1. The bloody trail.


Salina Trent was used to Adam Lloyd’s foul moods, especially after collecting her in his flashy BMW. He didn’t call very often, but when he did, he usually came face to face with her nana at the front door. She hated him and always gave him a hard time. ‘I don’t want you hanging around with that gangster’, she’d say over and over again. ‘He’s old enough to be your father.’ Of course, Salina placated and ignored her. Fuck! what else was there to do in a shithole like Khayelitsha?

She was waitressing at the ‘Cape’, one of a handful of decent bars in the township, when Adam walked in and spotted her. It didn’t take him long before he made his move and claimed her for himself. She didn’t know what she was getting into that night, but she soon found out that he was one of the most possessive and violent men alive.

So many of her childhood friends ended up in cat-houses similar to the joints her man ran, so she was making the most of the opportunity that god had handed her.

He reminded her of a hornet’s nest. One minute he could be calm, considerate and buzzing with compliments; and the next, aggressive, sadistic and threatening blue murder. On the good days, he treated Salina differently. Sure, he slapped her around if she got lippy and sex could involve a lot of pain, but in her surroundings, there was no other way to live. It was a case of put up with your lot, or get out of town.

“When’s your Nan gonna give me a break, kid?”

His hands massaged the leather steering wheel as though he was wringing the life out of one of his whores. She laid a hand on his arm and when he relaxed, she steered his hand onto her thigh. He wasted no time in sliding his fingers under her skirt, over her leather thigh strap and on to the soft cotton that protected her humid, well-defined mons.

Mmmm,” she sighed and parted her thighs, so he could feel her damp contours. “Nana’s only got me, Adam. She aint getting any younger. Besides, I thought you were getting used to her ways.”

“I am. I’ve just had a crappy morning and then your nan on top of…” They were approaching the garage, so he removed his hand, slowed and steered onto the side of the forecourt… “Fuuuuuuuuck!” he shouted.

Salina looked up and instantly saw the front end of a red coach bearing down on them.

Adammmm!” she cried, as he brought the car to a halt and slammed it into reverse. “What the fuckkkkkk!”

She jerked forward when Adam spun the wheels and shot backward onto the road, steering left and heading back in the same direction from which they came. The car slewed left and right on the unmade surface, while the huge monstrosity of a coach bore down on them.

Adam remained silent, trying to get control of the car, while the BMW’s engine screamed as they picked up speed, in a helter-skelter attempt to outrun the bus. THUNK! An impact to the fender jarred the car and caused Adam to lose control.

Cuuuuuuunt!” He bellowed as the car spun around. THUNK! Another blow from the bus on Salina’s corner of the car, badly damaging it and pushing it sideways into a corrugated iron fence, where it shuddered to a halt.

The sound of metal grinding on metal was still ringing in her ears when Adam shoved her toward the door.

“Get the fuck out, bitch,” he screamed at her.

His side of the car was up against the fence, so she had to move. In her haste, she went tumbling to the ground and had to stagger to her feet without help. Her man was standing by the car with a phone to his ear. He was staring down the road at the back end of the coach that was only just visible within a huge cloud of dust.

“Donny? …” he shouted. “… Go get him, NOW!”

There was a pause, during which time, he booted the door of the car several times. Salina knew she had to keep quiet, while her angry boyfriend dealt with the situation.

“Donny. Listen carefully, A red Leyland coach is about to pass your store in a few seconds. Jump on your bike and follow it. Take your phone and keep me informed. I wanna know where it goes, but stay well back. Do this for me and we’re square. Fail and you’ll be hanging by your balls from your satellite dish.  Got it?”

Salina’s head was spinning. The disastrous confrontation with the coach wasn’t the sort of thing that happened to Adam Lloyd. He was all powerful and controlled events in the district. There wasn’t a business in Khayelitsha that didn’t respect the man and pay him for his protection. Something had gone dreadfully wrong at the Total garage - one of the businesses he directly owned.

He pocketed his phone and withdrew his automatic pistol from his shoulder holster. He held the gun in the air. “Kid, the horse has bolted, but we’d better be careful. Follow me in, but stay at least ten feet back.”

She nodded, while reaching under her skirt to withdraw her own weapon – a Ruger LC9s. The rounded edges of the automatic felt comfortable in her hand, but did she have the nerve to use it in anger, if the situation arose? She cocked the gun and held it pointing toward the ground.

