Recently I had a
chance to visit one of nature’s best kept secret, the reserve forest of Papan
in Perak, some 30 kilometers from Ipoh.
Tucked away in the humble town of Papan,
at the far-removed foothill of an almost unknown district, it boasts almost
untouched natural resources, and the waters that flow through the heart of the
place sparkled like any proud diamond would. Who would’ve though that this near
to the historical city of Ipoh
was a virgin forest almost unknown to men? At first I was skeptic – this sort
of virgin forest barely 30 km from Ipoh
– it seemed a little farfetched. I admit it freely, that I am a skeptic, and
living in concrete jungle for a major part of my life had severed my perception
greatly that within such small radius of a big city a beautiful piece of green
can still survive. The thought of forests teamed with skyscrapers and steel structures
looked and sounded so wrong. When
they say that KLIA was an airport amidst garden, I can still accept that. If
anyone dare say it was an airport amidst forests, I will be the first person
the go against that notion…so you can
say how sever my perception was, can you? So, somehow, meeting Papan’s virgin
forest somehow proved my belief and perception very, very wrong.
Do not take it wrong, though. I do
not, in any way, hate forests, greens, what else nature. In fact, I loved them,
every single aspect of it. It was just that…all the development in the city,
the corrosion of nature, the depletion of greens, and of course, not to mention
pollution threw my mind and thought toward that pretty negative one-way road.
It was unbecoming of me for having such mind set, I know, but oh well.
Different person have different conception, don’t they? (trust me, though, when
I say its just an excuse, LoL)
So, how do I get here, to his hidden
emerald? Initially it was intended to be a presentation. My lecturer was a bit
of the eccentric sort – combining two very…something that sounded very wrong
together…it was a presentation, done in Microsoft’s Power Point, in the middle
of a forest? My mates, celebrating the unusualness of the idea decided to make
it a very memorably piece of study-holiday-adventure-get-together. So they
slotted in a moment of enjoyment by setting up a little gathering with the
lecturers. Before I know I, I was requested to handle the technical part –
order the projector, the screen, and the PA system. I did my part, although I
was still in a doubt as I fill the form, as I dropped by to pick up the
projectors and the screen and the PA system. One of my concern was,
well…trivial enough to say…was…where on
earth do you plug these things into? Crazy, wasn’t it? I truly underestimated
the facilities provided. Even when my lecturer assured that there will be power
sockets to plug the equipments in, I still decided to let my selfish thought
And so, on the fated day, off we go
to greet and visit this little piece of hidden emerald…
Barely seconds upon entry into the
secluded half of Papan, my perception changed dramatically. The sight of the
clear, untouched, and free-flowing stream changed my belief that there will
never be such ludicrously luscious greenery around 100 kilometer radius of a
city, what else a historical urban settlement such as Ipoh. I blushed silently as the Kancil my
friend drove cruised smoothly along the winding, narrow road sitting among, and
surrounded by trees that spoke of contentment. Although it was pitch black, the
occasional turns and curves had the headlight directed at the stream, and
always, upon contact, the water would shine beautifully and amazingly, like
diamonds, greeting the intrusion of us outsider, at the same time smirking at
my skeptical standing.
It took us around half an hour of
driving before finally arriving at the Taman Herba’s facility, consisting of an
office, two pavilions perched along the hill, a canteen with a simple stove
made of bricks, an open air hall for gathering and such as well as a musolla
and, yes, a toilet that was located far removed from the rest of the structures.
I was in awe when I saw the pavilions, of course, because although extremely
plain in sight, the thought that we will have to sleep in those bewildered me.
Of course, I don’t really mind sleeping in the wilderness, in the woods, but in
those…well, simply saying, I was delightfully stunned. Though knowing that we
have not much of any choice, I decided to keep my smile as brilliant as I could
and my mind positive.
