I stared at the money for a while, not knowing what to say or what to do.

“What do you think? I can take you shopping tomorrow, and maybe to a beauty spa too”

I swallowed.

“Why are you giving me so much money?”

I looked at him.

“You deserve it, baby. You deserve all the good things that will come your way”

I swallowed again.

“Are you paying me for what happened earlier?”

He nodded proudly.

“There’s more where that came from”

That man. I zipped the bag up.

“So let me get this straight; I complain to you that I didn’t like what you did to me, and you shut me up with a bag full of money?”

“Ah, baby. Its really not like that. I just wanted to do something nice for you”

“Something nice? What about my complaint?”

“Okay. I’m sorry Mandiphumle. I will never do that again. Happy?”

He joked, and laughed out loud. I silently placed the bag at the back, where I took it.

“So, tomorrow we will go shopping for you and the kids. It’s a pity that we can’t take them out yet”

“I can’t go shopping tomorrow”

“Why not?”

“Who is going to look after my kids if I am out shopping?”

He laughed.

“Take them with, I will help you with the other one, while you carry the other”

“No. I am not going shopping tomorrow”

He shrugged his shoulders. My phone rang again. It was Mommy.

“Hello?”

I picked up.

“Honey, where are you? It’s really getting late and we are worried sick”

I am almost there, give me a few minutes”

“Okay, hurry up”

She hung up.

“These people really need to chill. You are not a child”

I ignored him. We got home and he parked outside.

“You should have parked somewhere else, and you know that”

“I’m sorry”

He drove a few houses away from my house.

“There. I parked somewhere else”

“Thanks”

I opened the door.

“Take the money”

“I don’t want it”

He grabbed my hand, and I turned to look at him.

“Take the money”

His voice was authoritative. I took the bag and stepped out of the car.

“I love you”

He shouted.

“Go to hell”

I whispered as I walked away. As I walked towards the house, I was trying my utmost best to fix my facial expression and get my emotions in place. I had a long day from hell, smiling and acting like all was well, was really going to be a mission. I kept clearing my throat, wiping my face with both hands. I was a mess, and keeping it together was not going to be a walk in the park. I walked in. Unfortunately for me, everyone was gathered in the living room, watching TV. Mommy was holding Uyinkwenkwezi, while Thoko was holding Uyingelosi. I walked in and greeted, trying to sound jolly.

“Where have you been? We were worried sick bout you”

Daddy asked. I looked at him and smiled. ‘

“I was with Phila, and we lost track of time”

I explained.

“What’s in the bag?”

Mommy asked. Couldn’t those people wait till I sit down and get settled, before grilling me with questions? Damn.

“Oh, its just Phila’s clothes. She thinks they would fit me well”

I replied.

“Oh wow, can I see?”

Thoko excitedly asked. My mouth hung open.

“Sit down”

Mommy suggested, seeing that I froze by the door. I quickly sat down and placed the bag on my lap.

“Can I see the clothes?”

Thoko insisted.

“No, not yet. I still have to look at them properly first”

She nodded.

“I see”

She sounded rather disappointed.

“Uhm, how were the twins?”

I asked, stretching my arms to take Uyingelosi from Thoko. She handed her to me.

“They were angels. They minded their own business and allowed me to mind my own. Uyinkwenkwezi slept more than his sister”

Mommy explained. I kissed Uyingelosi’s cheek. She was so bubbly, waving her arms in the air and making cute baby convos.

“Uyingelosi is not really friends with sleep”

“She sleeps better at night, unlike her brother who wails the whole night”

Mommy responded.

“You should keep him from sleeping during the day. That boy cries like the world is coming to an end”

We laughed. I handed Uyingelosi to Thoko again, and got up, taking Uyinkwenkwezi from Mommy.

“Yes, Mandy you should try and get them used to their routine”

I nodded as I kissed Uyinkwenkwezi’s cheek. He was staring at me, like he was about to ask “do I know you?”. I smiled to myself and kissed him some more. My phone rang, it was Bazukile. I quickly put the call on silent and carried on like nothing happened. He called again, but I ignored him.

“Mandy, we were thinking. The twins need to be baptized”

Daddy said. Really? What a perfect timing. I silently sighed in defeat.

“Uhm, I am sorry, but I am really tired. Can I go and take a quick shower? We will talk some more over dinner”

I handed Uyinkwenkwezi to Mommy and rushed out, carrying the damn bag. I got to my room, closed the door and cried my heart out. I sat on the floor, with my back against the door. I cried so much. Images of what happened that morning were replaying in my mind. My spirit was torn apart, but I kept my eyes closed, so I could see the images. I thought I would get used to see a dead body in my head, but that killed me some more. My phone rang again, it was still Bazukile.

“Hello”

I picked up, as messy as my voice sounded.

“Baby, are you okay? You sound like you’ve been crying”

I sniffed.

“I’m fine”

“Are you sure? You know you can talk to me about anything”

Wow. How about I talk to him about how much of a jerk he was?

“I said I am fine, Bazukile”

I replied.

“Okay. So, are we on for tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow is Sunday. I have to go to church with my family”

“Oh, yes. Plus, you’re the pastor’s kid and all. I understand, my love”

“Thanks for understanding”

I sniffed again because tears just wouldn’t stop pouring out. I hated my life.

“Baby, don’t forget to keep it together. Okay? We don’t want anyone to notice that something is going on with you”

“Okay”

I replied coldly.

“You will be fine. I promise you. With time, you will be back to normal”

I didn’t even know what it meant to be normal.

“Okay”

I replied again.

“Take care, I will call you again before I sleep. Oh and, I am really sorry for what I did earlier. I would never rape you, baby. You mean the world to me and I respect you”

“Its okay”

I brushed him off.

“Okay, bye. We’ll talk later”

He hung up. I continued crying. There was no way I was going to live my life in fear of being haunted by souls. I am not a murderer. I just never had it in me. Yes, I begged Malusi not to kill me, because I thought I needed to be with my kids. In honesty, my kids are better off without me as their mother. I was worthless. I helped two monsters to sell someone’s body parts and I helped them bury the remains. What kind of sick monster was I turning into? I got up and went to the bathroom. I needed something that I could use to put an end to my miserable life. Pills, razors, anything. I needed to be rescued from the misery, with the hope that life would be a lot better on the other side…