2010-09-05: The Letter




September 5, 2010


Kruger Compound — South Africa


“Nor Eye in a letter, nor Hand in a purse, nor Ear in the secret of another” — Benjamin Franklin

Outside darkness has descended on South Africa. Overhead the moon hangs low and stars shine through a clear sky, offering a soft silver light that would glint off shiny surfaces and bodies of water. Its rather beautiful, though it does nothing to improve the mood of Ezra as he makes his way through Jan Kruger's house. He wears no shoes, bare feet falling silently on the floor as he enters Vasha's room. He doesn't bother using a flash light; that damn moonlight makes it almost unnecessary, and anyway, he's got every piece of furniture memorized.

He knows exactly where he's going, but he takes a circuitous route through Vasha's space. He takes the time to confirm that the room is empty before moving to open the hidden safe, a long stream of unfiltered curses leaking silently from between his lips.


The seven digit combination is simple enough to remember for those who know what it means, whether Ezra does or not is moot. The handle clicks loudly and the squeak that comes from the old wall safe is a little too loud for comfort. It could be that the night watch heard, or even someone across the hall.

Inside is almost bare, it seems that Vasha had made her own little preparations in the event of her disappearance. Two bundles of cash one in American funds and one in Euros, it's not much. In counting, Ezra finds perhaps a few thousand in each stack. They're tightly bound with 3 elastics each. Aside from those? There is a plain white envelope that is addressed to no one.

Might as well take it all. If he doesn't end up needing it, he can always give the cash back later. In any case, he doesn't waste any time in pocketing the cash and slipping the envelope down the side of his pants. He lets the top hang just high enough that its held against his body by his belt, but low enough that its not visible to anyone who might see him walking. Then he hurriedly shuts the safe and returns the room to the way it was.

Given that there really isn't any point to opening the letter there, Ezra hurries back out of the room. He'll investigate further once he's safely back in his own room, where he can just shoot anybody who happens to show up that isn't supposed to be there.

The hallways are quiet, no sign of life. For Ezra, it's a good indication that whomever is supposed to be guarding them is either down in the kitchen watching television and playing cards or sleeping. Knowing that it is none of his (Vasha's) men patrolling the corridors tonight, there's nothing to be done but thank what lucky graces keep him unseen.

Once Ezra is safely back in his own room, he locks himself up tight and lays down. Nothing unusual going on in here; its late, the lights are off, and he's in bed. He sets his Beretta down on the bed where its in easy reach, grabs a flashlight, and peels open the envelope.

The paper smells like her, the scene of freesia and honeysuckle dashed with a hint of almond. It's that combination of shampoo, lotion, and light perfume that she layers on after working all day. The few precious moments before going to sleep that he knows she must have spent preparing something for him rather than her usual routine.

My Dearest Ezra,

Dearest? She's never called him that before.

If you are reading this, then something has happened to me. There was another letter here for you, but after our conversation I believe that I owe you more. We have been together for such a long time and not once have you failed me.

Do not fail me this time.

In preparation for the inevitable, I have gathered everything I have for you. As you know, Lefu does not value your talents and abilities as much as I do. You may find your time with my father short should something happen to me. This letter and the funds are my insurance policy to you. It is not much, but should you go through it too quickly, you will find there is more. You simply have to look.

I hope that our paths will cross again, but it may not be in this lifetime.

With Love,

Turning the letter over, there are no other words, simply a nine digit number writing in small print on the bottom right hand corner. The stationary is rather odd as well, it is written using someone else's letterhead… from Zurich.

Ezra doesn't move for a very long time once he has finished reading. Thoughts swirl through his head, almost visible on his face in the darkness. The flashlight is discarded, but he stays there more than long enough for his pupils to dilate and give him back his night vision. Then he uses his phone and sends a text message to his email. The subject line reads, "Do Not Fail", and in the body of the message he puts the 9 digit number. The letter is folded neatly, carefully, and hidden away in his wallet. Then, he grabs a duffel bag and begins sorting through his things.

There is much to be done.

Upon flicking through the bundle of Euros, something hard can be felt in the middle of them. Though not hidden very well, it would pass a cursory examination from both her father and Lefu who wouldn't bother with such a paltry amount of cash. Vasha relies almost completely on her father for everything, she has no assets to call her own. Lefu? Ezra knows that he's been skimming off the top for years, it's possible that Vasha knows as well, but nothing is ever said. Why she is so loyal to the black man can only be attributed to the fact that he was the one that raised her.

Ezra doesn't have those same loyalties.

Within the bundle of cash is a key with some numbers written on it. Following a hunch, Ezra flips through the pile of American funds and finds a few pages of a passbook. On the bottom of each of the pages is the same nine digit number.