"I've found the treasure, Monica," shouted Sipho.Monica Brunetti's eleven-year-old adopted son never called her Mom, and she noticed he sometimes wore a wounded expression when his younger brother did. But Mandla had only just turned two when his mother died, and although it might be difficult for Sipho to hear his brother replacing their mother, it was to be expected from a child Mandla's age. If Monica ever admitted to herself that she would like Sipho to call her Mom, it was only fleetingly, and she always felt a twinge of guilt afterward. Ella Nkhoma, the boys' mother, had been a close friend."I want to go home," complained Mandla, his breath warm on her neck.Below they could see Lady Helen, the town that had been home to them for a year. Monica had found the climb up the koppie tiring with four-year-old Mandla on her back, but he had walked for an hour on his own and could go no farther. Sipho had strode ahead, breathing hard, sweating in the midafternoon summer sun, driven by the vision in his head of what he was about to find. Monica was astounded at his stamina; he was small for his age and not athletic. He had his father's slender build. Before his death from AIDS, Themba Nkhoma had been a member of South Africa's new military, a combination of the old South African Defense Force and Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress, a political party that had been banned for many years. Slim and wiry, Themba had always been clean shaven and neat in his pressed silk shirts and dress pants.Mandla looked more like his mother. Monica first met Ella in the hospital. Ella was being treated for bronchitisor that was what she told everyonewhile Monica was recovering from a bullet wound after a violent carjacking. Ella was a large, muscular woman, with broad shoulders and a laugh that could be heard four wards away. Only later, after both women had been discharged, did Ella confess to Monica the true reason she was losing weight and felt fatigued. Themba had passed his disease on to her. Two years had gone by since Ella's death, and Mandla had stopped asking about her.The limp in Monica's right leg, the result of being shot in the car-jacking, was more pronounced now from carrying Mandla up the steep koppie. Out of breath, she reached the spot where Sipho was crouched at the entrance to a cave and let Mandla slide to the ground."No," moaned the little boy. He was too tired to stand on his own. Then he spied the cave, and Monica had to catch his shirt as he charged past her. "There could be black mambas in there," said Sipho.Mandla stopped in his tracks. With a nature expert for a big brother, Mandla knew a drop of poison from one of the world's dead-liest snakes could kill a grown man.Monica squatted next to Sipho to examine his find. Although in shadow, the fine lines of the artist's quill on the rocks were surprisingly clear. The figures held spears, calabashes and the carcasses of dead animals. Steenbok, eland, kudu, giraffe and elephant were easily recognizable in varying shades of red and ochre. This was the first time Monica had seen San paintings in the Western Cape."It's as good as Oscar said," said Sipho, his eyes shining. From his backpack, he took out a sketchbook and pencil and began to copy the rock art for his history project.Oscar, the unofficial curator of all the artifacts from the town's namesake, Lady Helen, was a good new friend to Monica and her family. Oscar had discovered this site on one of his walkabouts to find Lady Helen's burial site. Some believed that she was murdered by her husband, Lord Gray, for freeing fifty slaves and running away with his horses and supply wagons. But Oscar believed that Lady HeleDel Fabbro, Vanessa is the author of 'A Family in Full', published 2007 under ISBN 9780373785902 and ISBN 0373785909.