Faizal wiped the tears from his eyes as he entered the street where he lived. He had been wandering for the past three hours through the night and his body was sore all over. His chest felt heavy and there was a burning pain in his side. He could hardly breathe. He suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to cry out for his mother, but he stood still and stared at their house some paces off. He swallowed hard and continued on.
He had been with Adeeb, his friend, earlier on; they had been to the Waterfront and from there they had gone to Sea Point, on the edge of Cape Town, with two men whom they had met at a restaurant.
A sob wracked his thin body, increasing the pain in his side, making him feel feint. "O, ALLAH! O, ALLAH!" He fell to his knees. "O, ALLAH!" He gritted his teeth, and carefully touched the wound. He wondered if the bullet was still in his body, or had it passed right through? He had been lucky, Adeeb had not. Adeeb was dead!
He reached the front door and rummaged in his pockets for his key, but couldn't find it. The light at the back was on.
He staggered towards the room that he and his brother Nadeem shared and knocked on the window. He didn't want his mother or father to know. He hated to think what their reaction would be if they saw all the blood on his shirt. He called out softly to Nadeem, almost willing him to get up. He wasn't sure how long he would be able to stand there, without losing consciousness. Tears streamed down his cheeks.
"My God! Faizal...?" Nadeem said when he saw his brother in the light, as he opened the door. "My God! what happened to you? You must get to a hospital! I'm going to call Mummy!"
"No!" said Faizal, grabbing him by the arm. "Don't call Mummy!"
"But you are bleeding. You must go to a hospital!"
"No. I'll be all right. Just help me get my shirt off." He sat down on the bed.
Nadeem shook his head. "What happened? Who did this to you?" He had to use a scissors to cut the shirt off. "Did you see their faces?"