untitled "5-3-1"b

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But something made her turn to look as she leaned up against closed the door inside. A window shutter had blown open with the wind. She walked over to shut it. She turned to return to the bedroom when she nearly tripped over something on the floor… her grandmother’s workbag. Within was everything a village mid-wife would ever need. As she picked it up she wondered how she had missed it on her way to shut the window.

Back in the bedroom she laid it beside the bed. She would deal with it along with the rest of the packing in the morning. Mina stretched out on the bed, loosened the knot of her sarong and the steady rhythm of the rain outside soon lulled her back into a deep sleep.

As she lay sleeping, the wind blew the shutters of the bedroom window open. And again, the melody of the flute could be heard faintly playing through the pounding sound of the rain. A female silhouette in the corner sitting in the shadows calmly stood up, and made her way over to the window. and seemed to address someone outside. “Not yet. The choice must be hers.” she whispered. Then, gently she closed and secured the shutters.

It was just before dawn when the rain ceased. The sudden absence of sound was what woke Mina. It was going to be another long day of packing and sorting that made her decide to get up and begin her morning routine.

20 minutes later, dressed in her favorite jeans and a baggy t-shirt she stood sipping the rich local coffee blend on the verandah surveying the damage. Half the atap roof on the outside kitchen had been torn off by the storm. Here was yet one more thing for her to deal with and time was already a premium.

She barely had a week left. There were bills to settle from the funeral the week before, legalities to take care of, the sale of the property and of course the packing before she had to leave for the city. Then there was a week’s grace period before she flew to London to begin her new position at a prestigious Harley Street clinic. Time was of the essence and this just added yet another wrinkle to everything.

“It’s going to be tough trying to sell a place like this with a roof like that.” A male voice piped up from behind the damaged hut. Mina tilted her head to the side to see who it was when he walked from behind the damage into view. “Begging your pardon, did I startle you?”

“No.” Mina collected her thoughts quickly. “Do you want to buy the place?” She was sizing him up. He was of average build, about 35, straight black hair that hung down to his shoulders.

“Are you joking? Didn’t the canning factory make a generous offer on the property?” His eyes never wavered from examining the ripped up roof as he continued to speak. “The village is small. News travels faster here than a fish being chased by a water-snake. If you are selling it to them... there would be no point fixing this. They would just tear it down to put up their factory.”

“I haven’t decided yet.”

“Hmmm… I could never buy this place. I wouldn’t buy this place with this kind of damage.”

She noticed a slight swagger to his gait as he slowly walked around still inspecting the damage.

“With the right materials… I could finish it in 2 days.”

Mina felt her heart leap a little when she heard this. This would certainly bring everything back on schedule. “How much will you charge me for the work?”

“What makes you think I want to work on this?” He continued assessing the damage and she said nothing. Finally he looked at her and smirked. “You are a city girl… you can afford me.”

There was a certain logic to this that made her smile.

“And meals.” He quickly added. “I want meals with the job… 3 meals a day! Do you cook?” His eyes seemed to glow with a whimsy when he spoke. Before she could answer he interjected. “Do you cook as well as your grandmother?”

“I know most of her recepies.”

He frowned, scratched his head, and then smiled. “Then even your worse could be quite good.” She stifled a chuckle at this. “Very well, I will do it. There is a list on the chair behind you of what will be needed… and where you can get them in the village. When I return in the afternoon… if everything is here… I will start work.” With that he sauntered down the side of the house.

It suddenly struck her that she had forgotten to ask his name. “Wait!” She hurried to the end of the verandah and poked her head around the corner but there was no sight of him. Well, he would be back in the afternoon… she could ask him then.


She picked up the list and looked at it. She was a little surprised by the detail it went into including how to transport the material and from whom the said transport could be hired from. What really struck her though was the handwriting. It was charmingly quaint… almost from a different era. Yet, this was the same quality she loved about her grandparent’s house and the village. It was infused by the slower, gentler and friendlier pace and feel of a bygone time. Until recently, the knock on the door by the progress of the modern world had successfully been kept at bay.

Her curiosity then shifted back to what she thought she had seen in the dark hours of the morning. When she reached the bamboo grove she looked around but there was no path. The morning sun was still low on the horizon, but shafts of sunlight began breaking through as if the jungle had held it prisoner through the night. Mina decided to head into the village, about a mile away to make arrangements for the purchase and delivery of the materials on the list.

The village itself was unique to most of the outside world. It consisted of 2 distinct halves… the inland half and the seaside half. In her grandparents youth each half were actually 2 different villages connected by a mile of jungle road. The seaside half was called Pasir Putih (White Sands) and the inland half was Pasir Hitam (Black Sands). Over 2 generations homes were built along the connecting road and the villages eventually merged. There were other villages and towns with the same names in the country but these 2 were quite unlike the others.

Legend had it that Pasir Putih began it’s existence as a pirate port where the spoils were initially delivered. Once unloaded the boats would then sail through a complex network of waterways in the mangrove swamps nearby to be hidden from the possible incursion of the Sultan’s Fleet. On the odd occasion that any authorities did turn up, none of the evidence could ever be found as the booty had already been hidden and fenced in Pasir Hitam - up the road where the “respectable” people lived.

So a symbiosis had always existed between both villages. This also explained the population mix of both Pasirs. Unlike most villages in the country which were primarily ethnic spacific, these Pasirs consisted of an easy and equal mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians who had lived in respectful harmony with each other for close to 4 centuries. Piracy was hardly an ethnically exclusive profession. In fact, no family that had lived in the village for the past 4 generations could claim any form of racial purity as “mixed unions” were not uncommon here. Although her race was official listed as Malay, Mina could connect her blood line to each of the races in the village including to that of the Portuguese and Dutch who use to ply these waters in the 17th and 18th centuries in search of the spice trade. So much so, the race riots that gripped the capital and other parts of the country in 1969 was a curious befuddlement to the citizens of both Pasirs.

continued here.

Thank you again to the contributers for this section:

But something made her turn...
And again, came the melody....
When she reached the bamboo...
His eyes seemed to glow…
Her dreams guided her feet…
If only I knew then... the melody censor

I didn't use all of them but I just may at a future time. "5-3-1 c" will be posted 6 PM Wednesday for your 5 word sentence starters. If you have no clue what I'm talking about...
click here for part 1.

  1. At 6 AM (Pacific time) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will upload a post simply titled 5-3-1.
  2. 5 - When posted YOU get to contribute a "5 word start to a sentence" toward the first sentance to the next part. For instance in this section the first 5 words were...
    But something made her turn ... I will use the first entry via comment to begin the next part.
  3. 3 - I will use at least 3 other contributions of "5 word start to a sentence" for that part in the story.
  4. 1 - One page is the minimum I will be allowed to complete that day and will be posted by the next morning (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.)


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