Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Azmi knew he would be dead when he got home today. He had promised her mother that he would be back early today since there are not extra classes since his school had a sports day today. He knew he should’ve called his mother at school as he knew his mother would be worried sick if he came back home late. And just like a loser, again he forgot to call his mother as was instructed by his mother countless time if he was running late.

He held his bated breath once he reached the gate of the terrace house that he shared with his mother when his father decided that married and family life was not a life he would enjoy. So, Azmi was left with his mother, an icon he held as a martyr in defending him every time the kids at school bothered him for having no father.

Azmi rustled his backpack to find his house key to open the lock at the gate. Luckily, his mother’s car was nowhere to be seen, signifying the fact that either his mom was still at work or stuck in a traffic jam. Whatever it is, he held a sigh of relief, knowing that he would not be getting an earful for being late again.

He opened the door to the house and was surprised to find his mother carrying plates of delicacies to the dining table. His mother looked up to him upon him entering the house. He was puzzled. His mother’s car was not in the garage and yet there was his mother, serving lunch plus dinner (since it was already 5 in the afternoon) to him. When he inquired his mom, she said that somebody sent her home and the car was still at the office since it couldn’t be started when she tried to get home earlier.

Azmi just shrugged and proceeded to sit down at the table and eat with his mother. The lunch plus dinner was a feast, ikan siakap stim, daging goreng berempah and tom yam, his favourite. He wondered when his mother had the time to do all these. Yet again, he just brushed aside his feeling of uneasiness as his stomach did the thinking for him, grumbling and begging to be filled.

After dining, Azmi excused himself to his room. He bathed and took out all of his books from his backpack. Although other boys in his class taunted him as a teachers’ pet for finishing all of the homeworks given and be the first to submit them, still he was also the main source of reference when they did not finish their tasks on time and had to submit the homeworks given by their teachers.

Deep in concentration over a difficult Add-Maths problem, suddenly the phone rang. Usually, his mother picked it up when she knew that he was busy completing his homeworks. But alas, the phone kept ringing and Azmi decided to pick it up after the fourth ring. He went to the telephone and said hello and asked who was on the other line. It said it was from the city morgue and the person calling introduced herself as Inspector Aleeza. Azmi’s heart leapt out of his chest when he heard the voice. Something was wrong. I knew it. He kept saying in his mind.

Inspector Aleeza explained that a black Waja collided in an accident off the route where his mom usually took to go to work. A charred lady trapped inside the car was extricated after the car was involved in an accident and hit a barricade and blew up. The car was registered to a Puan Normala, Azmi’s mother. The inspector was making a routine check to connect the dots from the accident to the victim.

Azmi’s hand loosened from the telephone. The news froze him right at the spot. He held the receiver in his hand and thought about the events before he spoke to Inspector Aleeza. If his mom was indeed dead from the accident, who was there earlier, serving plates after plates of food? He was dizzy from the all the questions but nothing beats the sensation he was feeling when he sensed a presence behind him.

He felt the hair at the back of his neck stood on edge. He was scared to turn around. Inspector Aleeza’s voice was distantly calling him. He didn’t dare to turn around. Suddenly, the presence spoke.

“Azmi, who is calling?”

His mother’s voice rang in his ears. He mustered all the courage left inside his scrawny body and finally turned around, facing his mother or should he said, the presence?

“Hmmmm....Ummmmm...Aaaaaa,” Azmi’s voice was stuck in his throat.

“Who is it, Azmi?”

“It’s’s....,” Azmi stuttered and his tongue seemed to be twisted in his mouth.

“Come on, dear. Who is it? What is wrong with you? Why are you shaking all over?”

“It’s an inspector from the morgue, mom......”

Azmi finally uttered those words and at the same time close his eyes shut, willing the presence to disappear or run, whatever it is presence was supposed to do at times like these.

When nothing happened, Azmi opened his eyes again.

There was a tombstone with his mother’s name there.

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