The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

The Boy and the Sea Dragon

Chapter Sixteen

A new Home

Zuangeng, Gunthar and his two sons walked down the street. It was deserted. They exited the business district. They entered the residential district. They walked along numerous streets. Zuangeng looked around. HE saw numerous houses, both wood and red brick. Lights shone in the windows. Some houses had one light on the outside wall by the door. Others had two, one on each side. Some had lit lamps out in the yard. The wood houses were different colors. The street corners had lamp posts with signs.

They came close to the edge of town. It was dark now. The moon and stars were out. He could not see as many stars as he could on the ocean. They came to a two story bricked house. They stopped. Gunthar said, “This is our house, Zuangeng. Welcome to our humble abode.”

They walked up a concrete walkway. A well kept lawn was on each side of the walkway. They came to a cobblestone driveway running across the entrance to the house. They reached a single wood door. Gunthar pulled out his key. He unlocked the door. He opened it.

They walked through the doorway. They entered the living room. It was dimly lit with moonlight. Gunthar pulled the hood off Zuangeng’s head. He removed the cape. Petra and Hans walked to a couple of gas lamps. They lit them. Zuangeng looked around the room. The walls were pine paneling. On the outer wall were several windows. They had greenish patterned curtains on each side. Petra walked to each one. He drew the curtains closed. A couch sat on the wall opposite of the outer wall. Two arm chairs sat at different locations. In front of the couch was a long glass topped table. Magazines laid on top. The floor was covered by a sea bluish patterned carpet. In one corner stood a tall oak cabinet. It had glass doors. Behind the doors were shelves of books. Below the doors, the cabinet stuck out about six inches. Under the ledge was a drawer. A lamp sat on the ledge. An opening was in the wall right of the entry. Gunthar said, “Petra, show Zuangeng to the spare bedroom.”

Petra walked to the cabinet. He opened the drawer. He pulled out a match and lit it. He lit the lamp. He put several matches in his right pants pocket. He picked the lamp up. He carried it to Zuangeng. He signaled him to follow. They walked through the opening into a hallway.

They turned left. Along the walls were more gas lamps. Petra lit them as they went. About a yard from them was a flight of stairs. The floor and the stairs were covered in carpet. A burnished mahogany bannister lined each side of the stairs. The stairs split the hallway in two. They climbed the stairs.

At the top, they turned left. They walked to the far end of the carpeted hall. Petra paused to light more gas lamps. They turned right. Petra opened the door. They entered the room.

The floor was carpeted in greenish blue. In the far wall were windows. They had curtains on both sides. A king sized bed stood on the right wall. It stood in the middle. It was already made up in case of unexpected guests. Two pillows laid at the head. A dresser stood on the left wall. Night stands stood on either side of the bed at the head. Lamps sat on both night stands. Petra lit the lamps.

Petra signaled to Zuangeng that this room was his. Zuangeng pulled his goggles off his head. He put them in the top dresser drawer.

They exited the bedroom. Petra led Zuangeng to the bathroom. He lit a lamp on the wall left of the door. The floor was covered in sea blue tile with colored specks. A bathtub sat on the far wall. A window was above the tub. A cabinet stood on the left wall. A sink was in the cabinet’s top. A water pump was right of the sink. A plug and bar of soap sat left of the sink. A footstool sat in the corner right of the door.

Petra grabbed the footstool. He placed it in front of the cabinet. Zuangeng stood on it. Petra put the plug in the drain. He pumped cool water into the sink. They washed their hands and faces together. A rack with a hand towel hung on the cabinet’s right side. Zuangeng dried his face and hands. Petra drained the sink. Zuangeng replaced the stool. Petra dried his hands and face.

They walked downstairs. Petra led Zuangeng into the kitchen. Gunthar and Hans were preparing the evening meal. They were using a gas stove on the right wall to cook on. Zuangeng said, “Smells good.”

Gunthar said, “Thank you. We’re having veal. Supper will be ready in a few more minutes.”

Petra led Zuangeng into the dining room. They walked through a doorway in the kitchen’s left wall.

The floor was light and medium blue tile. The round birch table sat in the middle. Three chairs surrounded it. Another door was across the room. Petra walked to the door. He opened it. Zuangeng looked into a small room with five chairs. Petra pulled one out. He carried it to the table. He rearranged the three chairs. He set the fourth chair in place.

