Witch Girl
193 pages
English

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193 pages
English

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Description

This is modern Lusaka, Zambia, where the line between magic and religion is blurred, the arcane and the mundane muddle and nothing is what it seems. Luse is a sharp street child combing the gang-ridden city in a desperate search for Doctor Georgia Shapiro who she hopes can offer her a way back into her once-bright past. The doctor is trying to unravel the mystery of a friend�s sudden death while attending to the AIDS crisis laying waste to the country around her. Meanwhile The Blood Of Christ Church and its enigmatic leader Priestess Selena Clark gain popularity with their murky promises of salvation and violent clandestine rituals. A small silver box links them in ways they cannot foretell. It will force Luse and Georgia to question who they trust, who they are and for whom they fight. Tanvi Bush's Witch girl is a crime thriller that juggles the past and the present effortlessly, blending AIDS activism, witchcraft, religious extremism and romance to create a well-paced narrative. Luse is so feisty, charming and resourceful that you'll miss her after you finish the book.

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 23 février 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781928215004
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,05€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

Table of Contents





   The Silver Box
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

   The Blood of Christ
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

   The Shrine
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
13.
14.
15.

   Witch Girl
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

   The Termite Tree
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

   The Rushing World
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

   Epilogue
1.
2.
Acknowledgements



Tanvi Bush










Published in 2015 by Modjaji Books PO Box 121, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town, South Africa
www.modjajibooks.co.za
© 2015
Tanvi Bush has asserted her right to be identified as the author of this work.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying or recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system without permission from the publisher.

Edited by Karen Jennings
Cover artwork by Tammy Griffin and Toni Olivier
Book layout by Andy Thesen
Printed and bound by Megadigital, Cape Town
ISBN 978-1-920590-61-1
Ebook ISBN 978-1-928215-00-4



To the other Goon, my Dad and indomitable lodestar, Mike Bush.
And my friend, Teelo ‘Who’s The King Of The Jungle’ Ross, the best drinking buddy I ever had.


The Silver Box


1.
It is a monstrous bruise of a sky. Thunder pounds the horizon, sending vibrations through the slumbering city. Luse twitches in her sleep but doesn’t wake fully. She is semi-standing, lodged uncomfortably against the huge concrete curve of a storm drain, her feet planted firmly on the sandy earth, head lolling uncomfortably. The concrete has been storing the blazing heat from the sun all day and is now gently releasing it into her lower back and buttocks and so, in spite of everything, including the fact that she is supposed to be on watch, Luse has fallen asleep. Another low rumble of thunder is followed by a burst of wind which ruffles the electricity pylons overhead and causes a sudden eddy of dust that knocks down the large pile of assorted rubbish Luse has been collecting for the fire. It slides apart, plastic bottles rolling in all directions, but she doesn’t wake. In her sleep she is dreaming of food, of soft steaming cakes of nsima, of gravy, chicken meat glistening in groundnut relish. Ahhhh... her mouth drops open. She pants slightly and a tendril of drool creeps down her chin.
Plop!
The raindrop hits Luse right between the eyes, spilling in perfect symmetry down each side of her eye socket. She is instantly out of her sweet slumber and into her aching, eleven-year-old body.
She turns and yells the alarm into the darkness of the storm drain, ‘Rain! Rain! Rain!’
Her voice echoes off the curved walls and she is already running, kicking out at the soft shapes that are packed together like warm sacks, one on top of the other, in the utter blackness.
‘Your fucking mother is a baboon,’ hisses a sleepy voice in Bemba as she trips, plunging head first into a mass of writhing bodies.
‘Get up you idiots!’ Luse screams again. ‘Rain! Rain!’
As alarm begins to spread among the ragged piles, movement erupts all around her. Children shout and call to each other in Bemba, Tonga, Nyanja, Lingala, English. Luse pushes and pummels her way back through the melee. Over the racket, she can already hear the low roar of storm water from all over the city rushing like some filthy, furious beast down a thousand pipes towards this main drain. Her feet are now sloshing through foul sewage water gushing from the ground pipes. It is rising fast. She steps on something sharp with her bare foot and she yelps, nearly falling over, but there is no time to check the damage. She wades further in.

