Final Writing: The Steel Squad (Fiction)

Elghiffari Hidayat/180410150070

In June 1944, the Allied Forces launched the infamous operation which people have known as the “D-Day” invasion. With more than 10 months planning and preparation, the Allied Forces successfully captured Normandy and established a temporary Headquarter in Southern France to concentrate their force replenishment after the D-Day and architecting their next operations until the defeat of the Fascist Reich. The Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force generals realized that even though they managed to open the gate to the invasion of Europe against the Nazis, Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS power are still strong in influenced a whole Europe. They need a small, quick, and versatile squad to make a breakthrough from the German flank sides and protecting some vital forces and logistics. After some months, General Eisenhower selected the best soldiers from US Army and the British Army with the help from the newly formed British SAS Regiment. This newborn squad named “The Lightning Fox” and classified as a top secret special squad that deployed in behind enemy lines with special objectives that a normal army can’t accomplish.

Arnhem, August 1944 at Walther Model’s Headquarter.

Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model looked pretty depressed on the entire morning as he received a report that Allied Forces could defeat his forces gradually in France one by one. To relieve his mood, he smoked a pipe and read some newspaper while watched a beautiful garden. Just a moment after he finished read his newspaper, a colonel approached him.

Mein Fieldmarschall, There are some reports regarding the combat situation.” Said the Colonel with a composed voice.

The general sipped his tea once and asked with a sorrowful face “What is it colonel? Is it my other losses in Saint-Lo? Ammunition and logistic shortage at Caen? Or another attack by French Partisan?”

“No mein Fieldmarschall, the Saint-Lo still in our control with the Panzer Ace Michael Wittmann’s tank battalion guarding that city, our ammunition and supplies still intact for the next months in Caen, and we don’t received any report regarding of those rats in 2 last weeks.” The colonel answered still with his composed sound.

“If not a usual bad news, then what is it?”

“We received an important information from our intelligence that the Americans will transport their biggest supplies to their frontline through the Red Ball Express road in 2 weeks. If we can grab an opportunity to destroy those trucks that bring the supplies, they will suffering a big supply issue, and weakened their strength for a while.”

Model’s face became brighter after he heard that “That’s a good information colonel. We need to grab this opportunity as flawless as we can. If we can accomplish this, we will have a big opportunity to make a counterattack to those cocky American and Brits. Summon other generals! We’re going to construct an offensive operation for this opportunity.”

Jahwohl mein Fieldmarschall!” the colonel answered while he saluted the general.

Two weeks passed and Walther Model’s special platoon to intercept the supply trucks is ready. The platoon consisted of four Panzer IV Ausf.H tanks and 40 Panzergrenadier infantries carried by 5 Half-tracks. Model intentionally kept the platoon as simple as possible because he realized the biggest factor of his plan was speed. He needed the platoon as mobile as possible so they can intercept the trucks with the Blitzkrieg Tactic. Model also realized that the trucks that passed the Red Ball Express never guarded by tanks or other heavy units. “Driver, onward!” the tank commander ordered the platoon to move. They were 7 kilometers away from the main road of Red Ball Express. The platoon confidently marched through fields and bushes to ambush the trucks. 3 kilometers away they would reach the Red Ball Express main road.

“Gunner, target in 400 yards left side 20 degrees. Load the AP round, and… Fire!”

“Bang!” A loud sound came from a British 17-Pounder gun from their west side destroyed one of the panzers. “Haha! Easy shot, now the next one!” A man with a British accent yelled from inside a Sherman Firefly Tank. “Bang!” another loud sound generated from American 76mm gun that also came from the west side. The Armor Piercing round that came from the cannon also destroyed the second panzer. “This is mine William. You can’t take all the fun!” An American yelled from inside an M4A3 Easy Eight Sherman Tank. “Where the hell is that coming from?” The Wehrmacht platoon panicked with this unexpected ambush.

Soldaten, bring ze Panzerfaust! Annihilate those tanks before they destroy our remaining tanks!” Said the lieutenant.

“This is our time chaps, no wasting time anymore. Shower those bloody morons with the flamethrower!” A rain of fire came from a flamethrower-equipped Bren Carrier, burned some German infantries until they were burned to crisp.

“They’re attacking from left flank!”

“No, they’re attacking from the right flank!” As the German infantries confused to decide which side the attack came from.

“Bang!” The two remaining Panzer IV exploded as the Firefly and the Easy Eight rounds pierced their armor through the ammo racks.

“Easy peezy lemon squeezy. It’s like shooting some dummies!”

“Never get too cocky William. We don’t know the worst yet.”

Those two tank commanders chatted leisurely as their tanks wrecked the German platoon’s entire armored unit.

“This is our time lads. Charge for the King and Country!”

“Cross, Champ, give them some suppression fire. Mark, Roy, smash them through their flank!” The British Special Air Service squad leader Captain John Smoke gave his soldier some orders to attack the enemy infantries.

The squad of British Special Air Service equipped with some Bren Light Machine Guns and Sten Submachine Guns charged from bushes and shoot the confused Wehrmacht infantries. Although they were only consisted of six soldiers, they were one of the most elite soldiers on earth. They made 40 enemy soldiers scattered all over the area. The sound of bullets ravaging through bodies, and well perfected aim from the British SAS made sure that no enemy infantry can aim them before they could shoot them.

“Retreat, fall back!” the German’s platoon leader ordered the platoon to fall back. 20 infantries ran away through the woods, and avoided the bullets that sprayed by the British SAS. With only 15 minutes of fighting, the field already filled with corpses and broken steels. After some minutes, the SAS soldiers and the tank crews sat under trees

“These foolish don’t even bloody think that we will defend our precious supplies.” The Firefly Tank Commander Captain William Wilkinson talked with a cocky voice.

