Chapter 3 : Jakarta International Paranormal Academy
The cloud starts to cover up the sky this month. The first rain today wiped away the dust in a favorite high school in town. P.E. will be doing indoor. Gymnastic this time in pairs. All are already with their pair but not Neo. Even the most shy student tried to avoid Neo. Days in school now becoming nightmare for Neo. Until one morning Neo goes to school, he decided not to stop at the usual bus stop. Neo is not used to escape school. Not even late coming. But this morning he could not take it anymore. He just frozen his seat and let the bus takes him anywhere. Until suddenly he decides to get off at a flea market. Because there he can find some second hand books of Kahlil Gibran. In a stall Neo has been finished reading two books. The seller finally has to put away the rest of the books off him, doesn’t want people to read without buying.
Finally Neo just walking in the side of dusty and crowded streets. He is going down under the bridge to take a pee. Then he sitting by the river to rest his feet. At the long silent Neo starring at the clouds that start coming. Suddenly Miska’s face appears in his mind. And then Ponte’s face. He reminds of something inside his bag. He grab it out off the bag, a Ponte’s cell phone. Since what happened in that narrow alley, this thing never out of his bag. He throw away the cell phone with all his energy to the middle of the river and sees the black water swallow it.
Neo sees his reflection in the river. His sadness slowly becoming anger. Until the rain drops break the calm surface of the water. The rain spill getting heavy. Neo move backward to get shelter under the bridge. Two kids of street singer going under the bridge to get shelter too. They’re standing in the corner not far from Neo. Neo watching them freezing without wearing any shoes or sandals. Their hair and clothes are soaked by the rain. They are counting the pennies they get. Then Neo sees himself that still wearing shoes. His anger start to disappear. Now he start to think. In the middle of the rain that flushed the world over the bridge, Neo remind of the brochure he get in a morning when he met a man in the suite. A brochure written : Jakarta International Paranormal Academy. You should getting in school together with great people, Neo remember that man’s words. Neo has to find the brochure. Then he walks out of the bridge and running through the rain.
Neo come all wet until home. He goes directly to see his step mother asking if she ever find a brochure while cleaning his uniform. His step mother shakes her head, answering like she doesn’t care while feeding her baby. Neo has already get used to with that attitude. It’s been two months his step mother never make him omelet for his lunch. Sometime he is only have rice and cooked vegetables for lunch.
Neo hurry goes to the well. Though the brochure might be tucked away somewhere near there. He sure that it never in his room all this time. But he just standing by the well with his head bowed. He drags his concentration toward his vision going through every corner in all around the room. His vision disclose inside the food cupboard, under the table, dirty clothes in the basket and into some cardboard.
From the living room, Neo seen standing frozen by the well. Neo step mother long looking at his step son who act weird. This woman feels that she has already been trying to become a good mother. But that weird boy make her clogged, doesn’t know what to do.
Neo’s vision then going to kitchen drawer. From the edge of the drawer, he can see some papers laid there. Neo hurry goes to the drawer to get those papers. The papers are just some food recipe that his step mother has written there. But in one piece of those, he can see at the other side of it. It is the brochure that Neo looking for.
Neo closing his room door. His eyes shines looked at the paper he hold. He start to read down the written in the paper.
Then Neo read the address at the bottom of the paper. Neo knows that address. But suddenly Neo’s father appears open up the door. Neo try to hide the paper but too late. He could just fold it, so his father could not see it directly.
“Where have you been Neo? Why home so late?” His father still standing by the door.
“There was some extra,” Neo tried to lie.
Fortunately Neo’s father seems to understand. Maybe because Neo looked like he is studying, sitting infront his small table holding a note.
“Have you eat?” His father ask him again.
“Not yet,” Neo answers. He hope his father doesn’t suspicious with the paper he hold.
“Yes father, I will in the minute.”
Neo’s father closing up the room door. Neo relieves. He read down the paper again and this afternoon he doesn’t feel hungry.
In the night, Neo lay down on his bed with a plan in his head. The brochure has already kept in his bag. Even with empty stomach, this night he sleeps well.
The next day, Neo goes to school earlier. But he doesn’t get on the bus he usually take. Neo goes to the direction that lead to the address in the brochure.
Inside the bus Neo is standing among crowded people. He sweating but he doesn’t care. All that he thinks is a school that can accept people like him.
Neo get off in a place he recognize. He already knew he has to take a walk to reach the address. At the end of the road he sees the address written on the street name plate. Neo try to sort down the number of the building he pass a long the way. But after sometimes he walks back and forth, he can’t find it. Neo courage himself to ask to security one of the building. The security then point one building at the end of the road. Neo follows the direction. He is little wondering if this building is the place he is looking for. Beside there’s no number on the building, it’s looks untaken care of. Dry leaves scattered down the side walk. Garbage heap in some spot around the building. What make Neo freeze then is the high wall that stretch along the side walk. The wall fence is look new, but so many graffiti there. One by one Neo reads the strokes on the wall. All written are rough and blasphemy.
The only spot without wall is the iron gate that is also high. But at the back side of the door is closed by zinc sheets, so people can’t see inside. Then some police lines thwart at the front door, looks like no one allowed to go inside.
