Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 29)

June 29, 2010 (2pm)
                Chalano walked through the forest. The sky was darker than it had been a few hours ago, and cold, strong breezes blew on the grasses. Chalalno mumbled, “Where are you?”
                Kim had not gone home yet, and everyone was away. Chalano had sneaked into the woods. A blue particle appeared in front of him. It kept growing, and it kept becoming brighter until it turned yellow. It grew into a huge ball fire. Master silently floated before Chalano.
                Chalano’s face bore no expression. The boy was still in a bit of shock. He stared at Master, and mumbled, “Why did it not work?”
                “Because you ate tuna. Tuna is seafood. Seafood belongs with water. The water element does not listen to anyone who eats seafood.”
                Chalano grimaced in frustration. He asked, “Why didn’t you tell me about this before today?”
                “Today is the first day that you ate tuna at noon. You never ate tuna in school before. You always ate tuna at home, and just before you slept, which took away its effect.”
                “I thought that you knew everything! Why didn’t you predict that I would eat tuna at school today? Why didn’t you warn me?”
                “I know, but I don’t predict.”
                “Yes, you KNOW! Why didn’t you tell me that you were making me fight my old friend and former leader, Cole? You knew that it was him, Master. I asked you knew who the arsonist was. You knew that it was him, but you didn’t tell me. WHY?!”
                “Because you’re scared of him. If you knew from the beginning that the arsonist was Cole, you could’ve locked yourself up in your home, refused to go to school, and refused to talk to anyone. Many people have capabilities that they never discover only because of their fears.”
                “Stop this crap,” Chalano angrily yelled. “My friend was murdered, all of my schoolmates almost got burned, and Cole is at large, but you’re still being philosophical about the whole thing! You are the only smart thing that I know who’s a LOSER!”
                Chalano angrily walked out of the woods. He wanted to keep cursing at Master because he was very mad, and he was very mad because he knew that Master was right.

(6pm)
                Chalano sat down on his favorite chair. His mother was in the kitchen, cooking. The day had started just like any other day, but it ended like no other. He just couldn’t figure out the order in which things had happened. The scenes in his memory were like scattered photographs, all messed up and confusing.
                After Cole had escaped, and all of the students and faculty members had ran to safety, Callon and other policemen rushed into the campus. Callon had taken Chalano to an empty classroom, and left him there. Some moments later, Callon had come back with another policeman. The policeman had asked Chalano lots of questions. Callon had warned Chalano that the media would ask Chalano more questions once he got out of the classroom. Callon had told him NEVER to reveal to the press that he was connected to the arsonist. Chalano had obeyed Callon, and he told the reporters only the things that he was allowed to say. After that, Chalano had walked home, and dropped by the woods in search for Master.
                Amidst all of those scenes, the sight of John kept flashing across his mind picture. Burning, dying … Chalano held his head, with his hands pressing on his temples. The flames faded, and left John’s ashes on the ground. Chalano’s eyes filled with tears. He squeezed his eyes shut. He just couldn’t get the sight of it out of his head.
                His thoughts were brought back to the present when he heard an unfamiliar sound in the kitchen. His mother was gone. Starting to panic, Chalano rushed to the kitchen. It was a narrow kitchen with counters and closets. The sound was coming from inside a huge pot on the stove. It was as if a living creature with many legs was crawling inside it. He picked up a pot holder, and reached for the pot. He lifted the lid. Crabs! His mother had been cooking crabs for dinner. They crawled about with their many legs in the water at the bottom of the pot. They began to panic as the water began to boil. Their eyes peered out of their shells as if staring up at him. Pleading for help. Pleading for their lives. They kept struggling to crawl out of the pot, but, every time one of them got near the top, the others pulled their companion back down.
                “Hey, Charlie,” his mother said as she walked into the kitchen from the back of their house. “We’re having crabs for dinner. Put the lid back down, please, because they might escape. They might cut your finger if they escaped.”
