Based on a true story.
I was having a horrifying nightmare that made me toss and turn in my bed –until the sudden knock of my forehead against the concrete wall beside my bed interrupted it. Realising I was perspiring profusely and soaking my pyjamas in sweat, I wiped away the beads of perspiration from my forehead and sat up on my bed, heaving a loud sigh. Despite the faint, throbbing ache that started to sprout from the spot where I knocked my head, I was incredibly relieved that the abrupt bang against the wall woke me up from my grotesque nightmare that somehow involved Photobucket rejecting my membership. Chiding myself for being addicted to the computer, I fell back into a dazed sleep, but not without a faint ringing sound of a telephone echoing in the dim corners of my mind.
Thinking that the peculiar sound was a result of hitting my head against the wall or having a dream about massacres, I ignored the niggling and annoying din and allowed my lids to cover my eyes, sending me back to dreamland, where, I hoped, carnages would be replaced by balloons and candies.
The mental telephone stopped ringing eventually, and I felt myself fall into a calm rest. Then, just as soon as it halted, the sound returned again, only this time, it was making itself heard by the familiar ding dong of a doorbell. Frowning, I switched on the lamp on my bedside table and peered at my digital clock, which showed three glowing red digits: 6.00a.m.
A question mark rose in my head. Why would anyone want to find us in such wee hours of the morning? Following in the wake of that scepticism is the dawn of realisation that something terrible is waiting just downstairs, because if someone were to come over so early in the morning, it would only be a) a burglar b) someone coming to tell us something urgent, which is also something drastic to earn our attention even with our eyes closed. Groggily, I called for my Dad -oh yeah, I’m sharing a room with my parents. Coward me.- saying there was someone at the door, but not without a returning unbelieving glance.
I heard Dad open the door and two familiar voices echoing in the living room. With a jolt, I realised it was Uncle Garrett and his wife. Mum got up too, and so I followed suit, curiosity getting the better of me. I followed Mum out of the room, staggering a little from fatigue. Before I had the chance to trascend down the stairs, Mum stopped me, which added the weight to my apprehension and curiosity. Too tired to argue, I obeyed, but instead of going back into the room, I stayed at my initial spot and eavesdropped.
Okay, I know that was dishonest of me, but it was family matters, and mind you, I was part of it.
Frozen on the spot and careful not to make any noise at all, I heard Uncle Garrett speaking in hush tones, and what he said sent a pang into my gut and a dizzy whirl of terror across my brain. “Sam’s charged for doing drugs.” Uncle Sam was a drug addict, which perhaps wasn’t very surprising after all considering his bad rep among Mum’s siblings, but the idea of someone getting sent to lockup was terrifying. Mum was asking for all the gory details, and realising that I couldn’t continue hearing anymore, I sneaked back into the room and laid there, whirring in and out of slumber as a thousand contradictions wavered in my mind. I noticed Mum entering but apparently the thought wasn’t fully registered in my brain.
Thirty minutes whizzed past, but it felt like years, an illusion caused by the turmoil I was experiencing. Soon, it was time for school. “Melanie, up.” I obeyed and got up, changed into my uniform and proceeded to school, the setting so familiar that it was almost impossible to imagine that something horrible just happened half an hour ago. Right then, everything seemed so surreal.
It wasn’t right.
It wasn’t right.
I alighted from the car and entered the school building, greeting my friends Cecily and Audra as I passed them.
It wasn’t right.
That statement was confirmed in my mind, and forever will be imprinted in there, a painful memory that will claim my happiness forever. I responded with an equally simple sentence.
Everything won’t be alright.
Written by: Michelle Teoh
Text Copyright (c)