Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (52)

The narrow doorway proved a major obstacle to the group’s attempts to manoeuvre Anath’s limp body through it and on to the bus. During the long moments it took to achieve this, there was no possibility of maintaining sufficient pressure on the wound, which meant that he lost a further significant amount of blood in the process. For a fleeting moment, their task of saving the boy seemed hopeless. But with a crude shove, they at last managed to bundle him up the steps before sliding him along the metallic floor, his head towards the rear. A number of the kampung-dwellers then boarded, a smear of red revealing to them the passage of the boy as he was manhandled on to the dilapidated conveyance, still barely clinging to life.

Outside, the Captain’s wife gazed on forlornly, her bloodstained garments providing firm evidence of her compassion. Slowly, she moved forward to peer through a rain-streaked window and into the bus, desperate for confirmation that the young man was still alive. Unable to tell for sure that this was the case, she winced inwardly while recalling the moment her husband had fired off his third volley, vowing once again never to return to him. A sob welled up in her, convulsing her body on its release, as she then reluctantly accepted that her role was now complete, her participation in the drama over. Drawing away miserably, she melted into the throng, unsure of where to go – or of what the future held for her.

The woman’s melancholy was in stark contrast to the commotion that was now ensuing inside the minibus, as the passengers swapped places with one another, clambering over the prone figure of the victim as they each sought to position themselves in the best place to offer assistance. A good deal of pushing and shoving was taking place, producing the odd angry exchange, while the babble rose to fever pitch. It seemed there were a number of conflicting views as to where to take the boy for treatment. Aware that the seconds were ticking away, the driver of the idling bus meanwhile implored the group to make a decision, his unheard pleas only adding to the general hubbub. Finally, the man who had earlier emerged as the group’s leader piped up, shouting down the rest: “Look, we’ve got to stop screaming at each other! We need to act fast – decide on a plan and get going! We don’t have time to keep arguing about what we’re going to do!” A silence at last fell, with all eyes switching to this self-appointed voice of authority. “Thank you,” he continued, his tone more measured now. “OK – where’s the best hospital to take him?” “Rumah Sakit Medika!” yelled one, to a chorus of agreement. “It’s the closest, anyway!” “Right,” confirmed the leader. “Driver! RS Medika! Cepat!Quick!

The driver gunned the engine and pulled away unsteadily, a series of juddering motions rocking the passengers and flinging Anath from one side of the footwell to the other. “Steady, you idiot!” called out the man whose turn it was to apply pressure to the boy’s wound. “You’ll kill him if you carry on like that!” Staring down at the young victim’s limp body, the leader noticed that the boy’s skin was now almost translucent. And where it had any colour at all, that colour was grey – an uncommon pallour in this part of the world, and something which was now mesmerising him. For an instant, he thought about calling the whole thing off: they were never going to make it to the hospital in time. But Ketu Pramoedya knew more than anything else that he was not a quitter. No: the boy deserved better than that. The situation they were facing was just so unfair – like everything else in this Godawful town. No: they were going to bring this unfortunate kid to hospital – alive – and demand immediate treatment. And after that, they would be seeking justice from the perpetrators of the crime. “Take it easy, Mas!” he then called out to the driver, shaking himself from his stupor. “I know I said we’ve got to move quickly, but we still want to arrive in one piece!”

posted by Kirk at 11:20 pm  

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