Rough Diamonds

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Chapter 57

Jack Retief

Jack was rudely awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of crashing through the doorway.

“What?” Jack held tight to Kate-Emily and tried to shield her from the ear-splitting racket. He was frantic about his daughter and the diamonds.

He stood and looked at the six cops who had crashed into the [ital.] khaya[ital.], or small room. Jack was stunned and tried to shield Kate-Emily’s eyes from the blinding torch light. She was now wide awake and stammering and crying.

He looked for Chris, but he wasn’t in his sleeping place. At the same time he thought: They mustn’t find the diamonds.

“Where’s that kaffir, Christmas Ndlovu?” The officer grabbed Jako roughly. He asked him again.

“I don’t know,” said Jako, blinded by the light.

“Who are you?”

“Jako Retief,” he answered, still blinded.

Then the officer shouted: “We’ve got the other one!” He seized Jako. “The name ‘XMAS’ was written in blood at the scene of the murder. That means ‘Christmas’ and that you’re implicated.“

Kate-Emily shouted “Leave my Daddy be!” She tried to pry Jako out of the officer’s grip, but it was no use. Sobbing, she said: “Please let my Daddy pick me up?” The torchlight was still blinding them.

The officer thought for a moment, and agreed, and pointed to the child: “And who is this?”

“My daughter, Kate-Emily.”

“We’ll take her, too.”

“No!” Jako yelled, “she’s safer here.”

The officer took on a more menacing tone. “You’re inhabiting a black man’s abode. I can charge you with more... ”

Jako thought better of it.

Then the police officer said forcefully: “I’m holding you as being an accessory to the first degree murder of Mrs Madelaine Roderick at 14 Smith street, Eshowe.”

“Oh, shit.” Jako held Kate-Emily more tightly. “What have I done?” The officer ignored the question. Jako thought: Thank fuck Chris isn’t here. He and Kate-Emily went to the waiting vehicle which were roads away.

The officers bundled Jako and Kate-Emily into the back of the police van. They were with four black people who had also been arrested, and they were submitted to a rough and bumpy ride.

Jako reassured Kate-Emily: “It’s alright, it’s alright... ” He didn’t believe it, but thank goodness they had not discovered the uncut stones where Chris had hidden them.

They were roughly ejected from the van by the cops. Jako couldn’t hold on to Kate-Emily and she fell, hit her head and cried. The police laughed at the grubby little girl.

They herded the prisoners into the police station and locked Jako and Kate-Emily up together with the other black prisoners.

“You fucking kaffir brother,” the one cop said to Jako. He laughed, prompting the other policemen to join in.

Kate-Emily was crying from the fall and the trauma. Jako felt a mixture of fury and helplessness.

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