It was Tuesday night of the second study week. I looked at the black-rimmed clock hanging on the wall stating that it was 2.45 am, almost invisible illuminated only by the table lamps of mine and my roommate. I turned my head slightly towards the back to see that he was still on his study desk facing the opposite wall. Our mid-term examination was starting next week so it was normal to find students staying up for hours studying so we could score our papers.
Our desks were positioned to the sides of the room, so we would each be facing the cream-painted wall. There was a large window in between the desks, with glasses stacked up, the one that you would have to pull or push down a handle to open. It was covered by an old brown curtain that seemed like it had not been washed for ages. The single beds were arranged next to the study desk respectively, followed by a moderate size and decent looking cabinet to place all our clothes and other personal stuffs.
I twisted my waist from right to left alternately and stretched up both of my hands high as much as I could to relax my muscles and reduced the stiffness from sitting too long on the chair. Looking at my notes and books, I knew I still have a lot to cover yet my half-closed eyes were betraying me.
Releasing a deep sigh, I slowly rose up and began my lazy steps towards the door. As expected of a dorm, the bathroom was located at the far end of the building and I had to pass by several other rooms to get there. Halfway through walking in the dimly lit corridor being more alert now, I noticed that it was unusually quiet. Usually there would be some noises from a room playing some soft music to accompany the solemnness throughout the night, or the snoring of students which were pretty common and in fact audible behind these doors but there were none at all. In fact, the only sounds I could hear were my own breaths and careful footsteps as to not disturb the other residents.
That’s odd, I thought to myself. Oh well, I guess you could also have a quiet night like this as I tried to reassure myself. However, I could not shake the feeling of uneasiness that lingered in me. I quickened my steps to the bathroom and when I reached it I breathed a sigh of relief.
It was unnervingly cold in the toilet. I looked around under the dim light of the white fluorescent lamp cautiously to find nothing out of the ordinary. However, I could not shake off the anxiety that something was just not right. Quickly, I went straight to the sink and turned on the faucet. Slightly bending over, I gently splashed the cold water to my face to freshen up when suddenly I heard a creak from one of the doors of the cubicles behind. That definitely startled me and I could feel every hair on my body rose up. It was probably just the wind, just the wind.
After washing up my face, I looked at the mirror and until now I really wished I had not. Why didn’t I get the hell out straight away after washing my face? The cues were there and being the coward I was, I knew that the mirror is something that I believe I have to avoid if I feel strangely wrong about a situation. The reflection showed something that made my heart stopped beating for a second. I froze in fear, in dread that was starting to escalate fast. The door to the cubicle was slightly open because there was a hand that had slowly pulled the door inwards. The fingers looked like the end branches of a rotten tree infested with parasites, weakly colored with pale grey and wrinkled. The nails were especially long, sharp and crooked at the tip.
I wanted to run, but of course my legs just would not move. It never moved in this kind of situation. My stare was frozen solid towards that unknown creature as the door slowly opened and it stopped before reaching halfway. I could feel myself trying to breathe as softly as possible, as if with every sound that I made I would startle the unknown entity hiding behind the door. Regardless, fate has decided upon me that this would be my first encounter with it.
What showed up first was the side of its hair as it slowly tried to peek at me. The messy long black hair, like it had not been washed for ages. Then, I could see the whitish-grey wrinkled skin and the corner of its mouth which was forming a smile. The lips were thin and blood red and the teeth were yellow and crooked. The smile was abnormally wide, so wide it almost reached the left ear. My eyes moved slowly, towards one of the eye which was slowly revealing itself, a bulging white eye and a black pupil in the middle. The nose area was flat, except for two small holes in the middle. The movement was slow and steady, as if it was trying to mock me. Almost all of its face was shown when it suddenly stopped. Then, it blinked and shrieked.
Out of nowhere, I could feel my energy returning rapidly and I sprinted from the bathroom as fast as I could towards my room without looking back even once. I turned the handle of my door and once I was inside I quickly locked the door. I swore I felt like shedding my manly tears if not because of my roommate was there in the same room. I tried to regain my composure as I sloped down and sit on the carpeted floor.
I looked at my roommate, who was still concentrating on his notes. Staring at my trembling hands, I hold both of my hands together.
“Danny, you won’t believe what I saw just now. I thought I was going to die. There was something in the bathroom…I just don’t know how to describe it. It was horr…”
A giggle stopped me from finishing my sentence. At that very second, I felt like I had make a mistake. I slowly raised my head looking up towards my roommate, and he slowly turned his face towards me revealing a face that I knew so well and said with a teasing voice,
“Oh does it look like this…?”
It was the same face I saw in the bathroom. I was so shocked and scared to make any movement, and as I blinked, with a movement so quick the horrendous face was now 5 cm away from my own pale face. Then everything turned black and I could not remember anything else.
I didn’t know how many hours had passed when I heard my name being called faintly.
“Jet…Jet!! Wake up!”
I slowly opened my eyes, and it was all blurry at first. The sun ray blinded me for a while and I covered the light with my hand. Then, I could see Danny’s worried face up close as he tried to wake me up.
Remembering the night before, I jerked away from him as a reflex. He saw my pale and frightened face as I tried to stay away from him and looked at me perplexedly.
“Hey what’s wrong? It’s me Danny. Why are you lying on the floor?” he asked worriedly.
“Is that really you? Are you…really Danny?”
“What…have you forgotten your own roommate’s face? What the heck happened?” he asked again.
I breathed a sigh of relief. We walked to my bed, sat down and I told the whole story to him. As I finished my story, it was his turn to look as pale as a ghost. My gut sort of told me what he was going to say next, and I truly dreaded the words that came out of his mouth afterwards.
“Dude, I just got back from my home this afternoon. When I opened the door, I saw you lying there on the floor. I was… not here yesterday. Whoever you were studying with the whole night, it was definitely not me,” he explained with a trembling voice.
Then, he remained silent for a while before continuing with his words. He seemed reluctant to say it, but he started telling me a story of a cleaner lady that died in the bathroom 7 years ago. He did not know the details, but apparently the cleaner lady was ugly and some naughty students decided to harass her. They sneaked in while she was moping the floor, and scared her hopeless. She was definitely surprised but unfortunately, she slipped due to the wet floor, felt down, hit her head and died from an internal bleeding of the brain.
“What the..how come I’ve never heard of this story? This is ridiculous! But, why did she appear in the room? That didn’t make any sense..she should have just stayed in the bathroom!” I cried desperately.
“Well, about that… I know this is a bit much for you to swallow but please bear with me.”
He started to tell me about another myth that was told by his grandma when he was little. She told him that, if ever he was to encounter an evil entity, and managed to get away from it, try to stay silent about it until the next morning. Do not speak up about it on the same day, to anyone at all. Wait until the next morning. If you speak about it, you would be summoning and acknowledging its existence and it would appear again. What happens to you afterwards depends solely on the creature’s mercy.
We both looked at each other’s eyes, totally freaked out about the whole thing. I learnt my lesson now. And for you readers, if you ever see something that looks like it just comes out from your worst nightmare, run if you could. Hide if you could. Close your eyes and try to faint if you could. But do not ever, I repeat do not ever speak of it to someone else on the same day. Or it might just be the last day of your life.