​She pulled over to the side, and switched the car off. The kids were fast asleep at the back. She silently looked at me, waiting for me to start talking. I cleared my throat.

“Uhm, what I’m about to tell you is a deep, dark secret. I know I shouldn’t be telling you such things, because you are a Christian and everything, but I need to tell someone and I can’t think of anyone else to tell”

She still remained silent, still looking at me. I cleared my throat again.

“A while back, I went to visit Bazukile, on a Saturday morning. When I got there, his friend was driving off, and he seemed really shocked to see me there. He tried stopping me from entering, but I insisted”

I’m sure she thought I was about to tell her about Bazukile’s cheating, or anything related to that. The way she looked at me gave it all away.

“When I got to Bazukile’s room, there was a woman on his bed, covered in blood. There was so much blood, all over his bed and floor”

Her eyes popped out. Tears rolled down her cheeks as I got into all those details about how I was forced to be strong and act like nothing was going on. I explained how I tried to commit suicide, to escape from the hell I was living. Also, I told her why I nearly got married to a man who only wanted to marry me just to protect his business. It was the first time that I ever talked about it, and it killed me inside. I could not believe how strong I was to put up with all that. I was not crying because I was hurting anymore, I was crying because I owed myself an apology, for putting myself through all of that. I was angry at myself because I exposed myself to emotional abuse for so long. I lost myself in the process of always trying to please everyone around me, and not taking care of my own heart. I was not just angry at myself, I was mad. By the time I finished talking, words were already failing me. My voice was giving up on me as well.

“Mandy, this is .. wow.. I don’t know what to say.. my goodness”

She sniffed. I was looking down, fiddling with my fingers.

“We have to call the cops”

She suggested.

“No”

I looked at her.

“We can’t call the cops, those people will kill us”

“So you want them to get away with murdering innocent girls?”

‘Mommy, I am not telling you this because I want you to do anything about Bazukile’s operation. I am telling you all this because I know that breaking up with him is dangerous, and he might get me killed. I just wanted at least one person to know the truth”

“They might kill you???”

She freaked out..

“Yes, because they fear that I might call the cops on them. I am not safe anymore”

I looked down again.

“Mandy, what are we going to do?”

“The worst part is that they threatened to kill my whole family. I really don’t know what to do”

“The whole family??? So we are all not safe?? Let me call Daddy, or let me rush home”

She took her phone and dialed Daddy’s number, while stating the car at the same time.

“Mommy, please calm down. You can’t drive in this state”

“We are not safe, you just said so yourself. What if he is following us?”

She sped off.

“Where are you?”

She asked, talking on the phone.

“Please go home, we need to talk. I can’t talk about it now, please meet me at home”

She hung up.

“What are you going to tell him?”

I asked. I knew Daddy would kick me out, to deal with this problem on my own.

“The truth. I will tell him the truth”

“He will kick me out, and you know it”

“So you would rather keep quiet and patiently wait for Bazukile’s attack? Well, I can’t. Something needs to be done to prevent this from happening. We need to be protected”

“But daddy would not be involved in this, Mommy and you know it”

“Daddy is not a monster. He would never throw you out while your life is in danger like this. We need to sit down as a family and discuss this”

The family, wow! So she wanted to get the annoying family members involved too. Great!

“This is really not what I had in mind”

I softly said, letting words slip through layers of disappointment.

“Mandiphumle, what do you suggest we do? Let me hear what your great plan”

I sensed sarcasm in her statement, but I didn’t want to let it get to me.

“I don’t have a plan, but I just don’t want to get everyone involved”

“Well, it’s too late for that. We can’t solve this problem on our own, it’s very dangerous”

“They will judge me”

“Being judged is better than being killed. You have babies here, babies who need their mother”

I sighed.

“What do we tell them then?”

“The truth. They will know how to protect the family from this. They were designed to solve such problems”

I nodded.

“I hear you”

“This is far worse than I imagined. No wonder you were acting like that, your heart is suffocating from all this satanic business that you are in”

“I don’t remember the last time I spent at least one minute a day, just to think about something else. This is all I’m thinking about. This thing is killing me, its eating me up inside. There are times when I even struggle to breathe, like this thing is strangling me”

Tears were rolling down my cheeks and my voice was shaky.

“Let it all out. I know talking about it won’t be easy, but I want you to know that I will always be here, whenever you need to talk about this. I won’t get tired of listening to it, until you are able to talk about it and not cry”

I nodded, sniffing. We were both crying our heart outs, while she was still flying off the streets. We got home. She made sure the gates were locked and we rushed inside. She locked all doors and closed the living room windows.

“Mom, are you okay?”

Trevor asked. Mommy turned to look at him.

“I’m fine”

She squeezed a smile through the thick foundation of sadness.

“You seem a little jumpy. What’s going on? Were you guys crying?”

He looked at me. I looked away.

“Let me go and put the kids to bed”

I said.

“I’ll help you”

Mommy and I rushed up the stairs, carrying the kids to my room. We got there and she closed the door behind us.

“Mommy, please calm down”

I put Uyingelosi to bed and Mommy did the same with Uyinkwenkwezi.

“I can’t calm down. We are not safe here. What if that monster attacks us? Where is Daddy? He was supposed to be here by now”

She rushed off. As I was also getting into bed, someone knocked on my door.

“Come in!”

I yelled. My door swung open and Trevor walked in.

“Mandy, what is going on?”

I looked away.

“Nothing is going on. Why are you asking?”

“No, something is wrong here. Mom is freaking out, snapping at Dad for not being home. Mom has never had a problem with Dad not being home. What is going on?”

“Trevor, please. The kids are asleep and I don’t want to wake them up”

“Then just tell me the truth. What is going on? Why is Mommy so jumpy?”

“Why don’t you just ask her?”

“You know she won’t tell me anything”

As Trevor and I were still talking, Mommy walked into my room.

“Mandy, we would like to have a word with you”

She said. I jumped off the bed.

“Mom, what’s going on?”

“Not now, Trevor”

She walked out.

“Whoa! Why is she being rude to me? I just want to know what is going”

“Really, please just back off a little. We will tell you everything when the time is right”

I wore my shoes and walked out. In the living room, Mommy and Daddy were sitting in silence. I greeted, and Daddy greeted back. I sat down, looking down.

“Mandy, I have told Daddy everything, he is as shocked as I am”

She announced.

“I’m really sorry for dragging you into this. I really didn’t mean to. This was really not part of the plan, I found myself involved in this, and I had no way out”

“How many people were killed in your presence?”

Daddy asked.

“Nobody was ever killed in my presence. I just got there to clean up after they are done”

I looked at him.

How many times did you clean up after them?”

I lost count, because I didn’t want to register it in my mind. The only time I remembered vividly was the time I was cleaning my own mother’s blood after she was murdered by uncle Thabo. I didn’t program my mind to keep count of how many times I did it for Bazukile.

My phone rang, it was Bazukile. I had an internal debate on whether to pick up or not.

“It’s him”

I announced.

“Pick up”

Daddy suggested.

“Hello”

I picked up.

“I’m giving you one last chance to make up your mind. Make sure you are ready for the consequences of your response”…