Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Through The Godless Hours (7)

“…By the grace of God, ’Pak Kapten. Please. Please show us some mercy,” the father of four had begged. His hands were clenched before him, the words choking in his throat. “We’ve been on this site more than twenty years, insya’allah. If you kick us out now, where will we go? Where will my children sleep tonight?”

Dressed simply in the white robes of one who had willingly submersed himself in his faith, the man, his wife and four bedraggled urchins of descending height had been forced by the army squad to line up in front of their decrepit, tin-roofed shack. His expression a curious mixture of sheer terror on the one hand, and a resolute belief in divine justice on the other, the man pleaded with the most senior ranked officer among the group of soldiers that had arrived out of nowhere to encircle the small dust-bowl surrounding his home. And as he spoke he shielded the youngest of his children – probably a five-year-old – who, frightened by this unexpected incursion into their simple but peaceful existence, was now beginning to blubber. Small wonder, given the menacing posture of the uniformed men who surrounded this impoverished family, their weapons armed and ready. “Show me your ID cards,” the Captain had then snapped, curtly. His steely glare was aimed directly at the dishevelled man’s eyes as he spoke. “W-we…we don’t have any,” the man stuttered his uncertain response, while avoiding the officer’s stare. “Then you don’t exist,” came the cold reply. Then soundlessly and entirely without warning, the Captain simply drew up his pistol and pumped a round into the man’s face, the back of his victim’s skull instantly peppering the flimsy wall behind. The swiftness of this unexpected turn of events took even some of his fellow soldiers by surprise, one or two of who shared sideways looks, their eyebrows raised. And then with an earsplitting wail that contained a whole spectrum of emotion: shock – terror – dread – surprise – grief – the dead man’s wife collapsed on to her husband with a gut-wrenching cry of disbelief, while her hysterical children fled back inside the shack, tripping over each other in their hurry to close the door behind them and pretend that what they had just witnessed was not, after all, real.

“Nooooo!”

Silence.

A cockerel crowed.

“Nooooo!” she screamed again, at an impossible pitch. But no-one was listening, not even her God. “Suamiku!… My husband!… Why?… Why?” she sobbed, her heart for evermore inconsolable – the feeling like someone had suddenly sucked out her insides.

The woman’s face was now buried in the rags covering her husband’s warm but slowly cooling body, around which a lake of bright red was quickly spreading. Then, without hesitation, Captain Farid took half a step forward before calmly firing three bullets into the back of her head, from point-blank range. And in the aftermath of this atrocity it was he who, before departing with the rest of the squad, poured petrol over the makeshift hovel within which the family had until today lived out an unremarkable, but wholly law-abiding, existence. And it was also the Captain who then threw the match, knowing that the cowering children – frightened, wide-eyed and innocent – were still inside, their whimpers clearly audible as the cardboard and wood of the shack began to crackle in the flames…

Soon, the hit of this new and exciting drug called arms dealing had Captain Farid hooked. And like any addict, he needed an ever-increasing supply. He was, by now, also beginning to visualise the considerable bank of cash he would soon be amassing – a factor that served to further fuel his lust. Better yet, he had developed a more efficient, risk-averse system of obtaining each new cache – even cultivating something of a code of honour among his accomplices. And although this was achieved more through terror than any sign of genuine loyalty it was, when added to the significant sums he paid out to his runners, more than enough to ensure their silence. Now giddy with the instant success of the venture, his confidence in the operation soared. But as the Captain’s illicit activities grew he began to attract the attention of some of the professional arms dealers operating in the region, into whose dominion he had strayed – and whose trade he was, therefore, effectively stealing. This was an unforeseen and essentially invisible development, the attendant threat of which he remained unaware. But the danger these unscrupulous mercenaries represented was quick to reveal itself in another quarter, when an anonymous tip-off was received at police headquarters in the capital. Initially, Jakarta’s serious crime unit had somewhat lethargically filed this first transcript under ‘pending’. For informants such as this one had often led their over-stretched resources up a succession of blind alleyways. In any event, they were scarcely incentivised to summon up the courage to chase down what would doubtless prove a dangerous and well-connected adversary. This particular grass, however, was persistent and several more calls were made, at an increasing rate. And so when a fifth, sixth and then a seventh tip-off was received, the Chief Inspector could no longer ignore the desktop dossier that was growing by the day, and resigned himself to act. Knowing that to successfully crack the case would require a great deal of guts and no small amount of guile, he assigned the project to one of his brightest, but maverick, young Detectives. And the name of this Detective was Adi Dharsta.

posted by Kirk at 8:02 pm  

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