Kidnapped in Indonesia

“Here.” I paid the man a couple of rupiahs as I boarded the long distance bus.

He looked startled for a moment. He was a seedy looking man with sun burnished skin and a moustache. Then suddenly he burst out with a laugh—high pitched and as malicious as a hyena.

Shit. My heart sank as I realized I had given the money to the wrong guy. The real conductor appeared, looking worried that those bills weren’t in his hands. I made a move to snatch them from the man but he evaded my grasp, flashing his teeth at me. Finally at my second try, I got my money back and with a flaming face handed it to the conductor.

All this time the heady air of silence hanged around us in the bus, heavy as a steel plank, suffocating your head inside a tight sheen of plastic. I sneaked a look around and discovered I was the only female aboard. My level of discomfort shot up several notches.

I could feel his predatory eyes boring through me, like a cat idly surveying its next meal. I hugged my jacket closer– zipping it up to the neck, squirming under his unnerving gaze that stripped me naked and feeling the frantic palpitation of my heart. Ba-bum! Ba-bum! Ba-bum! I knew I stood out among their women with my fair skin, head unadorned with the customary headscarf –all its adulterous coils exposed, my skin uncovered with sheathes of gossamer and silk baring my sharp collarbone.

To them, I was nothing but a whore.

I moved to the back. He uttered another devilish laugh and to my horror, followed and sat in front of me. The other men didn’t make a move and conveniently shifted their gazes elsewhere.

Fuck! Fury and panic fought and writhed inside my body but panic was winning. I wanted to scream. To retaliate but instead I sat still and fixed my gaze to the ground in puny cowardice. I couldn’t possibly raise a hand and have that same hand slammed to the ground broken.

If something happens to me here, nobody will know.

You brought this over to yourself, Kate. You wanted to have an adventure and goddammit! now you’re going to get one.

The conductor approached me and asked which terminal I was getting off.

I let out the breath I had been holding in in a slow relieved whoosh. I whispered to him its name. Unfortunately, the mean overheard and cracked up, slapping his knee.

“Giwangan, Giwangan,” he kept saying.

The conductor shot me a look of pity. The man beckoned to him and handed him a big wad of bills all the while engaging him in conspiratorial whispers and shooting a look towards my direction every now and then.

My heard stopped and for a moment it became dead. Was he bribing the conductor to miss my stop? Was he asking him to be his ally? I could imagine him saying,

You only earn this much? Help me kidnap the foreigner and I’ll give you a month’s wages.

I closed my eyes. This sort of thing happened in the Philippines because of poverty so why not in Indonesia?

I was so screwed.

If something happens to me here, nobody will know.

I closed my eyes, a kaleidoscope of memories flashing. I had been brought up in a world of violence, hunger and murder but always as the outsider peering through the looking glass. My friends have been raped. Some stabbed in the quiet stillness of the night, their cries of stubbornness echoing as loud as their will to live. A fleshy tongue cut out. A father’s body shaking as bullets racked through it and even as it lay motionless on the ground, a thin sliver of blood trickling down his lips, the killer still stepped boldly to meet his accusing glassy gaze and deliver the final bullet to his head. Boom! A child’s body ran over, eviscerating and spilling the insides of his brain, scarlet rivulets pooling around him as the driver stepped on the gas and his truck screeched away leaving the corpse in the middle of a throng of passer-bys even as the head of my friend years later fell in a graceful arc from her battered motorcycle whose flames rose up and swallowed itself whole.

This was why I escaped and ran away to another country, fearful I’ll soon get caught up in the salacious clutches of our mother whose children must eventually suck from the bosom of hate, blood and death.

Glancing at the leery eyes of my would-be assailant, I felt that perhaps it was meant to be. It was my fate. And my family would never know.

Like every other person when faced with imminent danger, I clasped my hands together and prayed.

I prayed for my life.

I prayed for my family, that they might never suffer from not knowing where I am and what had happened to me.

I prayed with all my heart to be alive so that I can see them again.

The bus grind to a halt, jolting me from my fervent whisperings. Something had happened to its engine. We were almost near my stop then. Nevertheless, it was an answer. I bolted out of there and started running.

Only when I’ve gone a considerable distance did I dared to look back. No one was behind me.

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    13 thoughts on “Kidnapped in Indonesia

    1. Kool Aid says:

      You know, I’ve tried twice to leave a comment about this but words just weren’t forthcoming. Very impressive bit of writing. I can’t even begin to comment on it.

      • Kate says:

        Kool Aid, don’t worry about it. All comments are appreciated. 🙂

        I’m just glad you dropped by. And thanks! I just wanted to share something
        very personal that happened to me during my travels. I’ll be working on that
        guest post soon.

    2. Kate says:

      Hiya Tobey! Thanks for dropping by. That Chuck’s blog is a blessing to other bloggers, that it attracts other readers to your site and vice versa.

      Writer/traveler and fellow expat –we’re a handful, aren’t we? I’m always excited to find other people with the same interests as I do.

      Your blog’s also a writing blog, I see (me very interested!).

    3. Zoe says:

      Consider me duly warned. Great suspense, and I’m glad you didn’t try to suck it up and *not* run.

      I’ll be traveling with a friend, which I hope makes for an easier time.

      • Kate says:

        I seriously think if I had not run then, I would not be here blogging right
        now.

        Please make sure you don’t show any collarbones (and cleavage would
        definitely be worse). The men will definitely stare at you strangely.

      • Kate says:

        Oh, that was truly the uppermost thing in my mind. Not that I will disappear
        but that no one will know about it, especially my family. This has been one
        of my fears (and still is) while living abroad.

        Hey! And I see you’re doing well with NaNoWriMo. 🙂

    4. Kate says:

      Hi Brahmanto,

      Thriller writer? I hope so but thanks for the complement.

      True. Sometimes danger is so equated with adventure, it’s hard to differentiate the two. If there’s no risk, it won’t be one but trust me this is one adventure I don’t want to repeat!

      Despite this dark cloud, Indonesia was still one heck of an exciting and exotic trip I ever had. Better than the recent one I took in Vietnam and Cambodia.

    5. john says:

      Is there much kidnapping in indonesia?
      I had a problem in the Philippines in Baguio City, but managed to get into a taxi quick
      with the help of men from security.

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