Midnight In The Mountains

Seven years ago, when I was 12, my family, together with three of my cousins, decided to take a trip to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. We weren’t planning on climbing all the way to the top or anything, just drive up half-way to enjoy the atmosphere.

We soon arrived at the ‘National Park’, a hotel of sorts located half-way up the mountain. It was made up of small houses called chalets, scattered around a large, scenic area. Each chalet was split into two smaller units, with two bedrooms each. As my family is pretty large (there were 13 of us altogether, including my 3 cousins and 2 maids – hmmm…13? Unlucky number…), we needed a whole chalet to ourselves. As luck would have it, we got the chalet right at the very edge of the park, right next to a dark forest.

Upon entering it, my brothers as well as my guy cousin, claimed the half of the chalet that was further away from the forest. After a bit of discussion, my parents decided to take that half with them leaving me, my two girls cousins and our two maids to take the other half – the admittedly more creepy-seeming one.

With some trepidation, we entered our quarters. The others immediately went to the bedrooms, while I peeked down a staircase, to find a dark – correction very dark! – basement, where I found out later the kitchen, dining and family room was located. Being only 12, and the youngest in our all-girl group, I felt just a little bit scared and ran to join the others.

That night, after eating dinner (we ate in my parent’s half of the basement which seemed, somehow, to be less creepy), we retired to our respective bedrooms. I was sharing a room with my two cousins, while the other room was occupied by my maids. Not being the least bit tired, we decided to play a game of cards on the bed. (no, not gambling, just normal card games ::smile::).

After a few hours of cards, we decided to go to sleep, as it was almost midnight and we had a long day of touring tomorrow. We were all sharing the large king-sized bed in the room, so we all just rearranged the pillows and just snuggled down under the covers, tossing and turning in the bed, trying to find the most comfortable position.

Suddenly, there were three knocks on the door – not the one that opened to the front hallway, but rather the one that opened to the balcony. We froze, and stared at the door.

“I-It must have been the wind,” one of my cousins suggested, although the knocks were too firm, sounded too deliberate to have been caused by the wind. Nevertheless, we agreed and were just starting to relax when the knocks sounded again, sounding more insistent.

Suddenly, something dawned on me. I had earlier shown my maids the balcony (it connected our room to theirs) and they seemed interested in it. Maybe *too* interested, I thought. “I’m going to open the door,” I told my two older cousins. “I know it’s Auntie playing a joke on us!” (Auntie is how we address our maids, by the way) But one of my cousins had me a great bear hug, whispering to me “Don’t open the door, don’t open the door” The knocking on the door continued.

“But I know its just Auntie,” I said, struggling, trying to free myself. But she wouldn’t let go. “Okay, fine, I’ll just look out the window, see if its them, ok?”

At that very moment, knocks sounded on the glass of the window. Scary thing is, I could see the shadows of the trees outside cast on the curtains (there was a spotlight placed out there), heck, I could even see the shadows of the leaves waving around in the wind, but what I could NOT see was the shadow of our knocker, even though it should have been clearly visible!

More annoyed than afraid, I managed to extricate myself from my cousin’s grasp and went storming to my maids’ room next door, leaving my two OLDER cousins whimpering in fright on the bed.

I opened their door, only to find the two of them huddled together on one bed crying, although their room had two single beds. I asked them what was wrong , and they told me that a few minutes earlier, they had heard what sounded like FOOTSTEPS on the roof! It had actually sounded as if someone was running around on the roof. Then, they heard knocking on their walls, high up hear the ceiling. I looked at the luminous dials of my watch, it was about ten-past twelve, so the knockings must have started at around (or even exactly!) midnight!

Suddenly, I heard one of my cousins let out a blood-curdling scream. I ran back to my bedroom, with my parents (who looked so panicked, that I would have laughed, if the situation hadn’t been so tense) hot on my heels. They had heard my cousin’s scream and thought that we were being attacked by something.

When I got back into the room, everything was silent, except for the sobs of my cousins on the bed. When they saw us, they leaped up off the beds and dragged all of us to my parent’s half, still crying. When they were finally able to make themselves coherent (I had told my parents my side of the story by then), they said that the knockings had continued, both on the door and the window, each time getting more violent. Then, terrified, they saw a shadow sort of ‘forming’ outside, and this was cast onto the curtains. The shadow was formless, but they were already petrified and just screamed their heads off.

We spent what was remaining of the night in my brother’s room, and left the park the very next day, even though we were due to spend three more days there.

To this day, the thought haunts me, what would have happened if I had opened the door. Or even if I had looked out of the window. Would the knockings still have continued with me looking at nothing, or would I have met something more terrifying?

After our trip there, I heard from some of my relatives who have taken a vacation there as well that once a woman was murdered (by her jealous lover, husband or something) in that very chalet. I have no idea if that is true, but if it is, the being that scared us there was probably a ‘Penunggu’.

Some other stories about Mount Kinabalu:

* When my cousins (other cousins, not the ones mentioned in my story above) took a road trip through Mount Kinabalu, just around dusk, they saw … children. Nothing strange about that? Well, picture this. It was nearly dark, and was raining cats and dogs outside. These children were just walking in the rain. Stiff and straight, and looking straight ahead. One of them apparently had his arms stuck on in a V-shape. Weird…

* These cousins of mine have also stayed in Mount Kinabalu National Park before. When they were there, one event stuck in their minds. They had just come back from a day of touring and had just entered the chalet when they heard the sounds of a ball bouncing from the basement. Going down to investigate, my uncle did find a ball bouncing in the basement. To be more exact, a ball they NEVER saw before, was bouncing in the basement, even though the chalet was empty the whole day.

*One of my friends was having a family vacation in the National Park. While she was taking a walk with her sister, she saw the face of a man half-hidden in some bushes nearby. She pointed him out to her sister, just to be on the safe side in case the man did anything suspicious. Her sister, however, couldn’t see anything, no matter how hard she tried.

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