Finally Neo sits down by the side walk. Doesn’t know what to do. He almost feel lost until one scavenger come around picking up plastic bottles at the garbage heap. Then he sits down not far from Neo. He is a thin old man. He take a rest while his eyes still looking around for some garbage. And then he looks a glimpsed at Neo.
“This was a good school”, he suddenly speak up.
Neo take a look at him, observing the old man beside him.
“The students are so many. Many from rich people too. Too bad there was a mobilization by some people who didn’t want this school.” Said the scavenger innocently
Neo tries to listen. Because the old man might tell him what happened.
“But this school may be haunted. A few people join in the protest were dead. There are 5 or 6 of them taken by ambulance. They were died just like that in the street right here.” The scavenger is so enthusiast because Neo so serious listening to him.
“What happen then?” Neo curious.
“Then the police were coming. The school can not continue the activity. I don’t know what happen to the students.”
The scavenger then get up from his seat.
“Well that was what happened. School is so expensive nowadays. Why school like this should be closed.” The scavenger left Neo. His eyes start to look around for some trash.
Neo stunned at front of a wall full of strokes, thinking about the scavenger’s stories. Neo bows, gather up the concentration. Then his view start to penetrate through a wall in front of him. Neo can see some clusters of 2 stories buildings. All the wall plastered by rocks. The roof is high, made of palm fiber. The windows are large, line up almost the whole walls. Some glass windows are broken. Looks like it had been stroke by stones. In the middle of the building stand a park. Wild grass grew high there. Trees that look just being planted looks dry. In the middle of the park there’s something like a fountain. The wall is mossy and the remaining water is brown. Suddenly Neo sees a person. He moves fast in front one of the building. Neo stand up. He gathers more concentrations, because the person he sees hiding in the corner of the building. Neo’s view penetrates to all building there. Until he can see that person again. Neo step up to get to the front of the wall. Neo looses the person many times. Neo couldn’t move anymore because there’s a river at the edge of the wall and the side walk. But between river and sidewall there is a narrow glebe road. Neo goes in there quickly. He keep moving forward, so he still can see the person inside the wall. Until that road end up at a big tree. But at this range he can see clearly the person. Behind the walls there, that person sitting in front a table, writing. He is wearing white skirt and pant, with sandals. But Neo doesn’t see his face. Only the hair that Neo see all white.
For a moment Neo just stand still. Because the person is still writing. But at glance Neo watch the big tree in font of him. Some branches of the tree sticking up above the high wall. Then there’s some branches sticking out from a tree behind the wall. For them who could climbing, it is an easy way to reach behind the wall. Carefully Neo climbs the tree while still keep his vision on the person inside there. When Neo gets behind the wall, the person still there. Neo stop for a while. He just realize that what he does is so spontaneous. But he is already there anyway. At least he may get some information from that person.
Neo pass among the walls that plastered by stones. This person is just so near, just behind a few walls. Until neo get in the front of 1 storie building. Only one door in the middle. The door is a bit open and Neo knows this person is in there. Neo step forward. But when he opens the door, the room is empty. Only one desk and a chair in the room. Neo doesn’t know where this person goes. When his view penetrate through the walls, Neo can’t find him.
Sunshine is only come in from the vent. But Neo can see some papers on the desk. Neo get closer and get them. 2 pieces of papers written by hand, a train ticket and some cash. Then Neo reads the hand writing.
I know you have ability that nobody might have. This aptitude can be honed, so one day it’ll become worthwhile for mankind. There’s a school that can lead you so that you can use your power in a better way. But this school placed far away in a town for the sake of all party.
Think carefully before you make any decision. If you would do something in regard of your ability, you can go to this town. There is a train ticket for tomorrow morning and some cash for public transportation. I already wrote all the public transportation list at the other paper.
The decision is in your hand. If you have a doubt, you can leave the letter and the tickets. You may take the cash.
Neo reads the other sheet of paper. There has been written the codes of public transportations. Then there are 10 sheet of cash at Rp 10.000. For a couple minute, Neo stand still. He doesn’t know this person, and why he is already trust him.
Night fall so late, while Neo lay down on the bed. A ticket is in his hand. For hours his eyes staring at the ticket. A big decision must be taken. But anyway he is already feels nobody want him anymore. Few hours ago his father was mad at him because of his step mother’s complaint that he took out one of her recipe note in the kitchen. Even though, what makes him difficult to leave is his father. Tonight he would write a message for his father. He wants his father not to worry about him. Don’t have to look for him, because one day he will be back. And he promise will find his mother. Then he’ll apologize for have disappointing his father. Neo gets up looking for a paper and a pen. In his small desk he start to write.
Morning at 4, Neo has sneak out of the house. A backpack is on his back. His train will be leaving at 6. At 5 Neo has arrived at the station. Sun start to appear at the edge of town while the iron wheels of the train start to move. Neo sits by the window, watching morning roads he recognize. All seems to move fast backward all the things he would leave behind. May be in one place he could be accepted as what he is.
Rice field and ditch start to seen at the window. He realize his town is been far behind and he start to feel sleepy. The last thing cross his mind is his father reading his message in a piece of letter. Then he fall asleep leaned by the window.