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ColorBlind – A heartbreaking romantic suspense book by Eve Rabi – Excerpt 5

 

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 5

If you haven’t read the first FOUR 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
1969

 SARIE

“Boo!” I said, barging in on Katrina and Fendi.
“Hai, Sarie, why you spying on me?” Katrina demanded, rushing to the door, pulling me in and shutting it.

“I’m not. I’m –”

“You tell no one about this, you hear?” She shook her finger in my face as she threatened me.

“About what?” I asked, as I took in the rags in Fendi’s hands.  “Why?”
“Because why, I say so, Sarie!” Katrina said in an impatient voice.

“Because why is not the correct way to speak. School says –”

“Hai, Sarie! Don’t tell me, school says this, school says that … elsewise, I will klup you if you blerry rude to me, okay?”

I backed off and silently watched Fendi tie the rags around Katrina’s stomach, tighten them, then pull her top over them.

“Sarie just wants a flat stomach,” Fendi said in a gentle voice, when she saw the confusion in my eyes.

“Oh.”

“Can you tie my stomach too?” I asked.

Fendi jerked back in surprise, then smiled and said, “Sure, Sarie. Come closer.”

So, Fendi tied rags about my middle, making it really flat. Then, she gave me a hug and sent me off. Fendi was very sweet and kind, and second to Katrina, I liked her a lot.

“Where were you?” Shabba asked when I got to him.

“Flattening my stomach,” I said.

“What?”

I lifted up my top and showed him my stomach.

“That’s just silly,” he said.

“No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is!”
“No, it isn’t!”
“Yes, it is!”
“Sarie! Shabba! Stop it you two,” Fendi called from the other room. “You two are always arguing. Just stop it!”
I glared at Shabba. He stuck his tongue out at me. I stuck mine at him. He made ugly faces.

“Your face is going to look like forever!” I said. “You wait and see!”

He quickly stopped his ugly faces, then said, “Hey, you wanna see the tadpoles?”

“Okay, but we have to walk slowly, because these bandages around my stomach is making it hard for me to breathe.”
“Want me to take ‘em off?”
“Ja, but … don’t tell Fendi and Katrina.”

“Okay,” Shabba said, removing the bandages from around my stomach. “Oh, man, you’ve got red tyre tracks around your stomach!”

I looked at my tyre tracks and frowned.

“Here, let me …” He gently rubbed the marks away. “My dad used to do this for my mum when she had a stomach ache,” Shabba explained. “Then he would do this.” Shabba gently kissed my stomach. “Better?”

I nodded.

Then, he bent down, put his lips to my stomach and blew bubbles on it, tickling it and causing me to scream with laughter. He grinned, then blew more bubbles on my stomach, more vigorously, causing me to shriek and squirm with laughter again.

“My mum used to do that to me all the time,” he said. “Didn’t your ma ever do that to you?”

I shook my head. I didn’t remember my mother or father being that kind and affectionate and playful toward me. Katrina, Mama Tsela and Agnes cuddled me from time to time, but not my parents.
Perhaps my disappointment at my parents showed, because Shabba’s grin was replaced by a look of sympathy. He pulled down my top, planted a tender kiss on my forehead, took my hand in his, and together, we skipped over to the tadpoles.

Months later, Mama Tsela rounded up all the children, and in an excited voice said, “Come see Katrina’s baby girl. She’s soooo beautiful!”

“What? A baby? Katrina’s baby?” I was totally stunned. I had no idea Katrina was going to have a baby. I knew that she was getting fat, I knew she was cranky, I knew that she was always eating soured figs marinated in vinegar, which Mama Tsela made for her, but her stomach, it just didn’t look big like the other servants did when they were pregnant. Then I remembered the bandages she tied around her stomach. Could she have been trying to hide the baby? I wondered. My mind, as little as it was, worked overtime to figure out why she would hide such a thing.

I ran ahead of the other children, all the way up to Katrina’s room and barged inside. There was Katrina in bed, a little bundle of pink and white in her arms.
I gasped at the sight of the real-life porcelain doll with eyes as blue as mine and masses of curls the color of lit-up copper. “Ooh, she’s so beautiful, Katrina! What’s her name?”

“Agnes,” Katrina said.

I looked up at Katrina. “Agnes? Your ma’s name?”
Tears welled in Katrina’s eyes as she nodded. Not knowing what to say, I stared at her, and watched a big fat tear roll down her cheek and plopped over Agnes.

Fendi, who was in the room folding clothes, walked over, gave Katrina a hug, then wiped away the tear from the baby’s face.

I scratched my head, affected by Katrina’s tears, but when I looked at the baby, I forgot about all about Katrina’s tears and smiled. “You are my l’il poppie (doll),” I said, falling instantly in love with little Agnes. From that moment on, Agnes was called ‘Poppie’ by everyone around, because she was as beautiful as a porcelain doll.

