It was one of those hot and lazy Sunday. It was also the first Sunday I'm at home for quite some time. Before this there was always other places to be and weddings to go to. My room has turned into quite a mess with god-knows-what stuff strewn all over my table and books stacked up on the floor. So I decided to spend the afternoon trying to make my room as respectable as I possibly can.
I was on the floor trying to figure out which book should be kept in a box and which one should remain outside, a very fickle exercise, when I looked up at my window.
Through the panes, I can see a woman but only the back of her head. Her hair was long but not taken care of. It was all tangled and puffy like she hadn't seen a comb for quite some time.
She was slowly but swiftly sweeping the sidewalk. She was swinging the broom back and forth, already in her comfortable rhythm and it puzzled me. She's no one I know. Can she be a new maid? I'm sure she's not a neighbour. What is she doing sweeping my sidewalk?
Suddenly she stopped and turned to look at me. I saw that she has this haggard but serene look as if there's nothing wrong with what she was doing. But I know that something doesn't fit. She doesn't belong here. She's not suppose to do that here at my house.
I went to my mother. She was leaning against my car at the front of the house, probably trying to catch some cool breeze while enjoying some quiet time by herself.
I asked her, "Mak, who's that woman?"
"That woman who's sweeping our sidewalk."
"Where? That woman? I don't know. Let's ask her."
My mum called her and she walked towards us without a doubt or question on her face. All she has was the same haggard but serene look that she gave me earlier. It was like she expected to be called over.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" My mum asked her.
She didn't say anything but her expression changed to one of sadness. Slowly she lifted her hand and touched the back of her neck.
"Why? Anything wrong with your neck?" My mum asked her again.
Again, she didn't say a word, she just turned around.
In such close proximity, we can see what it was that's bothering her. Right at the base of her neck, among those thick messed-up hair, a knife was embedded right up to the hilt.
We were frozen to the spot. We didn't know what to do except watch her as she stood there, one hand drawing apart her hair so as to give us a full unobstructed view to the cause of her sorrow.
Seconds past but it felt like hours to me. The woman was still standing there, her back to us. The way she just stood there, oblivious to the fact that she was scaring the hell out of us, invited this feeling in me. It seemed that she was asking for help.
Like a dream I saw my mother's hand moving closer and closer to the hilt of the knife. Oh my God! Is she going to take it out! I can't look!
I would rather see the darkness behind my eyelid than witness what was happening in front of me.
When I opened my eyes I saw a familiar sight. I saw a towel rack with my towel slung clumsily on it... and my computer... and my bedroom door! Thank God it was a dream!
But knowing it was a dream didn't stop me from reciting a few verses, anything at all that I can remember from the top of my head, to slow down my racing heart.
This was probably the scariest dream that I got involving an unexplained being. My nightmares usually consists of being chased by a meat-eating animal, dunked in a pool full of meat-eating creatures or getting bit by a snake
There's a theory that you would most likely dream about the last thing that crossed your mind before sleep takes over your consciousness. So I thought real hard what could I've been thinking to induce such a frightful dream. I did wash my feet (I think) and I might not have said the doa sebelum tidur (prayer before sleeping) Ahh... it must have been the double dosage of Conan Doyle's supernatural tales and Barker's Books of Blood.
Yeah I brought these two books to bed with me that night. Doyle's stories were not that scary however. They may have been back in the 19th century but for a 21st century reader, they're nothing new. But I can't say the same about Barker, the master of gruesome horror.
I only read the first story to see if it's any good. It's the story from the book title, which is also used to set up the rest of the stories proceeding it. Judging from my unconscious reaction I guess I got what I was looking for.
Does this stop me from taking this book to bed? Heck no! But I do keep Amy Tan and World of Fairy Tales by my bed. Just in case.
A review on Books of Blood