The October Killings

The October Killings by Wessel Ebersohn Read Free Book Online

Book: The October Killings by Wessel Ebersohn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wessel Ebersohn
    â€œThis is so exciting…”
    â€œListen carefully,” Abigail said. She found that she was often using those words when talking to Johanna. “This happened twenty years ago, and these men would all have been between eighteen and forty-five or thereabouts. They will be between forty and sixty-five by now. Obviously the higher ranks will be older.”
    â€œThis is thrilling.”
    â€œJust do it,” Abigail said. “Do it now, do it fast, and do it right.”
    â€œYes, sir,” Johanna said, clicking her heels together and fashioning a mock salute. “The twenty-second of October—that’s the day of our conference.”
    â€œI know.”
    â€œIs that significant?” Johanna’s voice was eager. She wanted it to be so.
    â€œI don’t think so. And, oh … go down to Human Resources—I think they arranged the presentation for Michael Bishop, and get his address and phone number.”
    *   *   *
    It was mid-afternoon before the deputy director-general discovered that Abigail was conscripting typists from other departments. He entered her office five minutes later. The look on his face suggested that now he had something on the minister’s pretty favorite.
    He was within five years of Abigail’s age, but that had not stopped him from addressing her as “girlie” the first time he gave her an instruction. Abigail had replied that he was at liberty to call her either Abigail or Ms. Bukula, but nothing else. Since that day relations between them had been frosty at best.
    The deputy director-general was physically a small man. He had a lean, fleshless head that made him look top-heavy. His tight African curls had been allowed to grow, spreading a few more centimeters all around and so adding to the effect. He stared at her with what was intended to be unsettling intensity.
    â€œYou have something to tell me, I believe.” The words came out in tight little syllables, a way of speaking that Abigail privately thought of as his pinched-arse mode.
    Speaking to this man without permanently destroying her career prospects was always a special challenge to Abigail. At times like this it was still more difficult.
    â€œNot that I’m aware of,” she said, keeping her voice flat and expressionless.
    â€œI fail to see how you can be unaware that you are hijacking girls from all over the building to undertake some private project of which I know nothing.”
    â€œI have authorization,” she said.
    â€œFrom whom? It didn’t come from me.”
    â€œIt came from Mandla Nyati.” Abigail lied well when she felt the cause was a good one.
    This piece of information gave the deputy director-general reason to pause while considering the best course of action. Nyati was technically of the same rank, but anyone associated with Special Operations or the Asset Forfeiture Unit automatically rose a step or two in rank. “He’s not your line manager,” he said carefully. “Instructions should come through your line manager.”
    It was time to give the fish a little line, before reeling him in. “That’s quite true” she said innocently. But she stopped there. That was enough line. Let him thrash around on the end of it. If he did not have the courage to countermand what seemed to be a Special Operations instruction, that really was his problem.
    â€œWell,” he said. “I trust you have it in writing.” It was a desperate attempt to regain a little dignity.
    â€œOh, yes.”
    He waited for Abigail to offer the written authorization, but she remained silent and motionless, looking back at him in the expressionless way that she hoped would have done justice to a good poker player.
    â€œWell, where is it?” he asked.
    â€œIn my car.” One of her hands was partially covering a sheet of paper that lay face down on desk.
    The deputy DG’s eyes

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