Saturday, March 17, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 20)

June 12, 2010 (8:00pm)
                Grounded all throughout the weekends? What a waste! Chalano was bored. He turned off the lights, and lay down on his bed. Everything was dark, except for the glow of the streetlights outside their house. It was a quiet night. He began to drift off to sleep.
                Knock, knock! Rays of the sun were shining through the windows. It was morning. Chalano left his bed, and opened the door of his bedroom.
                “Hey,” Kim said as he stood outside the door.  “Wanna see a secret?”
                Before Chalano managed to figure out how Kim got into his house, Kim pulled him out of his bedroom. “Wait! I cannot go out of the house today,” Chalano complained. “I’m grounded.”
                “Don’t mind it. You can escape,” Kim said, and he led Chalano through the living room.
                They went to the balcony, quietly walked down the outdoor stairs, sprinted through the wide garage, and climbed out of the huge gate.
                As they walked on the sidewalk outside, Chalano asked, “What is it?”
                “It’s a secret for now. I don’t want to tell you about it ahead of time because you might just keep talking about it, and then somebody might overhear. No one is supposed to know about it yet.”
                “Hey, who is always talkative …?”
                “Oh, shut up. Now, you’re being talkative.”
                The friends argued as they walked under the morning sun. They stopped arguing when they reached Kim’s house.
                Kim led Chalano to a passage beside their small garage. Morning breezes were blowing on them. It was just a narrow passage. It led to the back of Kim’s house. The woods.
                The boys walked faster. They stepped on the thick, green grasses. They passed by the huge trees.
                “It’s over here,” Kim said, and motioned to the thicker part of the woods ahead of them.
                Chalano held his breath. He had never been to the woods with Kim before. It wasn’t just because Kim had never seemed interested about the woods, but also because Chalano had never wanted to go back to the woods. Chalano wished that Kim didn’t discover something that Chalano had known all along. Chalano didn’t know 4th Project Town geography well, but he was certain that somewhere in the woods was the spot where he had burned the dogs as a Coal gangster.
                The air became warmer. A bright light was shining from behind the thick leaves of the trees before them. They kept walking to it.
                It was in the middle of an open area of the woods. A very huge, floating ball of fire. It was bigger than Chalano and Kim. The wild flames were producing a sound that was similar to “whoom-whoom-whoom”.
                Chalano carefully walked around it, maintaining safe distance from it. He caught a glimpse of Kim’s figure, walking at the other side of the fire. But Kim was actually behind him, following him. They had company.
                “Who is he?”
                “What’s he doing?”
                The man suddenly turned, and ran into the woods.
                “He’s running now, Kim.”
                “Yes, I can see him. But he wasn’t here when I saw this fire … What if he created this?”
                “You mean, he’s the arsonist?”
                Kim turned to Chalano, and asked, “What?! Did I say something like that?”
                “But he seems guilty,” Chalano explained, ignoring Kim’s sarcasm.
                “If he’s the arsonist, then let’s catch him!”
                The friends ran after the man.
                The man was a very fast runner. They kept chasing him. All three of them got deeper, and deeper into the thickest part of the woods. Kim brought out his mobile phone. He was making a call as he ran. He didn’t see it. “Ouch!”
                He slipped from the rock that he had stumbled on, and fell down behind a tree. He fell into a huge, deep hole that had lots of grasses. Kim couldn’t get out of it. He couldn’t go back to Chalano, who had stopped chasing the man. “Keep chasing him,” Kim shouted above him, still holding his mobile phone. “I’ll call for help.”
                I’m just a kid, what can I do? But Chalano did as he was told. The man was farther ahead than before. The trees were closer together, and their thick leaves kept most of the sunshine from reaching the ground. The ground became uneven. Chalano stopped. He couldn’t see the man anymore. They lost their suspect. He turned to go back.
                Someone grabbed his shirt, saying, “When you chased me, I ran.”
                I t was the man. He had gone behind Chalano. The man continued, “Now, it’s my turn to chase you. But I won’t let you run.”
                He threw something at Chalano. Chalano was set on fire. Chalano touched the trees, and rolled himself on the dry leaves on the ground, but he kept burning. Chalano screamed, “Help! Kim! Mother!”
                The man calmly walked away, and Chalano’s view was blocked by the flames.
                “Mother! Help! Help!”
                The ground began to shake. Chalano abruptly sat up. “Mother!”
                “It’s okay, Chalano, it’s just a nightmare,” his mother hugged him.
                They were sitting on his bed. It was evening. He was still trembling. He could still see the woods and the flames on his mind. It wasn’t real.
                He left his mother’s embrace. He was so ashamed of himself. Being such a scaredy cat felt so embarrassing. She stood up.
                “Just don’t sleep in the same position that you were in when you got the nightmare,” she instructed, getting back to her strict attitude.
                She walked out of the bedroom, and closed the door behind her. He looked at the clock. 9:00pm.
Post a Comment