After Poppie was born, Katrina was a changed girl. She stopped running and jumping and hanging upside down on trees. She dressed like Agnes used to, wore a scarf around her head all the time and an apron. She also took her mother’s place and began working inside our house. (The only thing that didn’t change was the threat to klup us all at the drop of a hat. That continued regardless of age or maturity.) With Poppie slung around her back and secured with a blanket, African style, Katrina carried out her chores, humming songs to Poppie as she did. She was a wonderful mother even though she was so young. The way she looked at Poppie – it was the same way Agnes had looked at her. It was the way Mama Tsela looked at Fendi and Shabba. It was the same way pa had looked at popsicle-loving Laurika. It was the way Shabba looked at Baba. It was the way Baba looked at Shabba. As I watched Katrina hug and kiss her baby over and over again, pangs of envy engulfed me; everyone had someone to look at that way, and someone who looked at them that way, but me. I was the outsider, the afterthought, the superfluous little girl.
As I watched them all, I said a prayer – Dear God, please send me someone to look at. You know, the way Katrina looks at Poppie. And make sure they look at me like that too, with teeny tiny eyes. Oh, but make them like, older or my age or younger, I’m not fussy. I just want to be able to also play with them. And please make them white, so that they will be allowed to live with me in the Garden of Eden. That’s all, thank you God.

God answered my prayers right away, because within seconds, Katrina pulled me in for a hug and kissed the top of my head several times. “You are still my number one kind,” she said, planting kisses all over my face “Don’t ever forget that.” I hugged her back, and clung to her, relieved that I was number one and Poppie was number two. Well, I assumed that Poppie was number two.
Then, Poppie began to cry. Katrina hastily released me to pick up the baby, and began to use a voice reserved strictly for Poppie. I got mad with the doll for interrupting my cuddle. Not too mad, though. It was Poppie, how could I possibly be mad at her?

God was obviously on the job, because moments later, Fendi reached for me, pulling me in for a hug. “Come here, Sarie,” she said, “You are our baby sister and you will always be our baby sister. Don’t ever forget that, okay?” I hugged Fendi back, and stayed in her arms for a while, basking in the love of my big sister.

All the servants fell in love with Poppie, and she soon became the local mascot. She was so loved, the servants fought to babysit the little doll.

“Blerry dronkies,” my mother said at the dinner table, when she heard about the baby. “She don’t know who the father is. I betchu she doesn’t. I betchu. Blerry barbarians, that’s what they are. Pregnant at the age of thirteen. ’Magine that.” Shaking her head, she took a big sip of her vodka.
As young as I was, I didn’t appreciate her talking that way about Katrina and Poppie, so I spoke up. “Eh, ma, you said you were fifteen when you met Pa.”

“Ja, but that’s different. I knew who the father of my baby was, okay? And we got married quickly, okay?” She pointed her vodka glass at me as she defended herself. “I was a beauty queen, too, so it was different, okay? I was mature and responsible, ay? So hou jou bek, ‘kay?” She shook her glass so hard, some of her vodka spilled out of her glass and ran down her hand. She hastened to lick the vodka off her hand. Maybe losing her vodka angered her more, because she said, “Big people’s business, Sarie, big people’s business. Didn’t your father say not to get involved in big people’s business? Ay?”

I snuck a look at my father. As usual, he simply swirled his red wine in his goblet, his eyes focused solely on it.

Even though she had called Katrina a dronkie (which didn’t make sense, because I had never seen Katrina drink alcohol), my mother didn’t care that a baby was around – she was just relieved that Katrina could replace missing Agnes in the kitchen and take care of me, so that she could enjoy her ‘me’ time. Enjoy her champagne breakfasts, and afternoon cocktails pre siestas and sunset drinks and pre-dinner drinks, and dinner drinks and after dinner drinks and nightcaps. I was a distraction, asking umpteen questions and constantly meddling in big people’s business. Katrina’s reappearance left her free to handle those recurrent migraines with the potent medicine that she had drank in crystal glasses, and sometimes from the bottle itself. As for my father, the man of God, he said nothing – whenever he saw the baby, he just stared, sometimes turning to look at the child. Luckily, he had no problem with the child being around.

 

SHABBA

I think it’s fair to say that the highlight of my childhood, was the treehouse Baba built for us. It was just awesome! You must remember that during apartheid times, for children of color living on a white man’s property, there were no recreational amenities available to them. No parks, swings, public swimming pools, skateboard areas, libraries, basketball courts, nothing!

Why? Well, during apartheid times, the South African government didn’t think it was necessary for children of color to have such amenities. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were parks and swings, and public swimming pols and basketball parks, and skateboard parks and libraries etc., but they all had a sign that said, ‘Slegs Blankes,’ which meant ‘White’s Only,’ or ‘Blanke Gebied’ which meant ‘White Area.’

