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Basking in a Thieves Fire

Be careful what wish for was not warning enough, especially when one goes and rubs the wrong kind of lamp and let’s out the wrong kind of genie.

They say ‘’Kunhonga hakusi kuba’’ in my mother tongue. ‘’Picking is not stealing’’, but in this case it was where he picked from that was the problem. He was a vagabond who had stumbled upon some high school leaver’s party. He figured that where there was party there would be alcohol and food.

So like a stray cat he wandered in, looked around but nobody seemed to care who he was or where he was going. At best the house was filled with a bunch of high and wasted teenagers. He made his way upstairs, bumping into some kid along the way who was going in the opposite direction. He found an empty room and decided to take a shower, shaved and borrowed some clothes from the room leaving his on the floor then made his way into the kitchen to make himself dinner. Then washed it all down with a beer, as far as he was concerned he had somewhere to nest for the night before wandering off somewhere else.

He fell asleep in the library, the one place he was sure no raging hormone filled kids would wander in. Soon daylight crept in, woke him. The party outside had lost its fervour like a tranquilizer shot animal but was still raging on like the after math of a veld fire. He knew he had overstayed his welcome when he bumped into that teenage boy again who stared at him in disarray and uttered, ‘’Omg his parents must be back’’ Obviously delirious from the hangover he headed to the kitchen to make himself some coffee. The vagabond had made his way upstairs again, to have one last shower before he left, because like his meals he didn’t know when his next would be.

Since he was homeless and broke, he borrowed some more clothes for the road and food before bumping into that freckled teenage boy again whilst making eye contact but not saying anything. He just grabbed the bag he had borrowed from the mansion and left. The boy was slowly coming back to his senses now and had questions but as the old Shona saying goes, ‘’Vakamboonana havashayani’’ meaning those who have met before will not lose each other’’.He had bumped into him twice, he was surely going to meet him again.

That’s when it occurred to him that he too had overstayed his welcome and thought to give his mother a call before she could but in the way we think of the devil and he appears, his mother called and inquired about his whereabouts to which he assured her that he was on his way home. Before he could do that he decided to empty his bladder but as he was zipping up four guys dragged him out into the spacious living room where it looked like everyone was being held hostage. In his mind he immediately thought of that strange man he’d seen earlier.

He knew it, it was him, he has done this, he was robbing this house, but to his surprise he saw Dex, the high school jock coming out from the crowd like a king to his coronation.

‘’Nobody will leave until we find what we are looking for!’’

‘’What shit man’’ He frantically uttered.

Dex: Look it’s simple, if you’ve stolen something of mine best just give it back or things will get ugly.

There was commotion with other kids telling him to call the police and report the theft but then a gunshot was fired to restore calm.

Dex: There are cameras in this house, and each and every one of you was caught on these cameras, some of you doing God knows what. If you don’t want that shit out there, then best you spill anything you know.

In this moment Jace began sweating, he suspected that strange man, but was afraid to speak up. He was afraid he would be accused of teaming up with him. And also afraid of being killed over his silence. That’s when one of Dex’s friends called him to the surveillance room. Like detectives they had found Jace’s repeated encounter with the strange man suspicious. They came out looking rather quite calm, like nothing happened, laughed in everybodies faces telling them the whole hostage situation was a hoax, their last hurrah as high school kids, striking fear into them was just part of the fun.

Unfortunately everybody believed it, had a good laugh, thinking how cool Dex was, ‘’He knew how to start and end a party’’ they would never forget it for sure but while everyone made their way out the door, Dex’s friends deliberately blocked Jace from going out. No one had known he had stayed behind, that’s when they taped his mouth shut and dragged him to the room where the vagabond had been. That’s when Jace saw the dirty clothes the vagabond had been wearing that day and had a hazy flash back to when he was still intoxicated thinking it was one of Dex’s parents.Thats when they started questioning him.

Dex: So tell me, where did you and your friend stash the shit?

Jace: Wait, what you talking about?

Dex: You know better than to answer a question with a question bro, we saw you two on camera, the eye contact you guys made with each other shows us that you guys planned this. Ncaaw you prolly thought you’re gonna sell it and buy your slutty mom a house.

He got mad at hearing these words and tried to fight back but couldn’t.

Dex: Your mom is a milf Jace whether you like it or not, but what you don’t know won’t kill you, now what you do know however might…..but if you tell us where your friend stashed it we will spare you, I mean come on we go to school together.

Jace was adamant and told them he didn’t know anything, about the man in the footage. That’s when they decided to let him go. Not because they believed him but because they wanted to follow him, thinking he would slip and that’s when they would catch him and his ‘’accomplice’’. They offered to drop him off at his house, which they were now watching 24/7.A couple of weeks later his mother started buying things, expensive things, even a car, she even bought him one but he had learned since his father’s ‘’disappearance’’ and his moms lack of work not to ask too many questions but now he just had to. He didn’t know where his mother had gotten so much money in a short amount of time. At dinner time, he brought up the subject, but she kept quiet and told him how ungrateful he was before storming off into the backyard to water the plants.

Jace: It was one of your old boyfriends wasn’t it mom, they made a hit at Dex’s and almost put my life in danger! They were gonna kill me; we have to take it back.

When Jace mentioned this that’s when chills ran down his mother’s spine. She thought the money was from a well wisher, not one of her boyfriends when she found the bag at her door because she’d not been in contact with any of them. Before they could make sense of anything they were kidnapped, taken hostage and woke up at Dex’s house in the same room where the vagabond’s clothes were found.

Both mother and son were questioned, tortured until one night when the lights went out all of a sudden. They heard someone telling them to get up and follow him. Before they realised it they were outside Dex’s mansion, he handed them keys to a car and told them everything they needed was in there. They were to get out of there as soon as possible and not stop till they were in another city. For some reason he asked Jace to take his clothes off and leave them, his mother thought the worst but he then told them to get in the car, with a gun to their heads .As soon as they’d left, puzzled as to what had just happened, the masked man ran back into the house shortly after the lights came on and he screamed ‘’Mom wait for me as he ran frantically out again into the woods with Dex and his friends following him onto a highway where he bumped into the car he had given Jace and his mom. That’s when Jace’s mom exclaimed, ‘’Omg’’, before the strange man got up and took off into another direction when they heard distant gun shots as they drove off.

Jace reconisiging his clothes and the strange man to be the vagabond from the party asked his mother, ‘’you know him?”

‘’Yes Jace, he was your father’’

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