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Color Blind – Heartbreaking romantic suspense about unrequited love – book 10 now available on Amazon!

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Tell the truth and spend 5 years behind bars for love, or lie that that you don’t know him and secure your freedom within minutes? What? You love him? He’s your soul mate? Yeah, yeah, yeah, but hey, we’re talking serious jail  time for you here. Which would you choose? Be honest now.  

She was the face of racism, the daughter of an evangelist hellbent on segregation among the population. No one knew her secret – she was in love with the grandson of an African servant.

Since their love is considered illegal, soulmates Sarie Vorster and Shabba Mxenge have no choice but to love each other in secret. Either that, or face imprisonment under the laws of apartheid. However, one night, the police kick down their door and arrest both of them for contravening the Immorality Act, which prohibits sexual relations between the white population and people of color. Sarie faces five years imprisonment, while Shabba faces ten years. When Sarie’s father, Pastor Schoeman Vorster learns about Sarie’s arrest, he is horrified – how does he face his congregation, his supporters, his peers who are staunch crusaders of racial segregation? To save his family’s reputation, the influential Pastor goes into damage control and comes up with a foolproof plan, one that has been used time and time again with great success – Sarie must simply state that Shabba has raped her. That he targeted her because of her stance against apartheid, kidnapped, then raped her. If she does, she will be free within hours to return to her over-privileged lifestyle, and most importantly, Pastor Schoeman and his family will save face among their apartheid-loving church. Who cares that Shabba would then face more 20 years in prison? Sarie does. As much as she longs for her freedom, much to the ire of her father, she refuses to lie. She states that she would rather do time, than betray the man she has loved since childhood. The pastor is furious at her and launches into plan B – together with a band of racist wardens, the man of God engineers situations in prison to systemically break his ‘rebellious’ daughter and force her to lie. Life in prison becomes a nightmare for Sarie. Time and time again, she finds herself at breaking point.

The question is; how long can the teenager be strong for love, for the man she pledged to love forever? Will she eventually cave and lie to secure her freedom?

Color Blind books 1-10 are now live on Amazon! 

0.99 cents for a limited time! Also avail on Kindle Unlimited

Praise for Color Blind:
“The style of writing this author uses is unique to every other writer out there. The humour is funnier than comedy and the horror is tear-jerking. I read this in less than a day.” “Read this book in one night! Great read and couldn’t put it down!” ‘Fast-paced, raw and entertaining with moments of unexpected humor, this book will have you staying up late into the late.’

‘Clear your calendar this weekend – Eve Rabi has a new tale and it’s kick**s as usual!’

‘OMG, Eve! Just when I think your writing can’t get any better, you surpass yourself! I am biting my nails, wondering what will happen next!’

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ColorBlind – A heartbreaking romantic suspense book by Eve Rabi – Excerpt 6

COMING SOON!

Apartheid: noun, historical, a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. 

Decades before Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, the country was rigorously governed by various pro-apartheid acts, including the Immorality Act, where sex between white and other ethnic groups was a criminal offence. Both parties contravening the Immorality Act would be imprisoned for up to ten years.
Under that law, Shabba and Sarie’s love was declared a crime and both of them were imprisoned. Now, one of them must risk all to save the other. A heartwarming tale of love, loss, redemption and … revenge!

EXCERPT 6

If you haven’t read the first FIVE excerpts in this series, please click on the link below:
https://everabi.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/colorblind-a-romantic-suspense-book-by-everabi/

(NB: This is a raw excerpt, not yet professionally edited, so please overlook any errors in this piece)

The story continues …

Cape Town
1972

SARIE 

The puppies were just gorgeous, and they thrived with the love and attention everyone on my parent’s property gave them. Well, by that, I mean they thrived on the love the servants gave them. My mother and father ignored the puppies. Why? Well, think about it – if they ignored their own daughter, their own flesh and blood, how can we expect them to love dogs? To love animals? It was too much to ask of them.

Anyway, they grew up to be great watchdogs, growling menacingly at any stranger or car approaching our property, snarling at anyone they didn’t know. The slightest sound, and they were on their feet, ears pricked, ready to charge. They were so alert, so scary, so good at guarding our property, we no longer needed to lock our doors.

There was intense love between Shabba and the dogs. When he walked, they walked, when he sat, they sat. They woke him up in the morning, by entering his room and literally pulling the blanket off him, then followed him everywhere, until the sun set and he went back to bed. Whenever he climbed into the treehouse, they would sit at the bottom of the tree for hours patiently waiting for him to come down. When he climbed down, they would once again shadow him.
Baba loved the dogs and spent hours cooking them special food on an open fire for their growing bones, which the dogs devoured in seconds, then looked at him with eyes that said, This is it? Seriously?
Life was good for me, I had no complaints. I mean, I had a lot going for me – I had Shabba, who was my best friend, Baba, Mama, Katrina, Fendi and all the servants who loved me. I had a real-life doll called Poppie, who could now dance and clap and blink her eyes and give me smiles that lit up my day. I had four puppies who could fetch sticks, roll over and play dead, and make me laugh with delight. So, with so much love around me, so much joy I received from everyone and everything around me, I didn’t miss the love of my mother and father. Well, only when I saw other children being openly adored by their mothers and fathers in public, would I miss their love. Then, I would grow quiet and wishful – if only my parents loved me that much.  If only …