If a child of color used those facilities, he would be breaking the law, so the police would be called. How often did that happen? It rarely did. Why? Because, before the police were called, the whites in the facilities would probably band together like some kind of neighborhood watch and kick the shit out of the poor child of color for ‘daring’ to use that facility. The police would not be needed. If that child was accompanied by a parent, that parent would also be beaten up for not restraining their child, for not knowing their place. They would be considered arrogant, cheeky and in need of a lesson. So, rarely did a child of color break that law. They would simply stand and watch white children from afar, enjoying amenities that they weren’t allowed to use. Unfair? Unjust? Morally reprehensible? Yeah, well, that my friend was the apartheid government for you.
The beach? Oh, yeah, there was a beach about twenty minutes away. Unfortunately, that too had a sign saying ‘Sleg’s Blanke,’ or ‘Blanke Gebied.’ There was another beach that black people or people of color could frequent. However, a child of color would have to take three modes of transport to the venue and three modes back. That was a lot of bus and train fare for servants who didn’t really get paid – they just got board and lodge from their bosses, and they were allowed to keep their children with them while they worked for the white man. So, going to the beach was out of the question for us. As a little boy in South Africa, I visited the beach twice in my life. That was it. Swimming lessons? First of all, they would cost money. Second, why take lessons when you aren’t going to use them? What’s the purpose? So, yes, I couldn’t swim and I still can’t.
Yet, as a child, I loved the beach. Loved splashing in the water, running toward a wave, then running away from it, changing my mind and running into it, laughing with delight. Fendi told me a story once about me and the beach. Apparently, my late mother and father had promised to take us to the beach. Something happened, and we couldn’t go. I demanded to know why. Someone told me that the beach got burnt. As young as I was, I threw a tantrum, and told them that the beach couldn’t burn. They argued with me, tongue in cheek, that the beach could. I disappeared for a while, only to reappear struggling to carry half a bucket of water. I put down the bucket of water and looked at my father. “Go on, dad, light it up. It won’t burn. Go on.”

“It’s not beach water, Shabba,” my father said.

“It’s the same thing, daddy!” I protested. “Water can’t burn.”

“Beach water is different, it does burn, Shabba!”

I got so frustrated with everyone, I kicked the bucket of water and started to cry.

According to Fendi, that is the story. I cannot remember any of it.
As you may know, apartheid laws governed where people could live. They restricted people of color, corralled them in inaccessible areas, while white people got to live in prime land. It was the law, and if you ever lived in a white man’s area, you would be imprisoned, because you were breaking the law.

Now those people of color who worked for companies and big businesses, they would live in their designated areas, usually an hour’s drive away from work. For their children, there would be one public swimming pool for about fifty thousand or more residents. It would jam packed, so you had to visit the pool either in the mornings, or in the afternoons. Once it was full, children were turned away. Also, children of color had to pay to enter the pool too.

Now, in white areas, there would be one public swimming pool for every fifteen thousand residents. Even better, entry to those swimming pools were free to white children. How about that?
Look, if the white government didn’t think it necessary to provide people of color with indoor plumbing and running water, or a stipulated minimum wage, do you really expect them to provide you with plumbing for a multiple swimming pools? Do you really think they would provide you access to public libraries like they did in white areas? Oh, and by the way, the apartheid government frowned upon public libraries. Why? Well, think about it now; libraries mean education, and an educated person of color was the oppressors biggest fear. Nelson Mandela was an educated man, an attorney, and look at the havoc he wreaked on the white oppressor when he demanded equality for all? When he declared that no person should be treated unfairly because of the color of their skin? Mandela was such a troublemaker to the apartheid government, they jailed him for twenty-seven years. Blame education, they did.
So, since we children of color had no amenities to entertain our young minds, the tree house that Baba built was the most exciting project I have ever worked on in my life. We kids scoured the land and neighbouring lands for logs and sticks and large leaves and stones and discarded rope and anything that we could possibly use to build our beloved tree house. It took us hours and it was a complete labour of love. It would be our park, swing, beach, library, swimming pool, all rolled into one, and we couldn’t wait for it to be completed.
For three weeks we toiled on it, because Baba could only build it when he was not at work. We worked side by side with Baba, passing him tools, helping him lift, helping him tighten stuff, helping him with every single thing. As he worked, Baba explained why he did what he did, why he added double the number of nails to one section, why he cut the wood the way he did. With great patience he taught and explained and gave us a lesson in woodwork and building. So, in essence Baba was my first teacher. My first woodwork and construction lecturer.

