Rachmah Setya Utami/180410150061
“I’m bored,” the youngest in that group whined. He was small, a kid actually. Well, they all were.
Quickly agreed by the rest of the group members, which only consisted of three more kids, the tallest boy with hair that stood up like some of hedgehog’s spikes said with flat tone, “I’ve got enough of PS2 games,”
The others exchanged their looks with pitying expression. After months of consistent whines, arguments, stubbornness, the hedgehog’s-spikes-haired boy called Shidqi was finally able to touch his new dear PS2 although with also consistent mood of playing numerous games with it, he got bored not so long after.
“Yeah, after all, we can never beat Ami.” Same age with Shidqi, his partner in crime, Fatah added.
All morning long he had tried his best to win over the current care race game against the only girl in the group but only to find his attempt was futile. No one knew how the skinny girl could manage to be the best in that game and hold the throne for the over past few days. She liked no game or whatsoever or so they thought before, yet dragging her to also play PS2 with them seemed to be a great mistake.
“I cannot play the soccer game, you know.” Ami shrugged, she was yet to know what the man−boy−ego was.
“No! Oh, please, don’t teach her that! Believe me she totally can beat all of us in just two hours of trying.” Fatah shouted in a dramatic manner. There was no drama queen within the group, a drama king, there was. “Are you really a girl, Mi?”
“After all this time, playing with you guys, and you asked me that?” Ami laughed. She was a girl which could be hardly recognized as one.
It was not the first time she got that kind of question of course. Her mom asked her that almost every day. Every moment she was caught still hanging on mango tree’s branch and got yelled by the neighbour, or coming home all wet, from head to toe in attempt to mastering swimming but in a very wrong location, the nearest fishing area. Of course she still played cooking and dolls, wearing dress and trying to walk like a model for a modelling contest in the competition of the country’s independence day celebration, but she could never resist to adventure that most of the boys, not girls, were seeking for too in that age. And she couldn’t wait for her father to finally get tired of complaining if his had a daughter of son instead, because her mom finally did, a year or so ago, giving up for Ami’s kind of play preferences. Moreover, it was partly her fault to let her daughter grow up with a bunch of boys.
“Yeah, let’s see how far you can make in our smackdown sparring again. Want to bet?” Fatah tried to bait her.
“Your body is a lot fatter than me, and you always try to block my attack by overweighing me, you dumb!” Ami pointed out her finger in anger, she could feel the strangled sensation when that happened in her mind and shuddered. “Your body is as big as a cow!”
“No, no, we cannot do that again, Ibo was crying when Fatah punch him the last time and Umi Abi promised to stop my allowance if I dare to do that again. It’s dangerous too.”
“Your parents are no fun.” Ami and Fatah said almost together, only in this kind of hobby they were so cooperative.
Ibo, Fatah’s younger brother and the whining kid that triggered this silly quarrel finally responded, “Can we just ride a bike few blocks away from here?”
Shidqi shook his head, “Remember that our bikes are still locked in garage by Oma since the last time we rode it just few more blocks from where we usually went and we lost there until night?”
“It was only past 7. Auntie Rani may come home even after 8.” Fatah groaned.
“For the sake of making her school assignments, yeah, of course.” Shidqi added.
Ami strengthened his point by, “And she is older than me for good five years.”
“Being older sounds fun.” Fatah glanced at the elders who were busy in the kitchen. “I mean, no more strict rules.”
Ami made a disgusted face. “I am older than you all and they put more rules on me. Like; you are the oldest, why don’t you behave more mature? You are the oldest, why don’t you just sit and stop to play like a child with the boys? Ugh!”
“You are practically our auntie too, like Auntie Rani, because you are the cousin of our parents.” Fatah teased the girl only to make her more annoyed. It was successful, Ami kicked his ankle.
While Fatah was still busy cursing at his own-made pain, Ibo mumbled, “But you are only a year older from bro and Shidqi.”
“See?” Ami pouted.