One day, my mother appeared excited – a TV show had decided to film a documentary titled, At Home with the Vorsters. “The place must look sharp, ay?” my mother said, as she brought out her tiara and lovingly wiped it down for the filming.
So, every servant on the property was put to work, to make the house sparkle for the photoshoot. They started off by hiding the cases and cases of vodka my mother purchased in bulk – had to keep the pastor’s wife’s secret safe.
My mother’s entire family was over for the shoot – my grandma or Ouma Jan, my mother’s sisters, Hestrie and Elzette, together with their husbands and children, my mother’s two brothers Willie and Nieman, their wives Sourcie and Peggy, and their children.
It was no secret that my mother hated her sisters-in-law Sourcie and Peggy and constantly complained about them – “They just jealous ‘cause I marry bucks, and they got bugger all!” I had an inkling the feeling was mutual, so, I wondered why they had been invited.
It was no secret that my mother hated her sisters Hestrie and Elzette too, and constantly complained about them – “They just jealous because I got a rich man and they got fok all! Good, let them come see how wonderful my life is, and let them cut and burn!” she said, as she brought out her beauty queen sash from almost nine years ago, and handed it to Katrina for ironing.
All of my father’s children from his previous marriage were also invited, and they all showed up in their finery, sparkling like my mother’s crystal glasses. Also invited was Torit, my father’s ex-wife, the wife of my father’s youth, the woman my mother stole him from. Of course, my mother and Torit hated each other, but I do believe that my father, the pastor, had Torit over to subtly show the world that he continued to have a harmonious life with his ex-wife and children. It was a case of – If my wife forgives me for cheating on her and dumping her for a woman thirty years my junior, then you should too.
The cameras followed my mother around inside the house, clicking away in different locations to show off the house. It was a pleasant summer’s day, so lunch was served on our oversized patio. Katrina, Mama Tsela and another servant named Margaret served lunch to our guests, while Baba served drinks. On a blanket on the grass nearby, Poppie played with some of my toys, while Fendi and Shabba watched over her.
Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Mo were at hand, looking magnificent, because Baba and Shabba had bathe them earlier that morning, and brushed their coats till they shone.
That day, my mother, for some reason, did not have any migraine medicine. She just drank water with lemon and ice. Around twenty-five by then, she looked really lovely in a flowing peach caftan and her signature accessory – a crown of miniature flowers on her head, lest we forget that she was once Miss Boksburg. I assumed that my father ordered her not to wear her tiara and sash, so she rebelled with a crown of flowers on her hair.
My parents put on quite a show for the cameras. They sat at the lunch table, holding hands and even kissing lovingly at times. I rarely saw them this close, this affectionate, so I stared at them with a confused look on my face. In fact, everyone at the lunch table stared at the happy couple.
“Schoeman, he say he want us to renew our wedding vows,” my mother boasted. “I tell him ‘Ja, but only if we do it on the beach.’” She looked up at my father for confirmation.
“Okay, my darling,” my father said with a smile.
“A beach wedding with all the trimmings and watnot.”
“Okay, sweetie!”
“With Ge’ Korsten singing for us?”
“Of course, lovie,” my father said, before he leaned in and kissed her coral lips.
While they kissed, there was a lot of eye rolling that went on between not just my mother’s sisters-in-laws, but also between her own sisters, Torit and her six children. I felt left out because I also wanted to roll my eyes, but I wasn’t sure at what point to do so.
“My rock must be bigger than this one, ay?”
“Liefie, of course! Anything for my poppie.”
At the mention of her name, Poppie, who had been crawling on a blanket on the grass, looking as sweet as ever, with Fendi and Shabba hovering nearby to stop her from wandering too far off the blanket, let out a loud gurgle.
“You’ve got to see this baby,” I said to my cousins. “She’s so cute. She’s got hair the color of Ouma’s furniture.”
“Hai, my furniture is noggal Imbuia!” Ouma snapped, before she craned her neck to look at Poppie’s hair.
Soon, everyone was straining to see Poppie, who had hair the color of Ouma’s furniture.
So, together with my cousins Jessie and Alettie, I ran over to Poppie.
“Watch this,” I said. “Clap for me, Poppie.”
Poppie clapped and we hollered with delight.
“Hey, that’s my name!” my mother yelled from the patio.
The adults on the patio smiled at Poppie cuteness.
“Gosh, Sarie,” my mother said, “I can’t believe you used to be so small. You were so cute then. Time flies, ay?”
I was cute then. I wanted to be cute now.
“Ja, Ma,” I said, “but how come I didn’t get pa’s birthmark and Poppie did? It’s not fair, Ma. I want to be blessed with the stamp of my country on my face too!” I began to trace the birthmark on Poppie’s face. “The shape of Africa …”
“Lemme see, lemmee see,” Alettie said, as she peered at it. “Ja, it’s the same shape as your Pa’s, ay?”
“She’s got the same color eyes as your Pa, too,” Jessie remarked.
“Let me see.” I said, holding onto Poppie’s squirming head. “Ja, she has!” I looked at my father, “Pa, did you …”
I stopped when I saw the look on the adult’s faces.  All of them sat rigid with their eyes the size of saucers. The cameras continued rolling and clicking capturing everything.
I looked at my mother. She sat with her lips pressed together, her nostrils flaring, her eyes narrow. I looked at my father. He had sunk low in his seat, his face the color of the beetroot salad on the table.
“What?” I said to my mother.
She didn’t answer.
I looked at Ouma. She was staring at Poppie, her hands on her chest, her false teeth out of alignment and hanging as loose as her jaw.
“What?” I asked.
No answer from her either.
I looked at Katrina who had been serving food. She stood frozen, a look of abject terror on her face.
“What?” I asked again, suddenly very fearful.
“I got me one too,” Katrina piped up in a shrill voice. “Look! Poppie got it from me. Look!” She moved aside her scarf to reveal a birthmark – the shape of South Africa above her left eyebrow, the one Agnes made her cover with the scarf. The one Agnes insisted Katrina painted clay over each time she left the servants quarters.
That gesture of Katrina’s, intended to add salve to the situation, only served to worsen the  situation. My Ouma started to breathe loudly, causing my aunts to jump to their feet and fan her. My mother’s brothers sat with dazed expressions on their faces. My mother’s sisters-in-law, they handled the situation differently – they clicked champagne glasses with each other, then drank up.
Torit and her children – how did they handle the situation? Well, how do you think they did? I mean, considering that Magda had stolen their husband and father, destroyed their home and lived happily ever after with a golden-haired child? They were unmistakably smug. All of them.
My mother kicked back her chair, got up and storm off into the house. My father, the esteemed Pastor Schoeman Vorster, now flaming red in the face from being busted for rape and incest, stammered and stuttered under the glares and stares of disapproval.
Suddenly, we heard the sound of breaking glass inside the house. I was ready to run into the house, when my father said, “Stay here!” and rushed into the house, ditching his shocked guests and equally shocked cameramen.
Ignoring the sniggers and high-fives between my half-siblings and their mother, I hovered around the entrance to the house, dying to see what was taking place inside.
Unable to stand Torit and her happy children, Ouma stood up and in a terse voice, instructed her family to leave, muttering something about giving the young couple some privacy. My mother’s family rose from their seats and left, but not before each adult family member helped themselves to bottles of alcohol, and almost all the remaining food on the table. By the time they left, their bags were bulging with food and alcohol. The servants did not have much to clear that day, because my mother’s family took care of that.
Torit and her brood also left, seeming in unusually high spirits.
Of course, too curious to listen to my father to stay where I was, I crept over to their bedroom and found my mother glaring at my father, the empty vodka bottle in her hand suspended in mid-air, ready to strike. Nearby, shards of broken glass from the mirror on her dressing table lay on the floor.
“Magda …” My father uttered just one word, however it was enough to hear the terror in his voice.
I watched him rush to shut the door, after which, I heard the sounds of muffled voices, the sound of furniture being moved around, yelps,
then silence.
The next morning, my mother emerged from her room in a black silk gown, black slippers and a black eye. Sensing she was in a foul mood, I said nothing.
When my father emerged from the room, he sported terrible scratch marks on his face, neck and arms. Of course, I pretended not to notice, even though I missed nothing. Has to do with Poppie, I thought.
Days later, I awoke to the sound of anguished wails. I hurried to the kitchen to find Katrina on her knees before my mother. “Please Mevrou, please don’t send her ’way!” Katrina begged. “Please!”
“No, Katrina! She makes too much nose. I need her gone, or you will have to go too.” My mother began to walk away.
Katrina ran after her, tears streaming down her face. “Please, Mevrou, please!”
“She’s a very nice woman okay? They can’t have a baby, so she will treat Poppie like her own. She is happy to take Poppie because she has a little bit straight hair, so be grateful, okay?”
Katrina dropped to the floor and grabbed my mother’s knees. “Please, mevrou! I beg you. I will do anything! Please!”
My mother shrugged her off and walked away with her bottle of migraine medicine. Horrified at what I was hearing, I ran after my mother. “What are you doing, Ma? Why are you sending Poppie away?”
“Shut your mouth, Sarie! Don’t stick your nose into big people’s affairs. How many times must I tell –
“But Ma –”
My mother’s hand lashed out and connected sharply with my cheek. “Shut up, Sarie!”
Despite being hit, I continued to fight for Katrina. “You can’t do that to Poppie! To Katrina! You can’t! you can’t! You CAN’T!”
This time I got the back of my mother’s hand which sent me staggering.
With a determined look on her face, my mother walked to her room. Katrina ran after her, begging her to change her mind. My mother, deaf to my pleas, entered her room and shut the door behind her. Katrina fell to her knees and sobbed outside my mother’s bedroom door, begging my mother to open the door, to let her keep Poppie, begging her to reconsider. My mother’s door remained locked.
Margaret and Mama Tsela picked up a limp Katrina and almost carried her to the servant’s quarters.
The next day, a white couple from a neighboring farm turned up at my mother’s house with an envelope for my mother. After which, they began to pull Poppie out of Katrina’s arms.
I became terribly upset and started to cry. “Where are they taking her?” I wailed to Mama Tsela.
“To their home,” she whispered, before she wiped tears from her eyes with her apron.
“Why do they want our baby?” I demanded. “We can take care of Poppie. Tell them to go. Tell them to go now!”
Mama Tsela put her finger on her lip, a helpless look on her face. I looked at Katrina, who was sobbing hysterically.
“Tikki and I gonna to take good care of her,” the woman whispered to Katrina. “We gonna love her like our own baby, ay?”
“You said I could s … see her over weekends, right?” Katrina asked through her tears.
“Ja, ja,” Tikki said, then looked at his wife, “Charne?”
“Ja, ja, ja!” Charne said.
While Katrina sobbed, the woman removed all Poppie’s clothes, and dressed her in the new clothes they had brought along.
Mama Tsela brought out a bag for Poppies old clothes. She placed the items of clothing into the bag and handed it to the man. He reached to accept it, when Charne screeched, “Nee, Tikki!” She looked at Mama Tsela. “Keep that for the other poor children.”
Mama Tsela nodded and hugged the bag to her chest. Katrina took the bag of Poppie’s clothing from Mama Tsela and held onto it.
I looked at Baba lurking in the background. Everything about him sagged – his shoulders, his jowls, his mouth … I looked around me – everyone was crying. Except my mother. She stood in the background with a mug in her hand, her eyes fixed on Katrina. In hindsight, I do believe that she had enjoyed seeing Katrina lose Poppie. She had been humiliated in front of our family by the discovery that Poppie had been sired by her straying husband, and for that, someone had to pay – Katrina.
A strange feeling flitted over me. Hatred. I felt hatred for my mother. As a child you are not born with hating; it is instilled in you by people, painful circumstances experiences and hurt. I was hurt, angry and terribly ashamed that my mother could be so cruel and heartless. She had a child; she should have known better. I began to despise my mother for sending Poppie away.
As Tikki and Charne drove off with our Poppie, Katrina ran after the car sobbing. She ran until the taillights of the car disappeared from view, then fell to the ground and sobbed. Baba tried to pick her up, but it was as if all the bones in her body had liquified, she kept flopping onto the ground. He eventually stepped back. It broke my little heart to see her so broken. I lay with her on the floor, my arms around her, weeping with her. Mama Tsela, Margaret and Fendi joined us. Together, we all lay on the floor weeping with Katrina over the loss of our beloved Poppie, the bones in all our bodies equally liquid. The day Poppie was stolen from us, I learned how about hate, how to despise, and what the meaning of helpless was.