A tall cabinet stood on the left wall. Glass doors were set at the top portion. Three drawers were below the doors. Zuangeng saw plates, bowls, glasses and cups on shelves. Petra opened the doors. He got four plates, bowls, and glasses. Zuangeng helped him place them around the table. Petra opened the top drawer. He pulled out the silverware. He taught Zuangeng how to set the silverware. Petra pulled out the middle drawer. He picked up four brown cloth napkins. He placed them around the table.

After supper, Gunthar said, “Zuangeng, take a bath. You look like you haven’t had one for a long time. I’ll try to find some clean night clothes for you to wear tonight.”

He switched languages. He said, “Petra, prepare his bath water.”

Petra and Zuangeng entered the kitchen. Petra walked to the wall opposite of the stove. A marble topped cabinet stood on the wall. The top had a sink and a hand pump. Doors were below. Zuangeng watched Petra open a door in the cabinet. Petra pulled a metal bucket out. He put it in the sink under the spigot. He pumped water into the bucket. He placed the bucket on the stove to heat.

Gunthar exited the dining room. He walked into the hallway. He climbed upstairs. He turned right. He walked to a hatch in the ceiling. A cord hung within reach from the hatch. He pulled the cord. The hatch opened downward. A ladder slid to the floor. He climbed the ladder into the attic. He turned right, again. He walked over to a trunk marked ‘jongan klideng’. He opened it. He rummaged through the boys’ old clothes. He looked for a night outfit for Zuangeng.

The water boiled. Petra walked to a counter on his left. He pulled a drawer under the counter. He got a towel. He walked back to the stove. He wrapped the bucket’s handle with the towel. He took the bucket off the stove. He carried the bucket upstairs to the bathroom. He took care to not allow any water to slosh out. Zuangeng followed him.

Petra set the bucket on the floor before the bathtub. He took a plug from a corner of the tub. He put it in the drain. He turned to a door in the right wall. He opened it He pulled a towel out. He used it on the bucket’s bottom. He poured the steamy hot water into the tub. He set the bucket down on the floor. A hand pump stood at the left end of the tub. He pumped cold water into the tub until the bath water was comfortable.

Zuangeneg got undressed. Petra put the handle towel on the floor. He returned to the open door on the right. He pulled a body towel, wash cloth and a bar of soap out. He put the towel on a rack on the left wall before the tub. Zuangeng climbed into the tub. Petra gave him the wash cloth and soap. Zuangeng started the first decent bath he had since being lost at sea.

Petra picked up Zuangeng’s dirty clothes. He exited the bathroom with them. Gunthar entered the bathroom. He carried a set of night clothes and a pair of slippers. He set the clothes on the sink counter by the tub. He set the slippers on the floor in front of the cabinet. He exited the bathroom.

Zuangeng searched for everybody after dressing. He caught up with them in the den. An empty fireplace was in the left wall. A couch sat facing the fireplace. An arm chair sat at each end of the couch. Gunthar and Petra sat at a table on the far wall. They faced each other. Hans sat in a chair before the table.

Zuangeng walked toward Hans. He found Gunthar and Petra were playing chess. Gunthar played the white men. Petra played the black men. Hans was watching.

Zuangeng found a chair at another table. He pulled it next to Hans. He knelt on the chair to watch. He placed his hands on the table. Gunthar saw him. He said, “Feeling any better now?”

Zuangeng said, “Yes. The clothes smell funny.”

Gunthar said, “They have been in storage. They  will smell that way for a while. They’ll air out. They’ll smell better, later.”

Gunthar noticed Zuangeng’s finger nails. He said, “We need to clip those nails. I’ll do it after the game.”

Zuangeng said, “Yes, sir.”

Near the game’s inevitable conclusion, Zuangeng grew sleepy. Hans watched Zuangeng’s mouth open wide in a yawn. He said, “Please excuse us. I’ll take Zuangeng to his room.”

Gunthar said, “We’ll do your nails in the morning.”

Hans and Zuangeng exited the den. They walked upstairs to Zuangeng’s bedroom. Hans pulled the covers back. Zuangeng pulled his slippers off. He crawled into bed. Hans covered him. He put the slippers at the bed’s foot. He blew out the lamps. He exited the room. He stopped in the doorway. He turned and said in his language, “Good night, Zuangeng.”

Zuangeng just fell asleep without a word.

Hans returned to the game. It ended in a stalemate.

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