                “I’d like to ask something,” Chalano said as he kept looking at the panicking crabs. “Why do they keep pulling each other back to the boiling water?”
                “That’s the way crabs are. Other people have noticed that also. It’s the reason why somebody came up with the term, ‘crab mentality.’ The term was inspired by the behavior of crabs in a pot, but refers to humans in a society. Crab mentality is when members of a society keep their fellow members from becoming better than the rest. They ruin a scholar’s books, they make a pretty girl ugly, and they just keep pulling each other back down instead of helping each other out, just like the dying crabs.”
                Chalano put the lid back down. Just like the dying crabs, he thought. He and his mother sat at the dining table for a while. The crabs stopped making noise, and they were cooked. Later, as Chalano and his mother ate in silence, Chalano kept thinking about it. Just like the dying crabs.
                His mother had heard the news about what happened at his school. She didn’t force her son to talk about it because she could imagine how horrible it was for him. It was the reason why she had cooked something special that night. She wanted to cheer him up.
                Chalano broke the silence by asking, “Why did you cook them alive?”
                She carefully answered, “That’s how crabs are cooked. There’s no other way to cook them. I can’t kill them as if they’re fishes, because their shells are too hard.”
                The next question on Chalano’s mind was, Why did you buy them? But he kept his mouth shut because he could get the feeling that she was getting upset.
                She was alarmed by her son’s question. She realized that she had made a bad idea for dinner. Why did I cook them alive? He was right.
                Mother and son ate in silence again. Neither of them felt that the food was special as both of them thought of the creatures’ bad fate. After everything that had happened that day, Chalano was feeling numb. Also, watching his food die was so unappetizing. But he ate the crabs because his mother cooked them for him. He kept himself quiet so that she wouldn’t get mad at him again. She kept herself quiet so that he wouldn’t leave her again.
                That night, she brought the plates to the sink to wash them as Chalano walked upstairs to figure out if he could still manage to sleep. He used to dream that there was no school in June. Due to what happened at school, their classes had been cancelled. Happy? No.
                He walked into his dark bedroom, and sat down on his bed. He stared at the stars that were twinkling in the evening sky outside his window. Just like the dying crabs. He thought about it again. He was a bit relieved to know that somebody else had come up with the term, “crab mentality.” It made him feel like he wasn’t the only one. He had wanted to just forget about the gang. He had been trying so hard to get back up from crime. He had actually made it as far as fourth year. He had thought that he could move on. He had thought that he could change. But he was wrong. Cole was coming back in his life, pulling him down, pulling him down.
                He had lost a friend. Boys didn’t cry, but boys were humans. Humans cried. He kept staring at the stars as tears rolled down his cheeks. He couldn’t shake off the very bad feeling that Cole had left behind. He didn’t feel like writing about the arson anymore. He didn’t feel like joining the writing contest. He was just human. He was weak. The lonely boy quietly cried in the shadows of his room, where no one could see.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 28)


June 29, 2010 (5am)
                It was dawn. The sun was beginning to rise from the east. The air was still and cold. Callon had gone to his house to take a short rest two hours ago. As the morning slowly became brighter, he sat before his desk to write notes. He tried to recall all of the moments in which saw Chalano.
                The list that he wrote was not very long, for he didn’t see the kid very often. One of the incidents in the list was that night when he caught Chalano inspecting the soil in the crime scene after house number 3 burned. Callon stared at that part of the list, thinking very deeply. The soil.
                Callon hurried out of his house, and walked along Lincoln Street all the way to house number 3. Once at number 3, he went under the police line to enter the property. He walked to the part of the ground where he had seen Chalano inspecting something 11 nights ago. He took a magnifying glass from his pocket, and bent down for a closer look at the soil. He took a twig nearby, and used it to dig a small hole into the soil. The soil on the surface was slightly lighter in color than the soil beneath it. He put the magnifying glass back into his pocket. He took a small paper bag from the pocket of his jacket. He placed the open paper bag on the ground, and used the twig to move some light-colored soil into the bag. He straightened up as he tightly closed the bag, and put it back into the pocket of his jacket. He ran to the road, and hailed a commuter vehicle. The nearest crime laboratory was in the main police headquarters, which was about two kilometers away.

