Lurking In the Shadows
22 December 2020
The past week had been one giant roller coaster for Luke Hendricks. It started off with welcoming Inter Milan to Arena CSKA and thanks to an excellent long range goal from Ivan Oblyakov, Luke’s side turned out winners. That victory saw CSKA Moscow finish 3rd in their Champions League group, resulting in a place in the Europa League Knockout round. The draw on Monday was one that will see CSKA face English side Tottenham Hotspur in a tough clash for the Russian outfit.
Monday was also the day Luke Hendricks found out his parents, Grace and Liam Hendricks had been murdered in a ‘robbery gone wrong’, as the police described it. After his phone call with General Nkosi, Luke struggled to come to terms with the news and having drunk his way through a bottle and a half of wine he had booked flights to be in South Africa the next day. Lada knew he had to go and gave him her full support with Luke promising their young daughter, Anastasia he would be back before Christmas.
Arriving in his home town of Cape Town on Wednesday, Luke had arranged to meet with the General who had called him late on Monday, so Luke could confirm the identities of his parents and also have it explained what had happened.
“I know this is going to be hard Mr Hendricks, but whenever you are ready” General Nkosi said as he walked Luke into the room where his parents were being kept.
“I’m ready,” Luke muttered.
The General pulled back a curtain showing two lifeless bodies laying there rigid, arms by their side and a cover the only thing over their bodies. Luke sniffled as he walked over to the bodies, knowing this would likely be the last time he saw his parents.
“Yes, it’s them,” Luke managed as a tear shed down his cheek.
Having confirmed the two people were his parents, Luke was led to an office overlooking the city of Cape Town. It wasn’t the fancy FBI type of building you see in the movies or TV shows, but the view was incredible. Overlooking the waterfront with a view of Table Mountain, many people would kill for an office like that. Unfortunately, Luke wasn’t in the mood for appreciating views.
“So Mr Hendricks, we were called to the house at around 8pm on Monday evening with neighbors stating they had heard screams and then saw a vehicle speeding off. When we got there with the security team we entered the property. Having made it through the house and to the master bedroom we unfortunately found your parents, who were both shot” General Nkosi began to explain.
Luke had read that in the newspapers already. The incident had made national news in both South Africa and Russia, with Luke’s presence in both, making something that happens in South Africa almost daily, a massive story.
“We believe that it was a robbery gone wrong, as there was a number of drawers and items strewn across the floor and we would like you to view some pictures to see if you notice anything that’s missing or out of place.” continued the General.
Luke agreed and looked through the pictures in front of him. It was pretty clear that the robbers had gone through drawers and taken jewelry and whatever spare money they could find laying around. His parents didn’t have much. They would refuse Lukes offers of sending them money and would rarely accept any gifts, despite Lukes well off contracts. The one gift they had to accept from Luke was the house he bought them. He had wanted to buy them a house ever since he was a young boy, a dream many children have but few can achieve. After being named in the 2010 World Cup squad and with things going well, Luke had saved enough to move his parents out of the Cape Flats area they currently resided in.
But what had been consuming Luke over the past few days was that he had bought them the house they were murdered in. It wasn’t his fault, obviously but that was the problem with guilt. It consumed you even if it wasn’t your fault, or you couldn’t do anything to stop it.
“That’s strange” Luke said “She used to keep photo books there. I know I haven't been there for a year or so but the rest are all there, apart from one.” he finished.
“What was in there?” questioned the General.
“Mum never let me in it, I have no idea. I once sneaked in and saw a couple of pictures but I don’t know who they were, mum came in and caught me so I didn’t see much more. It could be money stashed away in it somewhere, but I can’t be certain. Even if it is money, why would they take the book as well?”
Having been in the country for just under a week, Luke had prepared his parents funeral with it taking place on the Tuesday following their death. With family members Luke hadn’t seen in years and some of his parents' friends he’d never met turning up, Luke felt even more alone.
He had never had a brother or sister, it had always just been him, his mum and his dad. Like many young boys, Luke had school friends and many of those came from playing football together, but having moved across the world at a young age, he quickly lost contact with the majority of them. In Russia, he had formed friendship groups pretty quickly, especially at CSKA with the likes of Alan Dzagoev, Georgy Schennikov and Igor Akinfeev, all of whom still played under him. He had also met and married Lada Lebedev.
A caring lady who taught in a top school in Moscow, Lada and Luke met in a club the night CSKA won their first league title in six years. The pair met up and began dating soon after and in the year of 2019, Luke and Lada were married. A year before that, Lada gave birth to their daughter, Anastasia Hendricks. The three were a happy little family, similar to what Luke remembered his childhood being like, despite his parents not having the same amount of money he did now.
But his parents' wealth never bothered Luke growing up, he had love and support from them, something he cherished even more now. With eulogies ongoing Luke was struggling to stay concentrated. His mind was racing about what his life would be like without the two people who had always loved him.
As the funeral was coming to an end, something caught Luke’s eye.
Two men who were seemingly late were stood by a tree away from the actual funeral itself. He had never seen them before but for some reason one of them looked somewhat familiar, but Luke couldn’t understand why. Suspicious, Luke walked over to ask who they were, the men quickly turned around and walked away, not even acknowledging Luke’s presence.
Drained, Luke couldn’t muster the energy to chase after them and left his imagination to wonder.
That is yet to be seen.
Tough circumstances that will surely have some sort of impact on Luke.
Seems to be a wrong place at the wrong time unfortunately.
Nothing like a bit of murder to really start a day is there
The case seems to be pretty obvious to the police, very unfortunate for Luke and his family.