“You’re right William. Even incompetence London police can shoot better than them. These fools are only some third rate soldiers and newbies.” Captain John Smoke replied.

“Cut the chatter both of you. Keep the celebration later until we put some bullets in the Fuhrer head. We still have a long war to fight.” Captain Chris Baker reduced the tension of is two best commanders. A moment later, Captain Chris turned on the radio and called the Headquarter.

“Fox to Overlord, Fox to Overlord.”

“This is Overlord, come in Fox. How’s the operation progress over?”

“The operation progressed smoothly, General. We destroyed four Panzer IVs and five halftracks, killed 12 men, and wounded 8 men. The rest of the enemies are retreating.”

“Good work Captain, your squad can rest for a while now. The Lightning Fox will be deployed in Ardennes Forest in December to receive your next objective.”

“Solid copy General Eisenhower. Special Squadron Lightning Fox reporting out.” Captain Chris putted the radio back into his bag.

“So what did Ike say?”

“We can have fun for 5 months. You guys can grab some French girls, drink as much as you guys want, and take some vacations until 5 months passed. After that we’re going to be deployed in Ardennes Forest Belgium on December.”

“Good lord almighty, that’s a long time to take a rest. Let’s go chaps, to Paris pubs. We need to remember the taste of some scotch and absinthe. Onward driver!” Captain William ordered his tank driver to go to headquarter in Paris.

Two days later in Walter Model’s headquarter at Arnhem

Mein Fieldmarschall, we got the report from the ambush operation.” Said the colonel.

“So how is it? Is it a success? Can we launch our counterattack as soon as we can?”

Nein Mein Fieldmarschall, the operation was kaputt.”

“What do you say colonel? Say that again.”

“The operation is failed mein Fieldmarschall. Our tanks and Halftracks are destroyed, our troops were retreating.”

“BAM!” The general punched his desk with his two hands.

“How the hell… HOW THE HELL IS THAT COULD BE HAPPENED?! Our intelligence said that no American nor British platoon in that area, we even sent some best men to this operation. How the hell we can be failed? What kind of schwein that destroyed our platoon?”

“We don’t know yet sir, we still investiga…”
“We received important information from our intelligence sir!” A Major abruptly entered the general room in a hurry.

“If you dare to interrupt the Colonel, it must be an important thing to say major, or your head is my answer.”

“Our spy reported that the Allied has a special squadron that operating on behind our lines. They attacked our flank with surprise elements and quickly disrupt our defense. Some fights such as Carentan, Caen, and the latest Redball Express are the result of their work to disrupt our defenses.”

“What kind of squad is it? Never heard such a very mobile and tactical squadron in American or British beside the SAS and 101st Airborne Division before.” The general confused with the major’s report.

“Our spy called it The Lightning Fox Squad. They consisted of a Sherman Firefly Tank, a Sherman Easy Eight Tank, and A squad of British SAS carried by a flamethrower-equipped Bren Carrier.”

“Okay, I see. That’s why although they are a mobile unit, they have some heavy firepower from those Shermans. Major did the spy gather other information about them?”

“Yes, the General Eisenhower planned to deploy them in the Ardennes Forest in December along with 3rd US Army that being led by Patton.”

“Ardennes Forest? What are they going to do there? I should report to the Fuhrer as fast as I can.”

Four Months later, Hitler and his generals already finished constructing an offensive operation called “Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine") Hitler’s main objective was to split the US and British Army, then encircled them while hoping the US and the British will offered a peace negotiation if the operation is a success. But for Model, this operation was his biggest chance to destroy The Lightning Fox squad completely. For months Model construct his special platoon that specifically to destroy the special squadron entirely. He also had given permission from the Hitler itself to be granted an access to have the most formidable tank in World War two, The King Tiger Tank.

20th December 1944, southern area of Ardennes Forest.

“Alright boys, we’ve received our order. We need to link up with General Patton’s 3rd Armored Division at Bastogne, and establish a defense position around there.” Captain Chris gave his squad an order to move.

“Easy lads, time to move out. Those stinking Jerry won’t wait us here. They will meet with our bullets in Bastogne.” The SAS squad leader Captain John Smoke also gave his order to his squad.

The squad moved leisurely at the forest as they didn’t know what kind of danger that they would face.

“Mark, do you know any good British girl around your place?” Captain Chris asked the British SAS soldier Mark randomly.

“I’m not quite sure sir. I don’t have any girl either. It seems my girlfriend is only this lovely Bren Light Machine Gun. Maybe it’s a good thing if in the future I can gra…”

“BANG! BANG! BANG!”

Some loud sound of Karabiner 98K Sniper Rifle echoed through the forest, and one of the bullets pierced through Mark’s head.

“Bloody hell, multiple snipers in 10 o’clock. All troops take cover inside the vehicles!” Captain John Smoke gave the direct order to all soldiers.

“We don’t have time to mourn for Mark. Roy, splash some fire through the woods at our ten!”

The flame came from the Bren Carrier, splashed some fire through the woods and successfully burned the snipers.

“Good job lads, now keep your bloody eyes open. We’re ambushed!”

“BOOM!”

The Bren Carrier exploded immediately as a tank bullet pierced the vehicle and exploded right inside it.

“God dammit! Where the hell is that coming from? Our entire SAS soldiers are killed!” Captain Chris panicked as he saw an entire troops dead just in a moment.

“Bloody hell, it came from three o’clock. It’s a tank!” Captain William answered

“Can you identify the tank William?”

“I can’t, it’s too far, and it’s about 2 kilometers away. We need to drive closer to that tank to give it some shots.”

“Okay I’ll do it. Driver, approach that tank with some zigzag maneuvers to avoid their shots.”

“BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!”

