In the name of Allah, the Almighty.
Two weeks ago, there were many, urm, peculiar occurrences happened to me. By peculiar, I meant it's related to the spirits and ghosts. And today, as I was bored in a course at school, I managed to finish a thriller short story, using one of the events as the base. This is my first attempt on thriller/horror genre, so why don't you read up and give me some feedback later?
A PECULIAR NIGHT
The beeping sound broke the silence of that still night.
It beeped again. A soft white light on top of my mobile phone flashed twice, notifying me about the newly received text message. I reached for my phone, unlocked it and read the message:
"Come to my workstation now if you want to hear about [it]."
I hesitated. Should I go see him? I want to know about "it" but it's only one hour away to midnight.
"4 real? Only 1hr more 2 midnite. U still workin?"
I texted him back.
A quick reply from him, as usual.
"Chickening out now? Don't come if you're scared."
Nobody calls me a chicken. Nobody. So I texted him back,
"W8 4 me. Im otw."
I grabbed my sling bag, reached for my keys and quickly left my house.
I pushed the door open. The staff room looked dimmer than usual. Without teachers scurrying around with books or papers in hands, the space looked somewhat spacious yet empty. I looked around and found his workstation at the quietest corner of the room. But he was not there.
I approached his workstation and noticed unfinished exam scripts lying around in bundles with a red pen, uncapped, sticking out in between the bundles. The workstation was a total chaos, but that's how he liked it best. 'The messier your table, the more creative you are,' he oftentimes repeated it in class in defense of his messy table whenever we teased him, and I had to agree with him -- he always came out with weird ideas for his lessons like writing a letter to our future self or giving funny analogies while explaining anything, but it was those weird ideas that made his lessons fun and attracted students to him. And that was why I am here right now, less than an hour to midnight: I want to know about [it].
I nearly jumped out of my boots if it wasn't for the familiar voice. I turned around and there he stood, smiling. I knew something was amiss but I couldn't quite put my finger on what made me feel so.
"Where you've been?" I asked.
Went to toilet to freshen up, he muttered to himself. Mr. Hafiz is usually a bubbly yet sarcastic in conversations (which made me love and hate talking to him at the same time). But tonight, he seemed somewhat quieter than usual.
"You want to know about [it], right?" he asked. I nodded as he pulled a chair and offered it to me, "make yourself at home."
"Sir, can't you pick a better time to tell me about [it]? Like, say...tomorrow morning?" I enquired.
No, can't wait till tomorrow, he muttered to himself again. "Plus, ghost stories aren't scary at all in broad daylight, don't you agree?"
He glanced at me, and I noticed he was wearing an eerie smile on his face.
"Now, it happened about a week ago when I was teaching my night class..."
It was a still night, unlike any other days. Heavy rain just stopped fifteen minutes ago yet there was no sign of frogs begging for more rain, or insects buzzing around. Such a peculiar night, thought Mr. Hafiz as he walked out of the staff room and marched towards the class next to the English Language Room where he usually held his night classes for 5AG.
The two-storey building seemed quieter without hostel students. Mr. Hafiz entered the classroom and began his lesson. They learnt how to properly write sentences: simple, compound and complex sentences using the formulas Mr. Hafiz taught them.
While they were engrossed in the lesson, Mr. Hafiz suddenly stopped. He craned forward and asked,
"...did you hear that?"
The classroom was wrapped in total silence as the students looked at one another in confusion. A few students near the windows shook their head, the ones in the middle looked clueless, but those sitting near the back door -- their faces were as white as a sheet.
A boy sitting in the middle broke the silence,
"Sir, what did you hear?"
Mr. Hafiz described the sound when wooden table or chair is being dragged across cemented floor. Yes, the sharp, high pitch sound you often hear when people upstairs are moving things around. But there was supposed to be nobody upstairs. There were supposed to be thirty three students and one teacher in the whole block that night, occupying the classroom next to English Language room. So who made the sound just now? Or rather, what made the sound?
Most of the girls already looked terrified. The boys were forcing a smile on their face, trying to look brave. Mr. Hafiz was about to continue his lesson when the girl closest to the back door raised her hand,
“Sir, we heard it too. But it was a different sound...”
The other three girls sitting close to her nodded.
“What did you hear?” asked Mr. Hafiz.
The girl, Husna, looked at her friends as if asking for permission to speak up before she turned to Mr. Hafiz and explained,
“We heard a knock.”
“Yes, a knock. On that door...”
Husna looked at the back door.
The whole class was now silent. Everyone was looking at the door too. Their faces were white as if they had seen a ghost...or had heard a ghost.
Some of the girls were already hugging one another. They boys were no longer smiling. Mr. Hafiz approached the door, cautiously checking what could possibly make the sound. His usually cheerful face was no longer wearing a smile. The students were holding their breath when Mr. Hafiz pulled the door to reveal the source of the knocking sound: It was a security guard. He was standing there, smiling, before apologising for scaring everybody.
The whole class broke into laughter. Who could have thought that somebody was really standing behind the door?
“So it wasn’t even a ghost?” I asked, disappointed. I looked at the clock: It was quarter to midnight.
“Hasty, aren’t you?” Mr. Hafiz chuckled. “Can’t you wait until I finished my story? As I was saying, the whole class broke into laughter, except Husna. She did not even smile...”
Husna did not even smile, not even when Mr. Hafiz cracked his funniest joke that always made her laugh. It was then Mr. Hafiz knew something was not right but he did not say anything to anyone until he concluded his lesson that night. While everybody else was leaving, Mr. Hafiz approached Husna and asked what was wrong. She was trembling,
“I smelled something when everyone was laughing... Something peculiar.”
“What did you mean by peculiar?”
She looked behind her shoulders, just to make sure nobody was listening before she whispered,
“I smelled something that shouldn’t be here.”
Mr. Hafiz’s eyes widened when he heard Husna mentioned the word “corpse” but he tried not to show her that he was shocked. Husna described the reek of decaying smell that came and went – sometimes strong, sometimes faint.
“Whoa!” I gaped. “You don’t say...”
Mr. Hafiz stood up, straightened his necktie and went straight towards the door. Need to go to the loo, he said then left. I did not think about it before, but now I wonder why would Mr. Hafiz wear his working attire late at night like this? He always changed into his comfortable jersey and track bottom.
It was five minutes to midnight and Mr. Hafiz still had not returned. The night began to feel a bit chilly, yet I could feel cold sweat streaming down my back. Images from Mr. Hafiz’s story began to fill my head.
It was as if a piece of sheet was dragged against a rough surface. I looked around warily. There was nobody else in the staff room.
The sound came from the opposite side of the staff room where lights and fans were switch off. I reached for my cell phone and quickly dialled Mr. Hafiz’s number.
No answer. I dialled again.
“Hello?” I could hear his voice on the other end of the line. His voice sounded sleepy, as if just woken up from sleep.
“Sir? Where are you?”
“Kimi? Is that you? Sorry, I was already asleep when you called.”
”Why did you leave me alone in the staff room? What’s taking you so long?”
“What did you mean? I was feeling a bit under the weather today, so I called in sick. I did not even go to school today.”
I could not believe my ears.
“Why are you in the staff room at this hour?”
I gulped. The reek of decaying smell began to fill the room...