My lecturer greeted our entourage of
three with single teasing welcome since we arrived a bit late considering the
task we were supposed to complete for the sake of every attending soul. The
night lasted until quite late, right into midnight, when rain began falling
first as a drizzle but later on as angry droplets. The girls scurried, afraid
of getting wet, to the pavilion. Although the floor was very much dirtied by
earth’s dusts, they happily covered the place with mats and blankets and
giggled merrily as one by one lay down on the mats, next to each other, with
duffle bags set as their makeshift pillow. Some was quite daring, decinding to
change into their sleeping garment, but few felt insecure enough about
loosening our clothes and choose to sleep in the garments we wore from the
college. I was among them, who refused to remove my jeans and my sweater. As
the clock draws well pass midnight, the rain began to recede and one by one of
our little camaraderie member closes their eyes, until in the end I was left
alone. For some unknown reason, my eyes just won’t close. No matter how many
times I tossed around and grunted, I still couldn’t sleep, although fatigue had
come to plague every inch of my being. In the end I decided that maybe if I
take a walk along the stream it’ll cure me off my short stint with insomnia.
That was when I spotted a figure
moving along the trees, just a few meters from the girl’s pavilion. At first I
thought it was one of the girls, but then I realized that all of them were
asleep in the pavilion. That figure moved slowly, threading the ground with
careful steps, his face turned to look here and there. The reason that I am not
convinced that it was someone or something supernatural was because each of his
steps did make the dead leaves and twigs rustle and break. Only humans will
make such a noise while he walks. When I eyed the person a little longer
however, I realized it was not a member of our crew. Of course, the first thing
I felt was rage, because there he was trying to spy on the girls sleeping in
the wall-less pavilion! What a brave fellow! Little did I waste anymore time
when I practically jumped off the stairs of the pavilion and ran toward him,
who, of course, greeted me with such shocked experience that could not be
described with words. However that expression did not last long when he sighed
and, well, began ignoring me again. That, of course, nearly breaks my nerve as
I pulled his shirt and forced him to look at me.
“What are you doing here?” I asked,
trying to strike a conversation, with enormous attempt at trying to keep myself
and thus, my voice, sounding calm while my eyes tried to perceive the face of
Oh. It’s a he.
Great. A he with…oh no are those eyelashes?
guy…of course, he was shocked, for the second time, having me pulling his shirt
that abruptly. His eyes peered down on me as of he just saw a talking slug, and
his mouth gaped open. In overall, his expression spoke of pretty disgusted sort
of shock and THAT annoyed me somehow…
“I am asking you,
what are you doing here!?” I repeated myself, which obviously slapped him out
of his own dilemma and thought. He blinked twice, took a deep sigh and bit his
forest?” he muttered, part of his voice giving off a kind of unsure tone as looked
down on me. I gasped. How tall can this guy be? He stood before me like a
tower, and he was peering down at me with what I will gladly refer to as
confusion and a sprinkle of irritation. Previously I was quite confident of my
height but in front of him, I felt so small up to the point of being a
miniscule creature. Against such pathetic, indirect psychology attack, my
self-defense flared up and my senses quickly switch on to alert mode.
“Who are you
really? Are you a ranger?”
Well, a ranger
wouldn’t look like…this…I mean, he’s on the scale of being…pretty? My mental
image of a ranger had always been the rugged sort, roughened up by nature with
skin teased by the sun…
When he shook I
found myself calmly processing the reaction I am getting.
“Then, what are you
A short moment of
silent passed us by. I was at my calmest moment yet, but when he sighed in
annoyance that balance was immediately thrown off and the fire of anger began
its initial ignition process.
“If you're not a
ranger, who are you? I thought this place is sealed from outsiders by
midnight?” I took the liberty of restarting the hanging conversation. He turned
around to look at me and sighed deeply, his shoulder slumping as he bit his
lips. When he positioned his body sideways, I had a feeling that he was trying
“I…really…don’t think you’d believe
me if I tell you anyway,” he said, a small ‘forgive me I gotta go’ sort of
smile blossoming on his lips. That once sentence tried my patience and
ultimately snapped the tipsy balance of stormy calmness.
“Hey, isn’t that a bit too early to
make such assumption? You haven’t even tried!” was what I barked at him,
forcing him to turn around and face me properly. For the third time, his face
assumed shock, most probably shock of being yelled at, I suppose. I was about
to resume my sentence given his stunned reaction, but something else escaped my
thought. Something trivial.
“You can speak English?”
That man rolled his eyes.
