The Veil Chapter 25 - Mzansi Stories

Tuesday, August 2


The Veil Chapter 25


Chapter 25
Joseph stared blankly in the dark. It gave him a sense of peace and security. He had never been afraid in all his life until now.
He thought he was safe at Amina's house. It was the last place anyone could think he could come. He had taken a taxi from the trading centre, leaving his truck with his shop owner friend Nelson. He knew where Amina hid the key and had simply let himself inside. She had called him earlier that morning to say she had gone to town. Her former employee at the boutique she used to work wanted to see her. He checked at the time on his phone. 9:25 pm and Amina wasn't back yet. What boutique still opened at such hours? Her phone was switched off, he had been trying it several times.

It was becoming frustrating. One of his friends from the police department had called him at 5:00 am that morning saying the police would be at his door anytime.
He had woken up hurriedly and driven off leaving his wife asleep like a log.
It was frustrating to look for a hideout where people had no idea. He stopped using his old mobile number and put in the SIM card that his accomplices knew. The news he had got was that the garage was now guarded by heavily armed police men. He had thought of being secretly led out of the area but nobody among his so called friends was willing to take the risk. The police seemed to be sniffing everywhere.
He heard the key turning in the lock. Amina was back. She switched on the lights on the living room and let out a startled cry in fright.
"My goodness, you really scared me!" She exclaimed.
He simply looked at her.
"She dropped her handbag on the nearest chair and walked to his side.
"Are you okay? You don't look yourself."
"Can I stay here for a few days?" He asked slowly.
"I don't understand you Amina. Why do you always seem to be in a rush to get rid of me?"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Her heart thumped in her throat. Perhaps he now know that I'm a police officer. She thought.
"You know I'm serious about us but sometimes you give me doubts. You look like you hold yourself back and you don't trust me." He spoke while her hands were capped in his.
"You still haven't told me why you want to stay here for a few days."
"You won't understand even if I tell you. Later it's when I might tell you everything."
"I'm sorry but I can't. If you want to stay here then tell me everything."
He left her hands then held his head in silence.
Sweat was breaking on his forehead and he could feel it too in his armpits. He didn't want to lose control.
"Lets get married then." He said suddenly.
"What? No way. I mean it's too early for that, don't you think? Besides I want to get to know you better first."
He thought she still didn't know that he was married or rather he was separated from his wife.
She was aware that the police had been at his house and he was on the wanted list in all nearest police stations.
It was a shame he thought her house was a safe haven when actually he should have been running as far away as possible.
"Have you had anything to eat?" She asked smilling.
"Not yet. My stomach is rumbling."
"Sit down and watch the television. Let me cook you something."
He grinned widely. He loved her cooking and was looking forward to what he would have. His mouth salivated.
She carried her handbag to the bedroom. Closed the door and took out her cellphone.
She called one of her colleagues on the case.
She spoke in haste cautiously. She told him of Joseph's presence and he replied that the police would be there as soon as the vehicle was back from another operation.
"Don't come raising all the sirens. He may get away."
She said before hanging up.
She changed into a simple dress and went back to check on Joseph.
"Everything okay sweetheart?"
"Yes." Feeling good he smiled in reply. He couldn't remember the last time his wife had called him such sweet names.
She went to the kitchen and started cooking while humming to herself. He heard her. Such a sweet thing. He thought.
Oh what treachery lies in a woman. He would realize soon.
She made beef stew, beans and nsima just the way she knew he loved it.
She set the table and they sat down to eat. Time was approaching to a quarter to eleven.
His plate was heaped to his satisfaction, he put pepper in his beef stew and ate with such a big appetite. Amina watched her. Her heart thumping at every passing minute. She knew time was up. Soon the police would be coming.
"Eat your food.why are you quite?" His voice jolted her back from her thoughts.
She smiled and took a piece of meat from his plate.
When they were finished eating and the dishes cleared away, he removed his shoes and put his feet on the table, a toothpick on the corner of his mouth.
He flipped through the channels. On MBC television they were beaming a program that was being repeated thrice that evening.
He switched it off in annoyance.
"What time will you be going back to your place?" She asked him.
He didn't reply. Instead he stood up from his seat and went to her. She knew what he was thinking of doing. She allowed him to hold her. Just as he was about to carry her to the bedroom, a heavily sounding knock shook the door. They both looked startled.
"Are you expecting anyone?" He asked shaken.
"No." She answered.
"Are you sure? Then who would be that at this hour?"
"I...I don't know. Let me just check maybe it's my neighbor."
He watched her go to open the door. He was alert. As soon as Amina turned her back, his hand was on his gun inside the band of his trouser.
The moment the door opened, the police burst in.
To the surprise of everybody, Joseph took out the gun.
"You can't do this. This whole area is surrounded by the police." One of the officers said.
"I don't care. How did you know I was here in the first place?" Joseph asked.
