written & illustrated by Chakriya PHOU
When I was nine years old, I immigrated to live in USA with my parents. We stayed together in a house with elders of my father.
Our family was like hot pot.. mixed of nationalities.
My mother was Khmer-Chinese. My father was born in US. Father of my father - my grand father - was English. Mother of my father - my grand mother - was Thai. My great grand father - grand father of my father - was alive. He originally from England. He was little bit old, but fresh. He liked me and I liked him too. He could not walk much. Most of time, he stayed in his chair at the window. And I liked to go to him. He usually told me stories.
One day, he told me a horror story he had met when he was a kid. He said :
'I think at that time I was about your age or older than yours.
I live in small town far from London. I go to school. Our class is just a room with stone wall surrounded with windows. Our tables are in four rows. There are about five or six in each row. If count from the door, first row is at wall, second and third row are in middle and forth row is at another wall. I sit at second row, last table. Last two tables at third and forth rows there is no one sit. One day, teacher introduces us a new classmate. He is a boy same age as us. He has black hair and he has pretty eyes. He wears green jacket. His jacket has hat and he covers his head with that jacket hat. He chooses to sit at last table of forth row.
I don't remember his real name, but I remember class called him Satano. He was named by a boy named Elvis. His family was rich so he was little bit arrogant and rude. He liked to prank and beat other if he wanted.
Satano is quiet boy. He stays silent all times and never remove hat even in class. He does not have book, pencil or bag. I wonder how can he come to learn when he does not have anything. He looks like a silly boy. But he is smart than all of us in class. I remember teacher writes math on table and call us to solve, but we cannot solve. Then teacher calls Satano and he solves in a blink of eye. He makes the class surprise.
There are many surprise things he makes especially to Elvis. It happens at lunch time. All pupils have lunch box, but Satano has no. He sits at table alone. Then Elvis and his group arrive. He has three boys after him, John, Mark and Martin. They are not from rich family, but they join with Elvis because he gives them good meal and he buys them candy. They behave they are his guards, only Martin, he is gentle among his group. As Elvis comes, pupils escape from his way. He looks around then he chooses table of Satano. John and Mark chase Satano away, but Satano sits still. John is so angry. He pushes Satano's shoulder few times. Satano does not move and keeps silent. All pupils even me hold breath. We are scared of Elvis and we are worried about Satano boy.
'He will get punch.'A boy sits next to my table says.
Real, John is about to punch him, but then Elvis yells, 'Wait.' John stops his fist. Elvis walks to Satano. We hold breath. We know that Elvis will do something to Satano, but we don't know exactly it is. When he reaches Satano, he looks at him. Satano is brave. He looks back at Elvis. After, Elvis raises finger and gives signal to Mark to bring his lunch box. He takes lunch box from Mark, hold in hand for a moment then throws lunch box at face of Satano.
Everyone drop jaw. Some of pupils, girls, cover mouth with their hands.
I am so scared to see that. Well and I, including other, wonder Satano does not show reaction. He is not angry or does not cry. He stays calm, sitting at his seat. He looks at Elvis without blinking his eyes.
After that, Elvis and his group leave Satano table.
Everyone turn to have lunch silently. Only me. I look at Satano boy. I feel he will do something to Elvis. Something incredible. I feel like this so I keep my eyes on him. I see his eyes does not blink. It is too long, how can a boy do such magical thing. Keep eyes open without blink. I look at his eyes and see he is looking at belly of Elvis, through reflection inside his eyes. It is unbelievable. Elvis is walking showing his back to him so it should be his back reflection inside his eyes, but it turns to be his belly, that stays front, instead.
Something is happening.
Elvis, who is walking, puts his hand on stomach. Then suddenly he throws up. Everyone scream. His group move to stay far from him. Everyone see with their eyes. It is so disgusting. A green jelly liquid comes out of his mouth. Some pupils throw up after seeing him.
I look at Elvis then look at Satano. He sits over there. He does not move. I feel he is behind Elvis incident.
Principle and teachers arrive. Elvis parents support our school, so they have to take special care of him. He is carried to nurse room.
That disgusting thing is shown on floor. All of us run away. No one dare to eat at dinning room. We all leave, only Satano. He does not go anywhere. Sit in his seat till afternoon class starts.
I feel something about that boy. He is really something. He is weird. Character, personality and behavior. Also, his family data is weird. He does not register his parents or his address. It is strange. It is stranger that the principle agrees him to study in school. The principle is strict. He respects rule. It is unbelievable he can allow a boy from no where to enter his school.
Perhaps Satano knows magic and he puts magic on principle like he puts magic on Elvis.
I don't know.. it is from my only point of view.
Even though he is weird, but he becomes our hero. Because he beats Elvis. He is hero of all of pupils in school. We are happy that Elvis got punished. We do not pity or feel sorry for Elvis. We hope he gets more.
Elvis absents for two days, then he comes back. He becomes tougher. He glares at Satano when he arrives at the door. I can see fire in his eyes. Like volcano. He goes to sit at his table at front. I look at Elvis then look at Satano. He looks normal. Does not fear or anything. Elvis's action has no impact on him.
I think a fight will happen during break time.
Like I think, at break time, after teacher leaves, Elvis and his group walk to Satano. All run to stay together at black board. Only me sits at my table. All of us watch them by holding our breath.
Elvis, John and Mark surround Satano. Martin stays behind.
Satano shows no reaction to the boys.
'Why you wear hat in class?' Elvis says. 'It is rude, you know.'
Satano keeps silent.
'Anyone help remove this ugly hat from me.'
