Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 25)

June 25, 2010 (4pm)
                The sign that was hanging from the ceiling read “Anonat Terminal.” Chalano walked below the sign.
                Chalano had gone to the bookstore to buy a notebook. The bookstore was so far away, and he had taken the train on his way back to 4th Project Town. He had left the train at Anonat Terminal, from which he was going to walk back home.
                There were so many people who were hurrying about. It was a busy place. For someone who was used to the calm life in 4th Project Town, this place was a bit confusing. Carrying his backpack and the notebook that he had bought, Chalano walked as fast as everybody else to keep from standing out like a sore thumb.
                Chalano was a shy boy. Whenever he was walking in a crowd, he looked to the ground, or far ahead of him. The people were so unusual to him in this new, strange place, though, so he glanced at their faces. He glanced at the people who walked beside him, and the ones whom he passed by. They were so much in a hurry, that they didn’t notice a teenager like Chalano staring at them.
                Many of the people seemed to be in the working class. They were in office uniforms, and they rushed like their appointments mattered the most in the world. There were college students. There was a pretty girl who was walking even faster than most of them. She was about as old as Chalano. She was wearing a denim skirt, and her left hand was gloved. Chalano was totally surprised. It was Rella!
                She passed by him on her way into the terminal. “Rella! Rella! Wait,” Chalano called as he hurried after her. She abruptly stopped, and turned at the sound of his voice. He could see the recognition in her eyes when she saw him. She suddenly turned, and began to run through the crowd to get away from him. “Rella! Wait for me,” Chalano called as he tried to catch up with her.
                They ran through the crowd. A tiny girl like her could easily pass through such a crowd. She reached the waiting train, and jumped into the train. The doors of the train suddenly closed, and it began to leave. Chalano stood on the platform. He watched her walk behind the people in the crowded train. He couldn’t catch up.

                “I saw her … it was really Rella,” Chalano said. “She walked past me, and she ran away when I called her.”
                It was a quiet afternoon in Callon’s office in the precinct. Callon was sitting on his chair before his desk as he patiently listened to Chalano, who was sitting on a chair that was on the other side of the desk. Callon looked at his wristwatch.
                “Maybe it was just someone who looked like Rella,” Callon said.
                “No, it was really her!”
                Callon raised his eyebrows until his forehead wrinkled as he said with a reassuring voice, “She was your friend, Chalano.”
                “Are you saying that it was just my imagination?! That I miss her so much, and that I see her when she’s not really there?”
                Callon breathed very deeply and slowly. “I’m sorry, but that’s what it appears to be. Rella is dead. You must accept that, and it’s actually not my job to comfort you.”
                “This is crazy! Why can’t you believe me?”
                “Sir,” Callon said to another policeman. “Bring this boy to his home.”
                The policeman came to take Chalano.
                “This is ridiculous! I really saw her. Isn’t it your job to gather information?”
                “Not your type of information,” Callon replied, going back to writing notes for their investigation as the other policeman pulled Chalano out of the precinct.

                Another death. The arsonist was back in 4th Project Town. Chalano was sitting on the sofa in the living room, watching the evening news. Douglas was curled up beside him. The fire had taken place at around the time that he had left Callon in the precinct. Witnesses in the news said that there was only one person in the house when it got burned down.
                “He goes home early on weekdays. He prepares food before I go home from school,” stated the 14-year-old son of the victim, who was said to be a widower.
                Chalano glanced at his mother. She had just gone upstairs to get something from the living room. Chalano was suddenly filled with fear. “Any of us might be next,” John’s voice echoed in his memory as he watched his mother lean over a table near him. He looked at Douglas, who was sleeping. He remembered the fire telling him, “Only you can stop it.”
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