Her heart was in her mouth, but her gun hand was as steady as a rock. The hours she had spent at the Lloyd private shooting range was standing her in good stead.

“This is what I trained you for, bitch.”

She nodded, wide eyed. Satisfied she was ready, Adam set off.

He was wearing grey slacks and a red polo shirt, while she had slipped a black skater skirt and t-shirt on. The plan had been for her to look after the cat-house for a few hours, while he and his boys took care of an ongoing situation; but all that had gone up in smoke.

The road’s poor surface was littered with broken glass for most of the 200 metres between the car and the garage. She was having to jog in 3” platforms to keep up with her man, who was striding purposefully toward the garage. Adam slowed at the corner where the fence was destroyed and laying on its side. He peered up the service road to see if the coast was clear.

Salina walked into the road, so she could stay ten feet behind the tall figure of her fiancé; and see what was happening. The wire security gates were destroyed and reduced to twisted metal on either side of the access road.

Further on, several car wrecks appeared to have been lifted in the air and dropped haphazardly between the entrance and the shattered wall of the cat-house. The hole was only partially visible, but it didn’t take an Einstein to work out that the bus had been used as a battering ram. A body lay crumpled in the dust, reminding her that she was involved in a life and death situation.

Was her man’s authority being seriously challenged by a rival gang? Or, had one of his old flames returned to ruin his business? She spotted a black girl driving the bus, so what the fuck was going on?

Adam stopped beside the side door, just past where the gates should have been, and signalled to her to catch up. He had his phone out again.

“Abel?” There was a pause. “Son, bring a couple of the boys over to the Total garage. It’s like world war three here. And, bring a spare set of wheels.” He put the phone away.

“What the fuck happened here, Adam?”

“Bitch, stop asking dumbass questions and listen to me. Stay here until I arrive at the corner up there.” He indicated the far end of the garage with his gun. “If anyone opens this door, gut shoot ‘em.”

She nodded dutifully and stepped away from the door, while her man eased it open and disappeared inside. A couple of curious bums had sidled up and stopped on the far side of the road, but whatever had occurred, had been quick and hadn’t attracted too much attention. It hardly mattered though, because Adam Lloyd was the law and no one was about to call the SAPS.

She was just wondering what she should do if she heard a shot, when Adam appeared at the corner, He beckoned to her, so she hurried past the tangled gates to where he was standing, looking down at the broken and bloodied body of Seth, the manager of the garage. He had taken a bullet in the chest and then been run over by the bus. If a man could be killed twice then Seth had suffered such a fate.

“Who the fuck did this, Adam?”

He looked at her with a dark expression on his face. “Follow me, bitch. I’ll explain later.” He led her around a wreck and through the hole in the wall of the cat-house.

“Master,” a tiny voice wailed from the far end of the wooden building.

It was Kitty the serving girl. She had pushed her trolley into the furthest cubicle to hide from the intruders.

“Fucking, bitch,” Adam cursed, while standing at the front of cubicle number 6.

It had contained the new wigger, who Abel had snatched a week earlier. 5 and 4 were empty, but the whores in 3, 2 and 1 were still shackled in the splits position. When Adam approached the naked trolley girl, she backed away toward the exit, until her chain was taut.

“What did you see?” he demanded in a cold, angry voice.

The girl was terrified and Salina wasn’t surprised to see urine trickling down her leg. She managed to pull herself together and pointed down the aisle. “There… there was a crash… and… and the girl… That girl yor boys took away… She done come back, Master… and took them other two whores, right atta that hole.” Her eyes were like saucers and were fixed on the automatic that Adam was holding in his right hand.

“Did you see Dennis?”

“I didn’t see nuttin, Master. I heard them shots and then that fucking bus roared off with them gals…”

“You never saw Dennis?”

“Nah, Master. I heard them shots. It was like a fucking movie show…”

He was exasperated and pointed toward the whore. “Clean these three up, then empty and release their legs, so they can sit up. The hole will be fixed later. Salina, put your gun away and help Kitty with the whores. I gotta lot on my mind at the moment. I’ll be in my office.”

Salina holstered her gun as soon as Adam walked off toward the other end of the shed. He stood looking at the hole for a moment and then disappeared into the bright sunshine.