The Birthday and the Troll

A Dance for Tomorrow by Alf Sukatmo

A Dance for Tomorrow by Alf Sukatmo

Satri knew that walking deep into the mangrove forest by himself was not allowed. Sometimes the noise of his six brothers grew too loud for him to hear his own thoughts. He was careful not to let Raksasa or Manu see him going. The twins were the eldest, and always acted as if they were the bosses of the other 5 brothers. All of them except Manu called the oldest Raksasa behind his back, because he was huge and tall, like a towering giant. He also had the quickest fists, so the brothers were careful to call him Jay to his face.

Satri slid away while Raksasa and Manu were fighting with Ragawan, the second youngest, who had taken out a trumpet and was blowing it as loudly and discordantly as he could. Widagdya and Lintang were beating drums. Wijah was laughing and dancing on his hands, a trick all the boys could do. Wijah, third youngest and three years older than him, was his best friend amongst the brothers, but today he really wanted to be alone.

Deep into the mangroves, Satri wove his way along narrow paths, leaving behind him the din of his older brothers. He stepped carefully over tree roots, skirting pools of water washed up from the Java Sea, never far away on this island. He ducked under low branches, moving softly in hopes of seeing a monitor lizard or a golden ring snake. The sun was shining, the light dappled under the trees, and the sea breeze blowing across the Thousand Islands cooled the air. The birds were silent. He saw nothing. That should have given him pause, warned him of what was to come. However, he was too grateful for the quiet to heed its warning.

Continue reading