Hearing Elvis order, John quickly lays his hand to Satano hat. When his hand touches top of hat, Satano grabs his wrist. I see he catches John normally. He does not use strength or does something to John, but that little John cries of pain. He removes his hand from him and touches his wrist where Satano grabs and screams. He shows he really in great pain. His wrist is dark blue and swollen. His wrist is bigger than his forearm. Everyone is shock to see. John carries his hand and runs out of class. And Elvis and his friends run following him.
We don't know what happens to John. We do not see him and his group back. Well, that day we enjoy class because there are no disturbing Elvis and his group.
Everyone is carefree. Only me that feel something big will happen. I know Elvis. He will not stop. He will do something to that Satano boy. He will not leave him alone.
I'm really worried about Satano, but I don't dare to tell him. I just sit and watch him from my table. Well, and I look at his jacket hat. I feel something strange about that hat. I observe his hat that covers back part of head, I see it moves, rise and submerge. I don't know how to describe.. let me compare.. it is easier for you to understand.
Like we put a cloth cover our face from forehead to chin. Whole face. Then look at nose part.. when we inhale, cover-cloth will be submerged, when we exhale, cloth will be rose.
That hat of Satona has this. Look like his face is at back of head, not front.
I don't dare to look at him for long because I feel scared.
The day is ended and we leave the class.
I stay innocent until next day a big news shocks our school.
Elvis, John and Mark die.
It is surprise for all of us.
In school, only whisper among pupils.
'Why they die?'
Their death shakes not only the school but also the town. As I remember, I heard from people saying that parents of Elvis report to police their son is lost. They send driver to take Elvis from school, but Elvis does not show up. They search in school find no shadow of him so they decide to report to police. Police and school principle and teachers help searching for him. They search into jungle then find Elvis and John and Mark. They are all dead. People say they die horrible. Belly is tore, showing innards. Hand and foot have no flesh, remain bone only. Eyes open. Mouth opens. Innards, only heart is lost. The police assumes the boys are killed by wild animal because they cannot find trace or weapon near the crime scene. The town announces to parents to protect their kids from going out especially to forest.
We are commanded to attend their funeral.
While they are doing ceremony, I see Martin. He attends too. He has no sad face, but fear. He looks like he is so scared.
When no one suspects, I drag Martin to quiet place and ask him.
'Why are you still alive? You did not go with him?'
'Don't ask me. I don't know anything. I don't see anything.'
He replies me trembling. His voice and his boy is like fever-person.
'What's happen?' I force him.
'Don't ask me. Please. I cannot say.'
'If you don't tell me, I will go to tell principle. You left with them after John on that day. Then all of you did not come back to class. Then three of them died and you are alive.'
He lows his head to earth. Silent.
'Tell me and I will keep it secret.' I say.
He rises his head, look at me and says, 'You promise?'
Then he tells me.
'We ran after John to nurse room. His hand was serious injury. Nurse gave primary help for him and told him to go to see doctor. Elvis said he would take care of him so we all left school. We thought that Elvis would call his driver to take John to hospital, but he told all of us to go to forest. He ordered us to wait in forest. He said he would take revenge for John. Then he told me to come back to school and waited outside the class to lure Satano to where we stayed. I did not want, but I had to obey him. I waited. When I saw Satano, I went to him. I did not want to hurt him so I told him truth that Elvis, John and Mark wanted to take revenge and told me to lure him to. He did not reply anything to me. He just walked and I walked with him. We went to where Elvis called. When he arrived, three of them surrounded him. I cried they should not hurt him, but Mark pushed me falling to ground. Then Elvis pulled hat from Satano head. You know what we saw?'
I shook my head.
'I was so scared until now.' Martin was about to cry. 'His head.. back of his head, there is an evil.'
I open my eyes.
'I saw nose and mouth on back of his head. And that mouth had big sharp teeth like wolf's. It bit Mark hand. It took flesh from his hand. Horrible. Mark cried. Everyone was shock. Then Satano turned face to Mark. He put his hand break into his belly and took things out. He pulled his heart and ate it raw.'
Martin throws up when he says about it. I feel little bit that I want to vomit, but I try to calm myself. After, Martin continues that, 'I was so scared. My body had frozen. I could not move. I only watched. Mark fell on ground. I thought he died. Then he turned to Elvis and John. He put his hand, one to Elvis's and one to John's belly. He broke their bellies and did like he did to Mark. After all three died, he sat his butt on ground and lowered his back-mouth to their bodies and ate flesh on their hands and feet.'
Martin cries tear. He says, 'You know I thought I was going to die. He got up and he stared at me. I thought he would eat me. I was so scared. I missed my mother. I really missed her at that time. He looked at me for a while then he walked away. I did not know where he's gone. He was fast. I was so scared so I did not care. When he left, I ran. I ran back to my home. I was really scared.'
I listen to Martin. Fear. I believe him. He does not tell a lie. He cannot produce such lie. Satano. I don't see him today. Not only that day but also since then. He disappears. He seems not exist in our school. No one remember him even the principle. No one recall his name or his present. Only me and Martin remember him. Know what he had done and why he had done.'
The story was ended.
I asked great grand father, 'Where is Martin?'
'I don't know.' He replied. 'We don't see for many years. I don't know where he is and how he is now.'
'Is he still alive?
'I don't know.'
'Then you don't see that boy again?'
'No, even once since then.'
'Is he a devil?'
I nodded head.
Great grand father smiled, 'Don't you believe?'
'I believe.' I replied with no hesitate.
Great grand father laughed and put his hand on my head.
Then my mother came.
'Sorry to interrupt. Dinner is ready.'
'Let have dinner.' Great grand father said. Then I and my mother assisted him to dining room.