Sugeng Goes to Town
He woke up when the sun came up. He felt cold and hungry. He looked around him. Not far away there was a house. He looked at the mountain. He could still hear the noise of the mountain and he could see the fire. He could not go back there. It was too dangerous.
Sugeng walked to the house. It was quiet. He called, but there was no answer. The door was open. Sugeng looked inside. He could not see anyone. ‘Perhaps the people have run from the fire too,’ he thought. Sugeng had a drink and he took some bananas. He started to walk.
He came to a town as night fell. This was Sugeng’s first time in a town like this. The town was not big, but it seemed big to Sugeng. At first he did not feel afraid. He liked the many lights and the noise of the town. In some of the shops music played loudly. Along the street people sold many different things, fruit, clothes, cups and glasses, food. When Sugeng saw the food he felt hungry. But he had no money. He stood near one of the food-sellers. She was an old woman. The rice and other food were in big black pots in front of her.
Sugeng stood and looked at the food. The old woman saw him.
‘What do you want?’ she said.
‘Do you have any money?’
‘No,’ Sugeng answered.
‘Where do you come from?’
‘My home is near the mountain. I had to leave because the mountain was angry.’
‘Where are your mother and father?’
‘I don’t know. Perhaps they are dead.’ Sugeng began to cry.
‘Here, sit down by me,’ said the old woman. She took a clean piece of banana leaf. She put some rice
on it and then some other food.
`Eat this!’ she said. Sugeng ate hungrily.
Sugeng sat and ate his food. The seller was busy with other people. Then she took her pots. She put them on her back and she left. All the other sellers left too. It was late. The streets were quiet. Some people lay down in front of closed shop doors. They were going to sleep.
Sugeng felt tired. He found a place and lay down. Sugeng went to sleep quickly. In his village he sometimes slept outside when the night was warm.
Sugeng woke when the sun came up. He was hungry and dirty. There was nowhere to wash. He went to look for his friend, the food-seller. She was not there. He walked slowly about. The street became busier. People on bicycles passed on their way to work. No one looked at Sugeng. Shops opened. People cleaned in front of their shops. When Sugeng stopped to look in one of the shops, the shopkeeper told him to go away. Sugeng walked on. He felt hungrier.
He saw some poor people. Some sat near the shops. When a person came out of a shop, they asked him for money. Sometimes they got some money. Sugeng tried too, but no one gave him anything. He walked along the street and he tried again. He stood in front of the market. Still no one gave him any money. Suddenly he felt a hand on his arm. He turned around. A boy stood there.
‘What are you doing here?’ he said to Sugeng. `This is our place.’ Some other boys moved around him. One of them pushed Sugeng.
`This place is ours. You can’t ask for money here.’ One of them pushed him again.
‘Take him away from here, Kardi,’ said one of the boys. This boy was older than the others.
‘O.K. Edy,’ said Kardi. A big boy held Sugeng’s arm.
Sugeng was angry now. He pulled his arm away, and the fight started. Sugeng was small, but he was strong. Kardi was strong too, but he was not strong enough. Soon Kardi was on the ground with blood on his face.
‘That’s enough,’ said Edy.
`What’s your name?’
‘Do you want to work with us?’
‘Give me something to eat and we can talk about it,’ said Sugeng.