The Easy Eight avoided three shots, and eventually Captain Chris can see the tank clearly.

“Oh shit… It’s a goddamn King Tiger!”

The King Tiger, the most formidable tank in the war. Equipped with 88mm guns that can penetrate any Allied tanks easily, and protected by a thick 185mm frontal armor.

“We need to retreat. There’s no point of fighting this beast. We’re going to be dead anyway.” Captain William terrified as he looked to the enormous tank.

“No, we’re not going to retreat! If we let this goddamn tank pass, it will attack the General Patton’s flank. Our defeat in this battle will be assured if that happened.” Captain Chris Baker didn’t agree with William’s suggestion to run away as he saw a bigger potential threat if they let the King Tiger pass.

“Any bloody bright idea?”

“Let’s gambling, I love gambling. I’m going to become the decoy while you destroy that panzer with your powerful 17-pounder gun.”

“No for god sake Chris. It’s too dangerous.”

“It might be dangerous, but it will be more dangerous if we missed this chance.”

The Easy Eight approached the King Tiger with full speed as the Firefly went to the King Tiger right side, as the armor was thinner than the frontal armor.

“BANG!”

A sound of 88mm gun exploded the Easy Eight completely. As the King Tiger shoot the Easy Eight, the Firefly already got a clear shot to the King Tiger.

“BANG! BANG! BANG! BOOM!”

The Firefly shot the King Tiger three times as the first shot jammed King Tiger’s turret transversal, the second shot destroyed the track, and the third shot exploded the King Tiger’s ammo rack.

A month later, the Allied force won the Battle of the Bulge as William Wilkinson promoted as a Major. He won’t forget that his life was given by Captain Chris Baker and Easy Eight tank crews.

Word Count: 2491 words

Reference: Company of Heroes 2

Final Writing: Oh, Windy (Fiction)

Nabhila Irsaad / 180410150035

I couldn’t see anything in here, in my cardboard, but I knew a group of girls, around twelve or thirteen years old, were carrying me to somewhere.

“Watch out!” said someone to one who grabbed my left side. I couldn’t see them, but I think it was unfair, how they carried me. I felt like my left side was about to touch the floor.

After a minute of struggle, they carried me into a room that was noisy with girls’ voice. Only girls’ voice. And it seemed that they didn’t find any blank tables, because they put me on the floor. Two girls with excitement opened my cardboard and slowly got me out of it. They put me on the cold floor. Just… ew. Gina must have forgotten to bring my stand. Are they going to play me on the filthy floor?

Okay, there were about six girls in front of me. Two were standing, the rest were sitting in front of me. They all wore long white hijab and white-blue uniform, they must be Gina’s classmates. Oh, now I knew that I was in Gina’s school. Insan Kamil Islamic Junior School. Yep, I read that a lot on Gina’s notebook covers.

“Meike.” Said the girl who looked attentively at me, then she laughed. “Such a weird name for a brand.” Nobody ever thought about my name in such a way. She took my cardboard and looked for the cable. “Where’s the cable?”

“Gina, let us borrow your keyboard please! Thanks…” said the girl with red glasses, then she laughed because there was no Gina there.

“Yeah, Gina, wherever you are.” Added the other girl. Gina was a sweet and generous girl, hence in the name of my owner, I permit y’all.

After turning me on, the girls were pressing my keys randomly and they were happy. They tried every single button available on my body. It was delightful to be the center of the girls’ attention and happiness, one of them tried my drum sounds, the other tried my melodies, the other tried my other musical instrument until the most funny button—the instant tuning control on my left side that made every sound sounded like broken music or even a music wave of dangdut. Oh, if only they could hear me laughing.

But there was one girl who played some of my keys on the same octave, playing some pieces of songs gravely, but without any mistakes. Among the noisy makers, she made her own world with my keys. She got my attention as a musical instrument.

“How did you do that? It’s that song, right?” it seemed that the girl with the rose broach listened to the song she played.

“Cool, Windy! Play it again!” added the other girl happily with too many bracelets on her wrist.

Suddenly the bell rang and like obedient troops, the girls left their places and took their seats, except Windy—she played a new piece of song for a moment, then turned me off and left.

I bet she would come back.

The second bell rang—the lunch break. I could see the girls were ready with their lunch boxes on their tables, and some of them went to the cafeteria. But like what I said before, Windy came to me—with her lunch and her netbook.

Windy turned me on casually, it was as if she had owned me for a year. Then she played me based on the song tutorial played on her netbook and got the girls who listened to it excited.

“That’s amazing, Windy!”

“Whoaa, our pianist!”

“That was awesome! Have you had any piano lessons before?” Gina came and sat in front of her, observing how Windy got the perfect tones of every song she played.

“Never. Awesome, right?” Windy replied.

“Hey, how if she become the pianist to accompany our choir?”

So, the girls had put their trust on Windy, and that was what made me stay for a night—at least that was what they said—in Windy’s house. It seemed that I had to get used to live without my stand, because they put me on the floor. Didn’t they have any table or something to make me stand tall and graceful, away from the cold floor, like Gina’s family did to me?

Windy spent about an hour to play whatever she liked without the choir song which was the obligatory, then she turned me off and went downstairs, talking to her parents. She wanted a keyboard like me. She said she could play keyboard and she wanted to have her own.

“I can play it! You have heard me playing, haven’t you?” I could hear she said that.

After receiving some bad news, she went upstairs again and turned me off angrily, and went to her bedroom and cried on her bed. Poor Windy. Gina had never such an obsession towards me. Poor me, then?

The next day, afterschool, Windy came to me with a happy face. She put down her bag and without changing her uniform first, she turned me on and play whatever she liked. Yiruma, Japanese songs, Indonesian songs… yeah, mostly were Japanese songs, most of which were Ikimono Gakari’s, if you ever heard of them.