End of Excerpt from ColorBlind – Coming Soon!

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ColorBlind – A heartbreaking romantic suspense book by Eve Rabi – Excerpt 4

Apartheid: noun, historical, a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. 

Decades before Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, the country was rigorously governed by various pro-apartheid acts, including the Immorality Act, where sex between white and other ethnic groups was a criminal offence. Both parties contravening the Immorality Act would be imprisoned for up to ten years.
Under that law, Shabba and Sarie’s love was declared a crime and both of them were imprisoned. Now, one of them must risk all to save the other. A heartwarming tale of love, loss, redemption and … revenge!

EXCERPT 4

If you haven’t read the first THREE excerpts in this series, please click on the link below:
https://everabi.wordpress.com/2019/04/18/colorblind-a-romantic-suspense-book-by-everabi/

(NB: This is a raw excerpt, not yet professionally edited, so please overlook any errors in this piece)

The story continues …

Cape Town
1968

SARIE

From that day on, every Sunday, Shabba and I would wait for my mother’s migraine medicine to kick in, before we would creep into my house, overdose on ice cream, enter the vault, play with the guns, and steal wads of cash and hide it in the garden. This went on for months, and I have to admit, not once did Shabba or I consider the congregation members of Die Goed Afrikaner Kerk, who gave their hard-earned money to build a whites-only city/state/suburb/Garden to keep out black people and preserve the white race. We were that inconsiderate.
One day, Shabba and I overheard the adults talking about a robbery. Some thieves had made an imprint of a store key on a bar of soap, and then cut out a spare key using the soap imprint.

Shabba turned to me and whispered, “We should do that.”
The next thing I know – I was in front of a locksmith with a bar of soap bearing an imprint of the vault key.

“For my Pa,” I said, trying not to sound like a six-year-old.

I realize now that Cornelius, the man behind the counter should have questioned me about it, refused to cut a key, called my father, called the police even. He didn’t. I was Pastor Schoeman’s daughter, the one who sang inflammatory songs at their church every Sunday; I could do no wrong. So, Cornelius cut me a set of keys for the vault containing money, jewelry, guns and ammunition.

When I got home, I handed Shabba a key. He nodded and pocketed it, as if it was expected, as if getting a key to the vault was just one of those things. In hindsight, Shabba was a skelm (rascal), as Katrina pointed out. In the short time I knew him, he had me stealing money and cutting keys to my father’s vault. It was such fun. He was such fun!

Shabba and I became inseparable. We played together after I returned from school, but whenever Boy drove me to my extracurricular activities and lessons – piano, ballet, shooting, math, modelling, violin, jazz dancing, swimming, tennis, French, voice coaching and singing lessons, Shabba sat in the car with Boy and waited for me. When I returned home, I would teach him all that I had learned, including my ballet moves. He would follow my lead and plié in a pair of my mother’s tights – he was that good a sport.

“I look stupid,” he once complained, as he pulled on a pair of pantyhose.

“Nonsense!” I said, “You look nice, just like Robbin Hood looks in tights. Now plié!”
The shooting lessons? Yes, we all at our church were required to learn how to shoot. I could fire a revolver at the age of three. I could load the rounds, empty the spent cartridges and many times, as young as I was, I hit bullseye. Learning to shoot and gun safety was in preparation for a war that was imminent – the war where the black man was coming to rip our land off us, rape our women and put us out on the street. At church we did not talk about Armageddon, we talked about the day when the black man would strike and make our daughter his wife by force. We would eventually lose our blue and green eyes, our golden hair, because the black man would taint our bloodline. (I wasn’t sure about the colored man or the Indian man, and what their motives were, because their objectives weren’t covered much at church, for some reason.) Now, when you hear such things as a child, you don’t question anything, you just aim, picture a black man in your line of vision, a scary savage, and shoot. I was born a racist, proud to be one and would have probably died a racist, despite my firm friendship with Shabba and my love for Boy and Mama Tsela. To me, they weren’t black, they were my friends. There was a difference, wasn’t there?

At one end of our property, was a makeshift shooting range, which my brothers would often practice at after a few beers. By few beers, I mean two or three cases. So, whenever we were bored, Shabba and I entered the vault, stole revolvers and pistols, ran over to our personal shooting range (we ran with loaded firearms), and fired our weapons. No earmuffs and no adult supervision. If you flinch at the thought of a six and a seven-year-old firing weapons without any adult supervision, you should. If you flinch at the thought of six and seven-year-old firing weapons period, you should. But … such was life then.
I thought Shabba all he knew about different firearms, how to load them, check the safety catches, what stance to adopt to minimise gun recoil, what recoil was and how to fire a warning shot into a black person. I can confirm that he was a fast learner and an eager student. I would also read some of my father’s gun magazines to Shabba, and together we learned about assault rifles like AK-47s, M16s, and other semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons used in the Army.

SARIE
One day, while Boy and Shabba were driving me to school, I turned to Shabba and said, “Why aren’t you going to school?” 

“’Cause school costs money and we don’t have school fees,” he explained. “When my dad sends us money, Baba will take us to school again.”

“But, Shabba, school is free,” I pointed out.
Shabba looked at Boy.

After a long silence, Boy said, “School is only free if you are white people, Sarie. Not for black people or people of color. We have to pay for it.”

“Why? That’s not fair, Boy,” I said in an indignant voice.
“It is what it is, Sarie,” Boy said.

What that meant, I had no idea and I really didn’t know what to think.

“Besides, there no schools around for black children,” Boy added. “You have to go long, long way to get to a school for black school.”
“How long is a long, long, way?” I asked.

