Closed: 2023 Open Manuscript Submissions

Are you a crime fiction writer?

Using the emergency key Ntombi usually left under the potplant, Phumeza tried to unlock the door but it was already open. She let herself into her best friend’s 4th-floor apartment, shouting, ‘CHOMI! You better have a solid excuse for standing me up!’ 

She quickly scanned her friend’s tidy living room before walking to the kitchen counter and picking up a full coffee mug. It was still warm. 

They were supposed to have met up at the Bootleggers down the road to firm up plans for their festival weekend away in Cape Town but Ntombi hadn’t pitched. 

Nothing seemed out of place in the quiet apartment. Phumeza’s face darkened. Why was the door unlocked if Ntombi wasn’t home?

A glint caught her eye as she paused at the bedroom door. Turning back to the living room, she walked to the large window, which overlooked the permanently congested main road in Norwood. She smiled, thinking about the time Ntombi had dropped her phone while leaning out the window to yell to the delivery guy to come upstairs. Remarkably, it had still worked. Saved by that overpriced bunny ears case, which apparently had been worth every cent, they had joked.

Now that same phone was perched on the sill. Phumeza glanced at its locked, cracked screen: five missed calls, all from her, and one message from an unknown number that read: 



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