Rabu, 07 Desember 2016

Children's Playground


I'd moved to new town, this was much nicer, clearer, quieter, town than the one I'd lived at before. Not the sort of town you'd expect to have--things wrong with it.

There was a very big public park right in the center, it housed rows upon rows of swings, slide infested with snake-like tunnels that weaved in and around the playground--providing a maze for children to lose themselves in their games. There was even a functioning merry-go round which seemed to always be slightly turning, inviting the children to hitch a ride on it's platform of twirls.

I have to emphasize on the fact that it was a quiet, peaceful town. The kind of town where kids could leave the house on their own and take the short journey to the park. I had been given strict instruction by my parents that I should come home the second it started turning dark. My life was wonderful, or so it seemed.

It was a Friday. I knew the day because remember coming home with big smile on my face as I knew I had the luxury of non-stop playing for the next two whole days. I did what I always did. I chucked my school bag on my bed and was ordered to change into other clothes. In a matter of minutes I was ready to descend onto the world of fun. Nothing could stop me.

The tunnels were my favorite It was so easy to get lost in them which made great fun for playing hide and seek with my only two friends. Billy and Tom. They were both in my class and we--like many 8-years-old--love any game that filled us with pure adrenaline. We were going to play Murder. I don't expect anyone to know this game we made it up. The rules were very similar to hide and seek except when the one seeking found you, they had to "murder" you (pretend obviously). It was nearing winter as I remember being slightly cold as I worried my way around in the tunnels, furiously trying to find a perfect hiding spot. Billy was the seeker. Tom had hidden behind merry-go round. I was alone.

It mus have been maybe 10 minutes (which for an 8-years-old felt like a year) when decided to do what all kids do when they got bored. Give up.

"I give up," I shouted voice echoing through the tunnels. "I'm in the tunnels! I give up."

I heard sudden shuffling from one end of the tunnels.Now  I don't know why, but I froze still. I didn't call out again, I just waited. Something wasn't right. Billy would always say something before coming in after someone in the tunnel. He'd always congratulate them on being the last to be found or for cheating by hiding in the endless maze of tunnels.

As I stood frozen, the shuffling grew louder. I could tell it was starting to get dark outside as the tunnels slowly began to lose any light in them. Slowly but surely dropping into darkness. I began to slowly shuffle backwards, the shuffling ahead of me grew louder, as if someone or something way too big for the tunnel was trying to navigate around.

"Come out! It's time to go me now!"

A very creepy voice echoed through the tunnels. It sounded like when a grown talks to small children, talking slightly higher pitched. This was definitely wrong. I probably would have come out if the voice was outside. But it wasn't It was inside the tunnels. Why would an adult crawl inside?

As I was shuffling further and further back, the face of an old man appeared in the darkness ahead of me. Patches of hair on his head and a definite look of someone who hadn't showered in the last week. I couldn't see what he was wearing but I knew it was tattered old clothes. He had a sharp scraggly beard which was peppered with dirt. The second we made eye contact he just smiled at me. Revealing his filthy, unbrushed teeth which had blotches of brown and black covering them entirely. I panicked, turned around and began shuffling on all fours as fast as I could. The shuffling behind me growing louder and quicker. He was chasing me.

I sped through the maze for what felt like an eternity, I only stopped when my legs refused to move anymore. I'd taken so many twists and turns that even I was completely lost.

"I don't want to hurt you, I just want to talk." The voice echoed through the tunnels. I could tell he was nearby. I pressed my body against the bottom of the small, narrow tunnel and listened. He continued to make soft cooing noises, begging me to come out and present myself to him. I lay in that tunnel for hours. No exaggeration. Even after I heard him curse to himself and angrily force his way out of the tunnel. I continued to wait. Thoughts raced my mind of me coming out of the tunnel only to be met by that same smile that once greeted me.

In the darkness of the tunnel I could make out blue flashing lights on the outside. I heard frantic voices calling three names repeatedly. "Billy? Tom? Michael?"

When I heard my name my heart slowly began to calm. My parents had come. I easily shuffled out of the tunnels, guided by the wet dirt scrapings along the walls of the tunnel, the way the man must have gone. Outside I was greeted by several police cars, light flashing. There were groups of adults with concerned looks on the faces. I recognized two of them. My parents.

