فصل 11

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فصل 11

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Chapter eleven

Now we’ve got you!

At ten past eight the telephone in Monikas room rang, ‘We’re waiting for you at reception,’ Cabinda said. Monika opened her mouth to say that she was not going out. Then she changed her mind. It was just like Blom, talking to her like a child and telling her to stay in the hotel.

‘I’m coming,’ Monika said.

Cabinda and his wife Amelia were waiting in reception. ‘Hello,’ Cabinda said. ‘Everything OK? You look like your passport photo now.’ They both smiled.

‘The Feira Popular,’ Cabinda explained, ‘is a fun fair with lots of good restaurants.’

Cabinda’s wife, Amelia, spoke good English and Monika soon felt comfortable with them. At the fair they looked at several restaurants, and then chose one that served seafood. The restaurant wasn’t full and they were able to talk easily. ‘People here usually eat quite late,’ Cabinda said. ‘It’s always full at midnight!’

Monika enjoyed being with Cabinda and Amelia. They told her about life in Mozambique, its joys and problems. Monika felt very much at ease with them. Then Cabinda asked, ‘And what do you do for a living? Are you here on holiday? So far from Sweden and without a suitcase!’

Cabinda had helped her and Monika felt she should explain.

She didn’t tell Cabinda and Amelia who she worked for, but she did tell them about Vitjord and the men at the airport. Cabinda listened carefully and nodded.

‘This man Vitjord is well-known here,’ Cabinda said when Monika had finished. ‘Mozambique is a very big country, and Vitjord lives in an empty area near South Africa. People say he has his own army there. Our country is at peace now. But men like Vitjord are still very dangerous here. You must be careful while you are in Maputo.’

Monika told Amelia and Cabinda that she had to return to Stockholm at once.

‘Oh dear,’ Amelia said. ‘Mozambique is beautiful. You must come again and stay longer.’

‘There are direct flights from Maputo to Portugal and France,’ Cabinda said. ‘There’s an Air France flight on Sunday to Paris.’

‘I’ll try and get a seat on that tomorrow,’ Monika said. ‘Now let me pay for this lovely meal.’

‘Certainly not,’ Cabinda said with a wide smile. ‘While you are here you are our guest.’

Monika tried to make him change his mind, but it was impossible. Cabinda got up and went to pay. Amelia left the table to go to the toilet. Monika sat on her own.

‘What kind, friendly people,’ she thought.

‘Hello, miss,’ a voice said. Monika knew the voice. She looked up. Vitjord’s friends were standing by her table.

‘We said we’d find you,’ the man with the beard said.

Monika looked around. She couldn’t see Cabinda or Amelia. Behind the two men she could see their white van.

The bearded man took Monika’s arm. ‘Come for a ride with us,’ he said with a nasty smile and pulled Monika up.

Monika let the man pull her towards him. When she was very close to him she stepped very hard on his right foot with the sharp heel of her left foot. The man cried out in pain and let go of her.

Monika turned and ran into the crowds at the fair. It was hard to run fast as there were lots of people there now. She looked back over her shoulder. The bearded man and his friend were close behind her. In front of her there was a queue of people waiting for something. Monika pushed her way to the front of the queue. Then she saw what they were waiting in line for - it was the Big Wheel.

Monika looked around. She couldn’t see Cabinda or Amelia. Behind the two men she could see their white van.

The bearded man took Monika’s arm. ‘Come for a ride with us,’ he said with a nasty smile and pulled Monika up.

Monika let the man pull her towards him. When she was very close to him she stepped very hard on his right foot with the sharp heel of her left foot. The man cried out in pain and let go of her.

Monika turned and ran into the crowds at the fair. It was hard to run fast as there were lots of people there now. She looked back over her shoulder. The bearded man and his friend were close behind her. In front of her there was a queue of people waiting for something. Monika pushed her way to the front of the queue. Then she saw what they were waiting in line for - it was the Big Wheel.

Monika jumped onto one of the Big Wheel’s seats. A man asked for her ticket. ‘My friends will pay,’ Monika replied, pointing to the two men behind her.

The Big Wheel started and Monika rose up in the air above the Feira Popular. The wheel stopped. Monika looked down and saw the two men getting on to a seat behind her. The wheel started again and Monika went up even higher. She could see the lights of Maputo beneath her.

But now Monika didn’t have time to enjoy the view. There was a loud bang and a singing noise as something hit the seat she was on. Monika looked back. One of Vitjord’s men had a gun. He was shooting at her.

‘I can’t stay here,’ Monika thought. ‘I must do something.’

Carefully she stood up on her seat and caught hold of one of the metal bars above it. Then she lifted herself up on to the next seat. There was another shot. The Big Wheel stopped and Monika looked down. A crowd of people were looking up at her. Monika could see Cabinda’s worried face in the crowd. The wheel started again. Vitjord’s men were now above Monika. Monika stood up again and jumped to the next seat in front of her. Her hands moved and she almost fell. There was a cry from the crowd. Now she was two seats away from the men and they couldn’t see her.

The wheel continued to turn and Monika was near the bottom. As the ground came closer she got ready and then jumped. She landed with a bump and fell to the ground.

The wheel continued to turn carrying the men up again. ‘Are you all right, Monika?’ Cabinda asked.

Monika looked up at him and smiled. ‘Yes, I think so,’ she said. ‘Look, I’ve got an idea. Can you ask the man to stop the wheel and leave those two high up in the air?’ Cabinda laughed and went over to the man who was working the wheel. Monika got to her feet and waited. Cabinda came back with a big smile on his face.

‘That’s OK,’ he said. ‘He’ll keep them up there for ten minutes - enough time for us to get away in a taxi!’

The next morning Cabinda helped Monika get a ticket for the Sunday flight. She spent the rest of Saturday sightseeing with Cabinda and Amelia in Maputo.

At the airport on Sunday Monika thanked Cabinda and Amelia for everything they had done for her and promised to come back and visit them soon.

Two hours later the Air France 747 took off. Monika closed her eyes and fell asleep. She dreamed she was walking on the wing of the plane. When she woke the plane was landing. ‘Where am I?’ she thought. ‘We can’t be in Paris already.’ She saw a sign on an airport building - Jan Smuts Airport, Johannesburg.

‘Oh, no!’ Monika thought. ‘I’m back in South Africa!’

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