After thinking about it for a moment, Boy said, “It’s like if you leave after breakfast, you will arrive at the school by lunchtime.”
My young mind tried to absorb Boy’s explanations, but it just didn’t make sense to me.

“I think we should change things, Boy,” I said. “I think Shabba should be allowed to learn with me. In my school, sit next to me and learn with me.”

Boy did not answer.
I pushed ahead. “We are almost the same age, Boy?”

Boy didn’t answer, but I noticed his lips thinning in the rear-view mirror.

My little mind drifted to another topic, another question. “Why do they call you ‘Baba’, when your name is Boy? Is it like ba, ba black sheep?”

Boy smiled and shook his head. “My name is Manual, not Boy, Sarie.”

“But ma and pa, they call you Boy?”
“Ja, but my name is Manual, as I said.”
Confused, I tilted my head and stared at him. “Baba?” I was asking a number of questions and I expected Boy to ask me to stop me, like my mother always did. He didn’t; instead, he went on to patiently explain. “Baba is like … like grandfather. Shabba is my grandson, so he calls me ‘Baba.’

“Oh.”
“Baba also means baby, so I call this lil fellow, ‘Shabba Baba.’” With a smile filled with love, he reached behind to pat Shabba’s knee. Shabba reached for his grandfather’s hand and kissed it several times, before he playfully bit it. Boy laughed out loud.

I felt sick with envy at the display of affection between the pair. I had grandparents on both side of my family, but none of them ever behaved that way toward me. In fact, I do not remember a time when they even hugged me. I did not remember a time when I was hugged by my own mother or

father. It made me envious of Shabba. It made me angry too. I wanted them to stop hugging each other.

“I want to call you Baba too,” I said in a defiant voice. If Shabba was going object, I would put up a fight and demand that I be allowed to. As a trade-off, I would allow Shabba to call my grandparents ouma and oupa.

“Sure,” Boy said. “Of course, Sarie.”

I looked at Shabba with the neck of a ballerina. And?

“NO!” Shabba said. “He’s my Baba. He’s the only Baba I’ve got, Sarie. Don’t be unfair now.”
“Please!” I said. “He can love me a little less than he loves you, Shabba. Please?”

Shabba appeared to think about it, then said, “Okay, but only if he loves you less than me. If he starts to love you more than me, then you must stop calling him Baba, okay?”
I nodded.
Shabba leaned in and whispered, “And, I want to go to the shooting range and fire the new Smith & Wesson.”

I nodded. Okay.

He nodded. Deal.

We sealed it by linking our pinkies.

From that day onward, I called Boy Baba, and he called me, ‘Sarie Baba,’ and every time he did, I felt loved and I felt that bit closer to him. One night, I fell to my hands and knees and prayed, Please God, could you make Baba my real grandpa? And please make Mama Tsela my real grandma. Make them love me more than Shabba, but don’t let Shabba find out. But if he finds out, please don’t let him get mad about it. Please! Please! Please!

SARIE

Agnes, Katrina’s mother was a hard-working servant. Of all the servants on my parent’s property, I believed she was the hardest worker. I say this because she would work during the day inside our house, then return long after my mother had gone to bed and clean my father’s study. He didn’t seem to mind that she was cleaning at that part of the night. In fact, he remained in the study while she cleaned. He kept the door locked while she did, though.

Then, Agnes would emerge after cleaning, to make my father a sandwich, or fix him a drink. I was a light sleeper, too curious to keep my eyes shut for long, so I would awake at the slightest sound. A couple of times, I awoke in the middle of night and watched Agnes, who had walnut-colored skin, tiptoe out of our house. She was slim with a warm smile, and Katrina always said that her mother had a butt so big, you could rest a cup of tea on it. Like my mother, Agnes was in her early twenties.

What I liked most about her was the way she loved her daughter. She was attentive and affectionate toward Katrina. Not just when Katrina fell and skinned her knees, but all the time. She would cuddle Katrina and sing her songs and kiss her all the time. Never once did I hear her call Katrina dumb, stupid, ugly or push vodka into her mouth. Time and time again, I wished Agnes was my mother.

One evening, I awoke to the sound of harsh whispers. Thinking that it was my parents arguing, I tiptoed out of my bedroom towards my parent’s bedroom. It was silent. I quietly opened the door and looked into the room – my mother was snoring, an empty vodka bottle next to her bed. My father was not in the room, though. I left the room and walked over to a window in the passageway. In the dark, I saw my father and Agnes in the yard. The way their arms were flailing and because of their harsh whispers, I suspected they were having an argument. Being as curious as I was, I had to know more. So, I tiptoed out of the house, into the dark, hide behind some shrubs and eavesdropped.

“You just shut your mouth!” my father hissed. “I am the boss here, remember that.” He tried to side-step Agnes, but she blocked his path. He grabbed her by the shoulders and swung her around. She reacted by biting one of his hands on her shoulders. I was shocked at Agnes’ display of aggression – she was blocking my father’s path and shoving him? Not only because it was so unlike her, but because no one stands up to Pastor Schoeman. Now one dares. If you did, he would beat you till you couldn’t walk. Especially, a servant – they could get the whip.

I was scared for Agnes; I didn’t want her to get whipped or hurt by my father. She did not get the whip that day; what she got was a fist in her face. I gasped as Agnes stumbled before she fell to her knees. I watched as my pa straightened his shirt, then walked in the direction of her room. I was a little confused – why was pa walking in the direction of her room, and not our house? Then, Agnes got up, and holding her nose, ran after my father and clung to his waist, refusing to let him enter her room. To my horror, my father turned around and began to viciously beat her. Agnes held onto him despite the beating. Eventually, she collapsed into a heap on the ground. My father then booted her several times while she lay on the ground. When she was motionless, he walked into the tiny room she shared with Katrina and shut the door behind him. I had never seen my father be that violent before, so I was shaken and scared. I stared at Agnes, then at the closed door for a while. When Agnes didn’t move, I crept over to her and whispered, “Wake up, Agnes.”  She didn’t answer. Even though I had my warm gown on, I shivered from the cold. You must be cold too, I thought, as I took in the damp ground she lay on. I removed my pink dressing gown and covered her with it. Then, I ran back into the house and into my bedroom.

Too shaken to sleep after what I had witnessed, I lay in the dark and stared at the ceiling. If only Shabba was here to keep me company, I thought. I really needed someone to talk to. I picked up a book and using my book light, began to read. Then, I heard muted voices. It sounded like my brothers were around. I got out of bed and tiptoed to the window in the hallway. In the distance, I saw Jacob, Isaiah and my father standing over Agnes, who was still lying on the ground with my pink gown around her. They kept looking toward our house, probably wondering about the gown. When I saw the shovels in their hands, I knew something bad had happened to Agnes. As scared as I, I crept out of the house, hid behind a shrub and watched my fathers and brothers. Jacob and Isaiah grabbed a foot each of Agnes and dragged her to the back of the shooting range where no one went for fear of being shot.

Scared for Agnes, and scared that I would be seen, I turned and crept back into my house. About an hour later, my door creaked opened and in walked my father. I lay still and pretended to be asleep. He watched me for a while, before he turned and left to my relief.

SARIE

There was great concern when no one could find Agnes. They were confused – how could Agnes disappear just like that and without a trace?
For days, Katrina cried for her mother and no one could comfort her. I watched quietly, wondering if I should say anything to anyone. As young as I was, I had been taught that I must keep out of big people’s business. What happened with Agnes, my father and brothers that night, was family business. My mother – I could maybe talk to her about it, I remember thinking. Then, I changed my mind – she wasn’t someone I could talk to about anything, actually. She seemed in her own world most of the time and didn’t like to be bothered with anything.

“I think I know where Agnes’s body is buried,” I whispered to Shabba.

He jerked back to look at me. “What do you mean, body? Why do you say body? She dead or something?”
“Ja. I think so.”

