By: Robin Yu, alumnus of MA in English Studies, Department of English │
ISSUE94 DECEMBER My UM
There Is a Kid There
‘It was a summer night,’ he begins his story with an air of terror. His four friends circle around him.
They are in a deserted house, rumoured to be haunted. These young men come here for a thrill, but, finding nothing adventurous, he suggests telling a ghost story.
‘I was four years old, my brother, three’, he continues. ‘My family was very poor, too poor to live decently at that time. One of our distant relatives on my father’s side offered my family her house so that we would have a place to stay temporarily. I assume she wanted us to take care of her house, too. My father was away, working. My mother fanned me and my brother to sleep that night. I was always quiet, and a sound sleeper’.
His friends stand closer to him. ‘You know how to recognise whether one is telling a true story. Let him repeat that story over and over again. It is a true one if the details in his story always remain unchanged. My mom has retold many times what she heard that night. The details are always the same. That night has stricken terror into her heart.’
‘What happened?’ one asks, but he does not see who is speaking, does not even recognise that voice, and yet he senses the strain in that voice.
‘My mom heard some noise downstairs. She thought it was a cat rummaging in the kitchen. She said the noise went on for too long. Cursing the cat to work up her courage, she decided to go downstairs with me and my brother in her arms. As soon as she was downstairs, though, the noise disappeared and soon resumed upstairs. As she held us and went upstairs, the noise reappeared downstairs. My mom said she was too terrified to realise I was already awake. As she decided to ignore the noise and grabbed the fan again, I suddenly pointed to the ceiling and exclaimed, ‘There is a kid there. There is a kid there!’’ He points to the ceiling as he did then, and his friends take a quick glance at the ceiling. ‘My mom slapped my hand and reproached, ‘Nonsense. You are dreaming. You are dreaming’. She told us she said that to drive the ghost kid away, or the ghost kid would seize me and my brother’.
He looks at his friends, only to see that some are still staring at the ceiling. As he looks upwards, he exclaims, ‘There is a kid in the ceiling. It’s a ghost.’ And he runs.
1. circle around: sit or stand around.
2. deserted: If a place is deserted, it is abandoned.
3. sound sleeper: If someone is a sound sleeper, that person is usually in a deep sleep.
4. strike terror into her heart: If something strikes terror into one’s heart, the terror is intense and hard to forget.
Contributions to this column are from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities