It was a bleak December evening when rain along with thunder and wind fought to show their ability in the city called Sumedang. Pangeran Kornel Street was already in flood for about twenty-five centimeters, so no one dared enough to drive at that time except some trucks and a few of brown and red-colored public transportation which had mark “04” on the front car. Inside one of the 04 car, there were three people, including the driver, and one of them was Lusi Nafisa. She had black long hair, fair skin, a pointed nose, black almond-shaped eyes, and an average height which about five feet and four inches. She had just done with two of her classes in Psychology Faculty at Universitas Padjadjaran one and a half hour ago and now she was going to her house. After fifteen minutes struggling from the flood, the car finally arrived in the town square which was time for Lusi to stop. She was walking in a hurry once she left the car because her watch already struck eight in the evening which meant it was really late from her usual schedule. She looked around for a couple of time and felt a sudden goose bumps when she passed the grim and old building of Sukaraja elementary school.
“I know it. I know it! I can feel it since I was passing the school that someone is following me. I must hasten my walk. I must hasten my walk.” She murmured.
She remembered the story and knew how it would end. She knew it already. She was tense by every shadow from the big tree and dark corner that later would perhaps bring her to the end of her life. She did not want it and was afraid of it. However, what should she do? Telling her worries to her family would only make them laugh and think that she was being paranoid though she knew she was not.
“I must tell Chandra about it. He will know the answer and give me the answer. He shall do.”
Later at four o’clock in the afternoon of cloudy Saturday, Lusi as well as Chandra were having their usual date in the porch of Lusi’s house. Chandra was a police who had brown skin, black Ivy League hairstyle, a pointed nose, black hawk-like eyes, and a muscular body. The wind blew every leaf on the ground and sent it to the grey sky. It was mild and peaceful.
“I met Uli Adriana yesterday to examine her for my final test. She’s the same age as me but she’s already imprisoned in the white walls,” Lusi began to tell her story.
“White walls? You mean you become her psychiatrist in a hospital she lives in?” Chandra asked Lusi while he gave a stroke in her hair because she leaned on his shoulder. They sat beside each other facing the calm Cileuleuy River.
“Yes. It’s a tragic story she told me about. I don’t know whether I should pity her or not because the Rumah Sakit Jiwa Bandung’s representative told me that she is helpless.”
“Rumah Sakit Jiwa? She’s a lunatic? Then, you don’t need to feel pity for her because your job is only to know what her problem is, right? You need to be neutral.”
Chandra looked into Lusi’s eyes and smiled while she stared at him with a haze covering her eyes.
“I felt it too,” she whispered along with the wind which brought it into the air. However, Chandra could still hear what she said and only gave a questioned look at her.
It was on the rainy Friday morning when I got that assignment that made me met Uli Adriana in a white windowless room of Rumah Sakit Jiwa Bandung. She was gorgeous with her brown skin and black bob hair. I could not believe that she had a Schizophrenia in such a young age. She told me that she was being followed by a man who wanted to kill her. She felt threatened every time she walked home in the dark and passed the shadow of the tree and the grim old building because she knew he stood there watching every step she made. No one would listen to her worry, even her boyfriend took it as a joke. She was desperate and threatened.
Now, it happened to me. I was frightened for I felt that someone stalked me. Chandra did not seem to care after I told him everything. He just told me to focus on my exam and brought me in to prepare our dinner, leaving two not-so-cold orange juice on the table and my haunted thought behind. I tried to forget all the worries and focus on the exam just like what he told me. The final examination was still waiting and I could not stress myself with that ridiculous thought. What I need was to distract my thought he once said to me.