“You are mine now!” she said, then hugged me. Then she took a shower and comfort herself before putting her fingers on my keys.

So, Gina had given up on me, huh? At least I like to say it that way instead of the fact that she had SOLD me to this girl, which meant I had to spend my whole life lying down on the cold floor with no grace at all.

I’m just kidding, I like it here.

I like the way Windy, my new owner, treated me like her best friend. She didn’t say anything to me to convey her feelings (of course, she wasn’t crazy), she just let her fingers do it for her, and the whole world would know it.

She also knew how to make a relationship with musical instruments. Once I saw playing her new guitar and it made me jealous for a second, until I realized that I didn’t have to worry because I knew I will be her all-time favorite.

She played from one song to another, then fell in love with it and she made her own way to play the song to express her current emotion. Gina never made such an impression of exploring her music, she only played what the instructor told her to play.

By the way, Windy’s style of playing had been more neatly after she joined keyboard course for about one year and piano course for a few months. Then she decided to stop for the reason I never knew and then she became a middle school student.

One day, she came to me with a smiling face and flowers in her heart. I thought she would sit in front of me and play some songs, but apparently her phone was more interesting. She looked happy with what she read then changed her white-grey uniform into karategi. Then she left.

A few months had been so lonely for me, and I began to look dusty. She practice her karate movements in front of the mirror like crazy and sometimes told her sister, Amy, about one guy whose name I heard over and over.

“He was SO annoying that he had no time except to make fun of me or to pick me!” she said, contrasting with her happy facial expression.

Hello, Windy, didn’t you miss pouring your heart on me?

A few months went by without she touching any of my keys. Now almost all of my body were dusty, and she didn’t bother to clean me. She was just being so cruel to cover me with the pink shawl I knew she hated forever. If only I could play her favorite song by my own, I would do that. But it would only scare her and the possibility was she would dump me.

But one afternoon, she came with a broken heart and for the first time after the lonely few months, she opened the pink shawl which had covered me, and played Taylor Swift’s Back to December, and it was December. She played that over and over and over until she couldn’t play it anymore because she apparently cried!

And it was the last time she touched me.

Word count: 1412

Final Writing: Hardest Time of My Life (Non-Fiction)

Ekaprilia Nur Shabrina/180410150023

I don’t know if I remember this clearly but I think I can tell you about what happened back when I was 12 or 13 roughly. Many things happened back then so I only remember a little bit about what happened. It was a really really beautiful day, at first; the sky was clear blue and the sun decided to shine a little bit more, burned my skin and left it red and hurt when I was on my way back home. Oh! I was just graduated from junior high school, I remember it. I felt so happy because finally, no school for a few weeks. I imagined I could go to swimming pool in the morning everyday. At first my friends and I were gonna hang out somewhere but I swear it was too hot that day to even go outside so I just went straight to home. My body felt funny at that time, you know, because I didn’t sleep well the night before and I kind of had bad cold so I kept myself in my room, wrapped in blanket and sweater and tried to sleep even with one of my nostril was blocked and the other one was runny.

Everything was fine until Ma knocked at my door, face full with tears and panicking. I was still half asleep when I opened the door and tried to process what she said; something happened and Grandma just fainted. She yelled at me because I stayed in my room and didn’t go downstairs after I got home. I was still dizzy to process everything and she just dragged me downstairs. There, Grandma in her room, unconscious. Ma told me she had been fainted for three hours, so I assumed I had fell asleep for that long. I didn’t know what happened next. It was all blurry, I think Ma took her to hospital but I can’t remember with who because my parents were at work. It was blurry. The beautiful day had turned into a stormy day, at least for me.

I remember I was all alone at home, my parents went to hospital and stayed with Ma. But I also remember my nephews were at home, but I still assumed I was alone until the rest of my family; aunts and uncles, come. I still felt I was alone. I felt like they were strangers that crashing into someone’s house just to sleep. My cold also was getting worse, I bet there was a desert inside my throat; so dry. Midnight came, and I swear I could hear another relatives came. Home was crowded that night. For a moment, I forgot about what happened to Grandma. All I could think about that time was how I got good enough sleep with so many people being noisy downstairs. I remember Mom called but I can’t remember when, she gave me information about Grandma’s current situation; her condition was critical. I felt both relieved because finally someone gave me an information and also panicked because I knew she was gonna leave me, forever. I knew she was dying. Before I knew, I started crying until my nephews came to my room asking if I was okay. That was very sweet of them but still, I couldn’t control my emotion. I yelled at them, told them to leave me alone. I was so rude, I know.

Next, I didn’t remember what happened. I think I fell asleep because I remember the next day my aunt made me a poridge for breakfast. We had a good chit chat about school,but then she told me if God decided to take Grandma’s life away I have to be strong because she would be no longer in pain, she would watch us from above, and she would reunite with Grandpa. I just nodded and starred into my bowl. Then it finally hit me; what if Grandma really leave this world, forever? A call from my dad woke me up from the deep thought. Even before he finished what he said, I started wailing and crying on the floor. I never thought it would be that fast. Just a second ago I was still thinking about it and the next second I was faced with the reality. Grandma had passed away and the question was left unanswered.

I kept crying until the ambulance that took my Grandma came. Mom, Ma, and Dad were inside. I remember I couldn’t see Grandma, who was covered in kaffan, in living room. My angel, lying there, just body without soul. Mom said she was smiling in her sleep. Then all the memories I have with her flashed before my eyes, I couldn’t take it. I broke down in tears again when all relatives came gathering around Grandma. And I was just there, standing doorway of her room with my aunt supporting me. I never fell such sadness in my life. Once I got really sad because I lost my favourite blanket. Grandma thought it was so dirty and the fabric was worn out and she decided to throw it into the bin. But then, I got a new blanket. It was different but she told me it was also the same thing. It still feels different; losing someone you love and losing the thing you love.

At her funeral. I managed not to cry when I attended the funeral. So many people came, it was crowded. But I cried again when Grandma were not in my sight anymore. I remember I almost passed out but someones beside and behind me, hold me so I kept standing. I starred at her tomb with her name on it, wet soil, flowers, and people. I refused to believe that she really left me. I searched for her at home, but she wasn’t there. She left me.

Let me tell you about Grandma. I lived with her ever since I was born because both my parents were busy with their work. She raised me with Ma and my other uncles. She put up so much with me because I was such a rebel when I was a kid. But she loved me. What made my heart hurt so bad was back then when I was child, every time I got upset or angry without any reason, I would pinch her so hard until it left bruises on her skin or hit her. But she loved me. Every time I broke down into crying fit, even with me kicking and punching, she just hugged me and murmured sweet nothings into my ear. She loved me. After all that, she would make me a bowl of hot noodle to comfort me and a baby bottle of warm tea (I use baby bottle until I was 7. I know this is embarassing but I don’t care). Even when I was stressed because of school things and decided to blare Avenged Sevenfold on full volume, she didn’t scold me. She knew I like that kind of bands and let me play them even if she didn’ like it. Also I slept with her until I was 11. Every time she hold me in her arm, her scent was comforting me. It smelled like home, like where I belong. I didn’t want her to leave me. I remember the last thing she said to me before all this was she couldn’t be there for me any longer. I hate how she kept her word, she really left me…

Migrain came to me because I think I cried so hard alot at that time. I kept crying myself to sleep (or not) for 2 days and my head felt so heavy. Mom took me to doctor eventually. They prescribed me some sleeping pills so that I can rest and stop crying. And yeah, I also felt tired from crying nonstop and I admitted that I need a really good sleep. I remember I was still in sorrow but for the next few days were also blurry, I can’t remember what happpened.

I’ve ever hit a point in life where I felt like I can’t continue my life because I lost someone I love the most. But Mom told me that life must go on, you can’t use losing someone you love for the reason not to continue your life. I let her words absorbed into my mind. I thought about it seriously. Even sometimes I still feel sad, and crying because I miss her, Mom’s words are ringing inside my head. They are my reminder, and will always be. Sometimes I can still feel her present at home. Whether be it in the kitchen, her room, living room. Her warmth is still lingering in this house. Mom also feels the same way. She told me sometimes Grandma visits in her dream but not mine. I want to see her in person and say I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I want to see her face, smiling, like what Mom told me when she passed away.

word count : 1,506

Final Writing : Parjo ( Fiction )

Raditya Wiryawan/180410150054

PARJO

If there ever was a day that the villagers wished to happen every day in their lives, it would be a twenty four hour length of Sunday. It was the only time in the whole week that the town hall was open for public, driving all the villagers to the field like a migrating group of red crabs, desperately looking for nothing but entertainment. Sunday also meant a gala of young and beautiful women, riding their bicycles around the reservoir, or simply eating their boiled peanuts waiting for the twilight to come. It sometimes became the moment of young men showing off their peafowl feathers to hopefully find someone to mate. It was undoubtedly true what the people said: a town did have a merrier life than the one a village had. Most of the villagers only made their livings by working at some factories, some rice fields, or even some fishponds owned by some village officials. They did what they were supposed to do all day Monday to Saturday, and finally did what they wanted to do, such as having a family time, on the beautiful Sunday. But a different story happened to Parjo. For him, who was a daily paid construction laborer, hell was giving a free ride in the form of that beautiful god damned particular day of week.

It had been exactly two months since he worked for Wardiman. He was really excited when a friend called Zul, Zulaikha, offered the job to him at first. He just knew, selling some bird foods never really made a proper living even for him and himself only; becoming a construction laborer was a way better option, he believed. Wardiman, the overseer, was known for his successful line of work. He once worked on some sites in Jakarta, Bandung, and even Manado. But this time, the project took place only five kilometers away from his village that he could go home right away at every end of the day. In fact, it was the main reason that made Parjo took the offer. Parjo just could not imagine how to live far away from his home and leave his dear old mother alone all by herself. On the other side, Wardiman was satisfied with Parjo’s work that he thought Parjo was kind of a handy man just like his father. Even though all Parjo was ordered to do was to make the foundation piles, he did also, in the initiative of his, dig the dirt and made a ditch. When nobody was even arrived yet, there he was, building a shed for them to rest later. It was his work ethic that impressed Wardiman the most. And pointing the fact that it was Parjo’s first experience working as a construction laborer, it was almost like he was a natural. Maybe it was right, Wardiman thought, like father like son.

That evening, like every other evening, the wind from the west came blowing the rice fields. It brought warmth and a bit of September scent: kind of dry and wet at the same time. For the farmers, September had always been one melancholic month. They would never know what was yet to come. It felt like September had her own emotion: It would be raining when she was sad, and it would be nothing but cracked dry ground when she was angry. But, what if happiness filled her heart? Sometimes, September felt just perfect. The rice fields began to turn colors, the catfish grew big and bigger, and every seller felt grateful for their sold out wares. Everything was just that perfect, and then people would say, “She must be happy right now!”. In that certain month, Pariyem would usually go around the village to sell melinjo crackers. And for no concrete reasons, she had always believed that September came bringing a lucky charm for her and her melijo crackers. As the evening began to fade, she shouted from the yard.

“Jo, come here, son! Help me with these melijo seeds, would you? I’m going to the mosque.”

“I’m coming, Mother.” Parjo replied. “It is dark already, I can walk you the mosque if you want me to.”

“Oh come on, like it’ll make any differences. I’ll still walk on my feet, anyway. Just go grab those seeds and put away the bad ones!”

“But why don’t you just pray at home, Mother?” Parjo asked.

“I’m old, son, don’t you see? I’ll be dead in any minutes, and come back to The God Almighty. It will be such a shame to pray alone at home. You young people should start going to the mosque too! Before it’s too late… Okay, I’m leaving!”

Parjo was often worried about his mother. In her old age, she would go around the village to sell melinjo crackers and was still accustomed to walk to the mosque and pray there. Parjo had repeatedly remind her, and at every single try, she blew him off. There was this little desire in Parjo’s heart, so small it’s even smaller than the seed of melinjo in his bare hands, to build a mosque in front of their house. He would wreck down those pigeon cages for land, he would wreck down everything, so that the mosque could be built. So that one day, his mother didn’t have to walk so far to simply meet her God Almighty.

Lately, the long-running rumors were spreading faster among the workers. Wardiman was fired by the project owner. It was said that he was found guilty of corruption, misusing the project money for some new car he bought. Parjo refused to believe it at the time because he thought Wardiman was such a good guy; in fact he was the first man who greeted Parjo at the site. Parjo felt like forever in debt with him somehow. Maybe it was because the bonus he sometimes gave to Parjo, or the snacks he bought him in the rest hours. For all of that, he would not fall easily for the thing people were gossiping about.

“It’s true, you know. He’s got fired! I saw one of Rofiq’s men the other day, he came by and spoke in anger to Wardiman. Poor guy.” Saepul said.

“What? Do you have any proof for that? I just cannot believe it. He’s a rich guy, why would he steal anyway? It’s nonsense!” Parjo replied.

“Humans, dude, humans! Our instinct is always about getting some more of literally everything. More and more!”

Parjo paused for a moment, and Saepul’s words began to make sense to him. But still, his heart refused to believe the awful reality.

“And where’s he now?” Parjo finally broke his silence.

“Well, not around here, for sure! That Rofiq’s guy didn’t even get him some separation pay. Poor poor Wardiman!”

The next day Parjo came an hour earlier than the usual. It was because the car he used to ride every Monday also happened to leave early. When he reached the site, Parjo immediately questioned Wardiman’s whereabouts.

“Hey, Le. Did you see Wardiman around?” Parjo asked Tole.

“What? You haven’t heard the news, have you?” Tole replied, making some confusion appeared in Parjo’s face.

“Is that really true? The corruption? I just can’t believe it, Le”.

“Well, just ask the others. And by the way, that second floor won’t cast itself, so I will. See you, mate!”

Suddenly a deep voice of someone was heard from behind the steps of the ground.

“Hey you! Keep digging! You don’t want some black mark, do you? Hey, Didi, the sand is not smooth yet! Don’t you see? Fix it again, or I’ll cut off your wages!” Shouted Sabani from the end of the unfinished wall.

His physical appearance was big and terrible. He got no neck and his fingers were as plump as rolled cakes. His body was full of sweat and smell so bad. The scorching sun really shone at him whole-souledly that his expensive shirt looked very shabby and people would think he bought it at a flea market. Sabani was like a storm in broad daylight. The thunder slipped off and struck everyone he met. And there Parjo was, waiting to be struck by the fat lightning god.

“You! Weirdo! Get your ass here!” Sabani pointed at Parjo. Parjo didn’t even realize that it was him Sabani shouted to. Nobody called him a weirdo, ever, until that day. And he wasn’t happy at all about it.

“Me, sir?” replied Parjo in hesitation, wiping both of his hands.

“Oh, no. I was talking to that pile of cement next to you. Of course, you fool!”

“What can I do, Sir?” Parjo asked so innocently.

“So, you’re Wardiman’s favorite, huh?” Sabeni asked back.

The question made Parjo feel proud for his ‘favorite’ label, but the way Sabini asked was making him feel insecure.

“Err.. well… Sir”

“I fired Wardiman because he is a fucking theif! You know that? Now you’re working for me, and now I cut your wages because you took your day-off last Sunday! From now on, you guys can only get your day-off under my permission!” Sabeni kept talking in such an annoying voice.

Parjo’s condition was kind of dilemmatic: the option to resign was not an option at all since September was almost over. He surely couldn’t get back to selling birds food and counting on his dear old mother’s income from the melinjo seeds. To say no words and wait for the right moment were the best option he could pick.

That Saturday Parjo got up early to ask Sabeni permission for a day-off, so the next day, Sunday, he could go home to visit his mother. When he was about to enter Sabeni’s office, he found him on the phone with a serious expression in his face. Actually, Parjo was not the kind of person who liked to mind others business, but what he heard from the beginning that certain moment, was really suspicious.

“Haha fool Wardiman! That hypocrite! He knew already that I am the one who won this project, but that old Rofiq chose him instead!” Sabeni said. He listened to the man at the end of the line for a moment, then replied again. “The bookkeeping? Well yes, that has been taken care of. Finish in no time. The most important thing is Rofiq has lost his trust in him. Hahaha!”His laughter was jarring that the chicken stopped crowing that morning.

“Those guys from Kediri, all of them, soon will come here. So I can press the budget more. I’ll share the profit with you, the both of us. Hahaha” Sabeni laugh, and then he hung up the phone.

That little suspicious conversation surprised Parjo. There was something he did not know about, and Sabeni covered it all up. Maybe, it had something to do with Wardiman and the case. But he decided to let go the things for a moment because his longing for his dear mother, Pariyem, was greater than his suspicion of Sabeni. He entered the room and asked for a day off permission.

“Err, excuse me, Sir. Can I have a…”

“Right. Right. You’ve got my permission.” He replied shortly.

