Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, August 29, 2008

Through The Godless Hours (67)

Floating… The heat… A voice swam across to him, through the heavy jelly air… His limbs felt weak… Leaden… And the heat… The voice washed over him again, on a wave that seemed to wobble… Message garbled… Nnnnaaa… The heat, the constant heat… The wave came again… Nnnnaaak… His eyelids felt swollen… Heavy… Nnnnaaak…“

’Nak? ’Nak?” Detective Adi placed a hand on the boy’s arm. “’Nak? You OK?” The kid felt impossibly hot to the touch. On fire, almost. “Come on, kid. You’ve got to pull through. For Uncle Adi – alright?” Dear God, don’t let him die, he thought. Please. Adi was worried. What the hell have I started? he cursed himself. Why didn’t I think about the danger I was putting people in? Anything could’ve happened in that restaurant. Anything.

Ooooooo… Kay? The words began coming through a little clearer… More substantial, somehow… The heat… The damned heat… Like a furnace…

“Aah… Panas…” Hot. “’Bu? I think he’s coming round,” Adi called across to a nearby nurse. “Is there anything you can do to bring his temperature down? It must be hell for him.” “He’s having an adverse reaction to his transfusion. There’s not a lot we can do, ’Pak, I’m afraid.” The woman moved off to fetch another wet towel from the fridge. “’Nak? Can you hear me?” Adi continued to quiz. Returning, the nurse replaced the towel that lay across the boy’s brow. “Has anyone been to see him?” the Detective now asked her. “Parents? Relatives?” “No-one,” replied the nurse. “As a matter of fact, nobody seems to know anything about him, except that his name’s Anath and he came to Jakarta a few years ago. According to the people who brought him in, that is.” “Who were they?” “I don’t know. There’s a couple of them out there in reception, waiting.” Adi glanced in the direction of the doors through which he had earlier come. “By the way, ’Pak,” the woman continued, “what happened to you? You look like you need some treatment yourself.” “All in a day’s work for a busy Detective,” Adi quipped. But his heart was not really in the cheeky grin he then attempted. Patting the boy’s arm, he turned to leave. “Take good care of him, please,” he said, moving away.

Outside, the receptionist pointed across the lobby, to a couple propped against each other, like bookends. Although he would feel a little guilty about rousing them, Adi needed information. “’Pak? Permisi, ’Pak.” Excuse me. His prodding woke the man with a start, while the woman next to him almost fell off her stool, in fright. “Is he dead?” she blurted, hints of fear and panic conveyed in the texture of her voice. “No, no, no,” Adi soothed. “The boy’s got a fever, that’s all. He’s gonna pull through, don’t worry.” But the Detective was far less certain than he was trying to sound. Addressing the man, he went on: “How do you know him?” “He’s the kid that tends the newspaper stand. Got shot, believe it or not. Ditembak.” “Do you know his parents? Where he lives?” “He lives in the area. But I’ve never seen him with anyone, and he’s never spoken about his parents.” Adi turned to the woman. “’Bu?” “I heard he’s got no parents. He’s an or–” “Orphan?” the Detective cut in. “Yes.” Poor kid, thought Adi. He didn’t deserve this. “Look, I’m a Police Detective,” he said, reaching into a pocket. The couple were visibly concerned about what he was about to pull from it. “Relax, ’Bu, relax,” he continued, now holding out a calling card. “This is my number. I’d like to try and help the poor kid. If there’s anything you think of that you feel might be useful, make sure you let me know.” “OK, ’Pak Detective,” replied the man, warily accepting the card.

Straightening himself up, Detective Adi nodded his thanks before moving off, in the direction of the exit. There was much he wanted to learn about this boy whose name, apparently, was Anath. And much he wanted to do to make amends for the suffering he had caused.

posted by Kirk at 11:57 pm  

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