When the project was completed, we children were thrilled. The treehouse had two rooms, a balcony, (because we ran out of wood to add more roofing to one side of the tree house, we called it a balcony) a rope ladder, a tyre on another rope so that we could swing on it, some vines so we could move through the air like Tarzan, some discarded books from Sarie’s house and a make-shift swimming pool made out of a discarded bathtub we found on someone’s property.

“Baba, I had no idea you could build a house,” I said, looking at our beloved tree house in awe.

He said, “You know Shabba Baba, I had no idea I could build a house too. Do you like it?”

“I love it!” I said putting my arm around my grandfather’s waist and hugging him toward me.

Baba looked at Sarie.

“Ooh, Baba, I love it too!” Sarie said in a breathless voice.
Sarie had every toy you could think of, but she loved the treehouse the most. She actually helped build it too, so it was special to her!

Problem was, we had no furniture to decorate the tree house.
“Go ask your mother for furniture,” I said to Sarie. “Tell her … um … tell you don’t like your bedroom furniture and you want new … no, no, no – tell her someone said your furniture is old or broken. Or … “
“She won’t like that Shabba.”
“Ja, that’s why you say it. Say something like that. Then we can get your old furniture, Sarie.”
What a silly thing to say to a child. What a silly thing for a child to tell her mother. Dumb me.

Well, it was the best we could do. That night just before dinner, Sarie said, “Ma, what’s old fashioned furniture?”

Since I had a lot riding on how Sarie handles our furniture situation, I hid outside the window and eavesdropped, a favorite pastime of mine.

My drinking buddy Mazda, paused with her fuel injection and frowned at Sarie. “Who … who said that? Who got old-fashion furniture, ay? We? Who told you that? Ay? WHOOOO?” Her voice had a thread of panic to it.

Sarie lifted and dropped her shoulders. “Can’t remember, ma? I think I heard Tante Estrie or Tante Elzette say that our furniture is arme (Poor). Or maybe it was Oom Gar–”

Vroom! Vroom! Mad Mazda slammed her glass onto the table and exploded into high gear. “Blerry bitches! Blerry goffles!” The Mazda jumped to her feet and revved with fury, flames shooting out from her exhaust. “They are foking dying with jealousy because I married money and they don’t got what I got. I am rich! Rich! You hear? I married a rich man and their husband must  work in a tyre factory and meat packaging plant, packing boerewors, morning to night. Blerry goggles! Blerry …”

That’s all it took – a silly, dumb comment from a servant’s child caused my happy hour buddy to make an announcement at the dinner table that night. “I am throwing out all the old furniture in Sarie’s room and buying new ones. I am also throwing out our sitting room and our dining room and our … everything!” (She meant she was throwing out the sitting room and dining room furniture).

“Why do you need to do that, Magda when we just redecorated the whole blerry place two years ago?” Schoeman, who had two families to feed from the Garden of Eden’s funds, grouched.
‘BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TALKING, SCHOEMAN!”

“Calm down, Magda!” Schoeman said. “I’m just asking a question.”

Mazda slowly took her foot off the accelerator.

“People are saying that I married a poor man, Schoeman. They say I poor. That we poor. Ay? This is so embarrassing, Schoeman. I was a beauty queen and now I poor?” Mazda burst into tears.

“Magda, please,” the older man who married a striking beauty queen, a trophy wife, pleaded.
Mazda responded by throwing herself over the dining table, over the mashed potatoes and Porterhouse steak and mushroom and pepper sauce and sobbed like the way a heroine in a black and white movie would.

“Okay, okay, okay!” the pastor placated in a panicked voice. “You can do it, okay?”

Mazda stopped crying, sat down in her seat, poured herself a large glass of vodka, took a sip and said, “I want to change the bathroom tiles too.”
Two weeks later, a group of servants’ children carted Sarie’s old bedroom suite to the tree house. Along with the bedroom suit came chairs, a table and some cupboards – all the things we needed. It was awesome! Our tree house looked treemendous!

Oh, and we also received a box of used bathroom tiles, which we couldn’t use in the tree house, so we used them as brick pavers in muddy areas of the servant’s quarters.

From then on, whatever we needed for the tree house, Sarie and I would steal it from her house. It was like a real house, minus the bathroom. And electricity. And flooring. And plumbing for water.
Sadly, we children fought about who gets to play in the tree house, forcing Baba to assign us shifts. It worked, but it was pure agony waiting for your turn to play in the tree house.

Baba warned us in no unspecific turns that the tree house was out of bounds at night. He was stern about that and everyone listened to him. Except me. Some nights when I couldn’t sleep, I would creep into the tree house, lie on the balcony and watch the stars in the dark sky. Once I was lonely, so I thought about my partner in crime. Are you awake, Sarie?