“Did you kill her?”
“No, of course not, Shabba. Why would I do that?”

He stared at me as if he was seeing me for the first time.

“What?”
“Can I see her?”

I nodded, got to my feet and motioned for him to follow me. Together, we walked in silence toward the shooting range. I pointed at a ditch.

“There?”
I nodded. “I think so.”

The two of us stared sombrely at the mound of dirt.

“Don’t tell anyone,” I said.

“Why not?”
“Because, Shabba, it’s big people’s business and we mustn’t stick our nose where it doesn’t belong.”
“Who told you that?”
“Ma, she told me that.”
“Oh.”

“We should put flowers on the grave,” Shabba said. “We did that to my mother’s grave.”

So, we ran around picking daisies and dandelions to put on the grave. By the time we reached the grave, we had a bunch of daisies and the remnants of what used to be dandelions.

Katrina continued crying for her mother, but luckily Mama Tsela was there to give her hugs and whisper words of comfort. Katrina refused to sleep in Agnes’ room after that night; she slept with Fendi in her room, the two of them sharing one bed. When one of the servants wanted Agnes and Katrina’s space, Mama Tsela shook her head, and in a firm voice said, “Agnes will be back.”

I thought about shouting, No, she’s not! She’s dead, gone forever. But I was too afraid of what it might lead to.

A couple days later, Baba and Mama Tsela reported Agnes’s disappearance to the police. I waited for the police to show up, but they didn’t. That night, unable to keep my nose out of ‘big people’s business,’ I thought, to hell with it, I am going to tell my mother. So, at the dinner table, I said, “I know where Agnes is, ma.”
My mother took a sip of her vodka, looked at me and said, “She looks like Klara. Same nose, same eyes …” her lips twisted in distaste as she took in my features, one at a time.
I squirmed in my seat, uncomfortable with her critical assessment of me, which was often.
“Hate your husband’s sister and what does the Devil do? He gives you a daughter that looks just like her.” My mother’s voice was filled with woe. “To think I was Miss Boksburg. A beauty queen. Ha!”
My father glanced at me, then swirled the glass of red wine in his hand, before he took another sip.

Since they were ignoring me, I cut to the chase. “I know where her body is. I saw Agnes that night she went missing. I know where her body is.”

My father spluttered and coughed, spraying some of his red wine.

“Bloody bitch, acting like she’s better than me! ‘You do know he’s a married man, right?’” she said in what I assumed was my aunt’s chastising voice. “’You do realize he has children?’ Mind your own blerry business, Klara! Get yourself a man, then lecture -”

“She is buried in the ditch near the shooting range.”

That when all hell broke loose. My father crashed his fist onto the table, causing crockery and cutlery to become airborne. “You listen to me!” he snarled at me “Anything you see and hear in this house, you do not talk about it, you hear? It’s big people’s business and you do not talk about it. You HEAR?” His outburst was so unexpected, I cowered in my chair, terrified he’d beat me like he beat Agnes.

“Did you hear what I said?”

I nodded.

“Now get OUT of here!” he said. “Voetsak!

After a quick glance at my mother’s surprised face, I ran out of the dining room and into my room, where I huddled on my bed, waiting for the door to burst open and for my father to come after me.

About an hour later, I heard his car start and the skid of tires. That is when I relaxed.

With a glass of vodka in her hand, and the bottle in the other, my mother entered my room and narrowed her eyes at me. “Ja, what you see?”

“Ma?”

“Agnes? What you see? Ay?”

I told her all that I saw.

She listened without interrupting, took regular sips of her vodka, then turned and walked away.

The next day, Shabba and I ran over to Agnes’s grave with daisies in our hands and skidded to a halt when we saw my mother at the gravesite, eyeing the wilted flowers on the mound of Earth. When she saw me, she said nothing, she just turned and walked back to the house. I waited for her to question me about it, but she didn’t.

Days later, two white policemen turned up and questioned my mother and father about Agnes’ absence. My parents did not invite them in, so the police stood at the front door.

“When last have you seen her, Pastor Schoeman?” one of the policemen asked.

“Sarie!” my mother called, beckoning me toward her. “Hou jou bek,” she whispered, a warning look on her face. She pulled me in front of her, and stood behind me with her hand hovering near my mouth, ready to gag me should I open it. Now and then, her fingers dug into my shoulders as a warning for me to keep my mouth shut.
“Me?” My father looked up at the sky, then at the policeman. “About a couple weeks ago. I never saw her after that. Never really noticed her. I have so many servants, you know.”

“Sure, Pastor Schoeman. Of course!” They looked enquiringly at my mother.

She pointed at my father, and in a morose voice said, “Couple weeks ago. She does that – she goes away, then returns, no explanation … you know what these people are like.” As she spoke her hand surreptitiously clamped over my mouth.

She was lying, of course. Agnes had never disappeared before. Besides, she would never leave Katrina. Never! I felt like biting my mother’s hand for lying.

“Ja, who knows with these people,” my father continued. “They’re all the same – they get drunk, disappear for days, then come crawling back. Get drunk, disappear, come back home … on and on. In the meantime, we have to bother you good men who don’t have time for such trivial matters. My heart goes out to you hardworking men – working long hours, weekends, getting so little pay … No one ’preciates it, I tell you. No one!”

“Thank you, Pastor Schoeman,” the officer said. “It’s lekker to be ‘preciated. Thank you. Thank you.”

My father nodded. “You know what; I appreciate it. I appreciate you men, and I want to give you a gift to say thank you for your hard work. To show my appreciation. Please, come inside my humble home. Please!”

The policemen looked at each other, their eyes lighting up. They hastened to remove their police caps, wiped their feet several times on the mat outside the front door, then entered our house. I watched them hat in hand, look around our house in awe as they ambled into my father’s study. My father was such a famous man in South Africa, probably held in higher esteem than the president, because he was a man of God, remember? So, being invited into my father’s home office was akin to being invited into the Oval Office in the United States.

About half an hour later, the policemen stumbled out of my father’s study, flushed in the face, and with shiny eyes. Each carried a bottle of Cognac each and grinned from ear to ear.

“Anytime you need us, you just call, Pastor Schoeman. And I mean, anytime!”

Dankie, dankie! my father said with a wave. Now don’t forget, I appreciate you men and the fine work you are doing!”

End of Excerpt
More excerpts coming next week, so make sure you’re following this blog.

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When Arena’s car is stolen with her toddler in it, she points at Tom, her abusive ex-husband. The police point at Bear, her cop boyfriend, who adores both her, and her children. Trouble is, Bear cannot be found. In fact, according to the police, Bear’s comrades, he does not exist!
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COLORBLIND – A #romantic #suspense #book by #EveRabi Excerpt 1

Small Cover Color Blind 13 April 19

Apartheid: noun, historical, a policy or system of segregation
or discrimination on grounds of race.

A prison in Cape Town
South Africa
1982
Twelve years before Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, the country was governed by various pro-apartheid acts, including the Immorality Act, where sex between white and other ethnic groups was a criminal offence. Both parties contravening the Immorality Act would be imprisoned for up to ten years.