‘Joshua!’ she shouts. ‘Josh! Josh! Where are you?’
Luse doesn’t know exactly how many kids have been sleeping in this particular drain. She would guess a couple of lorry loads. She has passed the big knife-toting boys who keep to the front fifteen feet of pipe. This ensures their escape should there be a police raid, a fire... or a storm. The girls – at least the ones not being utilised by the big boys – the new kids, the sick kids and the smaller ones are stuck behind the bigger lads back here in the deep dark with the rats, cockroaches and snakes... and the occasional dead thing.
‘Joshie!’ Luse gasps, holding her sides. She can’t wade any further and is left looking into pitch black with the water rising to her shins. She screams into the darkness as the last of the small children splashes past. Something is rising inside her, a rage more terrible than anything the storm can imagine. If she has lost Joshua she will not be able to contain it.
Then a small sticky hand slips into hers.
‘Luse?’ says a small voice. ‘Luse, I’m here. I’m frightened.’
Luse bends down and sweeps Josh up into her arms, dragging his special smell of honey and firewood into her lungs. She turns, slipping and sliding in the water that now pours from the side gutters. He buries his head into her shoulder and Luse staggers back up the culvert towards the light of the night sky, the storm and the writhing, crackling five-thousand-foot-high filaments of lighting.


2.
The city of Lusaka is twinned with no less than Los Angeles, the money-sodden City of Angels. The doctor often wonders if anyone in LA has even heard of Zambia, let alone its capital. She lies in her bed thinking about America, about England, about leaving. The thunder rolls and the intermittently blasting wind sends raindrops exploding against the window.
In another life she would have got up and watched the storm from the glass patio doors overlooking the garden, and in such a fearsome tirade as this one she might even have put on her wellies and dashed out to dance in it. She usually loves these torrential African storms, the noise, the danger, the drama, but not tonight. Tonight she lies sullen, about as animated as her duvet, watching the eerie sheet lightning cast shadow puppetry onto her bedroom wall.
Dr Georgia Shapiro has been working in Zambia for eleven years. She arrived fresh from completing her residency in London, keen to get her teeth into the HIV pandemic engulfing sub-Saharan Africa. Originally she thought she would only stay a year or two, but she loves her job, a mash-up of general practice, tropical medicine and minor surgery. She also loves Zambia, this odd gentle country spread like a butterfly on the navel of Africa, speared from above by Congo and bolstered from beneath by its sibling Zimbabwe. Or at least she used to love it...
The storm rattles the mosquito grills in her windows and there is a sharp crack as a branch breaks off and falls from the towering bracystigia tree outside. Still Georgia lies, gazing up at the spider webs around the ceiling vent, feeling the blood moving through her body. A mosquito whines nearby, desperate for that same blood. Take it , thinks Georgia.
The whine stops and she twitches, feeling the scratch near her collarbone. Outside the rain thunders and pauses. She understands that she is depressed – has even considered medication – but in the end couldn’t face asking her colleague for a prescription. She keeps hoping she will start to feel better.
Harry. It is all to do with Harry. Just a few months ago she was called to the University Teaching Hospital to identify a body and found that it was her best friend. He had been in a car crash on the Kafue Road. It would have shaken anyone, but Georgia just couldn’t get past numb. None of it made sense. Harry, her friend, should have been far, far away on the night of the accident. He should have been in South Africa cheering the Zambian football team as they battled Bafana Bafana at Thulamahashe Stadium. She knows this because she was the one who dropped him off at Lusaka airport with three of his clients from the advertising agency, all of them hyped up on local lager and adrenalin, chanting ‘Chipolopolo! Chipolopolo!’ and happy, excited.

Four days later there was Harry, in the morgue. He had been driving a battered pick-up truck that had gone out of control and plunged off the escarpment just 100km south of Lusaka. But how, thinks Georgia over and over, could he have ended up there, like that, with his dreadlocks running blood ? He didn’t even own a pick-up truck...
Georgia blinks, but no tears spring into her eyes. None of it seems real. Her cell phone vibrates on the bedside table. Slowly she sits up, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed and picks it up.
‘Hello, Dr Shapiro here.’ She has to raise her voice over the noise of the storm.
The voice i

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