“Mandy, please don’t do this”

He grabbed my hand and stopped me from walking in.

“Malusi, let go of me”

“Please, don’t go in”

“Yeah, but why?”

I impatiently shrugged my shoulders.

“Because..”

He looked down.

“Arg!”

I snatched my hand away from his.

“Let go of me”

I walked away. I didn’t hear his footsteps behind me, which meant that he gave up on stopping me. I got in and rushed to his room. Without knocking, I walked in. That image would never be erased from my mind, ever again. There was a body of a woman, on his bed, covered in so much blood. There was so much blood everywhere. I froze as I stood by the door, looking at the body. I dropped the shopping bag I was carrying, on the floor. There was no way that the woman was still alive, the way she was lying on that bed and her throat cut open. Bazukile was pacing up and down, talking on the phone. He looked up and saw me, struggling out of the embrace of shock. 

“Baby?”

He removed the phone from his ear. When he walked up to me, I turned and ran off. I was shaking, I was crying, I was so shocked. I couldn’t even breathe. 

“Mandy!! Mandy!”

He shouted behind me as I ran off. Malusi appeared from in front of me and caught me. 

“Let go of me, let go!”

I screamed, struggling out of his arms. 

“I told you not to go in there, Mandy you don’t listen”

Malusi said, trying to calm me down. Bazukile caught up with us. 

“Baby”

He tried to hold me, but I backed away.

“Don’t! Don’t touch me”

“Please Mandiphumle, hear me out”

“You killed someone, what’s there to hear out?”

“I told you not to go in there”

Malusi interrupted.

“Shut up”

I pointed at him.

“Bro, can I please have a word with her in private?”

“Sure, but you should know that I tried stopping her from going in there, but she was just too stubborn”

“Its okay, don’t worry”

Bazukile replied. I could sense a lot of fear and shock in his voice too. 

“I’ll be in the next room if you need me”

Malusi walked away. I was still in a state. I was even fearing for my life.

“Baby, please listen. I want to tell you what happened”

I knew freaking out and not listening might anger him, and have him killing me too. I didn’t know what that woman did to deserve to be slaughtered like a goat, so I didn’t want to take any chances. I had children to get back home too, so I had to remain calm and listen. He held my hand, and I could feel my whole body zoning into an electric shock. 

“Please don’t be afraid, I promise I won’t hurt you. I just want us to talk”

My only focus was remaining calm, so he could let me go. He was all sweaty and sticky, looking like he hadn’t slept a wink. He sat on the wooden floor, on the passage, and asked me to sit down too. I sat down and rested my chin on my knees, tightly holding my legs. 

“I know what you just saw is a horrible sight. I understand your reaction, but I just want you to hear me out”

I stared into the open space.

“I don’t know where to begin, but I want to tell you everything”

Still, I remained silent. 

“Mandiphumle, I.. I … Oh gosh!”

He paused to catch his breath.

“I’m really sorry you had to see that. Its traumatic, I know and I hate to be the one who brings you trauma, especially after everything you have been through in your life”

A tear escaped my eye. 

“Mandy, let me tell you everything, from the very beginning”

I sat there, wishing he would just get to the damn point.

“It all started when I was doing my final year at varsity. Malusi and I were out clubbing with a couple of friends. On our way back to our res, we saw a guy, murdering a woman just a walking distance away from the club. We ran up to them, to save the woman and to obviously hurt the bastard. When we got there, she was already… she was already late. Out of fear and shock, the guy offered us money to shut us up. He offered us a million rand. We didn’t think he meant it, until he told us that he sells women and children’s bodies for a living. He showed us the car he was driving and pictures of his mansion. We debated amongst ourselves whether to go to the police or just take the money and leave. Esona and her girlfriend at the time refused to be a part of our decision, because they were women and they hated to believe that we were even considering covering up such a crime. We took the money and split it amongst ourselves, but that man offered us jobs. He wanted us to help him hunt women and children down, because they wanted to make Muti out of their bodies”

I looked at him in disbelief.

“The money was good. We bought ourselves cars, we renovated our homes and bought ourselves houses. We were living our dream lives, at a very young age. We didn’t finish school, because we saw no need. What made it easy for us to do this was the fact that we didn’t do it often. We do it once in a period of six to seven months”

And he thought that made me feel better.

“So Mandiphumle, that’s what I do for a living. That’s why I have so much time in my hands, because my money comes from this, and it is enough to sustain me for months, until the next job”

Job. He was called it a job. Killing innocent women and children was a job to him. What kind of a monster was he? I felt like I didn’t know him, at all. He was something very different from the person I fell inlove with. 

“I’m sorry you had to find out this way. I swear to you, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I have always wanted to find a better way to tell you this, but you were too fragile to take this all in. I knew this would kill you, I knew it would kill us. Mandy I love you. I have never loved anyone the way I love you. Please, don’t let this break us up. I can’t imagine my life without you. I promise you, you will never, ever see this again. I will make sure that you never see any of this again. I am sorry you saw it, it was never part of the plan. Yes, I wanted you to know, but I didn’t want you to find out this way. Please baby, don’t walk out on me because of this. I am still Bazukile, the man you love with all your heart. I’m still your Bazu, your man, your friend, your everything”

He gently rubbed my shoulder, and I fell deeper into shock.