The Dogs Of Ubud
by Conda V. Douglas
Ubud, artists’ capital of Bali, teemed with tourists. Down the dirt path to the dance arena a tourist herd thundered, headed for tonight’s performance. Alongside the road, Balinese merchants sat, their wares arrayed on blankets.
Peter dodged through the crowd, through a cacophony of languages. If the Balinese could tolerate, even thrive, on this invasion, so could he. Now he hid, one among many. What he did, how he lived, was always hidden.
Not so the Balinese. Lulled by their jungle paradise, they never lost their innocence. Even the main living room in their family compounds possessed no walls, open-sided. Vulnerable.
When Peter saw the knife, the star-shaped wound etched upon his belly burned, the blood beneath his skin pulsing. The knife, a wavy-bladed kris, lay on a piece of tattered batik cloth, a store of a rag. Among the clutter of tattered straw fans and plastic “ivory,” the kris glittered, a diamond in a pot metal setting.