SHOT IN THE DARK.
It was a winter’s night in Fourways during the late 1990’s. Infact it was around 03h30, and still pitch dark. Eriketta, and myself were in bed fast asleep – until, Eriketta gently woke me, and whispered that someone was prowling around outside, and maybe even inside, as she heard the flower pot outside the kitchen being moved, and I should please wake up. I did not need to be told more than once. I quietly woke up, sat up, and listened up. Sure enough, someone was at the bedroom window, with his hand, and arm reaching in to see what could be had. I quietly grabbed my double action revolver from my bedside cupboard, and cautiously approached the window – bare feet on carpet. At 2 meters from the half open window, I was in time to see my (favourite at the time) imitation leather jacket disappear out the window. This got my lather up, as the jacket was given to me by my then wife, Nippy, in Australia. The prowler must have somehow been alerted to my presence, as I could now hear his feet in run mode, away from the widow. – thoughts, OK, a prowler that is busy running away from me is unlikely to turn and shoot back, he would have to stop running first, and I would hear / see that. So, I pulled back the curtain with my right hand, and aimed my revolver with left hand. The situation immediately became clear, and my thought process nearly caught up the rapidly changing circumstances. In the ambient light, provided by outside house lights, and by some chance, my lounge room lights were also on. The prowler, only one, at this point in time, was about to disappear around the corner of the house to the right. I can remember my exact jumble of thoughts at the time – 1. The double action revolver takes one, to one, and a half seconds to squeeze back the hammer, and turn the cylinder whilst holding the aim – not enough time. 2, He will get around the corner first, and I will miss. But decided to take the shot anyway, as a distracting, scaring tactic. 3. Where will the missed shot take the bullet? I used part of the one, to one, and a half seconds to determine that the bullet will go harmlessly through the hedge, and into the bank on the other side of the street. 4. What will the prowler do after the bullet skims past his left shoulder, at about the same time he hears the explosion (BANG!). I figure escape would be uppermost in his mind. That would mean, he intends to go over, or under my perimeter fence, on the other side of the lounge room, and because that lounge room light, was somehow left on, it will be better illuminated – Good, I will go there too, and quickly. I am by this time convinced he is not armed.
I rushed through the house to that lounge room window, and peeked out. But now a bit of a surprise for me, there were at least two prowlers.
One was on the outside of the fence, lifting the bottom strands, to allow his loyal colleague to crawl under. The loyal colleague had my imitation leather jacket over his shoulder, and the outside guy had nothing, and I could see his hands, so he goes first, one second (BANG!). During that one, to one, and a half seconds, the loyal colleague managed to get more than half way under the bottom strands, and presented a convoluted, unclear outline but at least it is now his turn to participate, in less than one second (BANG!), through the window pane. By the time I recovered from the muzzle flash, recoil, and a bit of flying glass, and the two inside shots still ringing in my ears, and looked up, I saw one prowler running off to my left, and appeared to be slightly bent forward, and holding his upper mid-section. He disappeared quickly. I asked Ereketta to grab a torch, we are going outside. I took mental notice of the two glaring bullet holes in the window pain.
Now, Ereketta, and myself have been on many bush hunts, and between us we can track any animal, or blood spoor, and were confident we can find these now, two prowlers. On close examination of the spot, the imitation leather jacket was left under my fence, and to my disappointment had a bullet hole in it, and nothing in its pockets. Seeing as it was in my bedroom less than 90 stressful seconds ago, I felt sure nothing was taken from the pockets. There was a tiny drop of blood about 1 meter out from the fence, and another slightly larger drop in the dust nearer to the street. Good this looks promising. I do not want to find any dead, or dying bodies lying in the street – neighbours would be going off to work, or whatever soon, and I had no clear idea what to do with a dead or dying body, until I actually found one. So the search begins.
We were amazed to find absolutely nothing, except for the two tiny drops of blood, and scruff marks in the dust, but these were unmistakable. In our careful search for bigger blood spoor, down the street to the left, where I had seen the one prowler running – very puzzling, and worrying. Maybe one prowler went the other way, as there was two ways to access, and exit this suburb.
There had been no communications between the two prowlers. So we carefully searched in the other direction, but nothing. What the hell, we are good at this, and now dawn is starting to break, and people are waking up. We are forced to give up the search, and re-think the whole situation – there are still two bullet holes in my window pane we have to repair, bloody soon.
After a quick re-think, and a reviving cup of coffee, we knocked out the guilty pane, and putty, and buried it around the garden, measured the size, and type of the required new pane, and I was waiting outside the Builders Shop when they opened. It did not take long for our nervous hands to fit the new pane, but it still looked new – no choice, but wait for the putty to dry. In the mean time we found old paint, and brush, and were ready for the putty when it dried.
Then a nice surprise. My good friend, and neighbour B.W. who is a keen Early Morning Gymnast / Cyclist, called in an hour, or two after dawn to say he had some neighbour news for me. Oh B.W. and what would that be?? Well said B.W. when I went out to gym, just before dawn this morning, there was an ambulance parked on the side of the street, sort of diagonally opposite, where the verge is rather un-kept, and overgrown. On enquiry, the ambulance crew informed B.W. that a dead body had been reported in the shrubbery at this location. We can confirm this is the case, and the body died of gunshot wound/s to the upper body. B.W. said, he thought that as I was an active reserve policeman at that time, and good neighbour, he should report the scenario to me. I am glad he did. As we are friends and neighbours, I decide to tell B.W. the truth, and I did.
Now the pressure was eased slightly, we could leisurely paint the now dry putty, and casually inspect the site where the D.B. was allegedly found. Sure enough – well flattened vegetation, as if the perpetrator had rolled around some, and buckets of nearly dried blood. But unknown, outside procedures continued to bother me: Where did the ambulance take the D.B.? Was the bullet still in the D.B., or in the street / ground ?? We searched along the estimated trajectory lines for possible impact / ricochet points, after penetration – Nothing. I decided to lightly alter the lands, and grooves of the revolver barrel, in case the bullet was ever found, and matched to the barrel.
A little later in the day, after some consideration, we grubbied-up the new window pane a bit, and tore the bullet hole in the jacket to look more like a tear, than a punched hole.
I then proceeded to forget about the whole incident. But not quite. There remained a vibe that for some time hung in the air, and is noticeable in the demeanour of otherwise unknown passers-by in the street, and immediate vicinity. I suspect someone knows something, but not exactly what. There has never been a reoccurrence of this nature.
- RIDE HARD, SHOOT STRAIGHT, and SPEAK THE TRUTH –