The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

Zuangeng Kidnapped

He stood up and walked ashore. He turned and looked at the water. Light from the torches reflected off the gentle waves washing ashore.

He looked around. He found lights in the distance inland. He walked up the sandy beach toward the light.

He got close enough to the light. It came from two sources close to each other. One source appeared to be from a window. The other was a torch next to a door.

He walked to the door. He loudly knocked on the door. He waited. It was a while before the door finally opened. In the doorway was an elderly Cingala man. His hair was shoulder length and grey. It was starting to show signs of thinning.

The man looked at Zuangeng. He saw an eight year old Cingala boy. His black hair hung to the bottom of his shoulder blades. No air stirred. His clothes looked dirty and shabby. Otherwise, they looked in decent shape. He was bare foot. The man said in Cingalia, “Can I help you?”

Zuangeng had been speaking Jalapean with his captors. He switched to his native tongue, Cingalia. He said, “I’m lost. What island is this?”

The old man said, “This is Oahu.”

Zuangeng said, “So, I’m still in Cinga.”

The man said, “That’s right. Please, pardon my rudeness. Please, come in.”

The man held the door open. Zuangeng accepted the invitation. He walked through the doorway into the living room. It took awhile for his eyes to adjust to the lighting.

The man said, “What brings you here?”

Zuangeng said, “I’ve been sailing on the ocean, lost. I’m trying to reach Cinga.”

The man said, “Where are your parents?”

Zuangeng said, “I have no parents. I was living with my aunt and uncle. They must be worried about me by now.”

The man said, “Why are you about without them?”

Zuangeng said, “I escaped from Jalapean pirates. They were taking me to Jalapea when we shipwrecked.”

The man said, “If you are going to Cinga, you are going the wrong way. You should be heading more west than south.. Do you have any navigation tools?”

Zuangeng said, “Unfortunately, no. I have no way to navigate.”

The man looked at Zuangeng more closely. He said, “When was the last time you’ve eaten?”

Zuangeng said, “The day before last. I have no food or water. I’m dying of hunger and thirst.”

Zuangeng felt his dry mouth and throat for the first time. The man said, “Come with me.”

Zuangeng followed him. The man led him into the dining room. He yelled, “Julyana! We have a guest! Get him some food and drink.”

An elderly grey haired woman appeared in the dining room doorway. She saw Zuangeng.  She said, “Hello, young man. What is your name?”

Zuangeng said, “I go by the name ‘Zuangeng’.”

She said, “Zuangeng, please, have a seat. I’ll get you some food. You must be starving.”

Zuangeng sat at the table. He said, “You wouldn’t believe how so.”

She disappeared into the kitchen. Shortly, she came back with a hot plate of food and glass of milk. She set them before Zuangeng. She got the silverware. She laid them next to the plate. Zuangeng dove into the food. He ate every bit of it. He drank the milk to the last obtainable drop.

Julyana looked at Zuangeng. Now, that he ate, his eyelids started to droop. She said, “When was the last time you had any sleep?”

Zuangeng said, “A couple days ago?”

She said, “We have a bed for you. Take a bath, first. I’ll make the bed while you do.”

The man led Zuangeng to the wash room. He prepared the bath for him. He said, “By the way, I’m Donato.”

Zuangeng stripped. He climbed into the tub. Donato gave him soap and a washcloth. Zuangeng commenced to washing. Donato laid out a towel for him. He left.

Zuangeng finished bathing. He dried off. He wrapped the towel around his waist.

He exited the room. He found Julyana. She led him to the bedroom. He gave the towel to her. He crawled into bed naked. She left with the towel. She entered the wash room. She picked up his clthes. She put them with the dirty clothes. He slept soundly.

The next morning, he woke to the smell of cooking food. He got out of bed. He wondered through the house. He arrived at the kitchen doorway. He looked in. Julyana was busy cooking breakfast. He said, “Smells good.”

Julyana turned toward him, startled. She said, “Thank you. Breakfast will be ready shortly. Wash your hands. I’ll wash your clothes after breakfast.”

Zuangeng found his way to the wash room. He washed his hands. He found his way to the dining room as Julyana put the food on the table. She set the table for three. Donato entered the dining room. He sat down, too. Julyana served the food. There were eggs overeasy, bacon, potatoes and toast. She gave Zuangeng a glass of milk. She poured coffee for Donato and herself. She sat. All three ate together.

Donato said, “I need to go into town. Want to come with me, Zuangeng?”

Zuangeng said, “Yes, sir.”

Julyana said, “I’ll have clean clothes when you two come back.”

After breakfast, Donato and Zuangeng went out. Zuangeng remained naked, having no clothes to wear. Donato said nothing about it.

Donato hitched a horse to a buggy. They climbed on and sat on the bench. Donato grabbed the reigns. He flicked them. The horse took off at a trot. Donato said, “When you leave for home, how do you plan to navigate?”

Zuangeng said, “I don’t know.”

Donato offered, “I can either buy you the equipment or teach you an ancient technique, known as wayfinding.”

Zuangeng said, “I don’t know how to use navigation equipment. I never had a need. What is wayfinding?”

Donato said, “It is an ancient technique that was used long before the sextant. It uses your natural senses. The technique is not used much anymore. It has been handed down from generation after generation in my family. I’ll teach you and get you started when you’re ready. It will take several days to teach you.”

Zuangeng said, “Please do. I need to leave as soon as I can.”

Donato said, “I will. While we’re in town, I’ll buy you a new outfit to wear. You said earlier that you escaped from some Jalapeans.”

Zuangeng said, “Yes. They were taking me to Jalapea against my will.”

Donato said, “Why?”

Zuangeng said, “There’s a Jalapean out for me. He wants me dead.”

Donato said, “Why? Mind if I ask who?”

Zuangeng said, “The man wants me dead for my part in his conviction for murder. His name is Shokura.”

Donato said, “Shokura? The Jalapean drug kingpin?”

Zuangeng said, surprised, “You know him? You planning to turn me over?”

Donato said, “Yes. I have had dealings with him. I don’t like him. You are safe. I’d rather kill him, myself, before letting him lay hands on you. Who took you?”

Zuangeng said, “Five men. Two of them are Muse and Bilal.”

Donato said, “I know them, too. They are Shokura’s henchmen.”

Zuangeng said, “We were on a steamship captained by a Jalapean called Garaad. He treated me better than the others. I still don’t much care for him.”

 

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