Diamonds, Death and Deceit
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by Billie A. Williams
Description: Ewando, South Africa is an enigma. Ex-FBI Agent, now teacher, David Hemingway sees greed and deceit? Do the unexplainable deaths cover the clues he needs? Diamonds, death, deceit, Africa.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: October 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [338 KB]
Reading time: 211-296 min.
David Hemingway felt the wave of heat, barely a second before the strawberry blond wash of the explosion lit up the night sky. Debris, unleashed like the onrush of a powerful tornado, rained down upon him.
His head wrapped in bandages, David awoke in a hospital bed with a white curtain drawn full circle around him. From the pain throbbing in his head, he imagined the bandages were there to keep the contents of his head from spilling out. Questions plagued his thoughts. He feared he would know the answers all too soon. A heavy, mind-numbing fog greeted his attempt to rejoin reality. Double images swayed in front of him as he tried to focus. He searched the stark whiteness of the ceiling for answers to the questions he didn't want to ask, but those questions that were creeping through his fog insisted they be answered. What happened? There didn't seem to be any answers to those niggling queries that swirled in his tender head. He plunged back into the darkness of half-conscious dreaming. In the background of his nightmares he could hear his monitors beeping his vital signs to a nurse's station somewhere outside his awareness. He fought to regain ground he felt slipping from his grasp.
Several weeks in the hospital and then a rehabilitation center for therapy to regain muscle control and dealing with the psychological issues of his wife and infant son ripped so suddenly and brutally from his life did little to dull the pain for David. He had to move on. He had to get out of the job that had cost him his family. The house seemed too dark and empty when he left to go to FBI headquarters. Not staying there was the only option. Now, he sat in his car thinking about it all. When he turned in his resignation, Chief and Bureau head Joe Adamsky tried to talk him out of it.
"We could get you some excellent Psychological counseling to help you over the rough spots."
David didn't care if he was the last single hero that worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He had given all he could give and wanted out, not excuses or offers to fix things. He wanted a new life free of the filth of crime that seemed to invade everything it touched. There was no revenge without proof, and there was no proof to be had. David was done. No more excuses.
"Rough spots?" David had been too tired to argue. The road to physical recovery had been long and arduous. He would never get over losing Mary Anne and David Junior. That loss could never be counseled out of his mind. The reason they were killed was his affiliation with the FBI. He knew this, now. He knew it too late. He would not work another minute in the same tangled jungle of crime and corruption. "Sorry, I just can't do this anymore. I'd be a bad agent. It's best that I find a new occupation."
"What will you do? This was your whole life. You were a good agent. Once that gets in your blood, you know it sticks."
David shrugged. "Maybe so, but for now I've got to try something else." David put his badge and his pistol on Adamsky's desk. Shook his boss' hand and left without a backward glance.
That day he closed the door to Joe Adamsky's office and walked down that hallway and out the front door of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It would be the last time he was there.
A month after he graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, David signed up for the Peace Corps. Perhaps teaching children could end the cycle of violence. Perhaps removing himself to another country could ease the pain of his loss and help him forget. It was almost synchronistic that as he searched for an area where he wanted to teach the invitation came from Ewando, South Africa. He had never heard of Ewando, but an invitation from Alcina Danvers--make that Doctor Alcina Danvers--to set up a school in the small village where her clinic was established seemed like his ticket to peace, finally. Small, remote, quiet she had said in her letter. Yes, that sounded like the perfect ticket. As rapidly as he could, David got all the necessary paperwork accomplished, the required immunizations and health checkups done, made a plane reservation and packed a couple bags and his books.
David Hemingway had nothing left, nothing but ashes to spread to the four winds, no graves to visit. His family was gone in one strawberry blond second, washed away in the intense heat of a colossal explosion. His wife, his son, his dreams vanished that spring morning. The sickness he had felt at the realization of what had happened engulfed him again. An involuntary shudder crawled from his toes to the nape of his sandy blond hair. Now, he heard a voice calling him, a strange voice, full of concern.