Excerpt 1 from ColorBlind:
I was scared, but not for the obvious reasons. It wasn’t because I had violated South Africa’s Immorality Act, which had landed me in jail.
It wasn’t the fact that, despite being in love for years, and secretly living together for six months prior to my arrest, my boyfriend, my black boyfriend, and I faced imprisonment – five years for me, ten for him (he would be dealt a harsher sentence because of the color of his skin). No, that was not it.
It wasn’t the fact that our that the police, a task force in full SWAT gear, created solely to handle anyone breaking the law, and daring to be color blind, had kicked down the door of our apartment at 3 a.m., dragged us out of bed in our nightwear, and threw us into waiting police vans. No, that was not it.
The above would scare anyone, right? Yet, none of the above terrified me as much as facing my father, Schoeman Vorster. That’s Pastor Schoeman Vorster. He was a charismatic preacher, respected and revered throughout South Africa by pro-apartheid whites, lauded by many of them. He ruled and recruited with fearmongering– The blacks are the enemy of the white people in South Africa. They are savages, they are dangerous, they should be greatly feared. We whites must stick together so that we can be stronger and fight them off when they attack, which will be any day now.
Yes, Pastor Schoeman Vorster publicly preached hate for people of color, demanded segregation among races, and believed wholeheartedly in discrimination based on a person’s color. It was legal, the law said he could do that, so he took advantage of that and held mass rallies where he recruited white followers throughout the country. In the U.S. you had the Klu Klux Klan, in South Africa we had Die Goed Afrikaaner Kerk (The Good Afrikaaner Church). The Klu Klux Klan had the Grand Wizard, in South Africa, we had Pastor Schoeman Vorster.
Pa was about to see me for the first time since my arrest. My secret love that I had kept hidden for so long, was now out in the open and I was in deep trouble. I had committed the worst possible crime a white woman could commit in South Africa – I had slept with a black man. Pastor Schoeman’s daughter had slept with a black man.
My greatest fear was answering to my father, now that I had been caught out. At the thought of facing him, my stomach churned, my throat felt like I had swallowed polystyrene, my palms grew clammy, and for the first time in my life, I actually heard my heartbeat. That’s how terrified I was of my father, the pastor.
Whenever I’m nervous or anxious, I bite my nails. That day, in the jail interview room, I steadily chewed on whatever little of my nails were left. When I remember just how disgustingly dirty they were – I had spent the last two nights in a filthy jail cell – I quickly jerked my fingers out of my mouth and tucked them under my thighs. And waited.
As the minutes dragged by, my fear was such, that my nails found their way back into my mouth and I chewed on them, regardless of how disgusting they smelled.   
Then, he arrived. I felt my father’s presence before he even entered the interview room. I jerked to attention – back ramrod-straight, eyes alert and darting around, white knuckles gripping the plastic chair.
The door to the prison interview room was flung open, and my father strode in, eyes hooded, nostrils twitching, lips a white line. Dressed in a suit, he looked commanding and reverential as usual, taller than he usually did, larger too.
Sauntering behind him were my half-brothers, Jacob and Isaiah, young pastors in training, both suited and somber.
Behind them were two senior prison wardens, Jonas and Fourie. Behind them all, lugging an attaché case, was Abramowitz Cohen, one of my father’s trusted attorneys and fixer, who I’ve known since birth. Oom (uncle) Cohen, as we called him.
They greeted me with looks of contempt and revulsion, and under their collective disdain, I lost the ramrod in my back, and my shoulders rounded. With my head slightly bowed, I braced myself for the onslaught that was sure to follow.    
Warden Jonas hastened to pull out a plastic chair for my father. “Here you are, Pastor Schoeman,” he said in Afrikaans, dusting the chair with his hands, then bowing obsequiously to my father.  
My father shifted his glare to the chair. He was a stickler for cleanliness, because it was next to godliness, he always said, so I knew he would rather stand, than sit on a germ-infested prison chair. However, for whatever reason, he caved and, without thanking the warden, took a seat on the edge of the chair. With both hands on his lap, probably to avoid touching the grubby table, he glared at me, his eyes granite and icy. I quickly averted mine.  
My brothers remained standing, hands loosely folder in front, feet astride, like CIA agents behind the president. The other men stood too, despite the chairs in the room. I suspected it was to intimidate me. It worked, even if it wasn’t the plan. Six white, strapping men, all angry and humiliated by my actions, towering over me – how could an eighteen-year-old not be intimidated?
For a while, it was so silent in the room, I heard the hissing and groaning of the hundred-year-old prison pipes.
My father’s sharp voice eventually pierced the silence and temporarily muted the pipes. “That kaffir raped you.”
With great difficulty, I raised my eyes to look at my father. Don’t call him kaffir! That was my first thought.
Pa only spoke Afrikaans, which was the language of the white man in South Africa. We were encouraged to speak Afrikaans at all times, not English. “You hear? That black bastard, he raped you.”
I knew better than to talk back to my father, so I remained quiet. It wasn’t good enough – he crashed his fist onto the table, causing me to jump.
“Hear what I’m saying? Ja?”
Under duress, I responded in a mixture of English and Afrikaans. “Nee, nee, he didn’t rape me, Pa.  We –”
“He raped you!” he screamed, his race flaming, his eyes bulging, his lips dry and cracked from fury.  
“No, Pa, he did not,” I repeated. “I love him Shabba. I mean, Tshabalala – that’s his name.” My voice wasn’t defiant, for no one dares defy Pastor Schoeman. It was firm, but respectful.
My answer simply incensed my father even more. “You … you … you do NOT –” He was so angry, spittle flew out of his mouth as he snarled at me.
I was terrified, yes, but I needed to correct him about Shabba. Correct everyone around for that matter. “We … we are going to get married, Pa. We –”
I stopped talking when I saw him cracking his knuckles, because … when Pa cracks his knuckles, you are going to get disciplined. With his fists. In a big way. Old school. At six-foot-three and approximately two-hundred-and twenty pounds, Schoeman Vorster did not need a weapon – he was one.
Judging from the way Isaiah and Jacob flinched, it was fair to assume that they’ve experienced their fair share of knuckle-cracking. Pa spared no rod, because he said, the Bible warned us not to.
Knowing that I was in a jail with two prison wardens, and that there was little chance of pa getting physical with me, despite my terror, I summoned the courage to explain. “We have been living together on and off for about six months, and we plan to –”
My father, who was in his late fifties, moved with a swiftness I never thought possible – he hurled himself across the table he had avoided touching, and crashed into me like a rugby player, taking me to the ground with him.
“I will kill you, Sarie!” he screamed, striking me repeatedly across the face. Luckily, shock served as my bubble wrap – I only felt the first two blows before I started to black out.   
Meneer! Meneer!” Warden Jonas said in an amused voice, as he pulled my father off me. “She’s learnt her lesson, I tell you. Ja.”
“No child of mine will ever disrespect me like this,” my father said, as he straightened his tie and adjusted his coat. “A kaffir …” He paused to pat down his hair, “I will kill them. Ja, both of them, I will kill them and go to jail if I have to. It will be an honor killing. That’s what I will do. Ja.” He patted his hair again.
I lay on the floor, gurgling from the blood in my mouth.
Warden Fourie helped me up to my feet and sat me on a chair again. Bloodied and weak from the vicious beating, I flopped forward, forcing him to hold me up.
“Spare the rod and spoil the child,” my father said to no one in particular, wiping his hands along the sides of his pants.   
“I know, I know,” Jonas said, his head bobbing. “I got children too, Meneer.” He held up four fingers. “Yasis! Kids today, they never listen, ay? I fully get it, Meener.
Sitting with my head bowed, I watched blood drip from my split lip onto my lap. Since I had no tissues to wipe away the blood, I gingerly dabbed a sleeve across my mouth.
“You have embarrassed me and our family with your behavior,” my father continued as he paced. “With your … your ‘dealings’ with that … that kaffir!” He made a spitting motion, before he continued. “Speaking English to me! English? Such disrespect?”
Jacob reached to pat my father’s arm. “Pa, your blood pressure …”
