They always say speech is silver and silence is golden. That day the silence was as loud as thunder. I felt a cold shiver run down my spine. My hands were sweating I could feel the sweat trickling . He adjusted his glasses, “guilty!” He said as he hammered the gavel down, sentencing me to 15 years of hard labor with no parole.
It all started in 2015, had just graduated from college, my future was filled with life. I can recall my graduation day like its yesterday. The celebrations were lit. We had a live band and a drama crew. My friends and I had made it, success was coming our way. A local gold firm offered us jobs at the university grounds no interviews. I remember telling my friends how blessed we were, tossing the brown bottles with a lion logo. That night we drank beer and ate meat like it was our last.
Benjamin the geography engineer, Nigel the mining engineer, Bongani the electrical engineer, and me the mechanical engineer all we saw was greatness. Little did we know that the sun was setting and a night filled with pain was about to rise upon us. The month of December was the longest as we were set to start work in January the following year 2016.
As they always say time flies, before we noticed it was the 3rd of January and we were ready for work. My heart leached and palpitated as I stood rooted filled with great joy as the manager welcomed us. “Here are your car and house keys.” He told us as he handed us the keys. “You will get workers to take care of your needs at home.” He continued. I could not believe my mind. I might be going mad.
Now am sure you asking yourself where it all went wrong, well let me jump to that part. We were blessed with everything any young man can ever dream of. Money, cars, girls, you name it; we used to buy beer for the whole tavern. That was how we rolled, however greedy took over.
“Guys we run the mine, light bulb” this was Nigel’s way of saying I have an idea, since he knew more about the mine’s system we had to listen. “Team this might sound crazy but if we play it right, it’s a jackpot.” He explained, “easy money all we need is courage.”
Little did we know that we were about to dig our graves. When it comes to a charmer, soft-spoken guy we did not stand a chance. We fell right into his idea. All we had to do was get to the mine safe, persuade the guards to let us in. Now we all knew the guards were hard nuts to crack, so we got 3 pistols from Bernard my hustler brother in South Africa. We even got our visas ready now all we had to do was execute the plan.
At work the day of the haste we didn’t talk. Trying to act as normal as we could. Just meditating, thinking deeply about how we would conquer the task ahead. Never did it cross my mind that the plan might go south. I checked everything my pistol was in my car, bullets two mags were filled even though I didn’t plan to use them; we had a buyer ready to buy them anyways.
Thanks to our spiritual guide he had a plan that saved us but for a while. As the hours flew by Benjamin came to my office bulldozing the door and crush landed on my guest couch, he could not wait a minute to catch his breath. Just jumped to his issue “dude I don’t think we need the guns.” He said while placing his hand on the chest trying to breathe. “Care to explain?” I questioned with curiosity. “All we need is to spare a few kilograms for the security crew already spoke to a few of the guys there are in.” That was the sound of a Christian guy trying to eschew murder. “What! Are you crazy?” I asked, Shocked, and filled with fear. I could feel my bone marrow thawing and evaporate at the same time.
“You have to tell the guys” he continued. Even when I knew that my neck was on the line I could not leave my friend to die alone. So I negotiated with the guys. We then went and saw the security crew and everything were set. The plan was back on track. We all saw our big dreams coming to life. Bongani wanted a plot in the Bahamas, Nigel wanted to buy his mine, Benjamin dreamt of owning one of the biggest hotels in the country Chillz Hideout., and me I wanted mine an airline BMS airways. You can even see the picture it was bright.
So we planned to meet at around 9 at night, around 8:45 we were ready everything was going as planned. The cars fueled, I had an Audi A4 2.4 liter a beast it could reach 120 kilometers per hour in 40 seconds. Benjamin had a Volkswagen Golf 2liter, Bongani and Nigel took a Volkswagen Touran 4liter with a maximum speed of 320 kilometers per hour.
We got to the mine around past nine the shift change had just passed. Our security team was already in place carrying their AK47 semi-automatic. I cannot believe this but I prayed that the security officers would not flip on us and turn us in. Fortunately, they opened the safe. There it was 300 kilograms pure gold in front of us. We took the trolley placed the gold in empty machine courier crates. Since we were the management getting out of the mine with the boxes wasn’t a big deal.
We placed the crates in our cars, one in each. Driving off from the mine was the best thing ever. The security guards came along. We passed the toll gate between Shurugwi and Gweru. Stopped at Suburbs lodge shared our bounty . Everyone looked for a place to hide the gold and we went back to work. Dropped the security team and went home.
In the morning we came to work as nothing happened. The mine was filled with police officers and members of the criminal investigation organization. The sweet part of the matter the officers leading the investigations came to give us a brief of what transpired that night when while we were at home (as they assumed). The company was likely to close because of the loss it had gone through, we as part of the top management were supposed to assist in the investigation.
The sad part was that the firm closed and thousands lost their jobs. Nothing could stop us now. All the police had been posters saying if anyone has leads that can help they should come forward. It was a victory to us it came as great news.
Benjamin moved to Bulawayo got married. Since he was loaded the couple decided to have children after they had enjoyed life. Nigel moved to Shamva opened his mine, Bongani moved to Victoria falls and I went to Harare started my company things were looking great.
I took my young brother from Mutoko our rural home. Told him how I had made it and how I wanted him to manage my estate. Even taught him business management and a few accounting tips life was starting to be great at least that’s what I thought.
Benjamin instead of enjoying his marriage with his beautiful wife thought one wasn’t enough so he got a second wife. The many the merrier they say but not in this case, grieved with her husband’s ways she went direct to the police station and told them everything. She even gave them our residential addresses. That is the result of love diluted with pain mixed with a potion of betrayal.
It was around eight at night just after having supper taking my usual digestive walks close to the pool. Admiring my beautiful mansion and God’s creation while stargazing. “That must be the southern cross” I recall saying that to myself. Little did I know those were my last hours of freedom, Bang! Bang! I cannot say that was a knock because even my dog ran towards me. There was a moment of silence before they shouted “police open up!”. It did not even ring in my mind they could have come for me, so I went to the gate with confidence.
“Brighton?” The officer asked. “Yes, how can I help you?” I responded. “Sir you are under arrest for theft, if you have a lawyer you can contact him at the police station.” He said while advancing to me, I felt weak I couldn’t resist, Just thinking to myself how?
When we got to the police station, was told to take off my shoes and wait for my partners in crime I knew this was the end of the road. After an hour or so, the crew arrived from different parts of the country and hell froze for a bit. The type and level of beating we received just for a confession, death would have been better.
We told them our story and the court date was set, for a few days to a week we stayed at the station in remand, eating a small portion of sadza and kapenta. You could count the kapenta, I am sure they usually were below ten per plate, when it comes to cooking oil or salt don’t even ask.
Finally, the court date arrived, we were found guilty and sentenced to 15 years with hard labor. The thought of a better life we threw away was like a two aged sword being driven into our hearts. I remember my mom’s face, filled with pain and tears as I was being escorted by the guards. “Welcome to college.” the senior guard said this with a smile. “It’s not the end of the road, just the beginning of a new way” he continued.
Three months down this line we were getting used to our daily routine. Visitation day came and shocked us even more as if the pain of no freedom was not enough. Benjamin’s wife came only to inform him she was now pregnant. Unfortunately, it was only two months old, on top of that I was told my young brother had sold all my properties and tried to jump the border, only to be robbed in Beitbridge.
Now it’s 2033 next month we are going to be released from prison. Tell me how are we going to face all those people. Place yourself in our shoes and comment below would you forgive your young brother or your pregnant wife.