“Duh, I’m not some dumb dude living
inside a glass cage…or in this case…’katak bawah tempurung’? Here’s a piece of
Ah, that little phrase, that little
gesture…he effortlessly made it onto my nerve. I honestly could’ve strangled
him if it weren’t for the fact that I barely knew him. As angry as I am, the
thin line of sanity left in my head prevented from going totally nuts. This
man, this unusual man with eyes the color of the forest, with amazingly clear
skin that could make me jealous, with hair like it was spun of the most
exquisite silk…with that kind of nature he should’ve been a woman! I couldn’t
have thought of anything more insulting about him as of then!
“You should give ways to a little
possibility. Don’t just block your head with your petty assumption,” he said,
as he spun around, trying to leave. I was alarmed and angered at his nonchalant
attitude that that thin line of sanity snapped and I unknowingly kicked him as
hard as I could. The sole of my trekking boots landed on his knee, given the
amazing difference of height between us, that he screamed in pain and turn
around with such confused face. Looking at his face trying to contain the pain
was funny and really painful. I realized that I was brimming with triumph as I
looked down at him, as he had been reduced to a tangle of limbs sitting on the
forest’s floor, his hand cupped on his knee. “Have you lost your mind?!”
“That is for intruding this
section!” I hollered at him, arm wrapped around my body.
“Can’t you see?! This is where the
ladies sleep. I know it’s someplace very open…like a kandang or something but
that doesn’t warrant you any rights to take a peep!” I added, no longer caring
at the volume of my voice. So what if I will wake others? I couldn’t care less.
It would be better if my voice woke the boys up, because I am pretty sure he’ll
beat this guy half to death for trying to do something explicit to us girls. “Say
whatever excuse you want
“As if I’d be tempted to peep at you
sleeping. Might as well go look at those wild boars in their lair,” he sneered
in what sounded like a harsh whisper he was trying to keep to himself yet unconsciously
trying to tell me that I am not even half as tempting to look at compared to
the wild boars. So, okay, not to say that I liked being looked on while I sleep,
but comparing me to wild boar was just too much for my half-cup sanity to
handle that I unknowingly kicked him again until he fell onto the forest floor.
I have no idea where my kick of fury landed, as I spun around 180 degree,
grabbed a dried branch with dead leaves still on its stalks and started hitting
him. His ouches and pleas failed to stop me, until the whole branch fell apart
and I ran out of breath. And him – he was reduced to nothing but a pathetic
mess of sphere seated on the floor, with dead leaves all over him, and that
looked, to me, like he was trying to protect his precious pretty face from
getting hit by the branches and the twigs. How pathetic this guy can get?
First, he acted nonchalant although he was caught walking along the pavilion us
girls were sleeping in. second, when I asked for his identity he somehow
purposely trying to avoid answering my demands. Thirdly, he simply tried to
leave without a single explanation or, well, at least apology. Fourth, he
likened me sleeping to wild boa…oh wait, he didn’t really say it like that, but
there was some comparison between me and the wild boars. And look, I don’t even
know his name!
“Are you MAD?” he hollered as he
jerked up onto his legs in such amazing speed, his voice emphasizing the word MAD.
My first reaction was to wipe my face, because I could feel his saliva
splattered on my face. Of course, about to erupt again, I was about to scream
at his face when he took the liberty of screaming into my face. “That is no way for a lady to act! I’ve never met anyone
so barbaric in these day and age! What else a woman!”
