Written by Sophia Rozario.
My family had received news of my maternal grandfather’s death after his battle with pancreatic cancer; which meant we had to embark on a 4-hour long journey to KL for his funeral. And since we were his next of kin, we had to leave earlier to be present at the evening wake, pack up whatever belongings he left behind, and finally attend the church service. I was only 12-years-old at the time this took place.
During this time, my family was struggling financially, and it was difficult to make ends meet. So much so that we couldn’t afford to sleep in the cheapest of hotels or motels during the duration of our stay in KL. The journey itself with paying the tolls to cross states was hard on us. At that age, I was already well aware of how much my parents were struggling. Therefore, it was of no surprise to me when we had to sleep at my grandfather’s flat. I correctly remember my mother telling my younger brother and me that we were to stay silent of grandpa’s death to the landlord until the funeral was over.
The first night was smooth, and nothing noteworthy occurred save for my brother and me squabbling over some knickknacks while sorting grandpa’s belongings as children often do. We attended the first evening wake and slept soundly without so much as a peep once sleeping arrangements were decided. My parents slept in the spare guest room; my younger brother got the living room couch, which left me with grandpa’s room.
However, it was only on the second night did I meet something I wish I hadn’t. We had come back to the flat at 11 pm that night after attending the last evening wake. It didn’t take long for us all to settle with our own sleeping arrangements. I was still wide awake despite how emotionally and physically tired I felt. I wasn’t sure just how much time had passed with me just staring at the shadows cast by the streetlights. I heard the door creak open and saw a figure standing at the door.
At first, I shrugged it off as merely catching one of my parents coming to check on me as they usually did in the night. But that thought was quickly replaced with confusion when that figure stepped into the room and made its way to the bed. It struck me as odd as my parents never ventured beyond the doorframe. Despite the glow from the streetlights, the light never seemed to illuminate this person properly. I couldn’t make out any features this apparent intruder had at all. I laid still on the bed as fear began to worm its way into my chest. This figure seemed to have solid darkness to them, the kind where you wouldn’t be sure if you had held your hand in front of your face.
The logical thing to do would have been to scream for help or ask what exactly did they want from me, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I had a sinking feeling that something wasn’t quite right with this thing. In my mind, I started reciting Hail Mary and Our Father in Heaven frantically. I wanted it to go away and leave me alone.
My efforts only made this thing draw closer to me as it bent over to meet my face. It took everything I had to keep from whimpering. Even at such proximity, I still couldn’t see anything but just darkness. There was no hair, clothes, face structure, anything. It was just pitch black, and the unnatural state of this figure had set off alarm bells in my mind. I had a nudging feeling that if I allowed it to touch me, something would go wrong, that this thing would corrupt me somehow. I haven’t the slightest clue why I’d be thinking or feeling these things, but my gut kept telling me to stay still.
Coming from an Asian upbringing and household, I remembered my paternal grandmother used to tell me of how unclean spirits follow mourners home to torment them or steal lifeforce. She had also told me a way to at least be granted mercy for whatever I’ve done to offend it or attract its attention. I ‘told’ it that I didn’t mean to intrude this space, I only wish to be allowed to spend the night here before the funeral tomorrow, that I would be gone in the morning and never return to the flat for as long as I lived. I was outright begging to be left in peace for I meant no harm and apologized if I did something wrong.
Finally, after a few moments of silence, the dark, featureless figure withdrew itself from leaning over me and made its way out of the room. The door was left ajar, and I wasn’t going to get out of bed to close it. I was shaken, and it made me suffer a fitful sleep throughout the night. The next morning I asked my parents if they had checked on me last night. As expected they told me no and that they had been out cold from how tired they felt. Needless to say, I was very much eager to pack my luggage and get out of that flat as soon as possible.
Throughout the years of being a teenager, I would dream that I was being chased by many dark figures, their hands attempting to grab me and drag me with them as if to complete what it had set out to do. The more memorable nightmares were where these shadow people had successfully killed me because I wasn’t going to allow them to touch my friend. Other dreams were having control over my then significant other to rape and strangle me to death (I was 16 at the time).
I’m 23-years-old now, and the dreams have stopped thankfully. To this day, I don’t know what exactly it was that I had encountered. Some of my friends say that it was my grandfather who visited me, but I highly doubt he would want to scare me like that. Other friends speculate that I got the attention of something unclean and nasty. It remains a mystery to me.