"Mom! Dad!" I wailed, crying as I ran towards them. They began crying and ran towards, lifting me off the ground and hugging me so tightly it felt as though I was being slowly crushed.

Billy and Tom were taken that evening. They were later found hidden in a nearby skip. Mutilated. They had been brutally massacred, their skulls had been caved in with a large iron bar and their bodies had deep cuts everywhere, large pieces of glass found buried in their backs.

What chills me to the fucking bone is that the wet dirt I saw in tunnels wasn't entirely dirt. It was Billy and Tom's blood. After slaughtering my two best friends and making eye contact with me in that tunnel, he just smile. He had won the game

Indonesian: 
Aku pindah ke kota lain, tempatnya lebih baik, lebih bersih, lebih sepi, jika dibandingkan dengan tempat tinggalku sebelumnya. Tak seperti kota yang kamu harapkan sebagai tempat tinggal--ada sesuatu yang tidak beres di kota itu.

Ada sebuah tempat umum tepat di tengah kota; mempunyai banyak ayunan, seluncuran berbentuk terowongan-terowongan mirip ular yang terpasang di sekitar tempat mainan--membuat anak-anak lupa segalanya kalau sedang bermain. Ada juga komidi putar yang berputar pelan, mengundang anak-anak untuk menaikinya.

Aku menekankan bahwa kota itu sangat tenang dan damai. Suatu tempat yang cocok bagi anak-anak untuk meninggalkan rumahnya dengan keinginannya sendiri dan berjalan sebentar untuk sampai ke taman itu. Orangtuaku mengatakan bahwa aku harus sampai di rumah begitu hari mulai gelap. Hidupku begitu indah, atau tampaknya seperti itu.

Hari itu hari Jumat. Alasan aku ingat hari itu karena aku ingat pulang ke rumah dengan senyum lebar di wajahku karena aku tahu bahwa aku mempunyai waktu panjang selama dua hari penuh untuk bermain sepanjang hari. Aku lakukan seperti yang biasa aku lakukan. Aku melempar tas sekolahku di ranjang dan berganti pakaian. Dalam hitungan menit Aku siap bersenang-senang. Tak seorangpun bisa menghentikanku.

Lorong-lorong di taman itu adalah favoritku. Sangat mudah bersenang-senang di sana karena tenggelam dalam kegembiraan bermain sembunyi-sembunyian dengan dua temanku. Billy and Tom. Kita sekelas dan kita--seperti anak usia 8 tahun umumnya--suka mainan yang menantang. Kita mau mainan Pembunuhan. Aku rasa orang tidak tahu permainan yang kita buat sendiri ini. Aturannya sama seperti sembunyi-sembunyian, perbedaannya, kalau pencari menemukan kamu, mereka harus membunuhmu (tentu saja pura-pura). Saat itu hampir musim dingin karena aku ingat merasa kedinginan saat mati-matian mencari tempat yang bagus untuk bersembunyi. Billy adalah pencarinya. Tom bersembunyi di belakang komidi putar. Aku sendirian.

Waktu sudah berjalan sekitar 10 menit (bagi anak umur 8 tahun seperti setahun) ketika aku memutuskan apa yang biasanya dilakukan anak kecil apabila bosan. Menyerah.

"Aku menyerah," Teriakanku menggema sepanjang lorong. "Aku di lorong! Aku menyerah."

Tiba-tiba aku mendengar seretan dari ujung lain lorong. Entah kenapa aku jadi terdiam. Aku tidak bersuara lagi, cuma menunggu. Ada yang tidak beres. Billy biasanya akan mengucapkan sesuatu sebelum mendatangi seseorang di lorong. Dia akan mengucapkan selamat karena menjadi orang terakhir yang diketemukan atau berusaha menjebak dengan bersembunyi di ujung labirin.

