First published on Medium.com on August 8, 2016.
(short fiction #3)
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. In my hometown, it was always blazingly hot on sunny days. Even though I was allowed to use the cooler, I didn’t want to. I started to find comfort in the heat. There were no home works. It would be a perfect day to unwind. But, after what I witnessed in the auditorium the day before, it was hard to.
My so-called “undesired” friends were with me in my bedroom. Rati was reading a book about Chrisye, one of our favourite musicians. Kama had earphones on his ears; I don’t know what he was listening to. Wan was laying on the floor, daydreaming. I just realised that they grew up to be really attractive youngsters; if they are visible to other people, I am sure they would attract many desiring and lustful eyes. They looked better than those celebrities, who tended to look plastic.
“What’s wrong, An?” Wan suddenly asked. He sounded concerned.
“Nothing”. I didn’t dare to stare at his eyes and preferred to look out of my window.
“Are you sure”
“Aye.” I still didn’t dare to look at him. I could sense that he didn’t believe me.
“Don’t lie to me.” See?
“I don’t.” I turned to stare at him. I was getting annoyed. Kama and Rati stopped what they were doing, sensing the tension.
“Well, you have been acting strangely since you got home from school yesterday.” Rati added. “You were very quiet.”
“I am a quiet person.”
“Not with us.” Kama said suspiciously. “With us, you are always very talkative.”
I stayed silent.
“Come on, Andy.” Wan pleaded. “You always share your most inner thoughts to us.”
They all stared at me intensely. I just realised how intimidating their eyes could be. It looked they were able to see one’s soul.
“Okay, then. I will tell you what bothers my mind.” I didn’t remember exactly how I recalled the auditorium ‘incident’. But I remember exactly how they reacted: gradually, their facial expressions showed profound disappointment before they quickly switch to expression of sadness.
“And you just believe him?” Rati asked. Her voice was laced with sadness and something else that I couldn’t fathom. Anger?
I didn’t dare to answer.
I stayed muted.
“Andy, answer her question.” Kama pressured.
No words from my lips.
“Andy…” That one word from Wan was enough to give me chills.
I shut my lips tight for what felt like hours. Then, I relented.
“Okay okay! Yes, I believe every single word he said!”
They couldn’t believe the words that escaped thought my lips.
“He was very convincing. He gave me strong evidences! I am sorry but…..”. Kama cut me off.
“Don’t you dare say you are sorry!” Kama hissed.
Wan added, “Typical Andy. We always knew that your mind is easily molded by other people. But we didn’t expect that bloody trait of yours would lead to this. You are twelve! You should be better than this!” Every single word pierced my chest like icy knife.
Rati concluded the conversations, “If you really know us, you would know that we never cause any harms to you. In fact, we are the ones who have been protecting you. We are even more protective of you than your own family! The fact that you believe that man’s words easily, it’s just……”. Rita didn’t finish her sentence. She didn’t need to.
My room became really cold despite the weather. It stayed that way for many years. We stayed silence throughout the day. Just before bedtime, someone-I don’t remember who-said this, “Like it or not, we will always live here. We don’t have anywhere to go. Your room is our only home.” I nodded without turning my head.
The cold was unbearable for me. But it was nothing compared to the coldness emitted by my friends. What have I done?