(12pm)
                It wasn’t very sunny, and the sky was full of white clouds. There were many noisy students in the canteen. As usual. Chalano sat down on a chair amidst all the noise, and took his lunch from his backpack. He placed the small container on the table before him. Lunch was tuna, which made him anticipate lunch break all throughout the morning. He ate as quickly as he could, because their recess time was limited.
                The school bell rang, its piercing sound reaching the farthest corners of the campus. All of the students hurried to their classrooms, and Chalano put the food container back into his backpack even though he hadn’t finished eating yet. As he jogged toward his classroom, he saw a man walking to the back of the juniors’ classrooms. Non-students were not allowed into the campus during school hours, unless they were members of the faculty. But he couldn’t recognize the man. The man was wearing a black jacket, a baseball cap, denim pants, and rubber shoes.
                The back of the juniors’ classrooms actually led to a long passage that went almost all around the whole campus, and ended beside the school gate. Maybe some mean student told him that it led to the Registrar’s Office, Chalano thought. He ran after the man to inform him that he had taken the wrong way. Chalano entered the narrow passage. The man was already at the first corner, which was behind Chalano’s classroom.
                “Sir,” Chalano said when he finally reached the man. “That’s not the way to the offices.”
                “I never expected that you would come to me,” the man said as he stopped, with his back still turned to Chalano. “I thought that I would have to bring you to me.”
                Chalano was puzzled, and asked, “What do you mean?”               
                “You’ll understand what I mean in a few minutes,” the man said as he reached into the small bag that he had been holding. He brought out a small bottle. Written on the bottle was “gasoline.”
                Frightened, Chalano asked, “What are you going to do?”
                The man laughed, and turned to Chalano, saying, “What else, Charlie?”
                Starting to panic, Chalao rapidly thought about the name “Charlie.” He couldn’t recognize the man, but, aside from his mother, there was only one person who insisted on calling him by that name.
                “Collifer Moneto,” Chalano exclaimed. “Cole, you are the arsonist?”
                “At least, we are re-introduced.”
                “I thought that you were imprisoned.”
                “The police freed me after I helped them catch all of our members. You were lucky because there weren’t plenty of evidence against you, and you were a minor, but you were actually on my list.”
                “Traitor! How could you do that?!”
                “It was all about saving your own skin, Charlie. What can I do? I had to be free.”
                Chalano couldn’t control himself. He attacked Cole, but Cole quickly caught his arm, and twisted it. Chalano screamed in pain. Cole tightly wrapped his right leg around Chalano’s left knee to bend it, and Chalano fell to the ground.
                Chalano crawled away from Cole, who silently watched him. Chalano stopped before a small plant, and held his wounded knee. Grimacing in pain, he slowly said, “You recruited all of them. You taught them to be loyal to you, and you taught them to be bad. They wouldn’t have been bad if not because of you. They trusted you, Cole.”
                “They had a choice. They had a choice to listen to me, and they had a choice to quit. Being imprisoned was their choice.”
                “Go to hell!”
                “Yeah, I’m going there. I’m from hell anyway. Same with you.”
                “What do you mean?”
                “You shouldn’t go on with the illusion that you are good. You are not qualified to be in the Youth Council, and you are not qualified to graduate from high school as if you are a good boy. You’ve sinned once, and you’re gonna carry that sin for the rest of your life. You are a killer. A criminal. No matter how much you aspire to be good, you’re not good.”
                Cole threw the gasoline into the stock room, which was beside Chalano’s classroom. He said, “My dad locked me up in my bedroom as soon as the police set me free. I couldn’t feel freedom, so I burned all of us. I’ve kept burning my enemies, and I’ve been getting better at it. Now, a whole school. More than a hundred students. After this, I’ll leave you here. You will be the suspect. Good for you, because you need to face the real you: a killer.”
