by K Cheryl Mwanza| Episode #7

Detective Chief Inspector Tanaka Dube along with Detective Mudiwa Chiwenga arrived at the Harare Project Newspaper Headquarters on Jason Moyo Avenue. The editor was pacing to and fro and it was clear from his movements the man was anxious and under a lot of stress. It was to be expected, after all he had Nashe Matinya as an employee, Dube thought.

The editor looked up and stopped pacing, although he could not control the sweat from his forehead. He staggered for a moment when he saw just how prepared the detectives were. They had bullet proof vests and were carrying weapons, the editor suspected were loaded. However, what freaked right out of his mind was the Ak47 the Chief Inspector was carrying on her back.

“Why do you carry a rifle and a pistol?”

“I’m a good shot.” Dube said with a smile that made the editor feel weird. The same feeling he experienced whenever he was staring back at Nashe. “Where is the letter?”

“And wh-wh-wh-where is everyone?” Chiwenga asked.

“I asked them all to go out. I’m doing my best to protect Cynthia and Nashe.” He said as he opened a drawer below his desk. He took out the letter then handed it to Chiwenga who browsed through it before he handed it to Dube.

Chiwenga took a seat on the editor’s desk as the editor sat on his desk. Seeing how everyone was looking back at her, she decided to read the letter aloud. Unlike the first letter, this one was officially addressed to Cynthia. It read,

Dear Cynthia Mare

I would like to begin by saying thank you for being my friend again. I haven’t had a friend like you. Someone who takes me seriously. For that I thank you. I am not a sentimental person, and I won’t pretend to be in this letter. I will get to the point of why I’m writing to you. To begin with, stop working with those doofuses from Harare CID. I was there at that house the entire time, and yet they walked in and out of the house with only a bloody knife. Anyway that is a conversation for another time and day.

Yesterday night I went into town bored out of my mind. I walked into a restaurant and I loved everything about it. It was cool and private and an ideal place to go with a spouse. Anyway, I was alone and I didn’t want to seem alone so I headed straight for the bar with my head held high. I sat there and as I received my first glass, a woman approached me. Well, not me particularly, but she came and sat next to me. She was beautiful, with dark skin and a body to die for. She was wearing a tight red dress that showed off ample cleavage and most of her thighs.

When most women dress like this, they look like prostitutes, when she did it, she looked classy. However it’s not the way she was dressed that caught my eye. It was her perfume. It was too much, like my mother. Just like my mother. It made my heart beat in ways I haven’t experienced in a really long time and took notice.

She had a beautiful smile and when she talked, her personality oozed through. She was a strong beautiful women with her head in the right place, and had she been loved by her parents for just a little bit, she would have turned out better. I digress, anyway we talked and talked, and talked, man that woman could talk.

I bought her drinks and she seemed to like that I was buying her drinks without wanting to do anything to her afterwards. It was rather ironic that when I asked her to come home with me at the end of the night, she happily came with me. After all she had spent my money and nothing was for free, her words not mine.

I drove instead to her house, and when I parked in front of her gate, she looked at me with disappointment. She begged me to go with her, and I did. She was so drunk, all she did was pass out as soon as I put her on the sofa. When she was up, I had tied her to a chair, and at first she thought it was a game we were playing.

It was annoying. Every torture mechanism that I tried on the first girl was not working with her, because she was enjoying it. She wasn’t begging for her life. She was telling me to do more. To try harder. To stop being so soft. I was losing control and was becoming so furious I felt like life was being drained out of me.

Unable to continue playing with her, I lost it and stabbed her once in the neck. She looked at me with horror. I looked back at her with disappointment. She had robbed me of days and days of excitement and satisfaction because for some reason she knew the right buttons to make me annoyed.

All the plans that I had for us went down the drain. I watched her bleed out as I cursed over and over again. The bitch was exactly like my mother.

I left her for an hour, and when I was back, she was dead. I wrapped her in a blanket, put her in the back of my car then drove to Warren Park D’s Mereki Shopping center. I dumped her in the grass by sparkle car wash. She was just like the trash that I covered her with.

Wow, talking to you really made me feel better. If you didn’t work with morons, maybe I would have allowed you to write back to me. But it doesn’t matter. I will keep my ears open and will know that you are truly a friend.

Until later, Cynthia.

Dube looked up from the ground as Chiwenga made a call for backup while he headed for the exit.

“When did this did come in?” Dube asked.

“Just now. Rose just brought it in-she’s Aunt Letwin’s assistant.” He said as he reached for the phone. He dialed a number, whispered into it and within seconds a woman who was clearly overdressed for the newspaper walked in.

“Introduce yourself.” The editor said.

“I’m Rose. I’m Aunt Letwin’s assistant, and every day, mid-morning I pick up mail for Aunt Letwin. The mail is dumped in a plastic bin by the door on the ground floor. When I was sorting through the mail, I found a unique letter. A few days ago a found a letter just like this, and it led to a body. Or so I hear.”

“Who brought it in?”

“I don’t know. Aunt Letwin’s letters are dropped in anonymously. It’s part of the reason why we don’t have CCTV footage on the ground floor.”

“I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this, but why would someone drop a letter for Cynthia in Aunt Letwin’s bin?”

Rose turned to face the editor who answered instead of her, “Because Cynthia is Aunt Letwin. But that is not to leave this room.”

Tanaka burst into laughter that shocked the editor and Rose. She looked up tearing up a bit then said, “I read those Aunt Letwin comments. I can’t believe a woman who writes that is pretty sane. Have you read half the things she writes?”

“Let me remind you that what we run here is a tabloid.” The editor said feeling offended.

“My bad.” Dube said with her hands on her waist. “If you learn anything new, call me.”

“Of course, detective.” Rose answered instead.



Mereki Shopping center was alright for a place that was as famous as it was. There was nothing really special about it which boggled the mind as to why it was the talk of the city. There were a couple of super markets then came butcheries and of course beer halls with blazing music and pretty interesting characters inside as well as outside. Away from the shops, were a number shacks that sold everything from airtime to cigarettes to pirated CDs. Shadowing these shacks were individuals with braai stands who were braaing chicken livers, kidneys and lungs. There was an official cooking and braaing area but at the moment was vacant. Business was low as well at the car wash.

However, the fact that police cars were parked randomly in front of Sparkle Car wash didn’t stop people from going on with their various businesses. Once in a while people stopped and stared, but a after a moment or two went back to their businesses.

Chiwenga looked on as the body was being carried off in an ambulance. He had seen the face of the victim, and she was so young. Life wasted. He could feel tears burning in his eyes, but he refused to cry. The burning sensation had traveled away from his eyes to his chest and he could feel a real piercing pain in his heart. He would go to hell before he allowed the person responsible for this to walk free.

“Wow.” Dube said looking around as she approached him. “Did you find anything else?” She asked as she mentally adjusted her sense of smell to be able to tolerate the place.

Without the body, it was just another dump site, with rotting trash all over. The surrounding areas were covered with overgrown grass that held even more rotting trash.

“No. Not really.” He answered choking up. “But I suppose after a thorough sweep by the CSU we might h-h-h-have something.”

“We’ll find the person who did this.” Dube said rubbing Chiwenga’s back in a comforting way.

“She was s-s-so young.”

“I know.” She said as she dropped her hand.

“Uniform talked to people around here. The place was deserted around midnight and up again by five in the morning. They didn’t notice anything o-o-out of the ordinary.”

Dube didn’t answer and Chiwenga didn’t say anything else. Dube could see that Chiwenga had been deeply disturbed by the case, and having experienced what he was going through, she let him be.


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