Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, August 8, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (63)

Adi woke with a start. He had been asleep for over an hour, and now the skin of his palms bore the resemblance of prunes. Suddenly remembering the girl, he called out. “Lulu? Sayang?” Nothing. Gripping the sides of the bathtub he pushed himself slowly up, wincing with every movement of his battered body. Shit! The young Detective had been bruised before, but could not remember another occasion when he felt this sore, in so many places. Groaning audibly, he made one final push to stand, gritting his teeth while stepping out to lunge for a towel on the rack. The stoop in his frame suggested his back belonged more to an octogenarian than a man in his physical prime, and he needed the additional support of the rail in order to keep himself upright. Removing a hand, he struggled to wrap the soft towel around his midriff, grimacing all the while. “Lulu?” he called out once again, his voice unusually bereft of authority. “Sayangku?” But still there was no reply.

Adi shuffled across the tiles, holding on to the hand basin. The bathroom steam bellowed into the cooler air of the bedroom as he pushed open the door to peer in. Through the gloom he could see the hump beneath the sheets that indicated, to his relief, she was still there. The scene was reminiscent of that which had confronted him at the Veza Hotel, causing a sudden sense of panic to sweep over him. Please, no… he begged. Not her… Not like those… those poor bastards… Please… But on lifting the crisp white sheets, his fear was quickly allayed as he sensed her warmth. Stroking a hand across her bare back, his fingers traced down to her coccyx, and the spider legs of her tattoo. Thank God… “Nnnnnnhhh…” she moaned, her almond eyes opening into slits as she stirred from her slumber. “Baby? That… you, baby?” she slurred, sleepily. Once again he winced as he slid in beside her, limiting their physical contact to a hand he draped across her waist. In his present condition, Adi was unable to contemplate anything more than this, and although she then reached a hand behind her to fumble around in the region of his groin, he was forced to politely fend her off. “I’m sorry, babe… It’s just that I’m… I’m really hurting… All over,” he apologised, shyly. For this was far from Detective Adi’s usual style. “Nnnnnngggah,” came her reply, within which he thought he could detect a note of irritation. And it was now that he began to think about their developing relationship, in the context of what Lulu did for a living. Still does, he taunted himself. And will continue doing tomorrow, and the next day, if you don’t do something about it. “Sayang?” he began to form his inevitable question, but the beautiful prize beside him had once more fallen asleep.

Adi closed his eyes, yearning for proper rest, for some healing slumber. But his mind was now racing, taking him back to the horror of the events at Sate Blora. Of those moments when he felt he could almost smell the encroachment of death, and of the will he had had to summon, just to pull him through the ordeal, and stay alive. Once more the demons began to tease him, scolding the young Detective for his juvenile naivety. Did he really think there would be any other outcome? Fool! But there was also something else, something in the back of his mind, which kept nagging away persistently. What is it? What are you trying to tell me?

Oh, no…! Oh, God – no! Oh, shit! It had suddenly dawned on him. The boy! That poor kid… For the first time since the Captain’s shots had rang out, Adi thought of the boy who had been sitting at the newsstand, shielding himself from the rain. The pleasant kid with whom he had exchanged a nod and a sympathetic smile, before entering the restaurant.

He was hit…!

Lulu woke as Adi then abruptly rolled out of bed, his face screwed up in pain, his unsteady legs now attempting to carry him across the room to his wardrobe. He pulled open the door, which flapped back on its hinges, knocking against his side as he leant in to retrieve some clothes. “Ah… Fuck!” “What wrong, sayang?” she asked. “You make Lulu scare.” “Sorry, babe,” Adi replied, gasping as he buttoned up a shirt. The brushing of stiff cotton against his chest felt like someone was sanding away his skin. “The boy – he was hit!” “Who is boy?” “There was a young kid sitting at a newspaper stand. Sitting there, outside Sate Blora, just minding his own business. The bullet he took was meant for me. I’ve got to go and help him,” he explained, regaining, as he did, a sense of purpose. Lulu managed a wan smile, at once proud of her man, this guy for whom she now seemed to be falling. “OK, handsome boy. You find him, this boy. But don’t brave. You brave one time today already.” She watched as his back then disappeared through the apartment door, sighing before she reclined once more, to contemplate what these feelings meant. Still scared of loving, this common yet delicate flower found it difficult to convince herself that Adi was indeed different to all the many men she had known before. After a lifetime of knocks, it was hard to believe. But one thing she did not doubt was that she wanted him to return quickly – and safe. “Wait for me! I’ll be back!” Adi shouted over his shoulder, while descending the stairs. And for a fleeting moment, it seemed to Lulu that they were spiritually connected; that he could read her mind.

posted by Kirk at 9:43 pm  

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