I always feel there is a gap between Hope and me. Every word I tell her only evaporates right before they reach her ears. Thankfully Aliyah is here. She has been helping me take care of her. Although I never say anything to her, each time she looks at me she seems to understand what has happened.

Deep down, I always try to love Hope. I’m sure May would do the same. Unfortunately, I just can’t. I always feel there is something inside Hope, especially when she stands by the window looking at the swing. Really, it somehow terrifies me. I think whoever knows what May and I did that night, will feel the same about Hope.

***

I ask some young people who always hung out around the security post to cut down the guava tree along with the swing. I gave them some money for my request.

“Burn the swing until it’s gone,” I tell them repeatedly. “Remember, until there’s nothing left!”

They start moving vigorously. They borrow a chainsaw from a neighbor and start cutting the tree into parts. Within an hour, they’ve already taken down the tree and the swing away from my yard. I imagine they must have started burning them in the village’s landfill.

I accidentally run into Hope, who is standing by the window. Her gaze is empty. Then she begins to cry. I show no empathy to her. I already decided to get rid of the tree and swing in spite of my concerns about what will happen later. I start recalling the night May and I had the same dream, that one sentence that has been echoing in our heads: “The swing will invite a life in your womb. You only have to make sure the swing will always be in your front yard.”

I go to sleep with readiness in my heart. I know, just like what happened to May, my body will later fall and hit something. The next day, my body will be found without a pulse. Aliyah will be the first one to find my corpse, and Hope will perhaps smile with pleasure, just as she did the day I found May’s body lying in hospital.

***

Translated by Liswindio Apendicaesar.

Yudhi Herwibowo is a short story writer, novelist and owner of BukuKatta publishing. His recent novel is Halaman Terakhir (Nourabook).

We are looking for contemporary fiction between 1,500 and 2,000 words by established and new authors. Stories must be original and previously unpublished in English. The email for submitting stories is: shortstory@thejakartapost.com