The Millionaire (Part III)
He bent his knees, took a deep breath and used all his strength to lift the 5 newly created wet pottery. It had weighed at least 20 kg, heavy compared to his scrawny size of 40 kg. He staggered into the hot furnaced that was cooled overnight but still hot to the sensitive skin of humans. Once in position, he placed it carefully to the side of the shelf that sits the wet pottery.
They had called it the “Dragon Kiln”. The trips continued from 7am in the morning till 7pm at night. At lunch and dinner, he had mee soup. At least food is available now since he ran away from home. He was thirteen and had decided to leave home to avoid facing his mother, father the stranger and his nine other step-siblings. His mother had been irregularly at home and finally decided to move in with father. He had to follow but decided to run away from home after two weeks.
It was late and he made up his bed, actually pieces of foam placed neatly to look like a bed. In the corner of the dark space underneath the bridge, he squeezed more closely against the corner to prevent the cold wind from hitting his skin. The pieces of cloth hardly keep him warm but he’s used to it. The few dollars that he made as a labourer in the dragon kiln helps in keeping him full and free from hunger. He slept soundly.
He was awaken to a nudge to his shoulder. He heard the voice said, “Wake up! wake up! Is your name ter kia, teochew name in English for “piglet”. He said, “What do you want?” Then he realized there were two persons and both wore police uniform. Ter Kia was fast as he made a quick dash towards the other side of the bridge. The police has no chance to catch him. He’s too fast.
The many years of independence has put him in position to snake out of situation. He has no identity card on him and do not want to be caught by the law enforment officer. It would mean facing the stranger and his mother. He will have to find a new place tonight, he thought out loud as he walked towards the dragon kiln to work for his next meal. Will I be a miscellaneous, he thought, knowing his father and mother will not have time to come looking for him or so he thought. Oh well, let it be, as he proceed to carry the completed, hardened but beautiful potteries to a place outside the kiln. At least the dragon kiln bosses provide some mee soup daily for their workers. He looks forward to the next day to be away from school and surviving independently.
Running away allows him to be in control of his life and be independent and not be controlled. Unknowingly to him, the stranger and his mother has already started looking for him three weeks ago when he disappeared from class but to no avail. The beginning of the roller coaster ride.