I decided to see if I could reach her. Since the tree house faced her bedroom, I stole Baba’s work torch, took it to the tree house and shone it into her bedroom, using the light from the torch to write my name on her bedroom wall. Please see this and come to me, Sarie.
Within minutes, to my delight, I saw a figure in white hurtling toward the tree house.

“What are you doing, Shabba?” Sarie asked in a breathless voice as she climbed the rope ladder to the tree house.

“Signalling to you,” I replied, shining the torch in her face.  “When I shine my torch, you must know that I am looking for you, and you must come, okay? I will write my name in lights. Like the way I did.”

“Sure!” she said in an excited voice.

“Pinkie promise? I put out my little finger.

“Pinkie promise,” she said, looping her pinkie with mine.

After that, whenever I was in the tree house at night, I would shine my torch into the wall of her bedroom, and she would come over with snacks and drinks. We would spend hours in our precious treehouse gazing at the stars and talking about everything. Sometimes, we’d snuggle up and fall asleep, only to wake up with the sun and the birds. Sarie would then creep back into her house before her absence was discovered.

One day she said, “I don’t wanna go home. I want to stay with you.”
“All the time?” I asked.

She nodded. “Forever.”
“Oh, well, okay,” I replied after thinking about it for a few seconds. “But maybe we should get married, then we can always be together?”
She shrugged. “Okay.” She looked around. “We will need more rooms if we want to have children.”
I followed her eyes around the treehouse.  She may have a point, I thought. “How many children are we going to have?”
She held up five fingers.

“Sarie, you are mad? Five? That’s too many!”
“Well, then how many, Shabba?” she snapped.

I shrugged. “Three? Four?”

She narrowed her eyes at me.

“Okay, fine, Sarie. We’ll have five children, then!”

And that’s how I first proposed to Sarie.

“And a puppy.”
“Now, that’s a good idea,” I said. “Hey, you should ask for a puppy now.”
“A tiny little one? A girl puppy?”
“No! You need a puppy that grows up into an attack dog.”
“Mm.”

“This is what you do – tell your mother, Tante Esterie got a Rotweiller puppy for your cousin.”

“Okay.”
Woof! Woof! A week later, the Vorsters got four Rotweiller pups. We helped name them – Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo.

We had no idea which was which, but it didn’t matter, because when we called Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo! all four pups hurtled toward us.

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

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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!
Arena’s whole world begins to tilt. Who does she believe? Who does she trust?

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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.
Coming soon!

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ASHES OF TEMPTATION – Now Live on Amazon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final instalment in the explosive Temptation series (Girl on Fire Series) is now live on Amazon!

Will Karma deliver the fate Scarlett deserves, or will it be a case of Teflon Scarlett again?

“An emotional rollercoaster that had enough twists and turns to keep me totally enthralled.” Amazon reviewer

Excerpt:

“What if the tables were turned? What if she went to prison for him, to save him, to protect him,

only to return home and find that he had quietly moved on with someone else? With someone that had

sent her to prison? With someone she believed was the enemy? Worse, when she returned, she finds that

he has sired a child with that person? Would she be justified in wanting to hurt him? Would she be justified

of wanting to kill them both?”

…………………………………………………………

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this site for updates and news on my books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The WRATH of Temptation – Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book 9 in the Girl on Fire Series

SYNOPSIS:

People say it’s okay to fail in life sometimes. They say it can be a stepping stone to … blah! blah! blah! They’re right.
I’ll tell you one thing you should never fail at. Murder. Oh, no, it’s one of the worst things you can possibly fail at. Especially a carefully orchestrated one. Ask anyone behind bars for attempted murder and they will tell you, that kind of failure is not an option, and it’s a stepping stone to time in prison.
In my case, my husband had an affair. That was okay – it happens. What was not okay, was him and his mistress, luring unsuspecting me to my death, burying me alive, she assuming my identity, they living a charmed life.
You feeling sorry for me? You should. Can you think of anything worse than being buried alive? No? You’re right – there isn’t anything worse than that – it’s pure hell.
It’s okay though, because they failed at murder, so they would live to regret it, because … I’m alive.
Mirror, mirror on the wall …

 

EXCERPT:

DROVER AND LOVE 
The story of the married man and his mistress continues …

With a heavy heart Drover watches the train ease out of the station. He doesn’t move. Love will return to him. She will change her mind, hit the emergency stop, force them to open the locked doors and run into his arms. They will hold each other for a long time, before they venture toward their next step in their complicated future together.
It wouldn’t be easy, he knows that for sure. Nothing worth it in life usually is. So, they would make the most of what they have and be thankful that they can be together some of the time. They love each other, that is all that matters. That is all that should matter.
The train becomes smaller. Drover waits.
The train became a speck in the distance. Drover drops to his haunches and watches the moving speck. Love will come back to him.
The train disappears completely from sight.
Drover does not move. The next station – she’s going to get off at the next station, board a train in his direction and rush into his arms.
He doesn’t move, doesn’t get up to pace, he stays exactly where she left him, so she can  find him easily when she returns to him.
Minutes pass. He waits.
People filter out of the train station. He waits.
Lights on the platform are switched off. The station became ghostly. Drover feel a little cold. He waits.
“Mate, you okay?”
Drover looks up into the face of the train station conductor.
“Wha …?”
“Been sitting like that for a while now, mate.”
Drover shrugs.
“Whachu waiting for?”
Drover lets out a long breath before he mumbles. “Love.”
The conductor chuckles. “Aren’t we all?”
Drover attempts a smile, fails miserably. He looks around. The place is now deserted.
“Go home, mate,” the man says in a kind voice. “She’s not coming back. Not t’day.” Embarrassed, Drover stands up and looks in the direction of the train.
She’s not coming back. Not t’day.
He nods. Love got onto a train and left, taking his heart with.  It’s over.
Shrouded in a despair, Drover turns and ambles toward his SUV. As he drives home, different scenarios flit through his mind.  What if he had got on the train and left with Love? Just followed his heart? Like they did in the movies? Rode off into the sunset with the woman he loved?
They would have been happy, yeah, but … would he have been able to live with himself knowing that he had abandoned his wife and children? That he was shirking his responsibilities? He loves Joy, he loves his kids and abandoning them all because he fell in love with another woman, is not something he could ever do.
Do the right thing – wasn’t that what a to do? A parent supposed to do? That was important to him – to do the right thing.
Sometimes in life, when love costs too much, a mammoth sacrifice is necessary. This is one of those times, and it hurts like hell.
He will forget her – the woman who could make him laugh, make him cry and make him quake with fear whenever she held a shotgun in her hands. The one who adored his silver and gold eyes. He glances in the rear-view mirror at his eyes and smiles. Silver and gold – what a way to describe them.
He will forget her, because time will make it happen. Well, that’s what people say. He will make time his friend. He was determined to.
A dull ache lodges in his chest. Heartache? Heartbreak? He releases his seatbelt a little. It doesn’t help- the ache persists.
He drives up to his house, eases the SUV into the garage and kills the engine. Instead of alighting from his vehicle, he remains seated behind the wheel and presses his palms to his eyes.
Joy. He’d have to face her. Damn!
He looks at his phone for the first time. One hundred and seven missed calls. Damn!
His quick-thinking, analytical brain kicks into gear – He’s been away for twenty-six hours. Joy has called every fifteen minutes during those last twenty-six hours.
Being the attorney that he is, he evaluates the facts:
AWOL for twenty-six hours.
He’d turned off his phone.
He’d left without an explanation.
Most importantly, he’d spent the last twenty-six hours with his mistress. There was no doubting as to who he was with.
Joy would have a problem with that. Joy has a problem with that – a phone call or text every fifteen minutes – crap! He’s not proud of his behaviour, but he just couldn’t help it – he was losing the woman he loves, because he put his family first.
Damage control:
Apologise, explain, then assure Joy that he is back for good.
Assure her that when faced with a choice, he chose to remain with her and the children.
Assure her that he is never going to leave her. Ever. She is his wife and she will always come first in his life.
He means it. He loves Joy and he knows that she is hurting right now. He vows to make it up to her. Do everything in his power to fix their marriage. Kiss away the hurt. He wants so badly to ease her pain.
Joy’s an attorney too; she’ll also look at the facts, resolve to handle the issue in a logical and rational way. We can do this.
Suddenly, his SUV is rocked by a loud bang and the sound of breaking glass.
“What the …?” He spins around to see Joy smashing the rear window of the SUV with a baseball bat. It is a shatterproof window, yet, glass flies at him.
“Joy, what the hell?”
Snarling with rage, Joy moves to the driver’s side and swings at his window. “Cheating, lying, son of a –”
Drover jumps out of the SUV and tries to get the bat off her, copping a good few blows in the process. Eventually he manages to wrestle the bat out of her hands and flings it into the bushes.  “Christ, Joy! What the hell are you doing?”
She stands before him, chest heaving, eyes glowing with anger. “You were with her, weren’t you?”
“I … I… Joy …”
She shoves him hard in the chest. “Answer me, you lying bastard!”
