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Rama-rama

Aku terduduk di hadapan cermin, bercakap seorang diri.

“Mungkin dia baik, mungkin dia rajin dan kelakar. Tapi kenapa dia? Kenapa aku suka dia? Itulah antara soalan yang selalu berulang di mindaku. Bagaimanakah seseorang manusia, seperti aku, boleh ada sesuatu daya tarikan kepada manusia lain? Kenapa A suka B, C suka D, E suka F, G suka H, I suka J, K suka L, dan sebagainya? Kenapa kita tak boleh imun kepada cinta?”

“Ini pula membawa ke soalan: apakah itu cinta? Mungkin ia hanya sebuah reaksi kimia di dalam sel-sel otak kita. Ataupun cinta adalah takdir Tuhan, setiap orang mempunyai jodohnya sejak kecil lagi. Mungkin kita tak akan tahu. Kalau tengok di sekeliling kita, boleh nampak cinta di setiap tempat. Cinta seorang ibu kepada anaknya, seorang pelajar kepada gurunya, seorang budak kepada rakannya, seorang suami pada isterinya. Mungkin cinta itu hanya buatan manusia, semata-mata untuk membolehkan spesis kita terus hidup.”

“*sigh* tengok tu, dah mula bercakap seorang diri. Dah lari daripada topik. Kalaulah dia boleh dengar aku sekarang….”

Aku pandang wajahku di cermin. Apalah nak jadi dengan hidup aku.

“So. Kenapa aku suka dia? Bukannya baik sangat, layan aku pun sekali dua je. Bercakap pun kuat-kuat. Tak habis-habis tergelak ketawa. Macam orang gila.” Aku terus memandang wajahku yang muram di sebalik cermin. “Then again, aku pun orang gila sebenarnya.”

“Oh, kalau kau boleh dengar aku sekarang… Aku nak bagitahu kau; setiap kali aku bercakap dengan kau, hatiku berasa ringan, seperti dipenuhi rama-rama. Bila aku memandang wajah kau, aku hilang semua masalah dan kesedihan di dalam hidupku. Aku pun tak tahu kenapa.”

“Mungkin aku takkan tahu. Aku sebenarnya nak tanya ni, kau suka aku ke? Adakah kau dipenuhi rama-rama bila bersama aku? Ke kau tak ambil kisah pun pasal hidupku yang gelap ini? Aku rasa kau tak nak cakap denganku, seolah-olah menjauhi aku… Mungkin sebab kau malu denganku? Tak kan, sebab aku orang gila, terlalu sedih, tak pernah senyum pun. Ibu bapa aku pun jauh daripada aku.”

“Cinta. Misteri yang manusia tak akan faham. Emosi yang boleh menggembirakan tetapi menyakiti. Adakah kita jodoh? Aku rasa tak pun, tengok orang lain, bersama lalu berpisah. Agaknya kita hanya bayangan antara satu sama lain. Hanya satu mukasurat dalam buku kehidupan orang lain. Tapi, aku tak kisah. Hidup ni pendek. Baik memenuhkannya dengan beribadat, berbuat baik, menolong orang. Tapi ada sesuatu yang hilang daripada hidupku, satu bahagian puzzle yang mungkin tak akan sempurna. Kegembiraan. Mungkin kaulah pelengkap hidupku. Mungkin kau dapat membuat aku senyum.”

“Kau takkan suka aku sebenarnya… Aku gila, bising, annoying, tapi pada masa sama, aku senyap, sedih dan tiada kawan. Kau takkan faham aku. Aku pun tak faham aku!”

Ku melihat lagi wajahku di sebalik cermin. Mataku yang kebiruan kerana tak cukup tidur sudah berair. Tiba-tiba aku ternampak seseorang sedang berdiri di (doorway) aku.

Aku cemas dan kelam-kabut, cuba nak cari perkataan yang betul, tapi aku tetap bergagap. “Er…. er… umm… hi? Uhm.. k-k-kau… bila d-datang?”

Dia menjawab dengan tenang dan gembira. “Dah lama dah”

Lidahku kaku sebentar, tak tahu nak memberi respons. “Ehrm, uh… K-kau  deng-dengar ke…. aa.. urh… a-a-apa yang aku cakap ta-tadi?”