                “Not my friends!”
                “Kim is not your friend. He’s your enemy. You are bad, and he is good. I am with you. Do you remember your final days with us? You made such a nice art from those dogs. I learned from you. You introduced me to fire. We both know the pleasure of burning. With a flicker of those flames, someone is gone. Fire is more than just a statement. Fire is power.”
                Chalano was unable to stand up because of his wounded knee. He looked at a nearby fountain. It was a statue of Aquarius, who was holding a jar. Water was flowing out of the jar, down the body of the statue, and into a small, cemented pond. He tried to call the water. Help. Help. The water continued flowing calmly to the pond. He couldn’t believe it. The water won’t listen to him.
                Cole reached into his small bag, and brought out a test tube with a blue liquid in it. He also brought out a matchbox. Chalano stared in shock as Cole took a matchstick, and scraped it against the side of the matchbox to light it.
                “Hey,” John called as he walked into the passage from the back of the juniors’ classrooms. “Chalano, are you okay?”
                John froze at the sight of Cole opening the test tube. He walked faster toward Cole. Cole mixed the burning matchstick into the test tube, and swung his arm to throw the mixture into the stock room. John screamed as he began to run toward Cole, “No!”
                Cole let go of the test tube. John reached Cole, and used his body to block the way of the test tube. The liquid fell all over John’s chest, and he began to burn. He loudly screamed as he ran out of the passage, and went away from the buildings, “Turn on the fire alarm! Stay away from the stock room!”
                He ran to the middle of the empty, wide parking lot, and stopped. He collapsed. The wild flames covered his body. And then he was gone. All that were left of him were ashes and smoke.
                The piercing sound of fire alarms filled the air. Emergency sprinklers in the corridors went on. Emergency lights went on. Students hurried out of their classrooms, and made their way to the ground floor just like what they had done in fire drills.
                Cole climbed up the wall at the back of the school, and went over it. He landed on a roof of a house, and ran like crazy from roof to roof. Chalano sat staring at the ashes. He was too shocked to scream.

(12:14pm)
The phone in his office had been ringing. Callon left the water dispenser, and hurried into his office to take the call.
                “Inspector Gallaner?”
                “Speaking.”
                “I’m Dr. Mardin Esso from the crime lab. The substance that you brought in is consisted of soil, and bone fragments. The DNA belongs to Mrs. Chrom, one of the people who were said to have been burned inside 3 Betsy Street, 4th Project Town.”
                Callon’s radio suddenly came alive. “Thanks” was the only thing that he could say before putting the phone down to join the other members of 4th PATF (4th Project Arson Task Force), who were already running out of the precinct to another emergency.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 27)


June 27, 2010 (11am)
                Everything was still. The forest was quiet. The sun was shining down on the woods. Amidst the green trees and plants, Chalano was sitting before the pond.
                Master spoke with his powerful voice, “You must remain calm. Shut the vexations out. It’s all about the power of the mind.”
                Chalano focused. Particles of water rose up from the pond. Chalano stared as they floated before him. He found them creepy, and he suddenly began to think of all of the scary movies that he’d watched. The particles fell back into the pond. Realizing his mistake, Chalano focused again. The particles rose up. The particles slowly became bigger as other particles floated from the pond to join them. Chalano thought very deeply about the water particles. The particles floated away from the pond, and went above a small plant. Fall. The water fell on the plant like rain.
                “Finally, I did it,” Chalano said with a smile.
                Chalano turned to Master, and asked, “If I’m the only person in this lifetime who has this ability, why me? And why do I have an ability to communicate to water; why not an ability to communicate to trees?”