“They usually say something alike with ‘you are the only girl’.” Shidqi argued. “Not just ‘you are the oldest’. Like when we climbed the mango tree in front of this house and held a camp in the roof. None of my girl friends in school able to climb a tree with a plate of chicken like you.”
“Or nearly breaking my arm in when we were joking.” Fatah hissed, still remembering the pain.
“But, that means being older brings you more responsibilities.” Ami countered. “Although yes, no more curfew, no more playing rules.”
Ibo saw the other two talking and said innocently, “So why can’t we just being adults now?”
The three immediately looked at him, realizing how bright the idea was.
“I don’t want you to stay too long, make it quick, please.” Fatah begged. “You are so advanced on stealing food.”
“That’s just because I don’t make it so obvious like you and your hungry face, idiot!” Ami smacked his arm.
“Whatever. We will be in my room, okay?”
Ami only nodded and hushed him to go already.
Their plan was good. So good until all of them couldn’t stop the grin from appearing while thinking about it. The last thing they needed only food, and this was Ami’s turn to provide it for them.
The girl walked confidently into the kitchen, trying to look as natural as she could.
“Mom, what will you make with these?” she asked nonchalantly. No one paid too much attention at her as she hugged her mother’s shoulder from the back.
“Why? You want to avoid eating vegetables later?” her mom replied. “Don’t cling onto me, it’s heavy.”
“Okay, okay. So?”
“Just some soup, maybe you’ll like it.”
“With long beans?”
“You know I never like it.” Ami complained.
“Try to, it’s healthy.” Ami’s mom smiled at her first daughter.
“Typical answer, I can guess it even before you say it, Mom.” She laughed.
“Stop disturbing your mother when she’s working, Ami.” Her auntie scolded her, shaking her head as she watched the little girl action. “She uses knife there.”
“Mom won’t stab me with that!”
“No, but she might hurt herself.” The older woman replied.
Ami’s mom hushed them. “Can you just check your sister in the bedroom, is she still sleeping? Tell me after that.”
“Ayay, Captain!” she ran at a certain direction of the said bedroom her mom mentioned.
Ami got a little sister and she was super excited about that although being teased a lot because her one year old sister had no similarity in features with her. However, that was not a big problem. She loved her after all. Being the only child at home was no fun, so she could hardly wait for her sister to grow up and being her playmate everyday.
“Grow up fast, Sist.” She kissed her sister’s chubby cheek and the baby was so deep in sleep to give respond on that.
She met Fatah’s mom in her way back. The older woman was always nice to her, making her cute dresses and giving her dolls. Some said that was because she always wanted a daughter instead of Ibo, the second son.
“Hello!”Ami’s greeted her.
She replied the girl’s greeting with smile. “Where are you going, Mi? Running like that. And where are the others?”
“Kitchen, to Mom. I don’t know about the boys.” Ami answered with a grin. The last sentence was true in some senses. She didn’t really know where they were right now.
The woman laughed with a pleasant sound. “Oh, you have grown up as a girl finally? I hope they won’t make any ruckus anymore. How is your scar from the last fall?”
Ami giggled. “Better. It’s nothing.”
“The fall is nothing but you sure screamed with heart when we use the Chinese remedy.”
“Hey!” the girl pouted. “It really hurt!”
“Don’t fall then. It looks ugly too if your body is full of scars. The dresses won’t suit you.” Fatah’s mom winked. She really liked the woman.
“Okay.” With that, she continued to go and inform her mom about her sister and didn’t forget to look at the dining table. Half of it was already full of plates. There were chicken, some tofu, spices, and many others. Then she decided it would be easier to steal some chicken.
Impatient, Fatah’s head sneaked out from the main door, even though he rushed to hide himself away when he spotted his mom who sat comfortably inside. However Ami had seen it and covered her laugh with her hand. Alright, she needed to be quick and she did just that after quietly took few tissues to wrap some chickens, enough to feed them all a day long, or hopefully so.
