Friday, 10 April 2009

Giving a lift to a total stranger

The government clinic is housed in an old building built pre-independence. It is located at the outskirts of town, away from the urban congestion. I didn't actually know that there is such a place. The missus and I are there to visit someone. It is a brief visit.

As we walk back to our car, I study the surroundings. Although the building is old, it seems to be well-maintained. The grass is neatly trimmed and a few flowering bougainvillea shrubs gave the large surrounding compound colour. A big old angsana tree grows just next to the entrance, providing much needed shade. The presence of a slight breeze complements the tranquility of the mid-afternoon moment.

We get into our car that is parked in a small paved area not far from the main gate. I mention to my wife, "The peaceful surroundings sure suit the clinic... but for the general public who don't have their own transport, it can be quite troublesome to get to this place. I don't think the public buses come round here. I doubt there are any taxis either... it is too out-of-the way."

My wife nods in agreement. But what startled me is a voice coming from the back seat of the car.

"Betul tu dik... dah lama akak tunggu teksi tapi tak sampai-sampai. Nasib baik la adik bagi tumpang kat akak."

I turn around to see a middle-aged Malay lady sitting at the back smiling at me. Good God! Who is this woman? And how did she get into my car?!

"Adik turunkan akak kat bandar ye..."

I take a big gulp but my throat is suddenly dry. I can only mutter a muffled, "Uh-huh" in reply. She is already in the car... so I can't ask her to step out, can I?

I start the engine and slowly drive out of the clinic compound. My wife sits quietly, looking straight out the front windscreen as if nothing is happening. I thought she is doing a good job of remaining calm by ignoring who (or what) is sitting at the back and focussing her mind directly on the road ahead. Good move, buat tak tahu aje.

Throughout the drive into town, it is eerily quiet inside the car. Nobody spoke. I occasionally steal some glances at my rear-view mirror. Firstly, to check if my unexpected passenger is still there and if she is, to have a more detailed look at her appearance.

Well... she is still there. She wears a simple baju kurung in a light-blue floral pattern. Her hair is wavy and shoulder-length with streaks of grey showing all over. She sits there calmly with both hands neatly on her lap as she looks out of the window at nothing in particular. The slight smile on her face gives the impression of contentment. I couldn't see if she carried a bag or anything else.

We reach a busy part of town and the silence in the car is broken by my passenger.

"Adik boleh berhenti kat sini. Akak nak turun sini."

"Oh.. okay," I reply.

"What okay?" my wife responds. "And why are we stopping here?"

"Err... our passenger wants to get off here," I answer while twisting my head slightly to indicate the back seat.

My wife looks at me quizzically and asks, "What passenger?"

Both of us turn to look at the back seat.... but there is nobody there.

I ask my wife, "You didn't notice an old woman riding with us in the car from the clinic? She wanted a lift into town."

My wife has a bewildered look on her face. She slowly shakes her head and reply, "No... "

24 comments:

mamasita said...

Oldstock? Ni cerita betul or just rekaan? If its a true story, did it happen malam or siang? And..where did you dropped her? Suspense betul!s

hanitha said...

erks...emmm....emmmm....emmmm....nie citer benar ke? atau rekaan semata2...tkmo la citer seram lgkkkk.....

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Old stok, wow! You carried a lady ghost.
In broad daylight too.
Bet you sure had a hot cup of coffee to tone down your nerves, ha ha.

I carried an old man at near midnight, near Bidor to Ipoh outskirts...he disappeared after I dropped him off, and a very strong bunga chimpaka scent lingered in my car.
Before that, a strong earthy smell.

Mesti mandi ayer bunga like this, ha ha.
Best regards, Lee.

Chahya said...

OMG. Oldstock!! Biar betul....iskk

VersedAnggerik said...

hehehe...

master of the macabre strikes again!

masterwordsmith said...

OMG!!! Is this for real or great writing???Or BOTH??

cheers

drbubbles said...