                “In every generation, there are four people who have more abilities than usual human beings. They are intelligent, compassionate, and very perceptive. Different species cannot clearly communicate with each other, but these four people can communicate across species and elements. They know the environment, and the environment knows them. Each of these four has one element that he can completely communicate with. The elements are: Earth, water, air, and fire. You are water.”
                “Where are the other three?”
                “That is beyond my knowledge. They could be anyone, and they could be anywhere. The reason why they are given those abilities will always remain unknown in the mysterious workings of Nature. Many of them have never discovered their unique abilities. You might have lived all your life not knowing your connection with water, until I came to seek your help. Different beings just have to join forces when something ruins the balance of Nature.”
                “Is the person who can communicate to fire the arsonist?”
                “No.”
                “Then who is the arsonist?”
                “It is too evil, that it is more a monster than a human. Never try to get to know evil. It’s your enemy; that’s all that you need to know. Don’t try to find out who it is.”
                Chalano became a bit scared. “If water can fight him, why don’t you just give this job to firefighters? That would be easier.”
                “The arsonist cannot be burned. That’s its power. The only way to destroy its power is to throw water at it. By then, it could burn. Its left hand once accidentally got wet. Since then, the arsonist kept its left hand covered with a glove that contained metal. The firefighters are unable to catch it because it is too skilled at escaping. You are the only one who can find it, because it has been waiting for you.”

June 28, 2010 (6:45am)
                As the students walked into the classroom after the flag ceremony, John stood beside the door to check who was absent. It wasn’t his job, but he seemed to enjoy doing the other school officers’ jobs in the recent days.
                Chalano and Kim were next. John asked, “So how’s your morning?”
                “Fine,” Chalano calmly replied as he walked into the classroom. “I woke up earlier than usual. How about you?”
                “Great,” John sheepishly grinned, and looked at Kim, signaling something about Kim to Chalano.
                Chalano turned to Kim, and noticed that Kim had been watching them with a puzzled look on his face.
                “It’s okay, Kim. John had apologized to me,” Chalano explained. “He is now our friend.”
                After staring at John in surprise for a few seconds, Kim said, “I-I don’t understand …”
                Kim noticed that they had been blocking the line of students that was supposed to enter the classroom. Instead of moving ahead into the classroom, Kim left the line by walking to the back of the auditorium. Chalano followed him.
                “It’s me who should be saying ‘I don’t understand,’” Chalano complained as he tried to keep up with Kim. “What’s wrong with being friends with John? He’s a good person now. He has changed!”
                “Don’t trust him,” Kim said. He stopped, and turned to Chalano. “Not because he apologized means that we have forgiven him. We don’t automatically become friends with him just because he apologized. Doesn’t it occur to you that he would get back to his old self once everything is fine? When life was good, he bullied you, he beat you up, and he spread rumors about you. Rella was his friend, and look at her. She wouldn’t have died if he was such a good friend. What if her death makes him feel guilty and he’s befriending you only to seem friendly to everyone?”
                “You’re speculating, Kim! You have no basis for that! He’s grieving for Rella, and he’s scared.”
                “Does he appear to be grieving? He was smiling right there at the door of our classroom a while ago,” Kim retorted as he pointed at the classroom, where all of the students --- including John --- were already inside.
                “You always have something to retort. You like to argue. I wonder what the women in your family are like. Are they too noisy?”
                With surprising speed, Kim grabbed Chalano by the shirt, and pinned him against the wall. “Don’t you dare talk about the women in my family like that,” Kim angrily warned. “You and I have been close friends. I’ve always been there for you, so don’t talk about them like a jerk.”
                Kim let go of Chalano. He said as he went back to the classroom, “This conversation is over.”
                Chalano stared into space for a few minutes. And then he recovered. “Oh, yeah? I can say whatever I want to say,” Chalano yelled after Kim, and he didn’t care about who would hear him. “Who said that you’re the only one who can talk? I have my own thoughts, too.”
                Kim kept walking to the classroom as if he didn’t hear Chalano.
                Chalano yelled louder, “You have a very wild imagination, Kim. Your imagination is the most colorful one that I’ve ever known.”