“Mi, where will you go now?”
Ami nearly tripped on her foot as the voice of her mom reached her. She looked back almost immediately, acting okay as if there was no chicken on her hands.
“Don’t know. Maybe just watching TV in sister’s room. I promise the volume wouldn’t wake her up.”
Her mom agreed on that. “Be good.”
“Yes, Mom. Of course, I will.” She grimaced silently at her lie.
“Woah,” Fatah gaped.
There were so many stuffs, cool stuffs in the kids’ eyes. There were some boards made by wood, hammers, nails, paints, and many more. They never knew that the warehouse owned by their grandpa was this big, full of things, and looked fun to explore. Had they known it sooner, they would escape here since ages ago. The place was too perfect for them. It was secluded, big, and locked. Meant that this place would never be guessed by anyone to be a kid’s playground. In fact, they needed to climb up the high fence to be able to enter the place. Another plus, the place was quite far from the main home so their play would not be interrupted by a horrified mother or a furious grandmother anymore.
Ami dropped her bag, weighing a nail in her palm, then throwing it at the room before her. The clanking sound echoed loudly without anything happened after that.
The four adventurers exchanged their looks. This only could mean what they thought it meant.
“Yes! We are free!”
“Have anyone spotted Shidqi? He needs to eat, this is nearly past 1.” Shidqi’s mom, just coming from their actual home, dropped her body on the sofa.
“Right, I haven’t seen my sons too.” Fatah’s mom added, looked concerned now.
“Why don’t you check on your daughter because basically they would be in the same group?” Oma’s said to Ami’s mom, which was her own sister.
“Hah, no need for that. I kinda have guessed.” The sister replied. “Where are they now? Has anyone checked the roof?”
“Abi, can you search for our son there?” Shidqi’s mom asked her husband who only nodded in compliment.
“I will ask the neighbour, just in case they choose to be normal kids that play a normal game this time.” Ami’s mom finally volunteered herself.
However, in the next three hours, nothing was gained from the parents’ effort. Their children were practically nowhere. They had asked the neighbour, searched at the field near the house, checked on every relatives houses there, scanned the roof, the mango and guava tree behind the house yard, even went as far as looking on every closed space like below the bed or inside the wardrobe in case their kids choose to play hide and seek in a more extreme manner for hours. But there was still nothing.
“They wouldn’t go so far! Their bicycles are locked!” Shidqi’s mom was now panicked.
Perhaps their kids didn’t like to be a little bit more normal and had their own style in playing together, and so getting a hard time after figuring out the next terrific things they did. But never been missing together without any trace.
“There’s no place we haven’t checked, right?” Ami’s mom mumbled.
“I believe not.” Fatah’s mom replied. Although she was the most reserved one, but she was also worried as hell, considering for her, it was not only a kid, but two kids disappear in the same time.
“Should we contact the police?” said Oma. “One more hour and it will be dark.”
“Do you think they are kidnapped?” the tone on Shidqi’s mom’s voice rose as she looked more terrified.
A phone rang in a very loud sound that made everyone almost jumped in their place. Fatah’s mom then took it from her pocket and began talking, in ten seconds more, she hung up.
“My husband said they have found them all.”
And by finding them all, it meant catching them red handed with paint all over their clothes, some chemical liquid was now splashed on the ground, several boards were now officially couldn’t be used since it was either gone into two pieces or simply broken by too many nails on it. And as soon as the fence was opened by the adults, a piece of slipper flew over their heads and laughing sounds were so loud.
“Oh my god…”
Everything fell silent by those words. The kids finally realized that their time was over now and both now turned pale. Not ready to face the next nightmare that would follow. For the adults, the next nightmare as a parent and for the kids… well, it was not new to get scolded although they could see that this time was definitely worse.
“EVERYONE. NOW. GETS. OUT!”
No, no! It’s more than just worse! They might die for real now!
Word count: 2.439 words