“Joy, I’m sorry, things happened … but it’s over, okay? I’m back, I’m home, with you and the children. I want to make things work. Please just … under –”
“How … how dare you treat me like this?”
“—stand, okay? Please?”
Her voice is shrill, borderline hysterical and she paces as she speaks.
“I’m sorry. I am. I really am. Please, let … let’s just forget it all and start again, Joy. Please.”
She whirls around to look at him. “Forget it? You … you dog. You fucking … you son of a …”
Drover allows her to vent, and vent she does, cursing and hurling insult after insult at him. He stays silent, nods his understanding, eager to let her get everything out of her system so they can move on.
He rubs his eyes, red and tired from the lack of sleep and crying.
“What? Your eyes are tired?” Joy circles him as she rages. “Didn’t sleep last night, huh? Too busy fucking that whore? Huh?”
“Don’t call her a whore, Joy.” The moment he utters those words, he regrets it. Too late. Joy stands absolutely still, a loaded silence follows, and Drover suddenly thinks about wearing a crash helmet.
“You protecting that slut? Seriously? You protecting her, DROVER?”
Drover looks at the ground.
She pokes him in the chest, then slaps him in the face. “Huh? Answer me, you dog! You protecting that dirty whore from nowhere? Huh? The one who spreads her thighs for any married man to get what she wants? Huh? Answer me? You actually protecting? You are protecting her. The audacity of you!”
Fight or flight. Blame the weariness, blame the fact that he was feeling emotionally and physically drained, blame the fact that Joy won’t stop, Drover choses the coward’s way out. “Listen, Joy, I’m going to take a shower, okay?” Without waiting for an answer, Drover strides into the house.
The house is dimly lit, eerily quiet and cold. Like something is missing. Love. She is missing. She walked into their dark, gloomy house and turned it into a home. Brightened up the place by turning on the lights, putting fresh flowers in the vases, and playing music. Add her humor, wit, goofiness and laughter to the mix, and the place became one big carousel of lights, music and laughter. Now that she’s gone, she’s taken it all with her, including that carousel.
At the thought of the days, the weeks, the months … life without her, that ache in his chest intensifies and a lump the size of a golf ball jams in Drover’s throat.
Andrew appears in front of him, eyebrows raised. He cranes his neck to look behind Drover. When he does not see Love, his shoulders sag.
Drover slaps him on the back, before hurrying on.
He sees Daisy on the top of the stairs, both hands balled on her chest, her face tear-stained.  “It’s true, dad?” she whispers. “Love’s gone?”
Drover’s shoulders lift and drop, before he whispers, “It’s gonna be okay, baby.”
She wipes away tears with her sleeve, then darts into her bedroom and shuts the door.
“Where are you going?” Joy shouts, running behind Drover. “I haven’t finished with you!”
Drover takes the stairs, two at a time, and heads for their bedroom. He strips quickly, throws his clothes on a chair and makes a dash for the bathroom.
As he showers, Joy flings open the bathroom door, a golf club in her hand.
Drover’s heart drops. If she slams that club against the shower door …
He’s unsure what to do – stay in the shower and let her vent, get it all out of her system, or leave the shower and get rid of the golf club, but risk getting into a physical altercation with her as he does?
“Yes, take shower, a hot one!” she yells above the noise of the shower. “Scald yourself, Drover, and get rid of the stench of infidelity before it further taints this home of ours! Before you further defile our marital bed with the scent of that slimy whore.”
Don’t call her a whore!
Drover remains in the shower, trapped, because there is no escaping Joy’s wrath. For a few minutes he lets both the water and Joy’s vitriol rain over him, waiting for that swing of the golf club, listening out for the sound of shattering glass.
It’s unfair, he thinks as he watches her. If the roles were reversed – if he threatened Joy with a baseball bat and a golf club, while she was in a car or in the shower, people would call him abusive, and he’d face jail time for sure. Yet, she gets away with it because she’s a woman.
He turns off the taps, steps out of the shower and moves toward the towel rack, his eyes still fixed to the golf club in her hand. Joy beats him to towel rail and snatches the towel out of it.
“Joy, please!”
“You don’t deserve anything in this house, you slime ball. Not even a goddamn towel.”
Drover yanks the towel out of her hands, wraps it around his waist and walks into the bedroom, expecting to feel the golf club in his back. Joy follows him into the bedroom.
Stay calm and keep apologising.
“Joy, I am here,” Drover says in a controlled voice. “I’m home, okay? I’m sorry for everything. I am.” He lowers his tone of voice, put his hands on her shoulders and looks into her eyes. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry I did. I really am. You were gone for almost a year and … I was … Joy, I was lost, alone … and … she was there, and she was lonely too and … it just –”
“— happened? Is that what you’re going to tell me? You going to use that cliché as your get-out-of-jail card? Seriously?”
Drover hesitates, then continues. “I’m home now, Joy. Where I want to be, okay? How about you cut me some slack? Please. I really need your –”
“You … you … how dare you try and sweet-talk me?” She violently shrugs off his hands, then slaps him across the face.
