Chasing Waterfalls 2/4

By Drum Digital
14 January 2014

'If we all minded our own business life would be boring indeed.'

In the township where mother and daughter lived, people didn’t mind their own business.

Neighbours spied on each other freely. The fight between Thuli and her daughter didn’t go unnoticed.

As Thuli sat alone in her sitting room, feeling like a failure as a parent, she was already the hot topic of discussion in the neighbourhood.

Most parents had banned their 16-yearold daughters from speaking to Lucy because they saw her as a bad influence.

Mama Gumede was one of Thuli’s neighbours, a nosy woman in her early sixties. And she’d overheard the drama between mother and daughter.

“Stupid woman!” Mrs Gumede muttered to her husband.

“Thuli spoils that girl. If my child ever went out with a druggie I’d thrash her until she begged for forgiveness.

That girl’s going to get into a lot of trouble one of these days. I don’t like the crowd she’s been hanging around with lately.

Let me go and find out what’s happening straight from the horse’s mouth.”

“My dear, let’s mind our own business for once,” suggested Mr Gumede, a retired teacher. “Leave the poor woman to lick her wounds for a while.”

Those who were close to Mama Gumede knew she was a domineering woman who constantly interfered in her children’s marriages, much to the displeasure of her in-laws.

Mama Gumede also had an inquisitive mind and wanted to get to the bottom of things. She had always been very observant.

When she noticed Lucy getting into the brand-new Merc something struck her as wrong. She noticed the car had no number plates.

“My dear Mr Gumede, if we all minded our own business life would be boring indeed,” Mama Gumede said. “There wouldbe no newspapers and we’d never read about other people’s scandals. I feel it’s my business to mind other people’s business.”

When she got into the car she expected to see Philip. Instead Lucy saw three unfriendly strangers.

She shivered when she heard the men in the car speak.

“Where’s Philip?” she asked. “He said he’d be here.”

“Shut up and sit still.” The man in the driver’s seat spoke. “You’ll see him soon enough.”

When she tried to get out of the car she found the doors were locked.

Philip had tricked her, calling her cellphone to say he was waiting in the car outside.

Now one of the men yanked her cellphone from her and switched it off.

Lucy regretted blackmailing Philip. She knew too much about his shady deals especially his involvement in drug trafficking.

A week ago she’d started demanding lots of money from him and threatening to go to the police if she didn’t get her way.

Now she was shivering.

“I’ve got the girl with me,” the man said into his cellphone after they had been driving for some time.

“What should we do with her?”

His phone was on speaker mode and she heard Philip’s voice say, “Get rid of her.”

It was far too late for Lucy to follow her mother’s advice.

Mama Gumede heard a loud knock on the door.

It was almost midnight as she’d stayed up late practising sign language with her visitor – a 21-year-old nephew with impaired hearing.

She’d often seen sign language on the TV news, but she’d been amazed by how rich it was.

After asking who it was, Mrs Gumede was surprised to see Thuli.

“What’s wrong?” Mama Gumede asked.

“You don’t look well at all.”

“Lucy hasn’t come home yet. She went out around 7 pm.” Thuli’s voice was shaky.

“I have a feeling something dreadful has happened. I called all her friends and none of them knows where she is. I can’t even reach her on her cellphone – it’s switched off. What should I do, Mama Gumede?”

“The first thing we need to do is call the police,” Mama Gumede said as she reached for the phone.

“There’s no time to waste.”

-by WN Tembo

To be continued...

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