Read In the Evil Day Online

Authors: Peter Temple

Tags: #FIC019000, #FIC000000, #FIC050000

In the Evil Day

BOOK: In the Evil Day
8.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

P
ETER
T
EMPLE

 

IN
THE
E
VIL
D
AY

 

The paper used in this book is manufactured only from wood grown in sustainable regrowth forests.

 

The Text Publishing Company
Swann House
22 William Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Australia
www.textpublishing.com.au

Copyright © Peter Temple 2002

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, no part of this publication shall be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.

 

First published in 2002 by Transworld Publishers,
a division of Random House Australia
First published in 2006 by The Text Publishing Company
This edition 2008
Reprinted 2008 (twice)

 

Typeset in Baskerville by J&M Typesetting
Printed by Griffin Press

National Library of Australia Cataloguing in Publication data:

Temple, Peter, 1946- .

In the Evil Day

ISBN-13: 978-1-921351-20-4

I. Title.

A823.3

 

For Horst and for Dorle
with gratitude for friendship, hospitality and kindness,
for laughter, good times and stimulating conversation

CONTENTS

 

1 JOHANNESBURG

2 HAMBURG

3 HAMBURG

4 HAMBURG

5 HAMBURG

6 HAMBURG

7 JOHANNESBURG

8 HAMBURG

9 LONDON

10 HAMBURG

11 LONDON

12 HAMBURG

13 LONDON

14 HAMBURG

15 LONDON

16 HAMBURG

17 HAMBURG

18 HAMBURG

19 HAMBURG

20 LONDON

21 LONDON

22 WASHINGTON

23 HAMBURG

24 LONDON

25 LONDON

26 HAMBURG

27 LONDON

28 HAMBURG

29 LONDON

30 HAMBURG

31 HAMBURG

32 HAMBURG

33 LONDON

34 HAMBURG

35 HAMBURG

36 LONDON

37 LONDON

38 LONDON

39 HAMBURG

40 LONDON

41 LONDON

42 HAMBURG

43 LONDON

44 LONDON

45 LONDON

46 HAMBURG

47 LONDON

48 HAMBURG

49 HAMBURG

50 LONDON

51 HAMBURG

52 VIRGINIA

53 WALES

54 HAMBURG

55 HAMBURG

56 LONDON

57 HAMBURG

58 LONDON

59 LONDON

60 HAMBURG

61 LONDON

62 LONDON

63 HAMBURG

64 HAMBURG

65 HAMBURG

66 HAMBURG

67 HAMBURG

68 LONDON

69 HAMBURG

70 WALES

71 HAMBURG

72 LONDON

73 WALES

74 HAMBURG

75 HAMBURG

76 LONDON

77 HAMBURG

78 WALES

79 LONDON

80 WALES

81 WALES

82 HAMBURG–ENGLAND

83 WALES

84 WALES

85 WALES

86 HAMBURG

87 BIRMINGHAM

88 HAMBURG

1
JOHANNESBURG…

 

NIEMAND CAME in at 2 p.m., stripped, put on shorts, went to the empty room, did the weights routine, ran on the treadmill for an hour. He hated the treadmill, had to steel his mind to endure it, blank out. Running was something you did outdoors. But outdoors had become trouble, like being attacked by three men, one with a nail-studded piece of wood. The trouble had cut both ways: several of his attackers he had kissed off quickly.

Still, you could not pass into the trance-like state when you had to break off from running to fight and kill people. So, resentfully, he had given up running outside.

Niemand didn’t get any pleasure from killing. Some people did. In the Zambesi Valley in the early days, and then in Mozambique and Angola and Sierra Leone and other places, he had seen men in killing frenzies, shooting anyone—young old, female, male, shooting chickens and dogs and cows and pigs and goats.

In command, he had dealt with soldiers for this kind of behaviour. The first was Barends, the white corporal the men had called
Pielstyf
because he liked to display his erection when drunk. Niemand had executed him with two shots, upwards into the base of his skull, come up behind him when he was firing his LMG into a crowded bus. The military court found the action justified in that Barends had twice failed to obey a lawful command and posed a threat to discipline in a combat situation.

