Anthony's body was shaking in fear and anxiety. He stood frozen, too terrified to breathe. As the police captain got back into the passenger seat of the car and the man who had taken Jane away got behind the wheel, he searched for a sign of her. In the poor light he saw nothing. Where is she? Is she safe? What are they going to do to her? Where to now? Who can I turn to, to save us from this mess? Who can I trust?
I must get away from here, he realised. As the car took off, he retreated deeper into the shadows. It would only be a matter of time before someone noticed his car and he decided to abandon it. He turned around and walked off, without any direction or purpose.
After covering a few blocks, he heard the howling of a police siren in the distance and told himself to be careful, only realising then that he was back in Zambezi Avenue. I'd better avoid the main roads. At least I have the cellphone with me, though who can I call? he wondered as he dialled Jane's number again, and again . . .
‘The subscriber you have dialled is not available, please try again later.’ The irritating electronic message was repeated each time.
A cold shiver ran down his spine . . .
I’ve read that the police can trace you via your cellphone. I should get rid of it, they may be tracking me. In his urgency, he dropped it in the bush and continued walking for a few paces before he stopped, his mind racing.
There was a petrol station halfway down the block and he returned to where he’d dropped the phone. It took him a while to locate it in the darkness. It was getting late; the streets were reasonably quiet as he headed towards the station. Cargo trucks were queued at the pumps for their journey ahead and he engaged in casual conversation with the drivers standing around, and found one heading to Zimbabwe. That will do fine, he thought, and he chucked the phone into the cargo on the back of the truck when the driver was not paying attention. Without the phone, Anthony felt even more lonely and vulnerable than earlier, and set off with no real direction or goal in mind.
Down the road, he passed a shopping centre and slumped onto a park bench. I must think. I have to do something. Perhaps Jane managed to get back to the estate so I must get home. It was over fifty kilometres away.
Jenny . . .
I will call Jenny, I trust her. She'll come, pick me up and drive me back to the estate.
Within twenty minutes of his call to her from a pay phone, she arrived.
‘I told you to sell that BMW and buy yourself a VW, then you would not have any problems,’ she chirped, as Anthony slid into the passenger seat. When he didn’t respond, she turned to face him.
‘Anthony . . .? What is wrong, you look as though you've seen a ghost? Speak to me,’ she urged, when still he did not reply.
‘Just drive, Jen, anywhere away from here.’
‘Where to . . .? What is going on? I just passed through a roadblock, don't tell me it is you they are looking for,’ she said, jokingly.
‘What do you mean? What roadblock, where?’
‘On my way here, only a few kilometres down the road, I passed through a road block.’
‘Wait, drive around the corner off the main road, I need to think. Drive in here.’ He indicated a dark parking area to the side of a shopping centre.
Once Jenny parked the car she turned to Anthony.
‘Okay, now you tell me what is going on.’ She spoke in a demanding tone.
Lost for words Anthony sat staring, almost catatonic.
‘I’ve got no clue. I'm being chased and shot at by the police and I can't say why.’
‘Wait, what do you mean “shot at and chased by the police”? That couldn't just happen? Something must've happened.’
‘I tell you, I don't know. Somehow, I am in trouble and I’ve got no idea who to turn to. Have you ever had the feeling you are the only person in the world? Like you want to talk to someone, but there is no one. The worst of all is . . . I do not even know what to say.’
‘What about Jane, where is Jane?’
‘They took her . . .’
‘Hang on Anthony, who's “they”? Now you are really freaking me out. Calm down, start from the beginning and tell me what is going on.’
For a few moments Anthony sat as if in a daze, then he managed to gather himself and recount the events of earlier in the evening.
‘I left the office earlier than usual this afternoon, but I left my notebook behind and went back for it . . .’
Anthony went through the story, explaining everything in detail up to when he’d overheard the policemen’s discussion.
‘Now I'm lost Jen. What should I do? I thought to ask you to take me back to the estate. Jane might be home, she may need me.’
Jenny sat speechless. This sounded a bit like a TV drama; surely it could not be true. The Hiltons clearly loved Jane, they would not do anything to hurt her – and on top of that, with the police . . .
‘Are you sure there is not a misunderstanding somewhere. When last did you try to call Jane? It is almost two in the morning, she might be at home worried about you?’
‘You are right, of course. I tried calling her on her cell earlier, and it went to voicemail. I’ll go try the home phone from the public booth. You wait here for me – be back shortly.’
‘Hey Anthony, wait . . . Where is your cellphone? Here, use mine . . .’ But Anthony was on his way, rushing to a payphone in the shopping centre at the other end of the car park.
Anthony tried both the home phone and her cell, still no reply. Where could she be? Is she still with them, or perhaps out looking for me? Feeling totally powerless and defeated, he collapsed onto a park bench near the booth in exhaustion. He had to think. Maybe Jenny's right, there must be some explanation. Things like this only happen on TV, not in real life. Could it be some sick joke? Deep in thought, he didn’t notice the car crawling slowly through the car park . . . no lights on . . . then his thoughts were interrupted by a burst of gunfire.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish