XXXIV | Rage

Kumar refuses to say more.

It’s frustrating.
Why? Tell me! I can help you.

He shakes his head.
Thanks, Clyde.

My parents are a bit troublesome
but they’re not bad people.

It’s okay.

Why don’t you tell me what happened
and I’ll decide if it’s okay or not?

The donkey nudges Rowan’s shoulder.

‘We should get going.’

Where did the Eeyore come from?

Kumar begins
struggling to get up.

Aspen helps him onto the donkey’s back.

It takes a while

to get him comfortable on the donkey

that I’m about to suggest
calling a cab or an ambulance
like any reasonable person.

‘This is not gonna work,’
I comment.

Rowan slings her bag
over her shoulder.

‘You want to carry him?’

‘That might be less embarrassing.’
Kumar smiles weakly.

‘But I’m okay with this.’

‘We’ll get to the hospital faster.’

He shakes his head.
‘No. They’ll ask questions.’

I stare at him.

‘There might be internal bleeding.’

He’s stubborn.

And Aspen and Rowan
won’t convince him otherwise.

When we get near
the nameless chicken rice shop,

I think of the crowd inside.

Are they still there?

The donkey spreads its wings
and flies through
an open window into the apartment.

Kumar swears,
grabbing clumps of mane with his hand.


The three of us,
walk through the door normally.

It’s still full of people.

There’s even a band playing
worship songs
in the background.

Some customers are singing along.

It would look like a bar
but there’s too many lights.

‘You can stay here for now,’
Rowan says,
coming in with bottles of medicine.

Aspen helps Kumar onto Rowan’s bed.

‘It’ll be better
‘if he stays at my house,’
I say,

staring at the cartoon strawberries
on the bedspread.

‘It’s bigger,’ I add
in case Aspen gets any ideas.

‘No,’ Rowan says immediately.

She’s so bossy!

I start to protest
but the donkey brushes past me.

I need to talk to you.

It goes trots into the living room.

I glare at Rowan
and reluctantly follow.

‘You have a couch. Put him on the couch.’

He’s injured, dude.

I cross my arms.

The donkey looks really out of place
in this small apartment.




‘The people who did this to Kumar
‘will look for him again.’

‘His parents?’ I ask.

‘They don’t know this is happening.’

‘What the #*%& is going on?’

I’d wring the donkey’s neck
but it’s too big.

‘Tell them not to worry.’

‘If they don’t#*%&ing know what’s happening,
‘then I’m going to tell them.’

‘Even though he did this for their sake?’

I want to scream so much
my throat feels raw.

Frustration wells up, overflows.

The situation is as clear as day
but these mysterious #*%&

keep beating around bush!

I can’t
reason with

I storm down the stairs,
jostle through the crowd
out the shop,
into the street.

The street is empty.

So is the bus stop.

It’s dark
even with the streetlights.

I take out my phone.
Dial 999.

‘Kumar doesn’t want to report them.’

The donkey
steps out of the darkness.

It followed me.


‘He doesn’t get to decide.
‘It’s the right thing to do.

‘Look at what they did to him!’

The donkey’s wings

‘If you report,
‘he’ll have to relive it
‘a second time.’

‘He’s going to remember it
‘as long as he’s alive.’

But I put my phone down.

‘Why didn’t he come to me?’

I clutch my head,
mess up my hair,
let out a frustrated yell.

says nothing.

‘You can tell them.’

I look up.

‘Tell them if you want.
‘Ask about what happened.’


I’m about to ask,

when a motorcycle speeds past.

It stops
a distance away,

makes a u-turn.

There’s two people on the motorcycle.

A man in a leather jacket,
a woman wearing a hijab.

They’re arguing with one another.

I glance at the donkey.

‘Excuse me,’
I interrupt.

They pause.

Turn to look at me.

They don’t react.

The donkey nudges me forward.

The man takes off his helmet.
The woman climbs off the motorcycle.

‘You’re Clyde?’
the woman asks.


‘You look a bit different from the picture.’

‘What picture?’

‘His home screen is a picture with you.’

She holds up Kumar’s phone.

He left it behind.

Did he know what was going to happen?
Is that why?

‘Are you looking for Kumar?’

The man rakes his hand
through his hair.

Hands on his hips.

The couple exchange looks.

‘Yes. He went to run an errand
‘and didn’t come home.’


My hands curl into fists.

‘He’s injured. Really badly.’

Their eyes widen.
They exchange looks again.

‘Not possible,’ the man says in Malay.

‘But they said…’
The woman’s voice trembles.

Some psychopath is taking care of him.

‘I’m taking care of him,’
I say with gritted teeth.

Because you’re crappy parents.

‘Don’t worry about him for now.’

The woman relaxes visibly.
‘I want to see him.’

She’s kneading her hands,
over and over.

Trying to convince herself

          Kumar’s fine.

‘What happened?’ I ask.

The man

knows what I mean.

He blinks.
Shifts standing position.

The woman’s eyes

‘He was unconscious when I found him,
‘So he didn’t tell me what happened.’

The woman starts shaking.

Steps towards me.

‘Please help him.

‘I’ll…We’ll tell you, so please,
‘take care of him, please.’

Why didn’t you take care of him?

The donkey
stares at me

the whole time.




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