Chris was hiding in a side street.
“You!” the white policeman shouted. “You, kaffir! Where’s your dompas?”
Taken by surprise, Chris heard the shout from behind, where they should not have been able to spot him.
The policeman was joined by two more white policemen. “Come here, you fucking kaffir.” The group of officers bundled him into a meat wagon.
Jako Retief had been handled relatively courteously despite the alleged crime he’d committed. Chris, a black man, however, had no chance. The officers bypassed the police station and drove him to a deserted field.
The police roughly tugged Chris out of the meat wagon and sent him sprawling on the dusty ground.
“What’s your name?” the policeman insisted, kicking him in his ribs.
“Aaauww!” screamed Chris. “Chris... Christmas Ndlovu.”
“Where did you get your name, you fucking bliksem?” There was an outburst of hilarity. The prisoner’s hands were handcuffed behind his back and the officers took turns beating him senseless.
“That will teach you, you filthy bastard!” They taunted the black man. Again, there was another round of hideous laughter.
Chris teetered on the brink of consciousness.
He awoke to a mournful sound. Chris listened to the distant cry. It was the final, deep wail of a cow being put out of her misery. He crept up over the slight incline and saw a group of men slaughtering the helpless beast. She was struggling in vain to free herself from her butchers.
Shit, he hurt. When he could, he felt himself all over.
“Those fucking pigs.”
Besides the pain and few bruises, he felt all right. He was just relieved that the cops had not arrested him. He had to get to Jako and Kate-Emily, but he feared if he got too close to the police, he would be arrested. Some charge, like not having his dompas, which he’d left at the home of his great-aunt, or going into a white area without authorisation, would land him in jail.