First published on Medium.com on August 8, 2016.
(short fiction #2)
I have three special best friends. My relationship with them are special because it still strong as steel to these days. Unsurprisingly, there were some turbulences. Let me summarise the whole story:
The first ones I met were Wan and Rati. They are twins. Wan’s full name is Puspawan but he preferred to be called Wan for short; he thought Puspa sounded girly. Rati’s full name is, well, Rati; she doesn’t care if we call her either Rat, Ti or both. I don’t remember exactly but I think we met when we were five. We instantly became good friends! Then, years later, I met Kama. He easily joined our small circle of friendship.
Their presence always bring contentedness to my life every single time. It is not the best thing I have experienced and they know that. But, the feeling is strong enough to make me fly to cloud nine. I didn’t know why but I was afraid to share it with other people, including my mom. Especially my mom. One day, not long after after my twelfth birthday, I discovered the reason.
I was at my school assembly which always held in the big auditorium. I knew what they were going to say would be considered important as they rarely did assemblies. I could see all of the teachers sitting at the front row. A woman in her fifties entered the stage. Her presence was enough to make even the school hooligans silent. She tested her microphone before she greeted her audience.
“Peace be upon you,” the school principal greeted.
“And on you be peace,” the whole auditorium replied.
“Today, we will discuss something that should be talked about more often. They have entered our lives and we recklessly let them in. What many of us don’t know is the damages they cause. How many of you have heard of ‘The Undesired Ones’?”
Some students raised their hands. I didn’t.
“To speeds things up, I shall introduce to our special guest. He is the deputy chairman of the ‘Free Lives For The Youths’. The organisation have been dealing the undesired ones for five years and they have received multiple awards from various religious groups. Now, let us welcome Mr. Antonius Ismail!”
The audience applauded politely as a smiling man in his early twenties entered the stage. He was wearing a long-sleeved brown batik shirt and a pair of grey suit pants, each was a bit ovesized. His fashion didn’t fit his good-look which caused small but audible flirtatious giggles among the female students. His confidence was so superficial, he looked more full of himself rather than confident.
“Greetings, everyone.” He spoke with a very flat, Jakartan accent.
“I would to thank Principal Citra for inviting me to this school.” From my seat, I could see the principal, who was already seated in the front row, nodded. He continued, “as the principal has told you, I am from the ‘Free Lives For The Youths’ organisation. We are advocating for life free of the undesired ones.”
Well, fucking duh!
“My name is Antonius Ismail. You can call me Mr. Anto.”
I am not sure what happened next. But I didn’t remember what he said; he made a really long monologue. I have a really poor memory. Trying to tell you my stories is very difficult. I am not sure if I even told them accurately or not. The only thing I remember that he had military background. One thing for sure is I remember exactly the things he showed after he finished his babbles. They are not the things one can easily forget.
“Don’t believe me? Okay, I will show you the truth.” At that moment, the giant projection screens behind him lit up. Each show a picture that I immediately assumed to be the organisation’s logo. Frankly, I still don’t know what it was supposed to be: it looked like a plus symbol made out of Arabic calligraphy circled by extremely tiny stars placed on a green background. Sorry, I was distracted. Irrelevant info. Anyway, I just realised that he was holding a slide show remote control. He pressed a button and the nightmare began.
The screen shows a video of a woman’s head. I didn’t know what happened to her! Her face was covered with huge scabs. But, unlike normal scabs, the ones on her face seem to be alive; it looked like under each scab, there were creatures trying to escape. Somehow, Mr. Anto was able to read my mind.
“There were maggots beneath her skin. In worse cases, the maggots got out and exploded the faces.” Some students squirmed uncomfortably. I heard some of them yelping. He pressed the button again.
A video of a man’s head appears. Even though he looked normal, he whimpered painfully. Then, the camera focused on his body. Again, I am not sure what happened. It seemed that the skin of his body was made out of wax and got melted halfway through. More yelping from the students.
Mr. Anto pressed the button again.
Everyone in the auditorium screamed. Another video of a person’s head appears. But I didn’t know if it was a he or she. It looked someone -or something- ripped almost the entire flesh, leaving nothing but blood-covered skull with two eyeballs still attached; they were staring to our souls. Some students started throwing up, the teachers quickly aided them. Thank God I didn’t sit close to them.
He pressed the button again.
A video of a crying baby appeared. The whole body was covered in greenish, scaly skins that may break every time. But the crying was much more haunting; it expressed darkness that sounds much worse than death. Some students started to cry as well.
He pressed the button for the last time. The organisation’s logo appeared once more.
“Now you see why you should fear the undesired ones. They may act like your friends and you fall for that. Don’t! They are Devil’s babies! They are condemned by God for contravening His words, they make the unnatural natural!”
The auditorium went silent.
“But fear not. Despite their charms, they are very easy to recognise.”
I paid attention this time.
“First , they only appear to you; they will hide when other people, especially your parents, are in sight. They are good in hiding. Second, they are very intimate with you; they are trying to convince you that they are a part of you. Third, which is the most important, their presence give you intense positive feeling that you are unwilling to share with people. That feeling is like a drug, it may makes you happy right now but it will destroy your body and soul. So, with the principal’s assistance……”
I stopped paying attention again. I felt like I was slapped in the face. I couldn’t believe that I was bertrayed people I trusted! Wan, Rati and Kama were never seen by other people but me! Every time my mom knocked on my bedroom, they always disappeared! I was always intimate with them? How intimate? Intimate enough to let me share my bed with them every night! I even let them see me naked! But the worse part is they did give me intense happy feeling that I always kept private! So, I came to a heartbreaking conclusion:
Wan, Rati and Kama are the undesired ones.