“THAT IS TOO MUCH!” I screamed,
sanity snapping off again as I threw myself at him and pushed him down, until
we both came crashing onto the forest floor. A loud ‘thud’, a loud ‘kuk’ and a
very loud OUCH followed, to which I quickly brought myself up, only to find
myself sitting on him. Realizing at the odd position we were in, I quickly
collected myself and…well…in that amazingly awkward situation I still
subconsciously managed to kick him as hard as I could. “Take that you pathetic
pretty boy!” I managed to scream at him while he rolled on the ground, his
hands on his head as he hissed, probably in pain. Somewhat satisfied I ran all
the way back to the pavilion, across the stream and…
“You’re one strong little girl,
aren’t you?” a voice asked out of nowhere, and before I could react to it, a
firm grip wrapped around my wrist, pulling me toward the source with such
amazing force, followed by a another firm grip around my waist. My reaction
was, of course, to scream, but somehow my voice didn’t come out. Suddenly my
surrounding went blindingly bright, with a swirl of greens and yellows. There
was something very lean behind me, like…flesh. I looked down. The grip was that
of a hand. That wristwatch looked familiar! I spun around and was shocked out
of this world to see that pretty boy was the very one whose hands were wrapped
around my waist. He was smirking, and I could feel my head spinning out of
confusion as of then. My head, being at its highest end and capacity limit,
tried to process the sequent of event. Didn’t I just leave him rolling on the ground
just now? The last few seconds before my feet touches the bottom-most steppe of
the ladder, he was still rolling on the ground, in pain. Split second later his
hands were already around my wrist and…arghhhhh! None of it makes sense, and my
head started to feel hot and unstable. Before I knew it however, a strong gust
of wind blew into my face, I screamed, and everything went blank. Don’t ask me
what happened because I can never answer you!
Of course, I don’t expect anyone to
believe this either…but well…
A strange, very tranquil sound of
water flowing was what woke my senses up. I didn’t remember what happened, of
course, and since I was lying down I thought I am already asleep next to my
friends in that ridiculously open-air pavilion. But I don’t remember the
pavilion being this comfortable…even more comfortable than the comforters back
in my house. The surface was so soft and…
What sort of timber flooring could
be this soft?!
Of course, at that one thought I
opened my eyes and jerked up, to find myself lying on a sofa, overlooking the
jungle...the forest, with a stream running in front of the house. The floors
are marble slabs! What the heck?! And the walls were white, with countless pots
of potted flower and herbs lined by the wall, arranged in tiered shelf.
Apposite of the plan-filled shelves was ceiling-high stack of books, all
labeled with something to do with plants and forest. And the blanket in my hand
was obviously not mine, because it was made of fur!
Authentic fur! What kind of person
would use animal skin for his blanket?! He’ll surely be an enemy of PETA. Those
pro-PETA actresses will probably hate that person if they knew about this…
“Aren’t you pathetic, little girl?
Fainting at that much of dimension change…” a voice, a very, vary familiar yet
hated voice echoed inside that very simple room. Like a jackknife I turn to the
source of the voice and saw HIM walking toward me, his face projecting the
amount of despise he, perhaps, felt toward me, in his hand…what? It was a cup
that looked too much like the ones sold in IKEA! And under the glorious,
whitish sheen of light that penetrated the room from the full-opening glass
window overlooking the stream, his skin sometime glowed green. Wait. GREEN?!
When he nudged the cup to me, I
seriously think he was going to kill me by making me drink some kind of poison
knowing how much he could’ve hated me after all the things I’ve done to him. I
was terrified. When I did not take the cup from his hand, he nudged me for the
second time. For the first time in our short encounter I was terrified (perhaps
it was because I’m now in his territory…). That was when I regretted all the
beatings I gave him earlier. If only…
“It is NOT poison,” he said in
annoyance, as if he could understand my thought when he took my hand and placed
the cup into my fingers. The water was the color of amazing amber, with
swirls…what looked like…petals. “Drink it. That will make you feel better.”
I still refused. Why were there petals
in my drink?! Could they be some kind of drug? Was he thinking of doing
something despicable to me? Well, I know I’ve won the confrontation earlier,
but I’ve also exampled his strength when he grabbed my wrist and later on, my
waist. His strength was manly enough, to say the least…and that…did not fit his
pretty face at all. Damn. I hated it when I’m in this kind of pinch. I
sincerely wish it was all just a dream! And as tempting as the drink looked and
smelled like, my conscience was even stronger than my desire.
“Just drink it for God’s sake! Those
are just jasmine tea! With wild honey, of course,” and when he saw my reluctant
face, he grabbed the cup and drank what looked like…half of the concoction.
“Look, it is NOT poison!” he said, “I’ve told you before that I have no
interest in you, so don’t worry, I won’t take advantage on you or something.”
