Friday, August 23, 2013


The classroom was empty except for a couple of cats at the back of the room. Nik knew that she was destined to be the earliest person to arrive and the last person to leave. This was because her mother worked at the school that she enrolled to, hence they have to arrive early at school and be among the last ones to leave, well after 5 p.m. when the office hours ended.

Nik took the broom and started sweeping the class for that was her routine everyday. The duty roaster was just an illusion. Another tapestry put on the notice board to decorate it. She did not mind although her friends who were supposed to be on duty never even say a simple “thank you” for her deeds.

And look at the state of the class! Food wrappers strewn all over the place. Water bottles everywhere. Why was it so hard to throw all the unwanted items in the dustbin? The dustbin was like just a few steps away, but being typical Malaysians, they were all too lazy to get their big, fat asses and walked there.

While mumbling away a few incomprehensible sentences, Nik swept the classroom clean. Then, she wiped the whiteboard from markings from yesterday’s lesson. She felt sweaty and the uniform stuck to her body. Her hands felt rough due to the dust. So she made her way to the toilet.

The ladies was like a scene from a horror movie. It felt creepy just by standing outside the entrance. The aura was nothing like, say, a toilet in SOGO. It was poorly lighted, and the smell emanating from the toilet was unbearable. But being a student, she had to suck it up since it was the only toilet available. Nik knew nobody was in the toilet since the light was not even switched on. Nik flicked the switch open and tip-toed to the nearest stall to the entrance. While she was doing her business, she heard the water dribbling from the pipe in the sink. She also thought about the new boy who just moved in from Penang in her class. What’s with his thick eyelashes and well-structured nose since the boy was of mixed parentage, Nik felt like he was watching Shah Rukh Khan in real life. Oh, how wonderful if the boy made a move and asked her out on a date.

The door to the stall next door suddenly creaked. Nik’s heart thumped as she was pretty sure that nobody was around when she came in just now. She braved herself to unlock the door to her stall and peeked through the slit in the door.

She saw a cleaner mopping the floor. It was strange that she did not recognize the cleaner since other workers at the school was a friends of her mother, so she was familiar with all of them. She couldn’t take a good look at the face of the cleaner since she had her back to Nik.

Nik decided not to say anything and proceeded to go to the sinks to wash her hands. She noticed something strange about the cleaner. She kept mopping at the same place for quite some time. And the white pail that she had with her looked very old indeed. Nik braced herself to look inside the pail.

It was filled with red substance that looked like blood, thick and creamy.

Nik was startled but she kept her composure and walked out of the toilet.

The day began and Nik soon forgot about the incident in the toilet once her classes started. Soon, during recess, there was a commotion at the same toilet Nik went earlier this morning. There was a crowd gathering there and they were whispering to each other. Nik was puzzled and tried to asked somebody what was happening inside the toilet but evberybody was minding their own business and nobody answered her. Suddenly, the police emerged from the toilet, and what scared the crowd the most was the fact that they were carrying a body, wrapped in a tell-tale black plastic that they always used to cover the corpses. Everybody gasped and took a step back but they were also curious as to who was under that black cover.

Suddenly, the crowd let out a cry when one of the hands jutted out from the cover. The tip of the fingers were blue and Nik was shocked to find out that on the ring finger, the body underneath the cover was wearing the same emerald ring that Nik inherited from her mother who got it from her mother who was Nik’s grandmother.

Nik felt her heart stopped and blood from all over her body rushed up to her head. She felt her body became lighter and when she took her hand to her face to see if the emerald ring was still there, she felt ice cold even though she was standing under the sun.

She thought to herself, “Oh shit, am I dead?”

And her question was answered when she saw her mother broke down and cried her name when one of the policemen open the cover to the corpse before they took it away in the police van.

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