I have to admit, being given the ‘gift’ of sixth sense has its pros and cons. On one hand you get deathly terrified of plenty of things because you know it is there. But on the other it’s because you know it’s there that you manage to avoid it.
My family has had the sixth sense passed on through my dad’s side of the family for generations now.
There was the story of my great grandmother who chanced upon a buffet line of supernatural beings filling up at a food offering for hungry ghosts during the hungry ghost month. There was my dad who would on occasion spot the toyols sitting on the fence separating us from our very loony neighbour.
Then there was me.
Before we proceed, let me explain a little about the odd sixth sense my family tends to have. It’s basically one of our five senses but amplified. For example, my dad is very sensitive to touch and sharp eyed. He tends to feel or see these creatures before they are even there. The downside of it is that they can also physically injure him as from the one time something with three claws slashed up his chest and the inside of his bicep or when he spotted a baby-like creature perching on our fence.
My sixth sense is my sense of smell. But on the rare occasion, my sense of touch and hearing do get somewhat sensitive too. Or perhaps it’s just that the entity is strong enough to cross those boundaries. I’ll never know. But it all only happens if you have what we Chinese call a light spirit. It makes you more susceptible to otherworldly incidents and almost creepily means you’re not quite tethered to this world as other ‘heavy’ humans are.
University was the first time I ever went away from home. Upon settling in, I would often make trips out of my hostel on foot to search for food or buy groceries from the town area.
As classes were during the day and the heat was unbearable anyway, I’d only venture out in the evening or at night. Often I’d go alone because I only had one close friend at that time and we didn’t live very near each other’s hostels.
Now, I was warned that a couple of suicides had happened at a very large lake adjacent to our university campus but thinking nothing of it since I didn’t pass by the lake to get to the town area, I went on my merry way.
As I passed by a bus stop, I so happened to chance upon a key that had fallen behind the seat. I thought I would try to pick it up and take it home to ask if any of those in my area had lost it. It was just a nondescript key, much like one of those for bicycle locks. I went home and placed it on our hostel table before going to my room to take a bath. I would ask around later on to see if anyone had lost their key. But I promptly forgot about it and went to bed.
Our hostel rooms don’t come with air cons and most have a window if you’re lucky. But thanks to my fear of lizards, I never bothered opening mine and I also taped the bottom of my door shut. So, no openings right? Enjoying the breeze my table fan generated, I fell asleep – only to jolt awake when I felt a chill that began at my feet and slowly worked its way up to my face. My sleep fuddled brain thought it was a draft until I remembered that I’d just taped the bottom of my door shut with paper and masking tape a few weeks ago. Besides, drafts don’t move so systematically that way do they?
Now I was really awake. I pulled my blanket over my ears and the bottom half of my face, still feigning sleep. The chill continued making its way up and down. Sometimes disappearing only to reappear again suddenly on another unsuspecting body part. It was then I noticed my goosebumps were up despite it not being freezing cold in the room. It was in mid-June, one of the hottest months of the year.
The chill kept moving lazily but my sense sharpened, I had a feeling that something was watching me. I did the only thing I knew how. I prayed.
I kept praying until I fell asleep, interspersed with thoughts of ‘please just leave me alone, I just want to sleep’. By morning I woke up cranky and fearful. Whatever it was left with the morning light.
The next night it happened again. And again. And again. I began to sleep with every single light on. It continued for a month despite the salt in four corners of my room and on the windowsills. Despite the prayers I kept mouthing silently.
Finally my parents came for a visit. I told them the reason why I kept looking like a panda. Without missing a beat, my dad grabbed a bottle of holy water he kept in the car (no, it’s not because he’s Dean Winchester, it’s because crazy neighbour had a way with black magic and you can never be too prepared) and went up to my room.
That night, he liberally sprayed every square inch of my room with holy water. If that thing whatever it is didn’t burn upon contact, I’m pretty sure it would’ve drowned.
It was another few more months before I dared to turn off the lights to go to sleep. And yes, it was hot af again from then on.
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