police went for the house, the paramedics came and gently but swiftly carried the woman to the ambulance.
Nashe, who was ready for some action, jumped to the ground expecting Cynthia to do the same. When Cynthia didn’t, Nashe came back for her, and found Cynthia in a ball murmuring to herself as she subconsciously rocked her body to and fro. Nashe knelt before her friend then embraced her.
A little while later, Dhlamini walked out of the house with a pistol in her right hand. She came and knelt besides Nashe who then said,
“If you, like, have come when I told you to, none of this would have happened.” She said looking at Cynthia.
“Most of your tips have accumulated to nothing. We can’t always run out every time you come across a disturbing letter.”
“Is she going to be okay?” Cynthia suddenly asked as she looked up. “She won’t die, right.”
“No, sweety, she won’t.” Nashe answered. “She’ll be just fine.”
Dhlamini’s phone rang, and she got up to answer. She listened once, then looked back at Nashe and motioned for her to follow. When Dhlamini was certain Cynthia couldn’t hear her, she said,
“That was Luke. The woman couldn’t make it.”
“They are now transporting the body to Doctor Saidi for post mortem.”
“See. Like, if you were here she wouldn’t have died!”
“How can you be so sure? You have fresh blood all over you? Do you think me and my team being here was going to change anything?” Dhlamini asked as she answered her phone.
“There is nothing in here but a bloody knife.” Dube said suspending the knife in air. “It’s like no one even lived here.”
“The letter had this address, and Nashe has fresh blood all over her. That woman was recently stabbed.”
“True. But not in the house. There is nothing that points to it ever being used since it was built.”
“Nothing. We either are dealing with a very sleek customer or we are missing something here.”
Dhlamini looked at Nashe then said, “I bet we are.”
The commotion finally died out well over midnight, but the author, as Nashe had nicknamed the killer, didn’t mind at all. All the craziness surrounding the woman in blue, as he nicknamed his victim, had been so exciting, it was like the kill all over again. The panicking and anxiety that was running through everyone who had read the letter, the detectives who had responded to the crime were said to be Harare’s finest and yet they had failed to locate him in an empty house. Oh, this was going to be interesting. Very, very interesting.
The author sat down in front of a desk, turned on the lamb that was to the left of the desk then started writing. Since everyone was going to be focused on the woman in blue, it would give the author time to scout another work of art.