"Why, a spirit is such a little, little thing, that I have heard man, who was a great scholar, say that he'll dance ye a hornpipe upon the point of a needle."The Drummer, Act 1, Scene 1,
by Joseph Addison
The above quote refers to this ontological argument, of course.
The thing about teenage boys who aren't kept under the strictest of adult supervision is that they tend to go out in the wee hours of the morning just because they can. Never mind how utterly pointless these nighttime adventures are. Never mind if there is school in the morrow. Never mind if there is exam in the school in the morrow. Teen boys are indestructible that way.
Me neighbour/kindergarten mate/primary schoolmate/secondary schoolmate/multiple tuition mate/serial bicycle adventure mate, Khim Hai, and I are just two such indestructible teens.
As the legend goes, it was 3 am when Khim Hai tapped the sliding glass door of my grandmother's house and I, predictably, was still awake though I can scarcely remember now what I could be doing at that hour so unearthly (I'll wager it wasn't homework).
"Hey, Kok," said my indestructible teen friend who was wearing his characteristic emo glasses. "Jom, mamak."
"Hold a minute," I said to him, and went to conclude whatever I was doing (which, I still maintain, wasn't homework) and in no time at all, I was pedaling on my ol' mountain bike1 alongside Khim Hai's acid green BMX - I'll concede that I was never as cool as him. I didn't wear emo specs, for one thing. Our destination that night was Jiki, a 24-hours foodcourt which frankly, was not a mamak at all. It just happen to be the nearest eatery still open at that crazy hour for indestructible teens like us.
Our regular cycling route takes us through a village and then a housing estate which bordered St. David's High School and it was nothing more than a narrow asphalt lane on which no two cars can be driven abreast2. Said lane was also incredibly badly lit and there were parts of it that were pitch black, but we have used it so often that we instinctively knew just how far the ditches bordering it were. There was a fork in the road which would swing us eerily close to a Malay graveyard, but never quite reaching it.
The next landmark was an abandoned bungalow which was partially concealed by great trees growing around and over it, making it appear sinister even in daylight in that shady copse. One of its room upstairs had its window smashed and there were colourful, life-size Disney cartoon characters painted meretriciously on its walls. In the dark of night, they looked like silhouettes of vaguely humanoid and monstrously deformed apparitions staring balefully with unseen eyes down on us as we cycled past.
Not that any of that fazed ol' indestructible Khim Hai and I. We would be too busy talking and laughing to notice.
After that came the darkest, creepiest stretch of our ride. For the sake of narration, I'll give it a name; The Tunnel. The road swerving through the Tunnel had massive, ancient trees on one side and their verdant, far-reaching branches loomed over the road, giving an illusion of twilight at all times of the day. At night, they blot out the moon and stars. We did so try to avoid looking up into those leafy boughs - I mean, what if we see a face up there amongst the vegetation? That would blow our wits to smithereens. We'd never be the same again. We'd be gibbering and drooling all day long, and have to be fed through a tube. I heard tube-fed food don't taste very good.
And like all good tunnels, there was a light at the end of it - a lamp post belching forth oodles and oodles of orange warmth in the cold of night. The catch: it stood right in front of a Japanese cemetery.
Yes, Japanese. And as everybody already know, Japanese are OMGSOEVIL!
Every time we used this road, we had to cycle under that orange lamp and past just a few feet away from the white gates of the cemetery. Of course, it had always been uneventful, and we were our usual boisterous, loud and indestructible selves when we rode by it that night.
Then something weird happened.
The lamp post went off with a low pop just as we were reaching it, washing us over with a curtain of inky blackness. It was as if a pillow was clapped onto our faces. We could have imagined it but the temperature seemed to have dropped a few notches from kinda-pleasant-breezy to freaking-creepy-breezy. We stopped talking that instant. We stopped breathing - we just daren't. We just stared straight ahead at far off lights in the distant and pedaled solemnly past. As soon as we had the lamp post and cemetery at our backs, the orange light suddenly came to life again with a distinctive electric buzz in the air. That was our cue. Both of us just started speeding - pedaling so furiously we thought our hearts were going to beat right out of our mouths till we reach all the way to Jiki.
We didn't talk much about it when we were there, though. We left quite a bit of our indestructibleness behind in that scamper for our lives and souls.
Then something weirder happened.
On our way back past the same lamp post and, yes, the same Japanese cemetery - the exact same thing occured!
I couldn't sleep after I got home. I don't know if this qualifies as a real ghost story but hell, it's certainly the second scariest night of my life. And the tale has the virtue of being completely true, by the way.
Oh, but we still use that same road after that. The spooky incident happened once more, and then never again.
What sort of stupid, pigheaded, indestructible teens were we if we have given up, really?
Happy All Hallow's Eve.
k0k s3n w4i
1 ... which I have christened 'Nicole'. It sounded so cool to say, "I was riding Nicole all night long yesterday."
2 I still use it when I drive to Jusco though. There's a trick to it.