“Takpe, aku pun suka kau”

Pada saat itu juga aku pengsan. Masyaallah… apa masalah aku.

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You are being Hunted

He was scared. Very scared. Each breath he took resounded across the walls, echoing through the old house. Not long now, he thought. It was only a matter of time before the horrendous creature would find his hiding place. It would all end pretty quickly, in just a few blinks of an eye. One blow and his limp body would fall to the ground, ready to be devoured by the ruthless monster. Fear took over his feeble body. Horror filled the air as the monster began climbing up the stairs.

Through the door he could hear the loud banging of the hunter, constantly searching for its prey. The hair on his neck stood on their ends as the creature seemingly whispered through the door. He swore he could hear the monster cackling, taunting him. It may have just been his imagination, but he felt as if he was surrounded by the silent screams of the hunter’s other victims. You’re next, they said.

The door burst open. Now, the only thing separating the creature and him was a thin wall that used to be an office cubicle. Unfortunately for him, he could barely move his body without being detected by the hunter. There was no escape. So, this is the end, he said to himself.

The floorboards creaked beneath as the creature approached his hiding place. The atmosphere was cold, with the smell of blood and metal coating the walls. The house was hauntingly quiet, the only sounds that could be heard were the squeaks and groans of an almost collapsing house, old and rusty. The entire room was a dull brown; the once vibrant wallpaper had teared away over the millenniums. It’s coming closer, he thought. He shuddered as he heard the sound of metal scraping hard against the wooden floor. The electronic beeping sound of a scanner grew louder and louder as if it were saying: I’M HERE. I SEE YOU. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.

His breath grew erratic and his eyes watered, drenching his already sweaty face. The excruciatingly horrifying sound of eight mechanical legs scratching on the floor became faster as the scanner increased its pace. Beep. Beep. Beep beep. Beepbeepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeeeeepbeeeepbeep. 

Suddenly, a siren blared as an electronic voice screamed out; “DO NOT ATTEMPT ESCAPE OR YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY OBLITERATED. ON THE REQUEST OF <REDACTED>, YOU, <INSERT SPECIES NAME> ARE BEING HUNTED.” The beeping and the scraping stopped, just before the wall behind him exploded, splintering into millions of tiny shards. Then, he stared right into the scream-inducing, horribly petrifying face of the monster.

There it was. His hunter, a large mechanical scorpion. One of its claws were replaced by a scanner and gun, the other had a razor-sharp blade that ended in a grasping claw. There was a long syringe in place of its stinger. The machine had four glowing red cameras for eyes and a cockpit in place of its body. ” <TARGET> HAS BEEN FOUND.”  The mere sight of this monstrosity would be enough to stop a heart, but what was even scarier was what was inside the cockpit. He looked past the weaponry into the cockpit and saw a hideous, lithe figure; the hunter’s driver. The driver had a strange, twisted face. It was as if he was staring into the face of death itself. It was one he hadn’t seen for a long time: the face of a scary, ugly, evil face. It was a human. The last time he had seen a human (besides himself) was before the accident. An accident he could barely remember.

As he became frozen in fear and confusion, the machine took the opportunity to grab him by the leg, its claw piercing through his foot. He was lifted into the air until his face met the cockpit’s level. The machine’s stinger bent down and aimed straight at his heart. The last thing he saw was the syringe, covered in bloodstains of its previous victims. The stinger struck his body with terrifying precision. Then everything went black.

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Surat Cinta

Kehilangan sangat menyedihkan. Terutamanya bagi seorang ibu yang kehilangan anaknya, walau sementara. Zubaidah berasa sebegini. Beliau membuka pintu bilik anaknya, Taufik. Banyak buku dan kertas yang berisi lukisan serta catatan  bersepah di lantai dan meja. Sebelum ini, Zubaidah selalu menegur anaknya agar membersihkan biliknya yang kelihatan berserabut itu, kerana beliau merasakan bahawa semua itu memeningkan dan hanya menyakiti matanya. Namun, tanpa kehadiran Taufik, bilik tersebut kini berasa kosong.

Sudah seminggu berlalu sejak Taufik berpindah ke London untuk menyambung pelajarannya di universiti. Zubaidah masih teringat kali terakhir beliau melihat wajah anaknya itu. Kenapa aku sedih?, Zubaidah terfikir. Bukannya tak dapat jumpa Fik selama-lamanya…

Sepucuk surat yang bertajuk “Surat Cinta” menarik perhatian Zubaidah. Beliau mengambilnya lalu membacanya.


