Return On The 7th Day

My grandma lives alone in a one room flat around Redhill area. The door opens up to a corridor and units are lined up on either side of the corridor. Right across her flat is another flat.

About 3 years back there was an old uncle living alone in that flat. They were on pretty good terms and they often spoke to each other across the corridor when their wooden doors were left open. The uncle had a son who would visit regularly, and on weekends he would often go over to his son’s place to stay.

Then came a period of time when my grandma noticed that the uncle hadn’t been back home for a while, probably for a week already. She thought perhaps he had gone for an extended stay with his son, so she didn’t think much about it.

One night when she was asleep, she was awoken by an urgent knocking on the door. She said it was probably around 4 plus because the sky wasn’t light yet. She was used to drunkards roaming the corridors, so she tried to sleep the noise off, but then she heard the old uncle’s voice through the walls, “auntie, wa dou kun, wa bo lui, le koi wa jit lai” (teochew pronunciation fail, translation: auntie I’m hungry, I have no money, let me in).

My grandma knew something was not right, so she shouted back, “mai cha la! wa ai eg!” (don’t disturb me, I want to sleep) But the knocking and shouting persisted, and my grandma grabbed her prayer beads and prayed till she fell asleep.

You can probably guess what happened next. As if by coincidence, the following day, the workers from the Senior Citizens Activity Corner and the uncle’s son arrived at the door and broke down the lock. They found the uncle’s dead body in the flat and after some investigations, realised he had probably been dead for about a week already.

My grandma surmises that the uncle probably returned on his 7th day, but part of me thinks maybe she dreamt up the whole knocking thing after all.

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