Bapak Oldstock,

I have been reading your blog silently all these while.Ni nak tanya - ini cerita betul ke or fiction?You remind me of Tamar Jalis now..hehehe..

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Oldstock: Wow! this post really freak me.

I first read it at around midnight last night. I was alone in my home office, in the midst of having a fiesty exchange of emails with my terse editor who, I suspected, was making me pay for holding him up in the office on a Friday evening with this tedious strategy piece that I was writing.

Anyway, after reading this post and thanks to my over-active imagination, I quickly gathered my laptop, my notes and my mobile, and went up upstairs to bed and continued working from there, next to my sleeping husband !!!!! *laughs*

Kama said...

OMG! berdiri bulu roma beb!

Oldstock said...

Dear readers and commenters,

Firstly, to answer the question from most of you, this is not a true story.

But... this story is based on a scary dream I had recently. If you guys recall, about three weeks ago I posted a cerita seram about my niece meeting a ghost. I had this spooky dream a few days after posting that story.

Just goes to show that thinking too much about ghosts can affect you one way or another. If you don't meet them in real life, they'll come to you in your dreams.

When I told my wife about this dream, she asked me how I felt. Seram jugak, I said.

She then added, "Haa.. tu baru dalam mimpi. Kalau betul-betul, macam mana pulak?"

Err... I don't think I want to answer that.

Oldstock said...

Mamasita,

In my dream, it happens in the daytime. She got out when I stopped the car somewhere in town.

The lady got in and out of my car without opening the door. When did she actually get in or get out, that's the unknown.

Oldstock said...

Hanitha,

Next time I tulis cerita seram, I bagi warning dulu... jadi you takyah baca heheheh :-)

Oldstock said...

Uncle Lee,

You gave a lift to a stranger at midnight... that's even scarier!

Encounters with ghosts almost always have references to smells. Perhaps when we are near one, our senses become over-sensitive. Or is just our imagination running wild?

Tak boleh mandi bunga la Lee. Nanti my wife ingat I buang tebiat, heheheh.

You take care, my friend.

Oldstock said...

Chahya,

Cerita yang menjelma dalam mimpi... tapi masih menyeramkan.

p/s - thanks for your techie tips which I will try to follow as best I can. Cuma I'm not the flowers or jewellery type of guy lah... camne nak buat tu? ;-)

Oldstock said...

Verse,

Tak boleh panggil master... masih amateur lagi. Heheheh.

Oldstock said...

Paula@masterwordsmith,

Pure fiction but definitely not great writing. But I do hope I can write better stories one day.

Cheers and take care.

Oldstock said...

Drbubbles,

Selamat datang. I like to read horror stories but I don't think I can write horror stories well, especially not like Tamar Jalis.

Had a look at your blog and I like the work you are doing with the rumah anak-anak yatim. If you have similar projects in the Johor Bahru area, please let me know.

Do drop by again soon.

Oldstock said...

Andrea,

Aiyaa... why are you having a fight with your editor? Be nice to him la, kesian kat dia tau... heheheh :-)

Don't get easily spooked by a ghost story. You have to be stronger, my friend.

An oh.. another word of advice. Do not bring your work to bed. It is bad for your laptop. Your husband may wake up and you guys may get overexcited... causing the laptop to fall on the floor and become damaged *wink, wink*

Oldstock said...

Kak Aji Kama,

Relaks Kak.... cerita dlm mimpi saje :-)

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Oldstock
You really had us fooled there.
Better in your dreams than in real life, you can trust me on that!

Madam Markonah said...

Geez...buat saspen je. How real events can affect our subsoncious eh?

I talked with my xbf on the phone 2days ago and dreamt a threesome during my afternoon nap. And unlike yours, this story ain't fiction. I really did dream heheh!

Oldstock said...

Salam Fauziah,

Any chance we can read of your real life encounters?

Oldstock said...

Wow Madam! Threesome... jeles I :-)

Ki Moira said...

spooky la bos