Stockholm Syndrome

Chapter 1

It is 2:40 the morning. The streets of Cape Town are empty, streetlights provide Linda with vision. She is alone, her heels echoing into the distance. Both her hands are buried deep in the pockets of her trench-coat. In her left hand, she fists the money bills she’d made tonight. And in the right, she strokes her father’s handkerchief. The only good memory she truly has of him. Everything else got destroyed in the fire, along with the bad memories of him barely being sober. Linda remembers the time he came home, weeping, cussing, dishevelled. When she finally managed to calm him down, he hid his face deep in the crook of her neck and almost choked out a response. “I lost the business in a poker game. I should not have done it. I am so sorry, Linda,” the business he so loosely spoke about had been in their family for eight generations. Linda remembers feeling fraught, her stomach muscles tightened and a lone tear escaped from her left eye. Thomas never cared what he gambled with, he just wanted to feel in control, but that never worked because he always lost. He didn’t just lose his money and business, he lost himself and his family.

Linda did not realise she had been walking in the wrong direction, that is until a car swiftly passes her by, cutting her train of thoughts short. She looks to her right, then left when she hears the soft revs of a car. Linda speedily takes a shortcut to her rundown apartment complex through an alleyway. She bumps into a trash can but manages to arrive at the rusty gate just in time before she sees the same car speeding towards her. She opens the gate, and thankfully David, her nosy neighbour comes out. “Linda, what a pleasant surprise. Lekker koel vanaand. Of hoe?” he asks and goes to close the gate for Linda. She thanks him in a hushed voice, still eyeing the car that has stopped on the other side of the road. “Wat’s fout? You should invest in a car. It’s not healthy for a woman to be walking alone this time of the night. What if I had been sleeping? Those men could have kidnapped you.

Linda holds her hand out to David. “You can stop now, David. The world isn’t just full of darkness and hatred. Maybe the person in the car assumed I needed a lift.

“Assumed you needed a lift? Go to your place, lock the door and close all the windows.

“Whatever you say,” Linda rolls her eyes at David and strides towards the staircase. “Goodnight, David.” She says and skids up the stairs. 

David calls out to her. “You need to be more careful, Linda. The world truly has more bad than good to offer.

“I beg to differ,” she says and unlocks her apartment door. The door creaks open and Linda enters her apartment. “Night!” she shouts down to David as she shuts the door. She hears his voice in the distant but doesn’t bother to open the curtains again. Truth is, Linda had been sensing that someone had been following her for the past month or so. She’d seen that white Audi everywhere. She even knew the license plate by heart. CAA 3443. Linda was sure that it is a rental car, but her days are so busy that she so easily forgets to talk to her boss about it. She’d been meaning to go to the police for days now, but the NDA she signed specifically mentioned that strippers are not allowed to disclose any information about their private clients, and Linda wasn’t sure if this had maybe been a client that’s been following her around. But why would a client follow her, she thought. She shrugs the idea off and plops onto her khaki-coloured couch with a heavy sigh. She has been working her behind off to try and settle her father’s debt. She only had a few days left before she could square the loan her father made to some gang. Until then, Linda knew she would have to keep her father away from everyone on the outside in case he went and stirred up more trouble.

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