DO NOT OPEN – Episode 11
© Brian Ngoma
A very strong wind moved in a swirling motion accompanied with dust all over the place. People hang on to anything or anyone nearest to them. Cars alarms were triggered, bicycles not gr!pp£dto anything were moved. The wind pas-sed and everyone was left wondering what that was all about. They saw the dust and everything but what everyone didn’t see was a white envelope in the midst. It was rushing.
At the police station during lunch, Ba Yama was busy eating his lunch on the lawn listening to his old radio. It was his habit to do this everyday. With his old age, he loved Radio 1 and would be so engrossed in it that no one dared to disturb him. As he was busy with his hobby and eating, he saw Nikiwes car driving into the station directly to the parking lot. He turned off the radio and stood up. He walked to her car and bu-mped into her as she was getting out of the car.
“Ba Yama,” Nikiwe said surprised. “What can I do for you?”
“How are you Detective?” Ba Yama greeted her.
“Just tired, how are you and the family?” Nikiwe asked despite knowing nothing about this mans family. As a matter of fact, no one knew if Ba Yama had a family or not.
“I am fine. I heard you’re dealing with an interesting case.”
Nikiwe st©pped in her tracks and looked at Ba Yama suspiciously.
“It’s a small station detective. People talk,” he laughed nervously.
“So, what do you want from me Ba Yama?”
“I just thought I could be of any help giving my age and experience with certain inexplicable things.”
“I don’t nee-d your help Ba Yama. If I did I would have asked,” She walked away from him. Whilst she walked, she thought about him and how long he’s worked at this station. She doesn’t remember if she found him or he found her. People like him know a lot of things especially those who don’t talk much. They are hubs of secrets. She turned around and called him. “As a matter of fact, I think you can help me with something.”
He flashed a smile at her and asked, “What is that madam?”
“Do you know a former detective by the name of Ch!pande?”
Without hesitation, he answered, “Yes. Old man Ch!pande.”
“Do you know his whereabouts?”
“Yes. Do you have a pen and paper.”
Nikiwe quic-kly reached for her handbag and re-moved a piece of paper and pen and handed them to him. She watched him write down the address as if he had memorized it. Who memorizes someone’s address? Nikiwe asked herself but she just blu-shed it off. He handed the piece of paper to her.
“Thanks Ba Yama.”
“If you want anything plea-se don’t hesitate.”
Nikiwe turned around and entered the office. Her initial plan was to go and ask Ngoma about Ch!pandes whereabouts but since she had gotten it from Ba Yama, there was no nee-d to bother him. She went into the office and found Detective s£nzo sitting all alone busy on his phone. At first, they both acted like they didn’t see each other. Nikiwe sat for a while and started looking for something in her drawers.
Breaking the silence, s£nzo asked, “How’s the case going?”
Nikiwe looked up at him and for the first time, she didn’t see the face of an angry man but a man just asking a question sincerely. “Good,” she responded.
“I heard it’s supernatural.”
“Is that a joke or you’re being serious?”
Detective s£nzo shrugged. “Depends.”
“The detective handling the case. All we hear are just speculations from other officers but haven’t asked you.”
“Then choose what to believe, detective. It’s a free world.”
“So what happens when it happens again this year? It’s been six years alre-ady.”
Nikiwe quic-kly looked at s£nzo. “How do you know that?”
His hands in the air, “People talk, detective. If any consolation, I think this is something beyond everyone.”
She stared at him briefly and carefully studied his facial expression, it was expressionless. “I’m on to something. There has to be a way to st©p this. All I nee-d to find is why it happens. For something to have a source, there has to be an ending.”
“Something’s are better left unt©uçhed. If they don’t affect you, why should you bother?”
“You’re acting like this happened to you.”
“Hell no,” s£nzo answered defensively.
“What were you doing at the prison yesterday?”
“A case, detective. Didn’t I tell you?”
“You did but I think you lied. Were you there to visit someone?”
Detective s£nzo laughed amicably. “You’re an interesting person detective. Of course I was visiting someone. I nee-ded information on a certain case. Wait, Am I being interrogated?”
“When I saw you, your face was very sad. I don’t know you yes but it seemed like you were disappointed in something.”
“I didn’t get what I wanted.”
“Information, detective!” s£nzo was uneasy. He got up. “You’re annoying, no wonder no one works with you,” he left the office.
Nikiwe rested her chin on her left hand as she watched him leave the office. He was hiding something but she just couldn’t point out what but that was none of her concerns. She had to go visit Ch!pande. She got everything re-ady and walked outside. She bu-mped into Ngoma as he was also walking to his car.
“Detective!” He called her.
“Good, sir,” She answered and remembered what Clarence said happened to him the previous day. “Sir, something happened to my husband yesterday.”
Ngoma moved closer. “Everything alright?”
“Yes. My husband said he saw a white envelope which got stuck oñ his windshield.”
“That’s not good. Did he pick it?”
“If he did, would we even be here?”
“That’s good. How far have you gone?”
Ngoma’s eyes wi-de-ned. “You’ve found him?”
“Yes, Is he the one that…?
Before she could finish, he cut her, ”Yes. He is the first man to handle these cases. He followed them with pas-sion. Many notes in that file are duplicates of what he discovered. We called him crazy but he just wanted to prove his wife’s innocence. Unfortunately, she died in prison and he lost it knowing she died a criminal. He gave it all up and went off the grid.”
“But have you found him?”
“How? No one knows where that man is or if he is still alive.”
“Ba Yama gave me the address.”
“How does he know? Never mind. Go and all the best.”
During lunch time at Crest Academy for Kids, every kid was busy pla-ying and running around. The teachers were busy with their chit chats and would look over at the kids once in a while. Whilst the kids were busy pla-ying, a sudden dusty wind blew into the premises. It wasn’t violent but one that raised eye brows from the teachers. Still, this didn’t bother them at all. When they looked at the kids, they were all in good healthy and seemed unbothered at all.
At the far end of the pla-yground near the Wall fence, sat Jackson re-ading his book ‘Alice in Wonderland’. He was so into it when he felt something stuck on his right leg. He looked down and saw a white envelope. Surprised, the boy picked it up and re-ad:
‘DO……. NO….NOT …..OP…..OPEN’
He fli-pped it over and wanted to unseal it when the bell rang.
“Jackson!” Zindaba called him. “Lunch time is over.”
Jackson stood up and put the envelope in between the book and ran to his brother and held his hand.
“I saw you with a white thing in your hands,” Zindaba said whilst looking at his brother. “What is it?”
“Just a paper Zee.”
The boys walked into the corridor and both went separate ways to their clas-srooms. In a few minutes, the corridors were empty. Only distant little voices could be heard from the clas-srooms. Outside, the dust was slowly settling as if saying, it’s done!
To be continued
Do not open episode 11
DO NOT OPEN – Episode 11