Two rival crime bosses fight for dominance on the streets of South Africa’s capital city.
The city’s underground film industry is set ablaze.
And Alice, a university student, is caught in the middle of a bloody battle for survival.
Their fates all intertwine in this tale of vengeance and fury.
“Fury is as haunting as it is addictive. This is the type of book you need to read with the lights on.” – Monique Snyman, Killer Aphrodite Entertainment
“A twisted tale of revenge that will haunt your dreams.” – Paul Simpson, Sci-Fi Bulletin
“Smart, perfectly paced and well executed there is nothing I like better than an old school supernatural revenge thriller, you just can’t beat a REALLY angry ghost.” – The Eloquent Page
A cold wind brushed her cheek. The knowledge and memories of her short life came flooding back. She stood up and realised she was naked. Her feet and hands were gone. Blood covered her ruined body.
The sound of crickets and other insects buzzed around the surrounding bush. She couldn’t hear or feel her own heartbeat, but it called to her from across the city. The mind-numbing realisation dawned on her slowly, at first, and then slammed into her stomach. She was dead, yet she was standing at the top of Klapperkop hill, overlooking Pretoria’s city lights. The lights winked at her. If she hadn’t been in so much pain she would have laughed at the insanity of it all. It was a cruel joke.
The memories from the night before, painful and bloody, screamed at her.
She took one step and then another on bloody stumps, towards the rocky edge; each step making her stronger.
With revenge on her mind she made her way down the narrow footpath towards the lights and those that had to pay the ultimate price for their crimes.
The music vibrated through the dance floor, moved into her feet and up her body. She looked up at the girls dancing on the speakers. They looked like fashion models. She wished she had the courage to climb up there with them, but she’d never been that comfortable in her own skin. They gyrated to the beat as it pounded through their perfect gym-trained bodies. She knew with a certainty she would never be one of them.
Chefs on Deck was divided into two dance areas. One played more popular music, the sort of music she was comfortable with. The bar was also there, which was also where she felt more at home. She didn’t look out of place just standing at the bar or simply swaying with the music – that was more her style of dance, anyway. The other dance floor played house music. She hated house music, but tonight Melissa had forced her to step out of her comfort zone and do things she wouldn’t ordinarily do.
Melissa had even gone so far as to make her pinkie-swear she would try things she wouldn’t normally do. That she would grow a pair, as Melissa had put it.
She sighed at the stupidity of it all. She wanted to leave, to sneak back home where she felt safe, but Melissa would never forgive her if she left.
‘You would look a whole lot better up there than any one of them,’ a husky voice whispered in her ear, and startled her out of her stroppy dance routine.
It sounded like a whisper, but he must have shouted it for her to have heard it so clearly. Maybe she’d only heard what she’d wanted to hear. She tried to smile and dance at the same time, tried to look as sexy as the girls on the speakers, but only managed to look like a wind-up doll flailing its arms. She looked around the dance floor for one of her friends, to make sure this cute boy was talking to her because he wanted to and not because he’d been dared to. It had happened before and she didn’t want to feel that stupid again. Melissa was dancing with some guy in black leather pants and a white t-shirt. Even she knew the leather pants were a fashion faux pas of note. Who wore leather pants in a hot night club? He was asking for an infection where he didn’t want one. They looked like they chaffed.
‘Let’s get some air,’ the good-looking boy said into her left ear, while he blocked her right ear with his finger. His voice and closeness once again startled her out of her own random internal dialogue. He reminded her of Jared Leto, not from Suicide Squad or his man bun phase, but from when he was hot and young. He took her hand and pulled her through the throng of dancing bodies. They bumped against her as she stumbled through the crowd, bringing to mind a herd of zombies from The Walking Dead. He led her outside, into the parking area. Since Hatfield – the main university party area – had been closed down, most students now found their way to clubs like Presley’s in the east, which she hated. A high school friend of hers had been gang raped there by a team of Rugby players in the girls’ bathroom. But Chefs on Deck was where Melissa and the rest of her friends seemed to prefer congregating. There weren’t many other options for dancing anymore. Hatfield only had a few hangouts left, and they were mostly bars like Night Class, or The Blue Room.
From the safety of the parking area, Angela watched as cars drove past and other pedestrians dodged them as they crossed Solomon Mahlangu Drive. She couldn’t help but wonder where the other people were heading. It wasn’t like there was much on that side of the road.
‘I’m Andre,’ he said.
He was close. Too close.