My father shrugged him off. “You know what I stand for, what my principals are. What our core values as a family, a people, a nation are, and you still do this? What about the law? You have broken the law, and for that, you are heading for prison. Ay? My daughter, the criminal. How does that make me look?” He started to count on his fingers as he spoke. “I preach the word of God, I live by Bible principals, I conduct biblical tours throughout our land, spread God’s message, I … I … I recruit fighters for our church’s army to keep our race pure. Ay? I go beyond my call of duty to safeguard our race. Beyond! Seven days a week, I do all this. And this is how you show your appreciation? My own daughter, my own flesh … disrespecting me like that. For my own flesh to commit such a … a terrible crime? I feel shame. Terrible, terrible shame, man. I am humiliated that my daughter chose to disregard our values, our fight, our struggle. To betray me like this?” He shook his head in sorrow. “Laughing stock – that’s what will be.”
I said nothing, but listened out for the sounds of his knuckles cracking. “This behavior of yours, it is going to affect not only my standing in the church, my standing in the community, in this country; it will affect all our bloody lives. All our lives. Every one of us. You want that, Sarie? You want the church to fire me? Who will pay all our bills? Who will pay for privileged lifestyle you have enjoyed since birth? Where will the money come from?”
I didn’t answer.
“You’re an intelligent girl, you know all of this, and you still do this? Humiliate us like this by being caught in bed with a kaffir? The servant’s child? Eh? Someone who grew up in the stables?”
Don’t call him kaffir!
He looked at Jacob, his firstborn and right-hand man. “Where did I go wrong? Tell me? What did I do to deserve this? Tell me, Jacob. Tell me, tell me, TELL ME!”
“Pa …” Jacob gave a, you-did-nothing-wrong wave.
My father looked at Isaiah, my other brother. Isaiah shook his head at my father in sympathy, then flung a dirty look my way.  
For a few moments, my father paced, mumbled, and muttered to himself. Finally, he turned to look at me. “You will say that he kidnapped you, raped you. You will say that you had no choice but to go with him, because he threatened the lives of – no, no, no, he and his men threatened the lives of me and the rest of our family members. Your mother – he threatened to kill your mother because of our pro-apartheid stance, you hear?”
I didn’t answer – I kept my eyes lowered but kept the corners of my eyes on the lookout.
With his eyebrows elevated, my father looked at Jacob.
Jacob nodded in agreement. “And bring in the church, Pa. They should take some responsibility here.” He went on to elaborate, put his spin on things. “Because of our church’s beliefs, Sarie was targeted. Because of your support for the church, Pa. And … I can come up with a ransom note from the kaffir, his –”
“We can show proof of us paying him the ransom too,” Isaiah added. “Get footage of some kaffir picking up the money at night, release it to the papers …”
Them,” Jacob interrupted. “Proof of us paying them the ransom.”
Isaiah nodded. “Ja, ja, them!”
My father looked at Cohen for his input.
Cohen cleared his throat, pushed up his horn-rimmed glasses with his index finger and said, “That will all help greatly. Damage control – that is what we will be striving for.” He looked at me, and in a gentle voice said, “I’ve known you since you were a baby, Sarie, and I have to say, it pains me greatly to see you in this place. Physically, hurts me. This kaffir, he has taken advantage of you, of your family, your kindness, man. And look where it has got you? Ay?” He gestured to the room. “Look around you, Sarie; it is rather deplorable. Look, look, look!”
All necks in the room began to swivel around, and with mouths contorted in disgust, they took in the bare cement floor, the stained plastic chairs, the grubby wooden table that was anchored to the floor, and the flickering fluorescent lights on the flaky ceiling. The place reeked of urine and stale cigarette smoke.
“Every one of us has a place in society,” Cohen continued, shaking a finger in the air. “And clearly this kaffir has forgotten his place. By daring to do what he did to you, a white woman, he has displayed an inordinate degree of arrogance to us whites. Disregard and disrespect, Sarie, not just for you, your family and your church, but for the law! The law! Now, he has put you in this predicament? You’ve got to save yourself, Sarie. You can only be free of this terrible, terrible place if you co-operate with us, listen to Pa. You do that, and I will make sure we will send that kaffir away for a long, long time for what he did to you, I’m telling you.” He looked at my father, then my brothers. All their heads were bobbing in agreement.
My father stepped forward and pointed at me. “You will do everything Meneer Cohen asks you to do, sign everything he asks you to sign, throw that kaffir under the bus, you hear?”
I remained silent. The bleeding had stopped, but my mouth felt on fire, and my one eye was starting to close from the beating.
“I’ve got the statement already prepared, Sarie,” Cohen said, sliding a batch of papers across the table to me. “It’s basic, doesn’t include all that your father and brothers want us to say, but we can add more details. For now, just sign at the crosses, Sarie.”
I skimmed over the document, over the lies and fabrications, then looked up at Cohen.  
“Once you sign this document, we will arrange for your release within minutes,” Cohen promised, before he looked at warden Jonas with eyebrows elevated.
After glancing at his watch, Warden Jonas confirmed the promise with a nod.
Cohen slid his pen over to me.
As I pretended to consider the document, which was in Afrikaans, the men in the room brainstormed.   
“His father is on the run from the police for engaging in all sorts of criminal activities.”
“Oh, ja? What kind of crimes? Maybe we can use that?”
“Eh … mainly political, but … we can organize something.”
“Ja, okay, let’s do that. A family of criminals – that’s what they are.”
“Terrorists.”
“Terrorists, ja, ja!”
“Jacob, now look here – you must address the media at the press conference. Your father and mother should stand in the background looking grief-struck, ay?”
“Ja, Oom, I can do that.”
“Photograph Sarie’s face. Blame him for her injuries.”
“Blame them for her injuries.”
“Ja, blame them.”
“I’ll ask for twenty years, minimum.”
“Think you can get that?”
“I know a few judges. May need to grease a few palms …”
“Ja, okay, whatever you need; just fix it. Please, man!”
I turned my attention back to the document. Freedom sounded so great. I badly wanted to go home. I had barely slept, hardly eaten or taken a shower in jail. My face throbbed from the beating, my backed ached from the being battered against the cement floor, my left eye throbbed. Besides my injuries, I longed for my bed, my pillow, my hairbrush, a nailbrush, my own clothes that wasn’t abrasive to my skin, and to rid myself of the stench of jail. I longed to go back to my life and put this horrendous place, this absolute nightmare behind me.
Then, I thought of Shabba. Throw him under the bus … twenty years behind bars for my lies and falsified claims. All because he loved me. I thought of his smiling face, his warm hugs, his tender kisses, and my eyes began to burn. The thought of him rotting away behind bars for the rest of his adult life for no reason, made me want to sob.
I weighed my choices – cooperate and go home, or refuse, and spend the next five years in this godforsaken place.  
“What is it, Sarie?” Cohen asked. “Why are you crying?”
I didn’t answer.
“Sarie…” my father growled in a warning tone.
I kept my head bowed to hide my tears.  
“Sarie …” Jacob said, his voice also imbued with threat.
“Sarie, it’s Yom Kippur,” Cohen said, “the holiest day in our Jewish faith, yet, here I am trying to help you out. “My family will be waiting for me to return home for our evening prayer. We need to wrap this up. Please!” He held out the pen to me.
I looked at Oom Cohen – how does a person fabricate lies and throw an innocent young man in prison, then go home to his family and pray to God? How could God allow something like this to happen?
“Shabba did not do these things to me, Oom,” I said in a small voice. “He would never hurt me. I love him, he loves me, we’re going to get married some –”
“Sarie, PLEASE!” Cohen shrieked, stabling the pen into the table.
“— day. I’ve being his girlfriend for years, so I’m sorry, I can’t sign these lies, Oom. I’m sorry.” I pushed away the papers.
Cohen pushed back his glasses with his index finger and glared at me. I held his gaze.
My father took a step toward me, his face a mask of menace. I quickly shrunk back in fear. “Is that a fact?”
I did not answer, I just braced myself for another one of my father’s beatings – maybe if I sat facing the side, he wouldn’t get my face when he beat me.
“I need some time alone with my daughter,” my father said though clenched teeth, his eyes now slits.
Jonas quickly stepped in front of my father. “Wag, Meener, wag! Give me a chance to talk some sense into her.” His voice was reassuring, confident, as if to say, After my chat with her, she will acquiesce.
“Go, grab a cup of Rooibos tea at reception. I heard meneer likes Koeksisters, so I arranged for some for you. So, go have some, take a seat, leave it all to me.”
Jacob touched my father’s arm, then jerked his head toward the door. After flinging me you’d-better-behave look, my father got up and left the room. My brothers and Cohen followed him.  