Monday came so fast and I finally finished almost all of my final examination. I just needed to finish the report of Uli’s mental illness. My cell phone’s time showed six o’clock in the afternoon when I drove home by bus. I killed the time by reading Uli’s case and found out that Uli never had a mental illness history in her family. It happened because she was too depressed by the divorce of her parent and her study in the law major. It took two hours to finish the reading and finally arrive in the town square and get off from the bus. I stood there for about two minutes after the bus halting. That familiar feeling surrounded me and made me hardly breathe. I was terrified and worried that ‘he’ was standing there at the Empang Street where the grim, old, and dark Sukaraja elementary school located. Inhaling more oxygen to my lungs, I stepped my feet to cross the soundless street of Prabu Gajah Agung and went straight to the Empang Street. I was breathing hoarsely and walking fast when I felt that familiar goose bumps came within me like last Friday. The sound of footsteps behind me was clearly heard as I passed the school and hastened my pace.
“God help me. What should I do and where is everybody? The shadow is ten feet away from me. Oh my,” I murmured and prayed along the road.
After walking for five minutes, I decided to run until I was out of breath. I stopped under the banyan tree beside the entrance of Gunung Puyuh Residence after running for about five hundred meters long to catch a breath. The wind was not as cold as the first I felt it. Neither the moon nor the stars laid on the vast dark blue blanket and the footsteps behind me was not heard anymore. I was alone under the great old tree and I could feel my sweat on my back falling. Suddenly, someone was tapped and gripped my shoulder from behind. I screamed and closed my eyes while I struggled to push him away. I remembered Chandra once taught me a Karate and I tried to do it. I pushed his chest, punched his liver with my right hand, and kicked something between his legs as hard as Dwayne Johnson. When he groaned, I took that chance to push him away until I heard his screaming and a loud noise of a splashing water. I could not feel him around anymore and it was too dark to see his face. I hesitantly moved forward and, to my surprise, he fell to the river down the road. His head was flooded by blood as I assumed that it was due to the sharp stone on the bank of the river. His left leg broke and folded in an unusual angle. He made no move after falling for about two and a half meters to the river. I widened my eyes when I realized that he was Chandra, my beloved boyfriend. I screamed and cried as loud as the thunder. I knew that this was the end.
“I killed him. I killed Chandra. I am a murderer. I… I…”
Someone, out of nowhere, was pulled me away and I could feel a cold sharp steel stabbed into my stomach and cut my liver. My body was trembling when I saw blood bursting on my stomach. Somehow, the ground was getting nearer to my eyes until it was pitch-dark and all I could hear was Chandra’s voice calling out my name like a broken radio.
“Lusi. Lusi honey. Lusi…” his sweet voice dancing through my ears and I could sense his smile.
My breath was getting shorter and the voice was getting clearer. I saw a pair of black Nike Air Max in front of my heavy eyes. It was blur and I could not stop myself to close my eyes and…
“Lusi. Hey Lusi, are you there? Honey…” Chandra shook her hand softly when he realized that his girlfriend was sleeping after he talked for thirty minutes about his job yesterday. The wind still blew softly sending the cool air of rainy seven o’clock evening.
Awakened by Chandra’s summoning and shaking on her hand, Lusi opened her eyes and looked at him warily as if Chandra could disappear anytime. She was panting as if she had ran for three kilometers. She grabbed Chandra’s jaw on both of her hand and eyed him carefully to make sure he was real.
“Are you okay, honey?” Chandra asked for the third times, feeling worried by her sudden reaction.
“Um… Yeah, I’m okay. It’s just I had a horrible nightmare. I’m sorry Chandra maybe I’m just tired about the college things and the smell of the rain persuaded me to forget those things by resting my eyes in the darkness.”
“It’s okay darling. Don’t think about it too much. You’d better focus on your final exam rather than being crazy because of your weird thought.”
“You’re right. So, what will we eat for a dinner tonight?”
The sky was getting darker and colder when they went inside the house to have their dinner, leaving two glasses of not-so-cold orange juice behind on the table. The leaves of the branches were swaying and the grass was dancing by the blowing evening wind. There, a hundred meters from the porch and behind the great banyan tree, a glint of anger was ready to explode.
P.S. If you prefer to listen to the audiobook, you can click the link below.