"What do you want?" the old man slashed at the empty air with his spoon. He pulled his curly moustache straight and gave it a twist as his eyes looked down at the puny man in the rider jacket in front of him. "This is the kitchen, not some race track!" he swung his spoon at Ikram but was deftly dodged by the young man. The old man then proceed to grunt and sat on a blue plastic chair near the door behind him, bending the legs.
Ikram straightened his jacket and placed his helmet on the empty counter next to him. The action gets him a kick from the old man but he was faster. "Can you please let me talk, I'd rather not fight here" he said slightly annoyed at the old man. Ikram straightened his jacket once more and coughed. "I'm here under order from my teacher, Ustaz Ikhwan. He wanted your help on identifying a tangkal" Ikram said.
The old man straightened his moustache again and threw the spoon in his hand into a nearby sink. The spoon clank, but the work kept on going without even a glance from the other chefs. He held out his massive hand to Ikram and signaled him to hand over the tangkal.
Ikram did as he was told and gave the old man the black cloth that made up the pendant. He stepped back and grabbed hold of his helmet and placed it underneath his arm. If this old man went berserk again, he'll make sure to have his helmet with him.
The old man closed his eyes and breathed slowly. He clenched the black cloth tight. His eyelids fluttered. His moustache twitched. He reopened his eyes again and grinds his fingers. Heavy black smoke curled from the cracks around his fingers and disappeared into the air, much to Ikram's surprise.
"This was human made. But the magic in it is powerful. The maker of this tangkal is new to this power. It is unstable, and far from perfect" said the old man. His voice deep and low. "Come here" he said, gesturing for Ikram to come closer with his head.
Ikram gulped. He tightened his grip around his helmet and walked forward towards the old man. If something were to happen, he'll bash the old man first.
The old man raised the hand that held the black cloth before and slammed it to Ikram's forehead. He wrapped his fingers around Ikram's temple and pressed hard.
Ikram screamed. His ears rang. His world shook and his mind went blank. Images of a man without face emerged in his mind, followed by images of the shadow he killed.