Saat aku terpaku, suara seretan bertambah keras. Aku tahu saat itu sudah mulai gelap karena cahaya di dalam lorong semakin surut. Perlahan-lahan suasana menjadi gelap. Aku mulai menyeret diriku pelan-pelan ke arah belakang, suara seretan di depanku bertambah keras,  seakan-akan seseorang atau sesuatu yang terlalu besar sedang berusaha berjalan di sana.

"Keluarlah! Sudah waktunya pulang sekarang!"
 
Terdengar suara mengerikan bergema sepanjang lorong. Seperti orang dewasa sedang berbicara pada anak kecil, berbicara dengan nada tinggi. Rasanya ini aneh. Aku akan keluar andaikata suara itu dari luar, tetapi tampaknya suara ini dari dalam lorong. Mengapa ada orang dewasa merangkak di dalam?

Saat aku menyeret tubuhnya lebih kedalam, seraut wajah pria tua tampak dalam gelap di depanku. Sedikit   rambut ada di kepalanya dan berpenampilan seperti seseorang yang tidak mandi selama beberapa minggu. Aku tidak bisa melihat apa yang ia kenakan tapi sepertinya pakaian tua yang compang-camping. Dia berjanggut jarang, tinggi kurus, kotor. Kami sempat saling menatap sejenak saat ia tersenyum. Mengungkapkan gigi kotor, tak pernah sikat gigi sehingga membuat bercak coklat dan hitam di seluruh permukaannya. Aku panik, memutar badan dan mulai menyeret badanku dengan kaki dan tangan secepat yang kubisa. Seretan di belakangku semakin keras dan cepat. Dia mengejarku.

Aku bergerak melalui labirin yang tampaknya seperti tidak pernah berakhir, aku hanya berhenti ketika kurasakan kakiku menolah untuk digerakkan lagi. Aku terlalu banyak berputar-putar dan melalui persimpangan sehingga aku tidak sadar tersesat.

"Aku tidak akan menyakitimu, aku cuma ingin berbicara." Sebuah suara bergema melalui lorong-lorong. Aku merasa dia ada di dekatku. Aku menekankan badanku di bagian bawah dari lorong yang kecil dan sempit dan memasang telinga. Ia terdengar bergumam, memohon padaku untuk keluar dan menunjukkan diriku padanya. Aku membaringkan diri di lorong selama berjam-jam. Mencoba untuk tidak menarik perhatian. Bahkan setelah aku mendenganya mengutuki dirinya sendiri dan dengan marah ia keluar dari lorong. Aku tetap menunggu. Berbagai pikiran berkecamuk dalam benakku untuk keluar dari lorong saat itu atau tidak, mengingat bisa saja aku berhadapan dengan senyum orang itu sekali lagi.

Dalam kegelapan lorong aku melihat kilauan lampu biru di luar. Aku mendengar suara gelisah memanggil-manggil tiga nama: "Billy? Tom? Michael?"

Ketika mendengar namaku dipanggil, hatiku tenang. Orangtuaku datang. Dengan bergegas aku merangkak keluar dari lorong, dipandu oleh sesuatu yang kotor dan basah sepanjang dinding terowongan yang rupanya ditinggalkan oleh orang tadi. Diluar, aku disambut oleh beberapa mobil polisi dan kilatan lampu. Ada sekelompok orang dewasa bertampang serius. Aku mengenali dua diantaranya. Orangtuaku.

"Ma! Pa!" Aku menangis tersedu-sedu ketika berlari ke arah mereka. Mereka mulai menangis dan berlari ke arahku, mengangkat serta memelukku demikian erat seakan-akan aku diremas pelan-pelan.

Billy dan Tom diketemukan juga malam itu. Mereka ternyata tidak jauh. Termutilasi. Mereka dibunuh dengan kejam, tengkorak mereka menganga oleh batang besi yang besar dan tubuh mereka terpotong-potong di banyak tempat, potongan besar kaca tertanam di punggung mereka.

Apa yang menakutkanku adalah kenyataan bahwa kotoran basah di dinding yang memanduku keluar dari lorong tidak sepenuhnya kotoran. Itu adalah darah Billy dan Tom. Setelah membantai kedua sahabatku dan melihatku di lorong itu, dia tersenyum. Dia telah memenangkan permainan.

Children's Playground Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Yohanes Octa

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