Sarah walked through the hawker centre, a packet of goreng pisang in hand. The fans whirred, hard working but sadly ineffectual. The cleaners went around, hardworking and very effecient indeed. In fact, if you weren’t careful with your plate it might be whisked out from under your nose. This place was known for its excellent teh tarik; much to everyone’s surprise, it had not closed down. Yet. This was Singapore, mind.
She joined the queue in front of the teh tarik store, like everyone else. What caught her eye wasn’t the girl directly in front of her, who looked like she had been cosplaying when she got thirsty, but the girl two people in front.
Sarah couldn’t say what gripped her so hard. It was not her imagination. The girl was thin, a waif almost, with black hair. She was wearing a shirt which draped itself in folds and jeans which made her legs look even thinner.
The queue inched along. Teh tarik was served out in plastic bags and cups at the speed of light; why so slow? The girl Sarah was eyeing looked around, bored. In her hand was a touchscreen handphone. What was in her other hand? It was rooting around in her pocket. Her other hand pushed the handphone into her pocket. She looked experienced. Her hands moved swiftly, yet her posture said nothing.
Suddenly, with the speed of light, the girl produced something which looked metallic and boxlike, but Sarah immediately knew this was not something to be trifled with. The girl hid it under one arm, appearing as relaxed as ever.
Two more people left to Sarah’s turn. The girl got her teh tarik, an iced cup full of the mocha brown liquid, and went off. But as she walked down the queue, her eyes met Sarah’s briefly.
Behind the hawker centre, in the toilets, there was a thump and an almost inaudible splash of teh tarik.
Someone began to scream.