Creative Writings Flash Fiction

Sungu and His Given Tasks Part. 2

Why are you still reading this? You should go away!

I’ll remind you again that this story has nothing to do with lovey-dovey romance. There is no “cute couples” stuff here. If you want those butterfly-flattering feelings for yourself, I’d suggest you check the REAL romance stories out there.

This story is about the suffering of a man in love. It tackles the thin line between love and obsession; how obsession could corrupt you and change you into your most atrocious self.

At the very least, if you are adamant about reading about the miserable life of Sungu, you must be prepared for the worst.


It was a mistake for Sungu to accept the tasks given by the grandest and most mighty deities, the Father of the Skies and Mother Earth.

Mother Earth snapped her fingers, and in a blink of an eye, Sungu’s feet were embedded deep in the wet mud of Embun Cadas Lake. Embun Cadas Lake is a day’s worth of walking from the small temple, Sungu mused. The water rippled, caressing his feet gently. He could see the full moon’s reflection on the water’s surface.

“Your first task is to catch us a purple catfish that has a shark’s heart in its stomach,” Father of The Skies informed.

Purple catfish were rare to find in a lake during this season, and even more with a shark’s heart in its belly. The adult purple catfish size could be as big as Sungu, so catching one could be quite challenging. 

This is your only chance to win over her heart, you need to man up, Sungu mused. As Mangga Ranum’s sweet smile occupied his mind, he told himself that he would do anything to make Mangga Ranum fall for him.

He asked, “How much time do I have?”

“As long as you need it to be,” Mother Earth spoke, “You only need to remember this: if you win, we shall grant your wish, but if you lose, you can say goodbye to your love forever.”

A bolt of lightning suddenly struck down, enveloping the mighty deities. For a split second, a blinding burst of light swallowed the whole area. It almost made Sungu blind as he was too late to close his eyes. 

Sungu blinked away the white stars in his eyes. In the daytime, Embun Cadas Lake was a mesmerizing sight; a vast clear blue-green water, high trees surrounded the area and a clear view of Jengger Mountain’s crater. 

But that beauty became a haunting one in the middle of the night. As far as the eyes could see, there were no colours to be found and no chittering sounds from animals to be heard. Darkness surrounded the area. Sungu sat down on a nearby rock and took a deep breath. He began to wait.

Sungu waited for two weeks. During those two weeks, he refused to leave the rock where he sat. He only waved to the locals, who usually bathed or washed their clothes at the lake. Sungu would respectfully turn his body around whenever there was a woman bathed. Once, a group of men came to the lake to fish together. One of them sat down beside Sungu. Sungu didn’t mind the company, though he kept everything vague about himself when the man asked personal questions.

“Just waiting for a fish to catch,” Sungu briefly answered.

He only ate if he felt the hunger started to get worse. He didn’t want to faint when he had an important task to do, though he only ate raw fish because preparing and setting a bonfire to roast the fish would be a hassle.

After two weeks and a half of waiting and battling every purple catfishes he could find, on the first day of the fourth week, the purple catfish he had tried to kill all day finally had a shark’s heart in its stomach.

“Well done, dear child! Well done!” the Father of The Skies clapped his hands.

Sungu was wrecked. His shirt was long gone after a purple catfish tore it down with its sharp teeth. Droplets of water were streaming down from his hair to his torso. The skin where he got slapped by the purple catfish’s fin bloomed with redness. He winced as he lifted his right hand to show the shark’s heart to the deities.

Mother Earth cooed, “The first task wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Sungu could only answer with a smile, but he was sure it came out like a grimace instead.

“We will keep the shark’s heart, my dear boy,” the Father of The Skies added. Once Sungu placed the shark’s heart onto the Father of The Skies’ hand, a burst of cloud began to swirl around the shark’s heart, and in a second, it vanished from Sungu’s vision.

The Father of The Skies then clapped his hands. A gust of wind knocked Sungu down, and suddenly he was in a different place. The smell of incense clouded his sense of smell. He could hear the loud grumble of Jengger Mountain from a distance. He was in Nyi Ketan Ireng’s temple.

Mother Earth walked gracefully to Sungu and sang-song, “It is time for you to do the second task, my dear. This time, you need to get one black orchid, but not just your usual black orchid, oh no! We want you to get the holy black orchid from this temple’s altar.”

Holy spirits, they must be kidding right now, Sungu muttered to himself. The holy black orchid was a sacred symbol of Nyi Ketan Ireng. There were black orchids in every corner of the temple. The locals believed it was a bad omen to pluck black orchids, either the ones from the temple or out there in the wilderness. 

“Just like before, the time is yours to do what you need to do. We will wait until you finish the task,” the Father of The Skies boomed, and with that, they were both gone.

Compared to the first task, the second task was much easier. Sungu could simply pluck off one orchid, and he’d be done with the second task. But all of a sudden, he couldn’t move his legs. He felt his armpits get damp because of how much he sweated. An uneasy feeling crawled inside him, eating away at his heart.

Sungu may not be the most religious person in his village, but he still has morals. This task required him to steal a holy symbol from a religious place. His mind was racing to get one black orchid and run away from the temple as fast as he could. But his heart said otherwise; he could skip the second task and tell the truth to Mother Earth and the Father of The Skies that he could not do the task because it was against his morals.

But then again, what was the point of doing the first task if he was already giving up on the second one?

Sungu sighed. His eyes roamed around the temple. The day when his eyes caught the Mangga Ranum’s beauty for the very first time was in this sacred place. His mind could already imagine a life with Mangga Ranum; how she would fit well in his arms, how lovely her thick dark hair and smooth tan skin contrasted with the white sheet of his bed.

Mangga Ranum was the reason why he was here. The thought of him winning Mangga Ranum’s heart got Sungu pumped up with excitement. 

Sungu made up his mind. He walked to the altar with no hesitation. At the altar, stood an ancient big vase with complicated, intricate patterns. The vase was the home of a black orchid that Nyi Ketan Ireng planted many years ago. Sungu touched the soil in the ancient vase and whistled in awe. He heard that the ancient vase’s soil was forever in good condition, whether during the warm or cold seasons, but he had yet to try to prove it himself. He rarely had the motivation to go to the temple’s weekly prayer, let alone to pray at the altar with the shaman.

The black orchid’s petals were soft to the touch. Sungu took a deep breath. He grabbed the stem tightly. On the count of three, he pulled out the black orchid from its place with all of his strength.

As Sungu walked away from the temple, he didn’t notice as the soil in the ancient vase had become moldy and dried out. The incense couldn’t hide the rotten smell that was starting to spread. One by one, all of the black orchids at the temple began to wither. In no time, the temple’s floor was covered by the black orchids’ petals.

It was a bad omen, indeed.

To be continued…



Author: Kenar Syalaisha Kanayana

Editor: Nanda Pratama Putera Tomasila, Vonna Meisya Saputra (QC)

Illustrator: Kenar Syalaisha Kanayana


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