Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 55

Jack Retief

Jack was furious. He’d had such bad luck. “That fucking bitch!” He cursed.

He prayed that Kate-Emily was okay. He thought what the two-year-old must be going through in Madelaine’s hands.

He’d had to drive from Gaborone to Scallyclare, and then to Eshowe. He’d also had to use a horse to ride to the cave, but at least he’d got the diamonds. That was the only good thing that had happened. He still did not have Kate-Emily back.

He fretted whether Kate-Emily was in good health. At only two years of age, it must be very hard for her.

Jack blamed himself for leaving the house unguarded and unlocked. He could not believe that Madelaine had kidnapped Kate-Emily in broad daylight.

Jack didn’t realise that Madelaine was dead, and put his foot down harder on the accelerator. He had to get to 14 Smith Street, Eshowe. He looked at the map he had bought from a garage on the way to Eshowe and found the place where the Rodericks lived.

Jack arrived in the neighbourhood the next morning, but the house was surrounded by cops and security tape. He knew something was wrong with either Madelaine or James. Or hopefully, both of them.

The fucking bastards! He thought. They got what they deserved. And what about Kate-Emily? What happened to my daughter? Jack was frantic with worry.

He wondered whether Chris had been there and whether he’d managed to see his little girl and take her away.

He drove and parked as close as he dared and then mixed with the few people who had gathered to see what had happened. He overheard one cop saying to another: “She was ugly, but she had a good body.”

They were talking in the past tense. There was no mention of Kate-Emily. He hoped and prayed that Chris had taken her.

He dared not approach the police, for fear of giving himself away. He had the uncut diamonds in his possession.

Jack saw someone who was probably Madelaine’s husband coming out of the house. He looked as if someone had scared him shitless. He saw the police officer stop Roderick (he assumed it was him) and ask him a few questions and then let him go.

Jack was stunned. He had realised that the three uncut diamonds would make him vulnerable to arrest. He got back into his vehicle and drove away from the scene.

Now what should he do? He considered his options. There were a few.

He could go back to Scallyclare and hide the diamonds back in the cave, but he was worried that he wouldn’t fit back inside there. That ruled that option out, along with a few hours’ drive to get there and back.

He thought of his uncle, Kobus. But he would have to get the stones to Gaborone and he felt that he couldn’t afford to let him into the secret of the diamonds – not to mention the hassle of going through the border yet again.

Next, he thought of Chris. Where could he have gone? He was sure he had his daughter. Would it be too risky to give the diamonds to him for safekeeping? That would be the sensible option.

Kate-Emily was always foremost on his mind. He worried how Chris had managed to travel. And to where? Jack wondered who he was visiting. He’d heard him say that he had some relatives in the townships outside of Eshowe – something like a great-aunt. His only option would be to drive around the townships and ask whether someone had seen him. It would take a full day to cover the township. Shit!

He drove and walked the streets for ages, searching for Chris and Kate-Emily.

He stood out, as he was the only white person who had a car. He had to stop where the roads were too narrow and rutted to drive a vehicle.

That afternoon, while he was wondering around on foot, he was tapped on the shoulder. He turned to find Chris looking at him.

Dispensing with the ritual of the Zulu requisite preamble, he said: “I’m glad I found you... ” then asked immediately: “Where is Kate-Emily?”

“She’s doing well. She’s with my great-aunt.”

“Let’s go there... ”

They hurried along the path between the smart thatch and tin-roofed rondavels, or huts, until they finally reached his relative’s home.

Kate-Emily had her back to him and was playing with a group of children of about her age. Jack heard her conversing in Zulu with the other children.

When he saw her, he shouted: “Kate!”

She turned as soon as she heard his voice. “Daddy, Daddy!” She immediately jumped into his open arms and threw her tiny arms around his neck, hugging him tightly.

Jack couldn’t contain himself and wept with joy at finding her. He looked at Chris and said: “My brother, I owe you.” Chris joined in the embrace.

Jack suddenly thought of the diamonds. “I’ll give them to you until the coast is clear.” He let out a sigh of relief.

“Thanks, my brother,” he said in Zulu. “Where are you going to keep them?”

Chris checked whether there was somebody in listening range, and he was happy there wasn’t. “I’ll hide them here, in this place,” Chris indicated a space in the thatch, out of view of everybody “Until you need them,” Chris replied.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine there,” Jack said – and meant it.

They followed Chris into his aunt’s home and enjoyed something cool to drink before they slept.

Jack locked Kate-Emily in his arms.

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