                Kim kept walking.
                Frustrated, Chalano yelled, “Can’t you hear me?!”
                Kim walked into the classroom like nothing happened.
                “Can’t you hear me, Kim?!"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 26)

June 26, 2010 (9am)
                Chalano walked to the woods. When he was far enough from Kim’s house, he called, “Hey, where are you?”
                Only the breezes responded with their gentle sound. Only the leaves of the trees responded with their rustling sounds. Chalano asked, “Are you there?”
                He walked past the trees. “Welcome back, Marchus.”
                Chalano suddenly screamed in surprise. The ball of fire had been floating behind him. Chalano realized how silly he was, and sheepishly scratched his head. He put his hands in his pockets. The boy became serious, and said, “I’m not here to talk about elements, good and evil, and blah-blah-blah. I’m just here to ask you how I could stop the man who’s been killing my neighbors. You said that only I can help, right?”
                “Follow me,” the fire said with its deep, powerful voice.
                Chalano followed the fire as it floated into the thicker part of the woods. They passed by tall trees, plants, and weeds. They reached a small pond. It was just a deep hole in the ground that contained rainwater. There was about three feet of grassy ground around the pond, and beyond that were the roots of the gigantic trees. The fire stopped, and quietly ordered Chalano, “Make the water move.”
                “This must be a prank,” Chalano said, laughing uncontrollably. “Okay, I can make it move.”          
                Chalano sat down beside the pool, and used his hand to move the water. Ripples moved across the pond. “See? It’s moving,” he joked.
                “Don’t touch it, Marchus. You’re supposed to move it with your mind.”
                “Oh, my goodness,” Chalano exclaimed as he stood up, annoyed. “Are you trying to make me believe that I’m Superman? Superman belongs to the comics! Get lost! If water is the solution to the fires, I’d rather buy more buckets for our house than waste my time with you.”
                Chalano began to leave.
                “Would your father be proud of you?”
                He turned to yell at the fire, “Don’t you dare mention my father!”
                And he continued walking away. “You want to be as wise as your father was. The really wise don’t go around bragging about what they know. The wise prove themselves, and keep trying to do the impossible. You won’t even try to move the pond.”
                “Stop it,” Chalano yelled as he walked away.
                “Some children don’t deserve a father …”
                Chalano abruptly stopped walking, and turned. “Even if I TRIED to move that water with my mind just like what you’re saying, it won’t move,” he yelled in angry frustration.
                Chalano quickly walked to the pond, stomping his feet a bit. He stood before the pond, sarcastically waving his arms, and yelling, “Move, water! Move!”
                He stopped doing it, and turned to the fire to yell, “Can’t you see? I can’t do it!”
                “You can’t do anything great when you’re angry. Water is a cool, calm element. You must be like it.”
                “Stop it,” Chalano retorted as he tightly closed his eyes, and pressed his forehead with his left hand in frustration.
                “Do you live up to your mother’s expectations?”
                Chalano suddenly removed his hand from his face, and his eyes widened with anger. “Enough! Don’t include my mother in this!”
                The fire became brighter, and its voice became louder. “You grew up without a father. It was just you and your mother. You saw your friends and their fathers. You asked yourself, ‘Why am I not  like them?’ It made you feel so incomplete. There was no father who could attend your school events, no father who you could play sports with, and no father who could scare your bullies. Even when you tried to search for him, he had been gone forever. He had been dead. It made you feel so different and insecure. You were a scared kid.”