At that notion, I found my
temperature raising a notch higher. Before I knew it, my crazy temper overtook
my sanity as I snatched the cup from him and gulped the rest of the tea down. I
was amazed the moment the liquid touches my lips, and then my tongue, before
entering the rest of my system. It was refreshing! But I have a certain ego I
needed to hold up against him and I forced myself not to show a sign or
whatever that I was smitten by the lovely tea. “Thank you for telling me that,
twice! Are you happy now?” I asked as I placed down the cup to the side table
with a loud ‘kinggg’, to which he panics and snatched the cup from the table’s surface.
“Can’t you be a little careful?!
It’s not everyday I could go to IKEA!” he barked as he held the cup in his
hands, his fingers wrapped around the slender glass body like countless
protective cushions. Oh. So the cup really came from IKEA…
What the heck?!
There was a long, considerable
silence. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything, as my eyes devoured every
pixel available to look at, every sign and gestures. He had his eyes fixed on
me, eyes empty, but his presence failed to appear before me as the machine in my
head began to run its analysis. That almost forgotten swirling white, green and
yellow light came to my mind. I remembered him grabbing my wrist and then my
waist. There were so many things, too many thought, that my head overheated and
I went kapoof. When I woke up…it was already midday…or was it…? Wait. I
couldn’t seem to comprehend the logic here.
Just a while ago it was…midnight.
And then…his normal-sometime-greenish skin…that river and forest…and…
“WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING HERE?!” I
found myself screaming out of nowhere, to which this hated pretty guy laughed
so hard, so very hard, that to the end of his laugh it turned into a
painful-looking cough and his face, from looked like something merry projected
such crude pain as his hands were wrapped around his stomach. First, it annoys
me, but then I felt a tinge of pity when I saw small cotton taped to his hair
when he had to bow down to contain both his laugh and his pain. However, when
he looked up again, he was smiling with such ease. That smile angered me that I
feel like punching him. I didn’t, anyway, because that little bruise on his
cheek looked bad enough. I wouldn’t want to go and make it worse just because
he was smiling with such ease, especially when that one simple gesture didn’t
seem to contain within it even a tinge of malice.
“I know that you’re annoyingly
short-tempered with perhaps the strongest reinforced-concrete on earth as your
head, but I never knew you’re this slow and blur…and…funny,” he muttered, small
cough lacing his words here and there. His face was red from all that laughing,
and there was small pearl of tears at the corner of his eyes. As much as I
would want to prevent it, I could really feel my anger slowly seeping away, and
my mood stabilized. “Anyone would’ve noticed the first thing they open their
“Where am I?”
“That took you approximately 9
minutes and 17 seconds to ask me that.”
I was surprised. Damn it…he didn’t
have to do that even if that wrist watch of his was from the digital sort! Counting
the time up to the seconds! For once, I felt stupid, and my little egoistic
world saw some crack on its solid, shiny wall. Damn it!
“Couldn’t you just answer me?”
“My abode,” he replied, split
second, and very simply. He was looking at me with that smirk on, calmly and
somewhat teasingly. I could’ve beaten him again, but my head was busy thinking
What the heck!
“That is unbecoming of you…! Oh my
God it’s already noon I…!” I found myself saying as I rose from the sofa and to
my feet. “Which way is the exit?!”
Jaw dropped. He chuckled, as if
enjoying himself looking at me panicking. I couldn’t help but to think that he
must’ve thought ‘its payback time’ to himself in regard to all the beatings
I’ve given him earlier.
“What do you mean no exit?” I asked,
as I ran to the door that seem to be the main door. I turn the knob around, and
the leaf opened. Damn him, it was an exit. How can he say that there was no
exit? I ran down the deck that connects the entrance to the ground floor. The
very green grass felt so soft under my soles. In that frantic moment of
realization I noticed that I was shoeless, but couldn’t careless because I am
more concerned by the fact that I need to get back to the pavilion A.S.A.P! However,
when I reached the stream, I realized that there was not a single sign that
could lead me back to where I came from. It was another horrifying shock that I
stood there, my feet submerged by the cold waters of the stream and my senses half
paralyzed. Worry started to flood my system and my head was spinning. What do I
do to get back to the pavilion?! Who will look after the precious equipments
that I borrowed from the college?!
