I write this at my own peril. But, alas, perhaps my end shall come anyways. Perhaps the dawn may never come for me again.
I cannot give up hope. I cannot give in to the fear. I must tell my story.
You must know.
I arose before dawn and after the second chorus of the sunrise call to prayer. The world was thick, as usual, but quiet and my eyes were still clouded with sleep. I wore shorts and my t-shirt, the only one I own, and I trotted to the gates of BINUS International School to say hello to the guards.
They let me through (“Good marn-ing Mister!”) and I picked my way to the little track towards the back of the school.
Not scared yet? Have patience. Patience.
The track is circular and has four lanes. And there the similarities between this track and usual tracks end. The lap distance here is .10 of a mile, so I spent my morning listening to a jolly podcast and running 60 laps around the steamy red track. It was monotonous, but it was running and it was sweating and it was blood flow and it was the lure of a cold shower, so I was happy to do this. Quite happy indeed.
Oh, happiness. What a strange emotion to me now. I who have not known happiness for many moons.
Ah, I digress.
I existed in my tiny dark bubble of a world, running around and around, the only spectators the gurgling frogs and the slow dawn.
I finished my laps and I trotted back towards the gate. The guard and I bowed to each other and I scampered back into the streets of Serpong, body buzzing and happy. My day had started with a win and my mind was singing along with my blood and I wiped my face with the towel I always brought and I thought of how good the cold shower will feel and the oatmeal I will have and the coffee I will drink.
I heard it.
I heard him.
I heard him coming.
Echoing scratches against the cobblestone path that I take to go back to my kost. A hint of rustling. The sound of mean beady eyes staring at me from the shadows. I had entered into his zone.
“May I have your attention please,” a voice said in my mind. The accent was unknown to me and thick and made “please” sounds like “police”. The words rumbled through me, down my brain and rattling my spinal cord. I shivered, despite the heat. His powers of telepathy are unmatched.
“May I have your attention please,” it repeated. “You are crossing into the territory of Alexis Nopovitch, the King Emperor of the Legendary Serpong Warriors, the most terrible of all the green-necked rooster clans.”
I tried to reply, to beg admission and apology for the imposition, but his signal was too strong.
“You enter at your own risk.”
“You enter at your own risk.”
I’m sorry, could I just—
“You enter at your own risk. And we would like to inform you of the terms and conditions should you dare to continue. These were composed by the late brilliant scholar, Nathaniel. May he rest in peace.”
What are you—
“Silence! Moment of silence!”
The sound of the rooster crows throughout Serpong cease.
“Thank you. Alright. The terms and conditions. First: the treading upon of a feather of any given rooster or hen, whether said rooster or hen is dead or alive, whether said feather is attached or unattached, will result in no less than three ankle pecks administered by any given member of the Serpong Warriors or offspring.”
This is biza—
Oh, so he can hear me!
“Of course, nit-wit. May I continue?”
Sure, be my guest.
“Thank you kindly. Second: the name calling of the Legendary Serpong warriors, or the mock-cooing, or the mock-cawing, or the mock-crowing will result in the mocker or name caller being immediately bound in ropes and drug through the streets by any given member of the Legendary Serpong Warriors or offspring. As the mocker or name caller is dragged through the streets, all observing rooster, hen, and offspring in the Legendary Serpong Warrior clan will shout insults and mockeries of their own at the mocker or name caller.
“Third: any repeat intruder, defined as a he or she or it who has either invaded the territory or crossed boundaries with the Legendary Serpong Warrior clan a previous time, automatically forfeits his or her or its privilege to be invited to a formal dinner party with any given member, rooster, hen, or offspring, of the Legendary Serpong Warrior clan.
This is a bit ridiculous, I’m going to be late—
“Fourth. Any pictures, written words, documentations, videos, or other forms of privacy infringement of a member of the Legendary Serpong Warrior clan can and will result in immediate termination at the full choosing of the member of the Legendary Serpong warrior clan upon whom privacy infringement has occurred. This usually entails the stringing up of the infringer with chicken wire and pecking them until death by blood loss. But again, this is at the discretion of the infringed upon.
Okay, okay, seriously I really do have to go—
I’m sorry, I just—
“Stop moving your feet sticks!”
Oops, sorry, I didn’t meant to step there—
“Immediately cease your velocity!”
Eegh, sorry, can I just pass here—
“Obey, you pithy white woman!”
Quickly, quickly, Josie, he’s watching—
“I am always watching! I am the King Emperor of the Legendary Serpong Warriors! I am always watching!”
Close, close, walk faster, just keep your head down—
“How dare you not meet my eyes entitled human! Just because you have hands doesn’t make you better! Just because you carry a large knife, you think we fear you? We? The greatest green-necked rooster clan in all the world, the legendary Serpong Warriors!”
Ouch! It actually pecked at me!
“IT?! I am a KING, damn you! Suffer my wrath!”
Ouch! Oof, hold on there, WHOA, ow!
“How do you like that, human? How does that feel?!”
Ooooof, ouch! Run! Josie, run! You’ve trained for this! You can run faster than a chicken!
“CHICKEN?! I am a KING OF ROOSTERS, damn you! You think you can flee! You think you can flee for your life, you worm-skinned she-rat! Flee from the terrible green-necked roosters? You cannot! Swarm, mighty clan! Swarm, mighty warriors! Ye hens, ye offspring, swarm now!”
I write this from my cell. Cold, shrouded in nothing more than a pillow case. My feet—oh, I cannot bear to describe them to you. I cannot bear to tell you of the injustices which I have suffered at the hands of the Legendary Warriors of Serpong. They are too great.
I await the dawn and I am sure it will be the last time I do so. I do not know what will come for me, but I do not hope for freedom.
Beware, precious reader. Whoever you are, be you human or two-legged creature. Beware.
Beware the green-necked roosters.