Burden of Truth

“Co-co! Co-co! Coco di- Rasta! Co-co! Co-co! Coco di- Rasta!” Salome woke up singing. She had no idea who ever sang that song and how she came about singing it immediately she opened her eyes in the morning. But she awoke, as she slept angelically. She had not heard her alarm go off and the numerous snoozes it underwent. She yawned and sat up on her giant bed and looked around. For the first time she felt a sense of peace -an overwhelming calmness that put a smile on herself. Finally, finally, it was all going to be ok.

The last 18 months had been drama filled and life threatening. Salome had chosen to follow the straight and narrow, whose narrowness almost chocked the life out of her. She had been walking home one evening when she witnessed police officers pulverize one of her neighbours. A young man, couldn’t be older than 17 carrying a backpack. She recorded it on her cellphone and distributed it to all media outlets and to the commissioner of police.

This breaking news report resulted in an outbreak of pockets of violence, civilians storming police stations demanding for the blood of the police officers who almost killed the young man. The aftermath of the beating produced its very own disturbing images of a swollen and disfigured face black and blue. The young man was hospitalized for months; he was facing renal failure, a collapsed lung and an injured windpipe. It was a miracle the young man survived.

The police harassment had ben bumped up in the name of ‘fighting terror’. This young boy, the story eventually revelaed, had refused to pay the cops a bribe. He had been on his way to hs friend’s house in the leafy surburban neighbourhood, where he too lived, and just because he told the cops, “I know my rights and no law requires me to walk around with my national identity on my person at all times”. The cops pounced on him.

It was then discovered who had leaked the footage and Salome had a long streak of sleepless nights staying away from town because the authorities were looking for her. Not to clarify her statement, but to recant it. And there was a team, lead by the perpertrating cops who set out to find her. This ring of police officers was well known as the “extortionists” who had been suspected to have killed a senior police officer and planted evidence and staged it to look like a 45 year old, deaf and mute cripple did it.

The court didn’t buy it, but since then there was a lot of heat on the “extortionists” which was only fanned with the prescence of the footage of harassment and assault. What saved them was that their faces weren’t very clear because of the quality of video from the phone. But this time the Police Commissioner was out to get them. Salome had received 15 death threats within the first two days of the video release, with numerous reports of being followed home. She moved back to her sister’s place out of town after she got home and found her house ransacked. “We know you and we will find you!” A note in her appartment read. She had to run for her life.

Today she woke up months later, pleased happy, it was a good day. But when she called out to her sister, there was silence, it was Saturday morning, the smell of eggs and sausages would have filled the air by now. She hoped out of bed caling out, “Lucy! Lucy!Luuuuuucy!” only to find a note, “They took me Salome….” The pen slide off unusually, Lucy didn’t have time to finish the note. Salome screamed, who was she to trust or call? She needed Lucy back; she was the only family she had.

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