FICTION: Bokani - Part Two

By Drum Digital
21 February 2017

And now, when Bokani looked through the back window, there wasn’t a police car in sight. They were driving past buildings he didn’t recognise...

BY PRECIOUS SEBONI

And now, when Bokani looked through the back window, there wasn’t a police car in sight. They were driving past buildings he didn’t recognise. And then the buildings gave way to farmlands. How would the police know where he and Mnusi were? How would they be rescued?

The blue car drove down a rough dirt road and stopped at last outside an old ramshackle house.

“Right, you two,” said the robber with the brown shoes. “Hand over your cellphones. And don’t bother screaming. There’s no one for miles around.”

Mnusi was still crying as the robbers pushed her and Bokani towards a room at the back of the house. Bokani noticed a telephone in the passage way. Did it work? Would he be able to get to it and phone the police? But no, with his stupid stuttering, it would take too long for him to explain. The police would probably cut him off before he’d managed to tell them who he was.

Bokani and Mnusi were shoved into the small room with burglar bars across the single window. The robbers locked the door.

Bokani sat down beside Mnusi on a smelly, dirty mattress that lay on the floor. She was still crying.

“D-d-don’t w-w-worry,” he tried to say.

Mnusi turned on him. “This is your fault, Bokani! You and your stupid stuttering! If you hadn’t taken so long at the counter, we would have been finished and out of the bank before the robbers even came in.”

What Mnusi said was true, thought Bokani. Maybe he should just take a vow to never speak again, just pretend he was dumb. It would probably be easier for everyone.

The key turned in the lock now and one of the robbers stood at the doorway. Without his balaclava on, he looked even more frightening. There was a long scar down his cheek. His eyes were small and cruel.

“You!” he said, pointing at Bokani. “You come with me.”

“B-b-but . . . ” Bokani stuttered. Was it all over? Was this the end? He had seen their faces. He would be able to identify them.

The robber shoved him along the passage towards the telephone. Glaring at Bokani, he began to dial. Then he handed the receiver to Bokani.

“Right, you’re going to tell the police if they want you and your little friend back, they’ll have to pay a ransom of R200 000. Have you got that?”

“B-b-but . . . ” Bokani tried again. The robber glared at him, tapping his gun against his thigh. So Bokani held the receiver against his ear as someone answered on the other side.

“Hello? This is Sergeant Moloi. How can I help?”

Bokani had always hated speaking on a telephone. His stuttering seemed to get even worse. Every word seemed to take forever to work its way past his teeth and his tongue. And now he was afraid as well.

“S-s-sergeant, this is B-B-B-Bokani, one of the p-p-people who was t-t-taken ho-ho-hostage? And the r-r-robber s-s-says he w-w-wants t-t-two h-h-hun-hundred th-th-…”

It was taking so long to speak! The robber was banging his gun impatiently against his thigh. At last, Bokani finished giving the message. The robber grabbed the receiver from him and slammed it down, swearing.

“That’s all I need! A hostage who can’t even talk properly! What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid or something?”

The robber pushed him back to the small room where Mnusi sat on the mattress, crying, with her back to him.

Bokani knew that soon he would cry too. And feel even more ashamed of himself, if that were possible.

But then there was a strange noise in the distance, a noise that filled him with hope.

“C-can-can you hear th-th-that, Mnusi?” he asked. “I-I-it’s a p-p-police siren!”

Was it possible? Had the police found out where they were? Were the police coming to rescue them? And now the robbers were shouting and swearing outside the locked door.

“Let’s get out of here. Quick! The cops are coming. How did they know?”

Soon, the door of the small room burst open and there stood a large police sergeant.

“Are you Bokani?” asked the Sergeant. “Are you the guy I spoke to on the phone?”

Bokani nodded.

“Well, that was the most brilliant plan, pretending you stuttered! Brilliant and very brave! You gave us time to trace the call and work out exactly where the robbers had taken you two.”

“I w-w-wasn’t p-p-pr-pretending,” Bokani said. But the sergeant was already turning away.

Mnusi smiled at him.

“You saved us,” she said. “Isn’t that weird? It was your stuttering that saved us.” And she gave him a kiss.

The End

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