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continued from here
Oh, and there is a non-story (though related) post below this one.

You can leave your 5 word sentence starter with every completed section posted.

For those of you who want to play "catch-up" here are the previous sections in sequence.

The kenduri was over by 5 PM. Within 45 minutes the tents were taken down and everything cleared with everyone pitching in. Mina had gone home to change and decided to ride her grandfather’s rickety old bicycle to the meeting with Mr. Osman.

With the bicycle parked she stood watching the moonrise reflecting on the water of the calm sea. The fishermen had set out an hour earlier for the night catch leaving the jetty empty of any vessals. Toward the end of the kenduri word had come about the sighting of a “purple sea” and they had all scurried away with the exciting prospect of a major baby shrimp harvest.

Mr. Osman was somewhat vague earlier as to the details of the meeting. Mina was guessing that perhaps the 5 “arrangers” of the village would probably be placing a collective bid on her grandparents property.

“Miss Mina!”

She turned to see Osman and 4 other elderly men approach her on the jetty. 2 Chinese, 1 Indian and a Malay. There was a round of introductions.

“We apologize for meeting here, Miss Mina. There are many ears in this town and this is not for them.”

This perked Mina’s interest. “So, what is this about?”

Just then a motorized fishing boat pulled up to the jetty where they stood. The other men got into the boat and Osman gestured Mina to do the same. “Please, there is something you have to see.”

Within 5 minutes the boat chugged around a rocky point and into a secluded beach cove known as Teluk Emas (Gold Bay). Although beautiful this area was only reachable by boat and the locals preferred frolicking on the beaches at the more convenient Teluk Merah (Red Bay).

When they had disembarked Mina looked around. “I have been here before… when I was younger with my grandmother”

The men nodded and smiled at each other. The most feeble of the men, Mr. Soong lifted a shaking hand pointing toward one end of the cove where the jungle met the sea separated by a strip of loose rocks. A stream of water from the jungle danced over the rocks into the sea. “Then you know what is there.”

“Yes, that is where the jungle stream that flows by my grandfather’s house empties into the sea. My grandmother would get fresh water from there whenever we picnicked here.”

The Indian gentleman, Mr. Kannan then handed a flashlight and an umbrella to Mina. “Please that this Miss Mina.”

“What are these for?”

Osman piped in quickly. “Begging your pardon, Miss Mina… we would like you to go over there. Behind that big rock there is a waterfall. There are stepping stones in the stream that lead to it. We want you to go into the waterfall… come back and tell us what you saw.”

Mr. Kannan added, “The torch is for you to see and the umbrella to keep you dry when you walk under the waterfall.”

Mina began to protest. “But…”

“Please Miss Mina, this is important to us. Bring back some proof of what you saw.” Mr. Soong said with urgency.

Strange as this request was Mina took the flashlight and the umbrella purely out of curiosity. She walked to the rocks and the closer she got the louder the sound of water falling on rocks became. She walked around the big rock and it was all there as Osman had described it… a small waterfall falling from about 8 feet high. She opened the umbrella and traversed the stepping stones toward the waterfall and disappeared into it.

Back at the beach Osman looked at Soong. “Do you still doubt that she is the one?”

“But she has seen the children… Osman said so.” Argued Mr. Kannan.

“Gentleman, I think we are about to find out.” Came Mr. Soong’s reply.

“Mr Osman! Mr. Soong!” Mina bellowed as she ran toward the men, excited, eyes ablaze and heart pumping fast. She reached the men and stopped to take a breath. “I saw it! It’s incredible! How long has it been there? How come it has never been stolen? I have never seen anything like it in my life!”

“Did you bring back any proof, Miss Mina?” asked Soong.

Still out of breath Mina reached into the pocket of her jeans. “Yes… it’s right here.” She pulls out a silver Acehenese bracelet with a design from the 17th century and holds it up for the men to see. “Here, do you want it?”

“No.” said Mr. Osman. “That is for you to keep… no matter what your decision might be that is yours to keep.”

Mina looked at the men who all had smiles on their faces. “Now, what is this business proposition you wanted to talk to me about?”

“It’s like this Miss Mina…” began Osman. “… you see, everybody thinks the 5 of us are the only arrangers in the village… “

Mr. Kannan added, “…but there has always been a sixth.”

“We lost that person last week.” Chimed in Soong,
“My grandmother?”

“Yes, Miss Mina.” Continued Soong. “Our system is unique and has been in place for a long time… and it works well for us.”

Kannan added, “This is why our village is the only one on the peninsular that has no ketua (head man)”

Mr. Leong, one of the 2 quieter of the arrangers spoke up. “Because of our system there has never been a need for one.”

Then Mr. Kalid, the other of the 2 quiet ones spoke. “And when your grandmother passed on… we were unsure if our system would survive.”

“I’m not quite sure I understand. What does this have to do with me?”asked Mina.

“You have plans to make your life overseas in London.” Osman gently explained. “Of course, you are entitled. You have worked hard to better your life. We just hoped with our investment in your education you would… perhaps set up your practice here. You are the last in your family line.”

“Wait a minute!” Mina shot back. “What exactly do you mean by… investment?”

Mr. Osman looked at the others then at Mina. “Your education was paid for by us… or more accurately by what you saw in there. Of course we cannot and will not hold you to that. We just hoped…”

“Can’t the village survive with 5 arrangers?” asked Mina.

There was a pause. Then Soong decided to field this question. “You see Miss Mina… it’s a little complicated. We have heard that you have seen the children playing in the padang… on a day and time when all the children in the village are either in school or at home. What you did just now… by going through the waterfall… none of us or anyone in the village is capable of that. This is why none of it has ever been stolen And…”

“And this makes me the sixth arranger?” Mina was trying hard to understand. “I'm sorry, I’m still unclear how I…”

Mr. Kalid finally said what needed to be said. “Miss Mina, the five of us… we make arrangements for the living. The sixth arranger helps those who have stepped beyond this life.”

continued here...


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