“Hey careful! Its slippery
ther….whoa!!!” and followed by the sound of water splashing. Everything went
dark, just for a split second, though, because I only closed my eyes and when sensation
returned to my senses, I could feel the coldness of the water enveloping my
body, every inch of my skin…and the soft surface that I am laying…on…
Of course, at the sight of that
annoying guy lying flat on the riverbed, with me on top of him had me
scrambling trying to find my footing again. The area was obviously very
slippery, I admit, because it felt like, although with my sneakers on, it felt
like I’m standing on a stretch of marble floor spread with soap. Trying to find
my footing, my eyes caught the sight of that guy, who’s still lying on the
riverbed. I waited for a while for him to get up, but I saw no reaction. His
back was still firm on the riverbed, his face looking up, his eyes closed, and
part of his face submerged by the water. After sometime has passed and I
received no respond at all, curiosity began to fill up my veins. I see not a
single movement, and as time passed by, my worry grew that up to one point that
I refused to wait and choose to near him.
“Hey,” I said, nudging him on his
shoulder. Still, no answer. When it was getting a little bit troublesome, I
nudged him again, this time with stronger force. “This is not funny. Wake up,
come on!” was what I yelled when I received no answer. Panic quickly followed,
and the moment I moved his head, a piece of cotton dropped off his head and
drifted away with the current, followed by what seems like trails of dark red
blood. That heightened my biggest fear and as of that instant I realized that
he had somehow accidentally lost his consciousness when he was trying
to…um…rescue me from the slippery stones? What I did next was something I’d
never expect to do in a zillion years, but I did it anyway, and I was actually
quite surprised that I did that…
What did I do, you ask?
Lets just say…I rescued him.
Much effort was called for remedying
the mess that was the green guy. He was bleeding, well, although not profusely,
was constant. I couldn’t bear leaving him just like that, knowing he will
eventually die if I leave him half-submerged in the river, so with my little
might set against his gigantic structure, it was quite a challenge dragging him
into the house. I could only bring him to the sofa where I laid on earlier, and
in my attempt to stop the bleeding, the first thing I did was tore the place
apart in search of suitable medicine, utensil and tools. I trespassed into his
kitchen, his bathroom, his…bedroom even, in search of those. Among the trivial things
that crossed my mind then was…how meticulously neat can this pretty boy get?
And the fact that most of his stuff was from the ‘white’ range nearly freaked
Spending some yard of bandage, a
quarter of cotton and nearly half of…well, Dettol antiseptic as well as nearly
half an hour of attempt, I managed to get his wound under control. It was an
attempt full of effort and for once, I thank God that I once took First Aid
courses during my freshmen year. He did not even twitch although my effort was
obviously quite rough, with my fingers and palms bumping here and there on his
head. Even after I was done wrapping his wound, he slept the hours away very
soundly. I wanted to wake him up because I had been itching and worrying about
leaving for long, but his pained expression actually stopped me from shaking
him awake. He, however, merely regained his consciousness after nearly two
hours of sleeping off. His consciousness merely returned when I accidentally kicked
the side table which caused the antiseptic bottle to drop, creating much noise.
“…could you stop being careless…?”
was what he said the first thing he saw me ducking on the floor, collecting the
antiseptic bottle. Of course, that statement, without a single attempt, my rage
flared. What I did was stomp toward him and stared at him in his eyes.
How DARE he say that to me? After
all that I’ve done to save him?! “I saved you, excuse me, and do you not
realize how heavy you were back then, do you know that?!” was what I yelled at
him in respond to what he had noted earlier. He was obviously shocked, but his
ego was quick to launch. Flares of disagreement and dispute began to ignite and
I could feel my defenses springing up and the veins in my neck stiffen. It was
a sign of whirlwind about to come between me, and this…green guy. But this
guy…although he seemed to have relit his ego-barrier, he still appeared
somewhat calm and still quite composed.
He sighed, and said, in his defense;
“If you didn’t beat me that much back then you wouldn’t have to come here or carry me back to…ouchhhh!” of course,
I was about to throw in a word-vomit fit, but didn’t at the sight of him
cringing to the pain in his abdomen. Guilty quickly crept all over my veins.
“Don’t move! You’ve a nasty bruise
What stopped me, you ask? If you saw
his face you’d probably forgot everything you were trying to say earlier. That
face was something that projected extreme horror, as he instinctively pulled
the fur blanket over his exposed chest with his jaw dropping dramatically, his
eyes rounded that you can really see his entire forest green eyes.
