The flu I have been beating off with a stick since last Friday resurged yesterday, so when I arrived home instead of leaving the car outside the garage, I pulled it in. I was kipping comfortably in the early evening and then woke up at about 7pm to watch the news and make supper (a mealie plus some fish fingers and ice cream for dessert).
By 9:30pm I was watching Magnum PI on DVD with most of the lights off. My father called at around 10pm to say he had arrived back from Botswana and Namibia. After a dash of Oprah and a few pages of Eckhard Tolle's A New Earth I tried to sleep.
At around midnight I heard a knocking downstairs at the door. I thought: there is no way I am opening the door for whoever that is (there is a lady who is always begging for lifts, favours or money across the road). Then I heard a man's voice and so opened the window.
"Sorry to bother, but one of the guards saw some guys running out of the house. One guy was carrying a bag. Can I come through and look around?" It was one of the guys from CAP.
I let him through and after several minutes he comes back and says everything seems fine. No sign of breaking and entering.
"Did you speak to the lady?" I ask. I've meanwhile gone to the garage to check our cars. Both there, no broken windows.
"No." And off he goes, shining his torch at the windows. I go upstairs to call her on her cell, meanwhile the landline is ringing with no answer (CAP are calling).
No answer on her cell. It's not even ringing.
I'm not feeling so lekker now, and I'm not referring to the flu. I go downstairs, looking through the kitchen with the CAP guy (lights are on inside). Pull on the door - locked. Go around to her bedroom and she's not there. She could be upstairs, but it's unlikely. The blankets on the bed are pushed up quite high. I go around to the side and see her handbag lying on the floor almost behind the bed.
That's not like her. There's also lots of stuff on the bed - from this angle - that shouldn't be there. I pull on the door and it - unexpectedly - opens. As soon as I am inside I see something is wrong. Pieces of cheese - one with a bite taken out of it - lie on the ground at the door's entrance.
I call her name and immediately hear a faint response. When I reach the door of her bedroom to the passage the downstairs is covered in detritus. I mean each step is covered in clothes and empty boxes. I follow her voice to a steel door with a small key in it. It takes a while to figure out how to open the safe, and when I do, she is inside, her face red and swollen having been bludgeoned a few times. I feel like I want to hug her, She says, "Thanks for rescuing me."
"How long have you been in there?" I ask.
"About two hours. They said they would kill me if I made a noise."
I can't believe how brazen these guys are. Two hours ago I was still awake, talking to my father on the phone.
As she steps out of the safe she says, "They've taken everything."
The guy from CAP is calling all this in, and she asks me to call her daughter (since her phone is gone). The CAP guy asks her if he should order a locksmith (entry was through using a key).
It's not long before we ascertain how this happened. The gardener who left 2 weeks earlier simply gave his key with instructions to three other thugs. Upstairs we find an empty box with the second garage's remote missing. She confirms: "It was him. Only Nkosi knew about this, and knew where it was."
I went back to bed soon after. By 12:55 the next day the police have still not arrived to take fingerprints (almost 13 hours later). I don't know whether the CAP guys co-ordinate their search, but the perpetrators seemed to have been on foot, which means (I realise this morning) I could probably have found them by bicycling around the neighborhood. Sometimes those closest to us, whom we allow into our homes, are our worst enemies. Someone said: "Love all, trust few and do evil to none." Words to live by.