“Joy, I am home!” Drover yells. “What more do you want from me?” He snatches the golf club out of her hand and flings it across their bedroom. It crashes into a picture frame of them on the wall and shatters it. Glass rains down on the carpet.
Joy stares for a moment in disbelief. He stares too, shocked at his anger. He’d never done anything like this before.
Joy soundlessly claps her hands. “Good shot, Drover! Bet you wish that photo frame was me, right?”
Drover doesn’t answer. With a Labrador-like shake of his head, he strides back into the bathroom, shuts the door and locks it.
“And don’t act like you are doing me any favours by being here, because you aren’t!” Joy yells, banging on the door. “You open this door, you cheating bastard!” She starts to kick the door.
With his eyes squeezed shut, Drover leans his forehead against the bathroom door. Maybe if he’s out of her sight, she will calm down, he reasons.
She doesn’t; she continues to rage, screaming profanities and abuse at him through the locked door.
Drover gets back into the only place he can hide – the shower. It drowns out her threats and gives him time to cool down. He only gets out of the shower when the water runs cold.
What was colder than the water? Joy’s shoulder – she suddenly stops ranting and they spend the rest of the night in icy silence.
This is so hard, Drover thinks as he lies in the dark at three in the morning, staring at the ceiling. If only Joy knew how hard ending the affair was on him, on his heart, she would act differently. She would put her arms around him and hold him close, help him fix the broken pieces, help him grieve the loss of the woman he fell in love with, so that he can move on with his life. With their life. That’s what he longs for – for her to understand, comfort him, make him believe that he’s made the right decision, make him think that Joy was worth suffering heartbreak over. Worth the pain. Make him believe that doing the right thing was … worth the pain.
Joy does not – her episodes of rage become maniacal. There are marathon sessions of abuse hurling (“You both are liars and thieves! Rotten to the core. Dirty cheats, that’s what you are.”), where she dishes accusation after accusation, asking questions, then demanding answers (“How was she in bed? Better than me? Huh? Tell me. Go on answer me, you son of a bitch!”).
Asking questions, then answering it herself (“Where did you fuck her, huh? I’ll tell you where you fucked her – in the car, in the bathroom, in the toilet, in the shower, in my fucking bed, Drover! In my bed!”).
Asking questions, providing him the opportunity of a multiple-choice answer, then demanding that he pick one (“How does she compare to me in the sack? Huh? I’d like to know. Tell me. Was she as good as me? Was she almost as good as me? Was she so good, so much better than me, you had to have the slut at any cost?”).
If he answered, he was in trouble. If he didn’t answer, he was in trouble. He could do nothing right. Day in and day out, morning, noon and night, Joy unleashed on him, and there were no signs of her anger abating.
Sadly, a lot of the madness was in front of their children. To spare them, Drover would often walk away during an argument, walk away from an imminent fight, hoping she’d cool down if he left her alone – it takes two to tango. That didn’t work – Joy would follow him around the house, insisting he answer, provoking a reaction, baiting him to fight back. She’d poke him, slap him, shove him and throw things at him.
When he extracted himself from a volatile situation, or a potential fight, she’d call him spineless, a pussy and a coward.
It was ugly. It was hell.
Often, he’d have no choice but to get into his SUV and drive off to some place he could hide from her wrath. Sometimes, he would leave home in the middle of the night and sleep in his SUV rather than go back and face Joy. Because of this, he now kept a blanket, pillow, a toothbrush and a change of clothes in his SUV. If he wasn’t a man, he’d probably find himself in a woman’s shelter, seeking refuge for the night.
Oh, there were times when Joy wasn’t abusive. Those times she was hostile, cold and uncooperative toward him. She would ignore his questions, turn off the light while he was in a room reading, hide his car keys, hide his wallet, hide his phone charger, hide his phone, hide his eyeglasses, hide the remote to the garage, hide the remotes to the TV, hide the remote to the air conditioning unit or change the wi-fi password for no reason.
It was as ugly. It was hell.
The saddest and most unpleasant part of this whole thing? The children – when Joy flew into her rages, she unleashed on them too. Over simple things, like Andrew spilling some orange juice on the table, or Daisy forgetting to say thank you to her. She would get in their faces and scream at them, and they would quake with fear, expecting her to hit them.
No one knew when Joy was going to explode. The family, terrorized and edgy, tiptoed around the house, speaking in whispers, avoiding Joy at all costs, and tensing the moment they heard her voice.
Before long, every inch of their beautiful, triple-story, 6,800 square-foot home was covered in eggshells.
Life was ugly. Life was hell.

Release date: 16 January 2018

This is not a stand-alone book. It is a sequel to the Other Woman (an epic and jaw-dropping collision between a betrayed wife and a cunning seductress), which has an overall 5-star rating on Amazon U.K. and Amazon Aus. Fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love Eve Rabi’s tales of love, lust and revenge.

#RomanticCrime #RomanticSuspense #StoriesofRevenge #VigilanteJustice

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(Click on image above to read The Other Woman)

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