The second man was a black soldier, a Zulu trained by white instructors, a veteran killer of African National Congress supporters in Natal, in love with blood and the hammer of automatic fire. In Sierra Leone, on patrol in the late afternoon, the Zulu had shot a child, a girl, and then shot the old woman with her, the child’s grandmother perhaps, but it could have been her mother, the women aged so quickly. Niemand had him tied to a tree, a poor specimen of a tree, had the villagers gathered. He told the interpreter to apologise for what had happened, then he dispatched the Zulu with a handgun, one shot, close range, there was no other sensible way. The man looked him in the eyes, didn’t blink, didn’t plead, even when the muzzle was almost touching his left eye. There was no military court to face this time. Niemand had become a mercenary by then, saving the sum of things for pay, and his employers didn’t give a shit about a man killed unless you wanted him replaced: one less pay packet.

The third time was at a roadblock. A fellow-mercenary called Powell, a redheaded Englishman, a Yorkshireman, a deserter from two armies, had for no good reason opened fire on three men in a car, two white journalists and their black driver. He killed the driver outright and wounded one of the white men. When Niemand arrived, Powell told him he was going to execute the survivors, blame it on rebels.

Niemand argued with him while the unhurt journalist tried to stop his friend’s bleeding. Powell wouldn’t listen, high as a kite, pupils like saucers, put his pistol to the man’s head. Niemand stood back, took one swing with his rifle, held by the barrel, broke Powell’s freckled neck. He drove the journalists to the hospital.

Niemand showered under the hosepipe he had run from the rainwater tank on the roof when the water was cut off. Then he lay down on the hard bed, fell asleep thinking about all the other killings, the ones that were the means to the ends. Other people’s ends.

The alarm was set for 5.30 p.m. but he woke before it sounded, showered again, dressed in his uniform of denims, T-shirt, gun rig, loose cotton jacket, left the building by the stairs. The lift didn’t work but even when it did, no one used it except as a lavatory or to shoot up. He walked with his right hand inside his coat, the .38 shrouded-hammer Colt out of its clip above his left hip. He stayed close to the inside wall. That way, you bumped head-on into dangerous men coming up. They always hugged the inside wall. And if you encountered one of them, then the quickest man won.

Niemand didn’t doubt for one instant that he would be the quickest.

The car was waiting at the kerb, engine running, an old Mercedes, dents everywhere, rust at the bottom of the doors, no hubcaps. The driver was smoking a cigarette, looking around at the street. It was crowded, a third-world street full of shouting hawkers, idlers, street boys, garishly made-up prostitutes, black illegal immigrants from all over Africa the locals called
maKwerekwere
, interlopers who eyed their surroundings warily. This was the fringe of the old business district of Johannesburg, Hillbrow, a suburb long abandoned by all the whites who could afford to move to more secure areas. Not secure areas, only less dangerous areas. Nowhere was secure, not even buildings with dogs and razor wire and four kinds of alarms and round-the-clock security.

It had never occurred to Niemand to move. He had no possessions he valued, had been looking after himself since he was 15, didn’t care where he lived. He couldn’t sleep for more than a few hours unless he was physically exhausted, what did it matter where he slept?

Zeke saw him coming, reached across and unlocked the door. Niemand got in.

‘Rosebank,’ he said.

‘You always look so fucken clean,’ said Zeke. He took the vehicle into the street. No one driving the car would mistake it for an old Mercedes. Which it wasn’t, except for the body. The driver’s full name was Ezekiel Mkane. His father had been a policeman, a servant of the apartheid state, and Zeke had grown up in a police compound, a member of a client class, no respect from whites, utter loathing and contempt from blacks. A smart boy, good at languages, a reader, Zeke had nowhere to go. He joined the army, put in sixteen years, took in three bullets, two exited, one extracted, and shrapnel, some bits still there.

BOOK: In the Evil Day
8.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

West by Keyholder
Ultimate Sins by Lora Leigh
Docked by Wade, Rachael
The Lady and the Captain by Beverly Adam
The Relic Murders by Paul Doherty
Don't Forget to Dream by Kathryn Ling
Cyclogeography by Jon Day
Small-Town Moms by Tronstad, Janet