She smelt beer and cigarettes on his breathe. Bottomless blue eyes that she wanted to swim naked in, stared back at her. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted him to kiss her. It shocked her to realise she was thinking along those lines. She didn’t normally react this way to the boys she met in clubs. She wasn’t used to having such an instant attraction to anyone, but he wasn’t just a boy. He was older, not a university student, anyway. But that night was different; she was different. Just once she wanted to feel what all the other girls felt. She wanted to be wild for just one night in her boring, rigid, safe little life.
‘I’m Angela,’ she said as she stuck her hand out for him to shake. He looked down at her extended limb. A smile twitched the edge of his thin lips and she knew she’d done something stupid. He grabbed her hand, but instead of shaking it, he kissed it softly on the palm. A tingle travelled through her body. It was something she’d never experienced.
She hoped she didn’t have the word ‘virgin’ tattooed on her forehead. A blush crept up to her ears, setting them on fire, which made Andre grin. His smile was the sexiest thing she’d ever seen.
She was also the oldest virgin she knew. All of her friends did it years ago, while they were still in high school, so being a virgin at twenty was a bit of a joke. Melissa had slept with one of their teachers in the twelfth grade. All the girls at varsity had also given up their V-card years before. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to do it; it was just that it had never seemed right. Now she was tired of waiting. She just wanted to get it over and done with. Melissa told her that sex wasn’t everything it had been hyped up to be, so what was the point in waiting for the perfect moment? Or waiting for that perfect guy that didn’t exist?
‘So,’ he said looking at her through long black eyelashes.
‘So,’ she said examining her feet. Her shoes were killing her. ‘Is this a random hook up?’ she asked, not knowing where the question came from.
‘Would you like it to be?’ His gaze was steady and unflinching. Angela didn’t know what to say or how to react. She was in uncharted territory. It was exhilarating and scary. She stared down at her feet, feeling his gaze on her. An uncomfortable silence set in.
Andre touched her face. His fingertips were soft and caressing, causing her to feel things she’d only imagined in her dreams. She felt his breath on her cheek as he leaned in closer.
She braced herself for that inevitable kiss she knew was coming. At least she knew how to kiss. She may not have been a complete pro at it, but it was something she had experienced before.
His lips were firm and dry. She didn’t like slobbery wet kisses. His were nothing like that. A pleasure moan escaped from between her lips. His tongue took that as a sign to probe deeper. It sent a shiver down her spine.
‘Let’s get out of here,’ he whispered into her open mouth, between soft kisses. She ignored the voice inside her head telling her it wasn’t a good idea. She also ignored the fact that it was a bad line, and the line most used in Hollywood movies. She swallowed any fear or apprehension. It was her night to be daring and bold. She was going to grab life by the horns. Throw caution to the wind and all that crap. It was her night to shine and to make mistakes she would probably regret the next morning, but she would at least have a story to tell her friends. And wasn’t life supposed to be about making mistakes while you’re young? Wasn’t it about having stories to tell your friends?
Angela didn’t want to go through life and, at the end of the journey, regret not having lived. Plus she had promised Melissa she would step out of her comfort zone, and she believed in keeping her promises.
‘Okay,’ she choked the word out.
Grabbing her hand, Andre led her through the parking area to a black motorbike. She’d never been on a bike before. Her mother was going to kill her.
What her mother didn’t know wouldn’t hurt either of them, she told herself.
Her heart pounded against her ribs as she put on his spare helmet. The helmet had a sticker that said Nikki on the back. She just hoped it didn’t belong to a girlfriend called Nikki.
It was too big for her and dipped over her eyes. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t see where they were going. She would have her eyes tightly closed all the way there anyway. Wherever there was.
‘Who’s Nikki?’ she asked, looking up at him and pushing the helmet back so she could see his face.
‘They’re the helmet manufacturers,’ he said, trying not to laugh.
She hoped he couldn’t see her blushing again.
Watching him get on the bike and starting it, she could hear her mother telling her she would be grounded for the rest of her life if she dared get on a bike with a stranger.
It would be worth it, she decided as she pulled her dress up so she could get her leg over the seat, and climbed on behind him. The engine vibrated between her legs.
‘So that’s what Melissa meant by a vibrator on wheels,’ she whispered to herself and blushed all over again.
She almost fell off as he pulled away, but managed to grab on to him as though her life depended on it. Which it probably did, she decided. An exhilarated laugh escaped at the first corner they took. It was the most exciting thing she’d ever done. She could only imagine how amazing the rest of the night would be.
Melissa was going to freak out when she told her all about it. Melissa had never had the guts to get on a bike. Melissa always talked about getting on one and liked to pretend that she had, but she’d never actually done it. The vibrator on wheels line was just something Melissa had heard some guy say, but now Angela could explain to her exactly what it meant.
For the first time in her life, Angela had done something before Melissa.
Her stomach lurched as they went around another corner.
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