The Boy and the Sea Dragon
Chapter Twenty Eight
One day, he was walking down a street. He heard some noise coming from an alley to his right. His curiosity got peaked. He turned the corner. He entered the alley to investigate. He saw two Jalapean men arguing in the middle of the alley.
One man appeared to be in his twenties. He was of average height. The other man appeared to be about Zuangeng’s height. However, he spoke with a deep voice. His hair was grey. His face was wrinkled with apparent old age. Zuangeng figured, “He must be late fifties or early sixties in age.”
Zuangeng continued down the alley. He was pretending to mind his own business. He noticed that the short man was wearing a pair of black gloves. His left pants pocket was bulging. He heard the men speak street Jalapean. The short man said, “Ke wan’deni mami e’fu mia tano sit’ni! M’mi tazami ke kwo (fuckin’) lipa m’mi kesho!”
The tall man said, “M’mi ti’ kapon’ pond’sha (in) kwamba (damn) chache moja wakat’!”
“M’mi fen’pona (give a fuck!) Lipa m’mi kambla!” the short man said.
The two continued arguing. It heated up. Suddenly, the short man pulled a pistol out of the bulging pocket. A large shadow crossed the scene. He aimed the gun at the tall man’s chest. The tall man started pleading for his life. The short man pulled the trigger. The bullet hit the tall man in the chest. He crumpled to the ground. The killer walked to the body. He shot it in the head for added measure.
The killer turned to the right. He saw Zuangeng standing there, mouth agape. Zuangeng appeared to him as a young lad, perhaps six years old. The boy had lighter brown skin than his own. He had dirt over his face and hands. He had dusty, straight, sandy blond hair that fell below the shoulder blades. He wore filthy rags for clothing and a necklace. The killer turned his gun on the boy.
Zuangeng saw the killer point the gun at him. He spun left, hair flying out. Some dust flew out of his hair. He ran, hair blowing behind him, to an alcove in the nearest building. The alcove was small. A door was at the end. He tried the door. It opened into a dark room. He ran through the doorway. He slammed the door closed. He was in pitch darkness. He groped for a lock. He found a deadbolt knob. He turned it. He heard the bolt slide into place. He heard a click. The door was locked. He slid down the door to his knees. He turned around. and sat on the floor. He leaned against the door. He sat in the dark. He was shaking, exhausted from the run. He felt his heart pounding his chest. He listened as footsteps rapidly approached the door.
The killer saw where the boy ran. He ran to the alcove. He found the closed door. He tried turning the door knob and pushing the door. It would not budge. He tried rattling the door. It would not open. He backed out a few feet. He took a running start. He slammed the door with his left shoulder. The door still would not budge. He gave up, rubbing his painful shoulder.
He left the alcove He walked back to the body. He dropped the gun on the ground next to the body. He exited the alley.
Zuangeng heard and felt the door rattle. He heard footsteps fade. Then, he heard rapid footsteps approach. He heard a thud and felt the door press against him. He felt the door vibrate. The door remained steadfast. He heard footsteps fade and the gun drop. He heard footsteps approach again. They went on past. They faded to silence.
He remained sitting for a while longer before moving. Silence remained outside. Once he calmed down and his heart ceased to thump, he stood up. He groped for the lock. He unlocked the door. He opened the door a crack. He peered outside. No one was there so he opened it wider. He walked to the alcove’s end. He peered out in both directions, still no one.
He walked back into the alley. He found the body laying on the ground. The gun laid next to it. He walked to the body. He knelt down beside it. He examined the body. He touched neither the body nor the gun. This was the first time he had ever seen a dead human body. He found it morbidly fascinating. This was how the police found him.
Three policemen entered the alley. They walked to Zuangeng from behind and the body. Two of the officers bent down. They grabbed Zuangeng in the armpits. Zuangeng cried, startled, “Eh! Ingayala!”
They picked him up. They pulled him from the body. They held him. Zuangeng did not bother to struggle. He watched the third officer examine the body. The officer was a typical Jalapean man. His hair was short cropped. He wore a white pair of pants and short sleeved shirt. He had black leather shoes. He wrote in a small notebook.
He stood up. He turned around. He looked at Zuangeng and the two officers. The officers were similar to him, including the clothing. He saw the same boy that the killer saw.
Zuangeng looked at the officer in front of him. The officer’s left shirt breast had a gold badge. Zuangeng could not understand the writing on the badge. He wore a brown leather belt around his waist. A leather holster hung form the belt on the officer’s right side. The holster held a pistol in it. The officer spoke Jalapean, “Pileka lemtato mbole.”
The officer on Zuangeng’s left pivoted around. The officer on Zuangeng’s right walked around. Zuangeng, confused, turned with them. All three remained silent. The officers holding Zuangeng exited the alley with the boy in tow. They led Zuangeng to the police station. It was a five story, red brick building. They climbed some concrete steps to the double wood door.
One officer opened a door. They entered the building. They walked down a flight of steps leading below ground. They took Zuangeng to a cell. They put him in it. They locked the cell door shut.
Zuangeng stood in the cell. He watched the officers leave. Once they were gone, he looked around. Sunlight shone through one small barred window. It was located in the far wall near the ceiling. Men were in other cells. He was glad that he was by himself with steel bars between him and them. They did not look friendly and frightened him. They talked among themselves. Some stared at him. A cot sat against the wall with the window. It stood in the wall’s middle.
One man in the next cell to Zuangeng’s right approached the bars between their cells. He spoke Jalapean to Zuangeng. He said, “Hey, kijana! Guniwa ke ne kwo?”
Zuangeng said nothing. He stood there, studying the man. The man was Jalapean. He wore black and white striped pants and shirt. He wore black leather shies. Everybody else in the cells were similarly dressed. Zuangeng was the oddball of the lot. He still wore his own clothes, torn as they were. He was the only person not Jalapean.
The man had a partial sneer on his face. He said, “Guniwa moja (fuckin’) nini?”
Zuangeng still said nothing. He turned toward the far wall. The man said, “Tiakaponi hapana (fuckin’) sema?”
Zuangeng ignored him and the others. He walked to the cot. He laid down. The cot was a little uncomfortable.
The third officer remained at the crime scene. He found the gun. He picked it up. He studied it.
Two more officers appeared with a litter. They were dressed the same as he was. He told them to take the body.
The officers laid the litter on the ground near the body. One officer stood by the head, the other by the feet. They crouched and bent over. The officer at the head put his hands under the shoulders. The other officer grabbed the feet. Together, they picked the body up. They laid it on the litter. They picked up the litter. The officer at the head had his back to the litter.
They carried the litter out of the alley. They carried it to a horse drawn wagon. The wagon was oak with police painted on the side. Behind the horse was a raised bench running across the wagon. The reigns were tied to a post on the left side. They carried the litter behind the wagon. A gate hung down from the bottom. They placed the litter on the wagon bed. They lifted the gate into place. They latched it to both sides. They walked to the front, one on each side. They climbed in. They sat on the bench. The officer on the left untied the reigns. He held them and gave them a quick flick. The horse started to trot. They drove off.
The remaining officer pocketed the gun. He exited the alley. He walked to the station.