“You looked!” he said, in a very
convincing way, as he looked down to…er…his…well…there. I was shocked beyond relief that my reaction was to punch his
abdomen with all my might and totally ignored his cries of pain. “It was…a
joke…” he muttered, with great difficulties as he wrapped his arm around his
stomach, trying to overcome and contain the pain. I couldn’t possibly tolerate
such a thing…though, it made me shiver, and such action was the manifestation
of my extremely severe reflects reaction.
“No thank you for such nice joke,” I hollered at him which, to
my surprise, induced a round of laughter. My face felt red looking at him
laughing, for whatever reason, to which he reacted with more laugher.
“Aren’t you a little shy person?
Even a joke of such nature managed to get you acting all…messed up,” was what
he commented. I couldn’t argue. All I did was turn around and walked to the
kitchen with the tray that I used for fixing his wound. When I returned back to
the living room, he was already dressed and offered to send me back to the
realm of reality. Surprisingly, he was kind enough this time, that when he did
the dimensional leap he asked for me to specifically close my eyes should the
event became unbearable. We arrived safely, and to my surprise, it was still
midnight there at the Taman Herba’s facility. I was so shocked that I failed to
say anything, and he, he just turn to look at me and smiled. After a brief
thank and a goodnight wish, he disappeared again into thin air, and I trotted
the path up to the pavilion and lay down next to my friend. His images, the
dimensional leap, his eerily and meticulously neat abode…all swirled in my head
for the rest of the dark hours, rendering me sleepless. Even when the sun
rises, I still couldn’t close my eyes, and the thought about that strange
encounter flooded my memories. It was strange. I would’ve liked to treat it as
my mere dream but it was too real to ignore. The dampness from the result of
falling into the stream somehow certifies that I, indeed, have visited another
realm unknown to everyone. It was a memoir I could not entrust to anyone but
myself, and him; he will be my strangest encounter in my lifetime!
- The Papan Sanctuary
(Hutan Belum Papan) truly exists, in Perak, along the Ipoh – Lumut highway, a little bit before
Tronoh. It was tucked around 20 minutes of cruising after the junction; where
you’ll be taken pass the small town and a myriad of old buildings. The stream
was crystal clear and the forest was exquisite. And of course, no Maxis, Celcom
or the orang kuning can reach you there.
- The facility of Taman Herba could be rented for about MYR100 per day (if
I’m not mistaken) and is a perfect place for organizing family days. Apart from
the amazing pavilions, the facilities are reasonable and electric supply is
available in most structures.
The next day…I received a message on
my cell phone from an unknown number. The short message reads like this;
‘No thanks for yesterday’s beatings.
My boss practically chopped my head off when he saw the bruises. He accused me
of being careless…so as a punishment he laid me off for the entire month, not
until all the bruises heals.’
Of course, I sort of know from who
did that message came from, but my sanity and conscience was hell-bent on
telling me that it couldn’t have come from that person, so in the end I ended
up completely ignoring it. A few hours later, another message came in, from the
same mysterious number.
‘Are you going to ignore me just
And when I ignored it for the second
time, a few hours later a gust of wind suddenly blew my way, out of nowhere,
when I was actually driving alone with windows closed. I nearly lost control of
the car when a strange yet real sensation crept all over me. When I turn to
look at the front passenger’s seat next to me, I saw…him. Of course, my
reaction was to pull over very abruptly by the roadside, inviting angry honks
by cars tailing mine that he, to a part of my satisfaction, banged his head on
the dashboard surface.
“When will you stop doing that…” he
asked as he rubbed his forehead. “If this goes on I might never go back to
work. Every time I see you I’ll always come back with at least one bruise!”
WHAT SELFISH THOUGHT. “Hey pretty
boy, is it really that fun appearing out of nowhere like you just did? Be
thankful you only escape with a bruise because what you did just now could cost
you your damn life!” I hollered to him, and I, for once, was surprised to find
him not talking back. Instead, he had his eyes fixed forward. Silence followed,
and before I knew it, I’m already wheeling the car toward the road, about to
rejoin traveling the path.
Little that I know that our
encounter in Papan will not end just that, and this encounter will not be our