Incognita Ferreira, PI
Incognita Ferreira has finished school. Not just this year, all of it. She recently matriculated with an A in East London, otherwise known as Environmental Lifeskills, a few Bs and one C in a subject she manages to keep a secret forever.
Since the age of six, Incognita has been in the habit of enforcing her full name. ‘It’s In. Cog. Ni. Ta,’ she would say, hands on hips, staring any opposition down. ‘And not Cognita. Neeta!’ No one argued for long. Her brother, Octavius, the maturer of the two in age only, calls her Cog, as in ‘tiny cog in the great wheel of the world’, but by now she has learned to ignore it. He was optimistically named for the eighth child in the large family their mother had yearned for, though she and their father were blessed with just the two. No one ever asks where Incognita’s name originated, which is lucky; she herself is much loved, but the source of her name is a tale of woe and despair best forgotten.
‘Out with the old, in with the new’ is Incognita’s motto for this stage of her life. Her Goth phase is over, and she’s making plans for the future that may still include black clothing and furtive behaviour, but with a different purpose. Going away to varsity, bumming around overseas for a year, getting married – none of these are for her. She is finally going to put into action the career she has been dreaming of ever since she and Tavy used to watch Remington Steele on Tuesday nights. She is going to be a Private Investigator, right here in her beloved home of Jakkalsbessievallei, just west of the Kruger Park. It’s a small place, but as Miss Marple, another favourite of Incognita’s, frequently finds, a lot of mischief and malice is practised beneath the sun-dappled and apparently tranquil waters of a pond....
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