                “Stop ---“
                “When you got to high school, you learned to pretend. You liked to pretend to be tough and strong. You yearned to belong with the cool crowd. Just like with most high schools, the cool crowd wasn’t the wise and promising crowd. The cool crowd of your school accepted you, and you became a member of Coal. Being a member made you feel good. You were the newest and youngest. You pretended to be as tough and as bad as the oldest members. You did what they did. You burned animals alive like they burned animals alive. It was too late when you realized what you were doing. You were member of a gang of criminals, and you were participating with them. You quit, hid in your house for a while, and transferred to a school in another town. The gang got imprisoned. You thought that you could leave that way of life; you thought that you could just forget all about it, but the animals that you had killed kept haunting you. They kept pleading for their lives in your nightmares. You are good by nature, and memories of those days made you feel very guilty. You met Kim, and you saw how he was just like the other good kids. His life was all about school, he kept no secret from his mother, and he had a father. It makes you feel more different than ever. Memories of your past with Coal keep pulling you down. It keeps you from aspiring to be better. You are a lonely, insecure, and frightened boy. You think, ‘What if I got imprisoned just like the Coal members?’ It makes you feel like you’re trapped in a big mistake of a lifetime even before you started in life.”
                Chalano tried to yell again, but he lost his voice as tears began to fall down his face. He turned away, and sat down before the pond. His back was bent, and his covered his face with his hands while he sobbed in silence. It was just too much. What the fire said were facts that Chalano had never clearly noticed. They had always been deep, unspoken emotions that kept causing Chalano to be very shy. The fire shouldn’t have brought them up to define them in full description, because it hurt Chalano like crazy.
                The light of the fire became softer, and it spoke with a gentler voice. “I am the master of all fires, and you should call me Master. You should trust me, for, as much as you don’t believe in the impossible, the arsonist is after you. It doesn’t want to kill you, but it will kill everyone around you.”
                Chalano realized what he was doing. He was a boy, so he shouldn’t cry. He couldn’t stop sobbing, though. Be a man, Chalano, he told himself. You were so brave. Think positive. Relax. He removed his hands from his face, and quickly wiped his tears away with the sleeve of his T-shirt. He tried to recall his funniest moments with Kim to cheer himself up. He suddenly remembered the fire saying, “The arsonist is after you.” Horrible. He tried hard to ignore the idea, but he remembered his mother, Kim, Emma … If only he could move seas and mountains to save the people who he cared for the most …
                Ripples glided across the pond. He instinctively looked up to check if something was falling from the trees to cause the ripples on the pond, but the leaves of the trees were not falling. No one was touching the pond. He looked back to the pond. Move. The ripples became small waves. He suddenly remembered an incident that happened 29 days ago:

                The waves were splashing on the shore five feet from him. He and his mother would be traveling back to the city soon, and it was his last chance to cherish the scenery. If he ever felt totally bored at home this year, he would remember the day when he stood on this place. That would cheer him up. He raised his left hand to look at his black, Casio wristwatch. 4:00pm. He had only a few minutes left.
   He couldn't decide which was more blue, the sea or the sky? The sun seemed to be burning his skin and the waves sounded so soothing to the ears, but he turned away from the beach. He began walking away from the shore.
   A loud noise behind him. He looked back. The waves were rushing toward him. He ran to avoid them. The waves gently touched the back of his shoe then slid back into the sea. "The waters are calling out to you," a voice whispered.

                The small waves in the pond had become stronger. Chalano felt scared to learn that he had such a strange ability, but, at the same time, delighted about the miracle. He smiled, and exclaimed, “It’s moving!”
                “Well done,” Master said. “Now, you learned how to move water. You should not try to control it. Instead, you should communicate to it.”
                Master continued, “Evening is approaching. Come back tomorrow, and go home now.”
                “Yes,” Chalano replied with excitement. “I’ll show Kim how it’s done.”
                “You should not let anybody know about your ability,” Master warned.
                “Why not?”
                “You are the only person who has that ability. It is very special. Something that is very special should not be known by other people. People will just react through envy, hate, and evil.”
                “But Kim is not an ‘other person.’ He’s my best friend ---“
                “Yes, he’s your best friend, but he’ll surely tell other people about it. You know how talkative he is.”
                “Okay,” Chalano finally agreed.
                He walked back to Kim’s house as Master vanished into thin air.