Image by Ivanagood

Warden Fourie, a beefy, red-faced man with a belly that grazed his thighs, squeezed his bulk into a chair across me, then spent a good few moments trying to place one leg over the other.
He stared blankly at me as he did. Not glared, just stared, as if he was unsure what to make of me. I didn’t know what to make of him. So far, he’d been quiet and watchful, while Jonas did all the talking. I was used to glares, head-shaking  and tsking! from those around, so the poker face threw me.
Warden Jonas, who could easily pass for Fourie’s younger brother, pulled a chair, sat across me and smiled. “Sarie … what a lovely name!” With his hand on his heart, and in an operatic voice, he broke into an Afrikaans folk song.
“O bring my trug na die ou Transvaal,
Daar waar my Sarie woon,
Daar onder in die mielies by die groen doringboom,
Daar woon my Sarie Mariaaaaas!”

He stopped and smiled at me. “Love that song. I sing it whenever I have a few dops in me, know what I mean?” He made a quaffing gesture and followed it with a wink.
I rewarded his good-cop gesture with a feeble smile.
He turned and looked at Fourie, his eyebrows elevated. “What you think? Ay?”
“Eh … don’t give up your day job,” Fourie muttered in a sullen voice, still struggling to cross one leg over the other.
Jonas threw his head back and laughed, slapping his thigh as he did. Then, he pulled his chair closer to mine, adopted a serious look, and in a mixture of English and Afrikaans, said, “Listen, Sarie, we make mistakes, we are human, we all make mistakes. But now, we want it all to … to go away so that we can get out of this foking plek. Ay?”
We.
I nevertheless nodded, wanting to appearing like I was listening, like I was understanding and cooperating even, hoping Jonas would take pity on me and release me from jail without me having to throw Shabba under the bus first.
“Ja, because you’re a white girl, and what the hell do you know about prison life, huh? Niks! So we want this whole … this whole … mess to go away, right?
I nodded.
“So, sign the papers,” Jonas finally said, dragging the documents closer to me.
I shook my head. “Sorry, but I can’t, meneer.”
“Sign the papers, Sarie,” he repeated. “I don’t wanna have to go out there and tell them that I failed at my job. I must tell you, Sarie, God’s truth, I have never failed at my job before. I don’t like failure, ay? ‘Specially when someone else causes me to fail.” His voice was quietly threatening.   
I sat with my head bowed and slowly rubbed my aching arm.
“Sarie?”
“Sorry, meneer,” I said, “but he did not rape me. I can’t lie like that. Sorry.”
Jonas twisted a finger in his ear, removed it, viewed his finger made a face, then wiped it on the side of his pants. After which, he looked at me, at Fourie, and at me again. He reached forward and gently tugged at a tendril of mine. “Such a pretty girl,” he said in a husky voice. “Even though your pa messed up your pretty face, you are still such a looker.”
My instinct told me that it was not a compliment. It also made me cross my arms in front of my chest.
My instinct was right – Warden Jonas pulled my chair so that my knees were between his thighs.  It felt invasive, wrong, but what could I do about it? All I could do was try not to think about our thighs touching. “Sign the papers, Sarie.”
I didn’t react.
His thighs suddenly slammed shut against mine, his eyes fixed on mine.
I swallowed hard and tried not to feel, not to think.  
Suddenly, he shoved his knee between my thighs. A loud gasp escaped me at his move. With the wall behind me, and Jonas placed firmly in front of me, there was no place for me to go.
He tilted his head and said, “You remind me of this chick in school. She was a goffel (whore), but she was … fun. He pushed his tongue deep into his left cheek, then his right. “That’s why I like you, Sarie, you remind me so much of her.” When his knee wedged deeper between my thighs, I put both hands on his thigh and attempted to push his leg away. It didn’t work, he was a wall himself. With a sinister smile on his face, he watched and fed off my fear.
“We had so much fun in the back of my father’s bakkie, I tell you.” With every word he uttered, his knee inched closer and closer to my crotch.
I was eighteen, a prisoner at his mercy, while he was in his fifties, with one of the most dangerous kinds of power a despot can have – that of a prison warden. I had never felt so utterly powerless in my life.
Not knowing what to do, my eyes dropped to his shirt button and stayed there.
“Your tits are better than hers though.” 
I looked at Fourie, with pleading eyes – Do something please! Rescue me from his disgusting colleague. Fourie simply deadpanned.
For a few moments we sat in silence, Jonas’ knee wedging closer and closer to my crotch, my hand still on his thigh, still trying to stop him.
Jonas suddenly sat back, folded his arms and glared at me. Relived, I used that time to swivel my body away from his so that I could escape his knee should he try that again.
For a few moments, the two men silently watched me try to compose my rattled self.
Once again, probably believing that he had intimidated me enough, Jonas pushed the document toward me.
I shook my head.
“Sign the papers, Sarie,” Jonas said, his voice taut and threatening.
“Nee, meneer, I can’t. Sorry.”
“Sign. The. Papers. Sarie!”
I said nothing, did nothing.  
With his head tilted, he stared at me. “You like kaffirs that much?”
I didn’t think the question deserved the dignity of an answer.
“Black cock? That your fetish, eh? Black cock?”
My eyes lowered to the button on his chest and stayed there while he degraded me.
“What’s wrong with white cock?”
I didn’t answer.
He leaned in and said, “Which white man is going to want to marry a white woman, that has had a black cock inside of her? You are damaged goods now, girl. You are going to be shunned by everyone around because of your love for black cock. Your whole family will be shunned because of your disgusting fetish. You want that? You want to bring such shame to your poor mother and father?”
I said nothing.
“Sign the papers and save yourself, Sarie. Do it for your family. Do it! Say he raped you. Say he took you by force.”
I moved back in my chair, a clear indication that I was not going to lie about my relationship with Shabba.
Jonas suddenly crashed his fist into the table, causing the pen to fly into the air and almost hit me. “Sign the foking PAPERS SARIE!”
Although I jumped with fear, I did not reach for the papers.  He spent a moment peering at the fist he had crashed into the table, before he turned and looked at Fourie. The two of them seemed to communicate with their eyes.
With a nod, Jonas turned to look at me, a slight smile on his face. “Ja, well, no fine. Sarie Vorster, we must respect your wishes.”
Despite the smile, his words did nothing to comfort me. Jonas started the conversation with me by warning me how much he disliked failing, remember? From the onset, it was clear that he wanted to impress the great Pastor Schoeman Vorster with his koeksisters and Rooibos tea. Because of my obstinate attitude, not wanting to send an innocent man to prison, Jonas would have to declare that he had failed with me. How could he not be angry with me? What was in store for me now? I groaned inwardly at the thought of what punishment lay ahead, now that I had offended the warden, the one person who held all the power in this place.
Both men stood up, and without another word, sauntered out of the room.  Are they going to giving up on me? I wondered as they left the room and shut the door behind them. Do they plan to take me back to my cell? Feeling emotionally and physically drained, I longed for them to go away. All of them. Especially my furious father. Even the confines of my dirty and dingy cell would have been better than being near my father and his fists of fury.
Moments later, the door to the interview room opened, and in walked my father. Strangely, he was alone. Even stranger, he shut the door and turned to look at me.  The, to my absolute horror, he began to crack his knuckles.
END of Excerpt

ColourBlind – A heartbreaking, heart-soaring tale of love and loss that will make you laugh, make you cry and keep you turning pages.
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