In answer the policeman just looked at Amina who in turn looked down.
"You?" Joseph asked Amina. He couldn't believe she had sold him all along.
"I will fire this gun if any of you comes near me. I will walk out of this door with Amina and you tell your colleagues out there to back off."
He told the four officers to put down their guns and they obliged by putting their hands behind their heads.
As he spoke, he straddled Amina inside the crook of his arm, choking her.
"You will pay for this b****!"
He shouted.
Amina started crying. Begging him to let go of her but it all fall on deaf ears.
"You thought I was a fool to love you? Is this how you repay me traitor?"
Joseph was becoming hysterical. He didn't know what awaited him out there.
It was evident he had nowhere to run to. He had been but a fool because he shouldn't have gotten involved with her in the first place. He had walked right into a trap, embracing it with both hands.
He had seen this only in action movies where criminals could fool the police and fight their way to freedom. Here he was weighing his survival options. They were close to nothing.
Why had he took out the gun? He had never used it before except during firing sessions which he had only done three times in the past one year.
Now they would make sure to pin it down to him. Illegal possession of firearm was a serious criminal offence.
He started imagining a penniless life in prison since all his money had been used to corrupt different people and he had thought the sale of the maize would bring back the financial flow. How wrong he had been.
He was thinking of an escape route when he felt a cold barrel of a gun behind his back.
"Let go of the lady mister before things get rough."
Another police officer had gone inside the house through Amina's bedroom window and catwalked to the living room.
Joseph was now on his knees, crying hysterically. He felt handcuffs click in his wrists.
"You are under arrest for suspected theft and conduct likely to cause breach of peace. Whatever you say will be used against you in the court of law." One of the police officers told him.
As if he didn't know the rubbish they usually said. It was a ritual that meant nothing to the suspect who mostly didn't know what they really meant.
Of all his toughness, his manly ego, did he had to be taken down by a woman? It troubled him on a serious note. He was scared of the future. Who would take care of his mother and children? How many years would he serve in jail?
It was a moment of reflection like that of most dying men. Except that it wasn't his soul returning to the owner but his body about to be subjected to physical torture.
As he was almost thrown into the police van. His eyes met with Amina's. He thought he saw the female Judas smilling at him.
Amina personally went to deliver the news of Joseph's arrest to his wife. Nelly had barely slept that night as impatience and worry continued to eat her mind.
Amina introduced herself as a police officer who out of goodwill had came to tell her. She gave her money to take care of things at home and use for transport to see her husband at the police station at the trading centre as he was about to be transfered to prison to await trial.
Nelly now knew that her husband's night escapades had bore him nothing but a prison sentence. She was shocked to learn the extent of his crime. What gave him the guts to steal like that? For how long did he think his secret would still be intact?
What would happen to her and the children when he is locked away?
She had no idea how to set up a business let alone run it. Who would help her to stand on her feet against the harsh winds of life that threatened to come as a result of idleness?
As she got ready to see her husband, she thought of somewhere she could live if worse came to worst. Definitely her mother in law wouldn't welcome her back not after the rude manner in which she had talked to her. Who else among her relatives would put up with her and her children? She didn't see anyone.
The news of Joseph's arrest spread around the neighborhood like wild fire.
It was also rumoured that whoever was an accomplice to Joseph's many crimes would suffer the same fate.
The media went crazy. This was a crime against humanity and they would leave no stone unturned until everybody who was dented was brought to book. Government officials were involved too and the net awaited them. What sort of hardness would root so much greedy in the hearts of men?
Joseph's friend Nelson who was still keeping Loveness' property after Joseph had confiscated it was very troubled. He didn't know if he was going to be arrested too for being an aide.
He continued to think over the matter until he decided to go to the police and explain himself then hand everything over. He didn't want to complicate himself by approaching Loveness first in case some things were missing.
He regretted ever involving himself with Joseph. One could take advantage of a fellow man, cheat and deceive him to his heart's satisfaction but plowing on defenseless widows and orphans was a no. It would attract the wrath of God.
He set off and went to the police station. His statement was taken and he was referred to the officer handling Joseph's case. The officer agreed to go and see the property before handing it over to Loveness. If at all there was anything missing, he would bare the consequences.
The policeman couldn't believe Joseph's cruelty. If he was capable of harming his own late brother's family, what other impurities could he do?
He knew that he should only do his job and stop being personal but this case was enough to rise all the fury buried underneath.
He would make sure this abuse was highlighted on the list of Joseph's crimes so that justice was served accordingly.

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