                                                                       Surat Cinta

     Kau cantik, kau indah. Macam yang lain. Kenapa aku sayang kau sangat? Ada sesetengah orang kata; apabila kita terasa kehilangan seseorang, sesuatu benda atau tempat, sebenarnya kita mengingati pengalaman dan memori yang telah dilalui bersama orang atau benda tersebut. Aku akan mengingati mu. Aku berikrar, aku berjanji, bahawa aku tidak akan melupakanmu, selama-lamanya.

   Sudah 20 tahun aku bersamamu. Mungkin aku akan jumpa yang lain. Mungkin ada yang berlaut, bergunung, berhutan atau berbandar, tetapi mereka tidak seindah kau. Kau akan sentiasa di hatiku.

   Aku sayang kau sepenuh-penuhnya, Negaraku. Dari kecil sehingga dewasa, aku telah dibesarkan di tanah mu. Keindahan kau tidak boleh dinafikan aku. Namamu juga indah.

  Selamat tinggal, Malaysia.

                                                          Ahmad Taufik Hakim, 1998


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Lessons

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock. The clock on the wall repeats its same, annoying tune over and over again; doing nothing other than increase my boredom. This is torture, I thought to myself, Never-ending torture. Agonising, excruciating torture. 

As I thought of more words to describe the ghastly state I was in, Adam tapped me on the back and whispered to me, “You want to play Scrabble?” No. No, it’s boring, repetitive and difficult (a bit like class). So I declined. I soon realised my mistake when a voice whispered in the back of my mind, It was either half an hour of Scrabble or half an hour of absolute nothingness. I sighed, as I looked at the clock. Twenty-nine more minutes. Why does time have to tick away so slowly? Oh, how I hate class. I mean, I’ve finished the assignment. What else do you want me to do? Who cares about the other kids, just LET ME OUT OF HERE.

Without realising, I had drifted away into my thoughts and fell asleep. I want to go home…. or to the mall… just get me out of school. Now. Please. Maybe I should play video games all night when I get home. Or eat. E=mc^2. Grammar can be weird. ‘I’ before ‘E’ except after ‘C’. Ceiling. Ceiling, ceiling, ceiling, ceiling. That makes sense. Species. Glacier. Hah, idiot grammatical rule makes no sense. In your face, grammar.

42. Bow ties. Pizza. Oxygen is a product of photosynthesis. Bored. Bored boredboredbooooooooored. Raxacoricofallapatorius. Why is it taking so long? I don’t care. Wait, what if I’m stuck in a time loop? What if school never ends?! NOOOOO. Let me free, space-time continuum! 

A string of completely random thoughts ran through my head for the next twenty minutes or so. Tick tock tick tock, the clock went. Shut up, stupid clock, I thought. A fairly egoistical part of my head complained, I’m far superior in intellect than these bunch of imbeciles around me. I should get a college degree. Or a time machine. Or pizza. All the above. The rational part of me responded, Shut your big mouth, you show-off! 

Soon, I was fighting space monsters and giant creatures with the headmaster’s face on them. William Shakespeare wrote an ode to balding hair before opening a wig shop, strawberries crashed from the mountains below the candy-coated clouds  and evil textbooks invaded the world. This was relatively normal for me actually.

Two more minutes. Tick, tock, tick, tock went the clock for the last few times before it finally gave up doing its pathetic job and decided to spontaneously halt. I was on the last leg of the battle between the Spartans and the maniacal PE teachers when I heard a voice calling for me from the sky. “Wake up, Eric!” Was this a sign that the PE’s were going to lose? The ground shook intensely and various explosions were heard. The voice became clear.

“Wake up, you silly boy!” My eyes flickered open. The teacher stared at me with obvious annoyance. “I’ve been calling you five times already! Math is over!” WHAT. YES. YES. MATH IS OVER. SCHOOL IS OVER. The teacher said to me, “I want you to collect all the pupils’ exercise books now.” I answered, “Then can I go home?” “Go home? What do you mean, Eric? Did you forget that we have extra class after school?”

I felt the world black out around me. I just wanted to scream,

“I HATE LESSONS!!!!!”