“You haven’t even heard what I am about to ask you yet…”

“A day off, right? To go home to your mother? Go ahead.” Sabeni answered.

The previous conversation indeed made him surprised, but now it was even more strange with that Sabeni’s nice attitude. Parjo, afraid of the chance that the day’s getting odder, left the room.

If it was not for the rain, he thought, his work must had done overnight and he could go home the day after. He was doing his work when Saepul called him.

“Jo! Hey! The boss called you!” said Saepul.

Another strange thing happened that day that the overseer called him. Sabeni sat in an old wicker bench. There were some snacks and cups of coffee neatly laid at his desk.

“Jo, come here! You want some banana?” Sabeni offered. But Parjo didn’t want any.

“What’s the matter, Sir? Something I did wrong yesterday?” he panicked that his work had past deadline. But Sabeni shook his head.

“I just got a call from the village chief.” He said Sabeni. “Your mother, Jo …”

In that instant moment, Parjo couldn’t breathe. His pulse got weak while his heart was beating faster and faster. Quite a sensation that he had never felt before. His throat became dry and his eyes were bleary. Parjo was somehow afraid of what was to come from Sabeni’s tounge. If he could choose the way things went, he wanted it to end at that exact moment, leaving him alone with the unfinished sentence.

“Your mother, she is gone, Jo. A heart attack. People back there have taken care of his funeral.”

It was a full sentence now, and it suddenly made every inch of Parjo’s organs seem like had stopped working. He fainted.

The reservoir was not that exotic to be called as a view. The water was dirty and the road was slippery. Parjo was an
eight-grader the last time he came to the reservoir. He saw it as an impingement object of sullenness and depression of the unemployment. The reservoir had nothing to enjoy. His mother died in the dam on a Sunday. While the villagers made it as a playground for their children, Pariyem saw it as a field of money, while wishing someone or two buy her emping. What Parjo found ironic was that her mother died on the day and place he hated. Parjo was so sad. In his sullenness, someone suddenly approached him. Parjo was aware. The man was wearing a veil on his head that made him even more difficult to be recognized. Parjo’s hands clenched as he was afraid that the man was a bad guy.

“Parjo! This is me!”

“Sir!”

“How are you doing, Jo?” asked Wardiman. Parjo hugged him tight. He was speechless and he felt as if he saw his father. “I miss you too, Jo. And I am so sorry for your mother’s death. I did not expect that at all,”

“Thank you, Sir. Where have you been?”

“I was victimized, Jo!” answered Wardiman.

“Victimized? By whom?” Parjo enthusiastically asked.

“That fat ass Sabeni! I was fired because of him!”

“What do you mean…?” Parjo asked.

“He was Rofiq’s left hand. He envied me because Rofiq chose me to manage this project. I was suspected for doing corruption while the project was being done.” Explained Wardiman. “I was left with a bad name.”

“How can, Sir?” Parjo asked.

“The bookkeeping! The outcome was faked. Sabeni was crafty, he faked all of the land legality so that he could take over them and put Rofiq in disadvantage. And in the end the blame was all on me!”

“But weren’t you the one who managed the bookkeeping?”

“I was, but after that I bestowed it to Saepul who apparently was the culprit why I was in defamation. Sabeni had been working with him to fall me down. One by one our project workers would be fired and replaced by the cheaper ones to reduce the outcome. There were always mistakes that could become the excuses to fire the workers.” Explained Wardiman.

“But why weren’t I fired?”

“BECAUSE YOU ARE CHEAP, JO!” answered Wardiman. Parjo smiled foolishly.

“So what do you want now?”

“I always made a note in this sacred journa!” Wardiman took out a small book. “There were small notes about the project that could be my only chance to prove that I am clean! Please pray for me, Jo, Maybe you would not hear from me. Good bye,” Then he left in the rain.

Much had happened and changed in past ten years long. September no longer came as the way she used to. The village offered a lot of entertainment now. The reservoir was adorned with beautiful incandescent lights. This Sunday, was not the Sunday that Parjo often worried about 10 years earlier. He was married to Zul and gifted two loving children. Meanwhile, Sabeni and Saepul ended up in jail for the corruption they committed. Wardiman was fighting for his rights so persistent that the court dared to reverse the sanctions against him. This case also brought other crimes Sabeni committed to the surface. Rofiq, the boss man, had gained his trust back in Wardiman, and got him promoted as the new project manager. Parjo came back to his old life, a seller, but in a way better place. He made his living as a CEO now. Together with his wife, Parjo pioneered a successful business of various flavors melinjo crackers. However, Parjo was still a ‘Parjo’. A simple man who had many dreams to achieve. And one of them was to build what he should’ve built a long time ago, when he was still a low paid laborer: a mosque for his dear mother.

Words count : 2828

#Creative Writing, #Scribere2017 #FinalWriting

Final Writing: How does it feel to be dead? (Non-Fiction)