"Are you okay, mister?" A voice outside the dream had spoken.
David pulled himself back from the front porch of his dreams and opened his eyes. He hadn't been aware that other passengers had boarded the plane. A young black man had his hand on David's sleeve and concern on his young face.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Beads of sweat crept across his forehead. "Pre-flight jitters." He straightened up in his seat as he buckled the seat belt and leaned back, searching his mind for images of his life six years ago. He hoped teaching would relieve some of the agony. Perhaps being in another country could fade the visions of the places he and his family had loved together. Would he forget the career he'd once lived? He couldn't shake the guilt. Conceivably, his family would still be alive if he had been less aggressive, if he had moved more softly or slowly.
The plane groaned, struggling like a rabbit trying to escape the clutches of a fox and leaving only vapor behind, disappearing like David's former sense of himself.
David Hemingway's life seemed to be full of exes at this point: ex-football player, ex-Marine, ex-husband and ex-father, ex-FBI. Guess you could even say ex-American. The thought and visions of his past played quickly on a silent movie in his mind. He folded his lean six-foot frame into seat 4A, TWA Airlines flight 9608 to Kwasulu/Natal, Durban, South Africa. At thirty-six David hoped to lose himself among the youth of South Africa and start a new career in a country racked with social, political and economical upheaval. He would meet Alcina Danvers, the Peace Corps doctor, at Durban. He had nothing to do but contemplate the trip to the small village of Ewando where Alcina had set up her clinic and where he would teach in his own one-room school that was being built especially for him.
"Always one for adventure, aren't you?" his mother had said when he embarked on his tour of duty with the Marine Corps. Then again when he chose police work after the Marine Corps because he had enjoyed his stint as an MP in the corps. It suited him fine, then.
"My name is Szmbok Mogomvayo, I'm a native of Shakaville, South Africa and I work as a reporter for The Daily Sowetan Newspaper. My friends call me Sam." The stranger and fellow traveler held his small brown hand out to David.
"Nice to meet you. I'm David Hemingway."
"I'm on my way home from a journalists' conference in New York. My newspaper sent me as a reward for being best investigative reporter of the year," he said with obvious pride.
"Congratulations, Mr. Mogomvayo." David eyed the slight figure of a man, in his early thirties. His black-brown eyes sparkled with intelligence in a deeply brown face. A smile softened his forehead that had been knit in lines of concern.
"Thanks. Please, call me Sam. Why are you headed for South Africa?"
"I am opening a school in Ewando."
"That's not far from Shakaville, where I come from." Sam adjusted himself. It seemed he was trying to get comfortable in the seat that wasn't proportioned to fit him.
"I see." David was glad to be distracted from the nightmares he had been reliving.
"Why South Africa?" Voicing the question for the second time his face crinkled in demand.
David smiled. "Investigative reporter, huh?"
"I'm sorry, didn't mean to pry, just curious. You know, a white man taking interest in a predominately black continent, or at any rate the children of that black man's world."
"Actually, I wanted to go someplace where I could make a difference and South Africa was begging, so I answered her call." This wouldn't be the last time David'd have to answer this type of question. He wasn't sure himself whether the answer was truth or wishful thinking, but Sam seemed to accept his explanation without question. David's easy-going manner and genuine interest in people quickly accepted Sam as a friend. David liked Sam and liked the possibility of getting to know more about him and the area with Sam as his guide.
As David walked with Sam through the airport at Durban, Sam gave David his business card. "We'll have to get together as soon as you've settled." Sam wrote his cell phone number on the back of his business card.
"Sure." He took the card Sam handed him and glanced at the number on the back. "I'll call you at The Daily Sowetan in about a week. Does that sound all right?" David's spade-like hand dwarfed Sam's as they shook hands. Sam hurried off toward his destination as David, in smart military stride, advanced toward gate #4 where Alcina Danvers waited for him.