It puzzles me to see makeshift yellow and blue tents set up under a void deck almost immediately after a Chinese dies. Will you sympathize with the sobbing family or will you get the creeps every time you walk past the procession?
This true experience that I am sharing happened to me 10 years back, which seemed like only yesterday.
Vivid memories shot back to the night when I was dragging my tired feet back from school to my residence around 8.30pm. I took the usual route and was going to walk diagonally across a sepak tahraw court located in the centre of 4 housing blocks to reach my familiar staircase landing. Except for the block which I am putting up, the rest were having those dead processions going on, which I thought that time, was too much of a coincidence.
The overlapping of regular knocking of gongs and scriptures reading are the sounds that were ringing in my mind then. I wasn?t paying much attention to the road in front of me as I was more curious about the rituals occurring around me.
A gust of unusual wind forced me to focus on what was ahead. If I had not raised my head, I wouldn?t have noticed that there was a long haired lady, dressed in completely white drapes, standing at the other end of the small court, the intended route that I had to take in order to reach my block.
As I walked towards the motionless figure, I couldn?t help but looked at her direction. Her long black tresses covered her face and the air around her was filled with a fade scent of frangipani. As I approached nearer, I noticed that she had turned her head towards my direction and her body was swaying from side to side gently, in an unsynchronized rhythm.
I fastened my pace at this sight, which every step taken seemed heavier than usual. Just as I walked past her, I felt exceptionally cold. A sudden surge of eeriness froze my heart instantly. If you think that that was the worst ordeal I was going through, the broken silence proved you wrong.
The Unknown figure uttered a loud but continuous spine chilling cry; a cry that could never ever be wiped off from my memory until today. Instantaneously, the sounds that had occupied my mind earlier were completely erased off by the weeping of the Unknown figure. I ran as fast as my heels could carry me, trying too hard not to think about what was happening behind.
Droplets of sweat rolled down my forehead as I whisked for the keys helplessly in front of my gates. The weeping grew louder, which means she was following me up the stairs and gradually, would be reaching me at any moment.
I was almost suffocating when I finally found my keys. With fumbling fingers, I failed to open the door with the 1st attempt. Instead, I dropped the keys at that crucial moment.
Just as I bent my stiffen body from fright to retrieve them, I felt a tap on my left shoulder. A cold breathe near my left cheek followed and that cry, that eerie cry was right there, howling sadly into my ear.
My hair stood on its ends and my heart was thumbing in my mouth.
The door swaged opened and my mother was standing there, giving me that curious look.
?What have taken you so long to open the door? I heard your keys? sound but you seemed to be taking more time than before,? my mum asked.
?Nothing,? I replied in a trembling voice. My jellied legs weren?t within my control and I almost couldn?t make the way into my haven.
I could not imagine what could have happened if my mum did not open the door in time. Maybe I would not have lived till today to tell you this story.
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