Shabrina Eilien Khalishah/180410150025

Vacation, vacation, vacation. Bali? Jogjakarta? Ugh, anywhere but Cirebon! Anggun Martha Bethari was so sick of her college stuffs, she needed vacation more than anything. It was a nice day actually, Anggun just finished her shower and ready for the day with her close friends, it took her at least 30 minutes to get ready. Once she stepped out of her house, the young lady could feel the wind blow her long hair. The long-haired girl moved her head to the left and then right, waiting for her friends to come, they said they will be there within 10 minutes. Oh, one of the things she hated the most, waiting. Her eyes widened when she spotted two girls walking side by side, approaching her. “Oh wow, you said 10 minutes and I’ve stood here for more than 15 minutes.” A long sigh escaped her mouth as she started walking, followed by Nana and Marsha. The girls had planned to visit a new cafe near Anggun’s house. People said they serve the most delicious pancakes ever, though she didn’t really believe what people said. “How’s your granpda, Nggun?” Nana broke the silence between the three. Anggun kept quiet for a few seconds before she shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, I’m not sure,” she hesitantly replied, “I haven’t visited him yet, maybe tonight.” She continued, biting her own lower lip. Suddenly Anggun felt bad because she had not visited her grandpa even though he already hospitalized for a week, but she quickly covered it by trying to talk about something else. The day went well as she expected it to be. They had fun at the cafe, eating, drinking coffee, even taking picture and gossipping. There was something bothering her when she was on her back to her house. The thing that made her sad without knowing the reason behind her sadness. She used to feel it before and something bad did happen to her. “Where were you? Mom was looking for you but she went to the hospital already.” The voice of her younger brother successfully brought her back to the world. Anggun blinked her eyes several times before looking at Dean. “I went out with my friends. Ugh, why mom didn’t call me? Are you going to the hospital now?” Instead of replying her, Dean walked away, ignoring her as usuall. “What kind of brother is he?” The girl muttered under her breath as she walked upstairs. It was around 6:30 in the evening when she heard some noises, actually her father was talking on the phone, and she decided to go out of her room. “You are going with me to the hospital. Granpda wants to see you since a few days ago.” ‘Wow, really? Not even a single hi and he just told me what to do.’ Anggun rolled her eyes and went back to her room to get her stuff. “I know I haven’t visited grandpa yet but ugh, I’m planning to visit him tomorrow, why today?” She kept grumbling while following her father to the car. The car ride to hospital was kinda awkward because both of them didn’t even say anything. “You go to his room first, I need to buy some meds.” Said her father before he walked away. There she was, walking alone to her grandpa’s room. She noticed someone standing by the door once she arrived. “Where is your dad?” Anggun shrugged her shoulders and went inside. Her body freezed just when she saw her grandpa was laying there. His skin was very pale, he seemed like he was unconscious. She didn’t expect to see her granpa in this condition. “Is he okay?” She whispered to her mother. “Not at the moment, but I’m sure he will be okay.” In fact, just some mere words weren’t enough to make her sure that he is okay. Her grandpa didn’t seem like he was okay, not even a bit and she knew that. But oh well, she tried to hide it, it wasn’t the right time to make her mother sad, was it? The clock kept tickling and it was 7 when she walked out of the room to get some air. The aura around her felt so strange, she didn’t like to be around hospital. This place was full of tears, blood, death, hopeless people, she hated it so much. Anggun sat in the nearest chair. Her eyes were looking straight in front of her but her mind was full of so many things. She started the day with happiness but once she went to this place, it felt like the happiness is gone somewhere far away. “No… He is still here, isn’t he? It’s not possible…” One of her eyebrows raised when she heared those words. The next thing she heard was her mother crying, literally crying while calling her name. Her heart skipped a beat, she hesitantly walked in to the room. There were her mother, her father and her uncle in the room, standing near the bed. She clearly heard the crying noises. It wasn’t just her, they really cried. Anggung take a few steps forward and the first thing she saw was her grandpa’s face covered by white fabric. That was the time when she realized that he was gone. Anggun didn’t cry, not even a single tear. But it didn’t last long until she broke in tears along her family. It’s been a while since the last time a family member of her passed away, she almost forgot the feels and now she felt it again. “No, don’t tell mom yet. Let’s just ask Dian to drive her home, let Anggun meets her first.” Her mother was trying so hard to speak while crying on their way to her uncle’s house to pick up grandma. “What about Yusuf?” Her father asked, trying to calm his wife while driving. And there was Anggun, crying alone in the back seat, she was blaming herself for being a bad grand child. Her granpda always wanted to see her since before but she didn’t even spare her times to visit him, even for a minute. In the other hand, she felt lucky that she at least had the chance to see him for the last time. The so called Vacation days turned into gloomy days. Anggun kept blaming herself everyday, wishing she was there to accompany her grandpa. She kept crying, remembering how much he loved her. But it’s not only that, the thing that made her more sad was, her grandma kept blaming herself for not being there in the last few minutes of her husband’s life. Though she knew that her grandma was the best wife every men could ask for. She still rememberd the look on her Yusuf’s face when he reached home from Bandung and had to face his father’s dead body. Everything felt so wrong after the death of her grandpa. There was like a distance between the family. Her mother refused to meet her aunt, only God knows why. Her grandma kept crying almost every day. And Anggun? Oh, she wished she could just change back the time, she wish she could control the time. But it’s too late, isn’t it? It’s been a week since the day her granpda died. Everything was falling apart. Anggun sat on her bed, scrolling her LINE messages only to read and didn’t even bother to reply any of them. A long sigh escaped her mouth as she laid her body on the bed and stared at the ceilings. No, she didn’t cry, she was indeed thinking about her grandpa. She was wondering how her family would be after his death. Well, for now, her family didn’t feel like a family how it used to be. But she amazed of how a death of a person impact the rest of the family. Whether a good impact or other wise. “Anggun, come with us. We are going for lunch.” That was she heard after a few knock on her door. The lazy Anggun just nod and closed her eyes for a few minutes before getting ready. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was a mess, her face looked very pale with no make up. She stood there, staring at herself for almost ten minutes. “How does it feel to be dead?” Anggun whispered, “Is ‘The World After Death’ real?” She continued. Another knock on her door made her almost jump in shock. She brushed her hair in hurry and walked out of her room. “Why don’t you put on some make up? You look very pale, Anggun.” Her mother said once she saw Anggun standing by the door. Anggun did not reply, she only stared at her mother and without her knowing, tears slowly pouring down her cheeks. “Mom, how does it feel to be dead?” A smile made its way to her lips when she said those words. The next thing she knew was, she passed out.

Word count: 1,502

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